Lisa L. Trerotola

Lisa L. Trerotola
World Trade Center

Surviving Ills, One at a Time

After Lisa L. Trerotola's appointment with the oncologist, she went to her mother's house and burst into tears. Lisa was not a complainer, and her mother feared the worst, that the thyroid cancer was terminal.

"No, no!" Lisa said. She was sobbing because her treatment required isolation, which meant, "I'm going to have to leave my babies for two whole weeks!"

Mrs. Trerotola's family was rocked by her cancer, but she went through treatment keeping her eyes on the prize: her twins, now three and a half years old, whom she had struggled for years to conceive with her husband, Michael. Life kept road-testing Mrs. Trerotola, 36, of Hazlet, N.J.

In addition to cancer and infertility, she had prevailed over other health problems, including a chronic bronchial condition that she believed was triggered by fumes from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, where she worked as an administrative assistant at the Port Authority.

"You know the sweetest thing my sister did?" said her brother, Paul Spina. "She was planning a surprise party Oct. 6 for my brother-in-law's 40th birthday. Sent the invitations and everything. He has no idea. Would you put that in the newspaper? I don't have the heart to tell him."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 19, 2001.

LISA L. TREROTOLA, 36, of Hazlet, N.J., principal office assistant for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, stayed awake until 2 a.m. Sept. 11 finishing a handmade canvas book bag for her 3-year-old daughter, Amanda. Trerotola had already finished one for Amanda's twin brother, Michael. "I told her that she could go into business with all the beautiful things that she made," said her mother, Irene Spina. Among them were afghans for friends and family members. "When I get emotional, I like to put her afghan around me because I feel that her arms are around me," Spina said.

Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press

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