The Quality of My Battle

Not looking so good!


I am literally paralyzed with anxiety and depression. Writing this sentence is taking all of the strength and courage that I have left in me today. My fingers are throbbing from the nerve damage that the chemotherapy has left behind, and the drugs that the doctors have prescribed to ease the pain impair my cognitive function. Yet I gingerly and slowly type these words, because to not do so would take away what little power I have left. One more word written, one more step towards recovery.  I command myself to move forward; otherwise the nervous breakdown that is waiting for me behind the prescription bottles that are neatly lined up on my bed side table will win this war. I am in mourning. I am grieving the current loss of my healthy body that has always been strong enough to conquer any challenge that lay before me. I am grieving the loss of my position at a world class pharmaceutical company that I am not healthy enough to return to, and that they are no longer willing to hold open for me while I finish treatment. I am grieving the happiness that I used to feel. I am grieving the laughter that used to burst from my mouth easily. I am grieving the optimism that I just can’t seem to find today. I am grieving the loss of my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes and my fingernails which have or are in the process of jumping ship, knowing that this vessel is toxic. My right breast aches with pain from a recent surgery, and that requires a different pain medication that I swallow thru tears. Then there is the Prozac for the depression, but that doesn’t seem to be helping and my doctor has prescribed Wellbutrin to add onto it.  When my heart races and I can’t catch my breath because of the large anxious pit in my stomach I nibble on a low dose of Xanax to keep the mental breakdown at bay. “Is this my new normal? Is this the quality of my life from now on?” I ask my dear friend John who is a physician and married to my best friend Reina. “No sweetie, this is the quality of your battle” he replies.


14 thoughts on “The Quality of My Battle

  1. Trina, I just found your blog and I am overwhelmed by your determination, inspired by your courage and proud of you for all of it. I will hold out my hand in friendship to you ~ I’ll send your strength, healing thoughts and prayers while you endure this part of the journey. May it help to know that you have friends everywhere. xo

    • Thank you! I accept your hand and offer mine back as well. I like your blog and I will start following it, anything that has to do with gratitude…I’m in! The good news is that that particular excerpt was written last January/February. My fingernails are almost completely healed, but they have taken a long time. My hair has grown back 🙂 But I still have nerve damage from chemo. Having the support of friends is what keeps me going, so thank you!

  2. Trina: an acquaintance shared your blog link and I am amazed at your tenacity that in spite of all those reasons you named to quit, you still harbor that morsel of yourself that will not allow it. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us, it’s important, revealing and brave. You just made a difference. Keep writing. Much love and prayers for you, Diana.

  3. Hey, Trin machine. I feel I have to say this. I have had the privilege of knowing you, watching you grow from a young college graduate with all the promise of success and purpose in your life. From a model employee, a wife, a dedicated mother, while always a great friend, to a health-deprived cancer patient constantly fighting back and forth, back and forth, from the depths of anger and despair, to a living warrior-survivor in life; not once, not twice, but three times, ultimately into a hero for all who have witnessed your climb back into the saddle of sustainable health. From all it’s miserable challenges and ultimately to it’s rewards; yes, I say rewards because you have succeeded where so many others have not. Simply enjoying lunch on a patio with friends in the sun may never have the meaningless value we all once thought. You have taught me that very moment of enjoyment is precious. In no small way with Joe’s and the boys’ love and undying support, you have climbed over the top of “Mt. Endless Bullshit” together. From a distance, I have struggled to remain on the outside of your fights. Helplessly, we have watched you overcome where few might have ever given you decent odds. You have sacrificed so much in this endeavor, but for now, once again, amazingly you have succeeded. I remember watching you water ski once and if you remember your nickname was “the cork” because you always popped right out of the water on your skis; that’s Trina!! Looking over that mountain top now, it must seem almost surreal that you may be finally there. To see you at Natalie’s wedding so healthy and radiant, was almost like it never happened. But we will always know better. I feel like cancer is always standing right behind you, like the imaginary bad friend in “A Beautiful Mind”, never to be acknowledged by you or anyone else, but always right there. To look down at cancer with your middle finger high in the air, saying, “bring it on”, knowing that it may never really be over must seem a strong shield of honor. I am so proud of you for dealing with this daily, weekly, monthly; year after year, always remaining steadfast in your journey of recovery. I am so happy you have written this special reflection for all of us to continue to learn of you journey, so that Curtis, Joe, James, Johnny, and the rest of us can truly know what survival, real pain, endurance, sacrifice, and ultimately real happiness truly are. Your experience continues to teach us all how to live. Love you my friend, Sminty-fresh

    • Thank you my SmithMan for your words and more importantly for your friendship and encouragements. Because of the relationships in my life like the one you and I have, I have strength and purpose. I love you!!!!

  4. I’m so sorry, Trina, that you are going through this battle. For some reason, God wanted me to see this and reply. Your words are driving me to be a stronger person, while your strength is giving me strength. My faith in Jesus Christ has just soared! You can do this. You ARE doing this! God must think you can handle anything huh? You are still beautiful! Thanks for sharing..

  5. Wow…Trina. You are an amazing woman. I lile what I’ve read so far. I agree with your best friend’s husband about this being the quality of your battle. The title says a lot & shows me you are a strong fighter.

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