Keri's Breast Cancer Story: Update on Chemotherapy
In this set of emails Keri Haberstroh updates friends and family on her pathology report and chemotherapy treatment. My wife Keri was only 25 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. My name is Doug Haberstroh, and I am here to tell Keri's breast cancer story, from start to finish. That is what Keri would have wanted.
Subject: Re: Chemo Drugs
Sent: Sunday, May 1, 2005 9:20 PM
Okay here is the wording from the pathology report. It's sort of hard to understand fully, but if you pick out the key words I think you get the gist of the diagnosis.
"Left breast mass: Infiltrating moderately differentiated ductal carcinoma of breast (at least 3.8 cm greatest dimension). Tumor diffusely extends to specimen margins. Associated dystrophic calcifications are present. Focal intermediate grade ductal carcinoma in situ is present."
What I get from that is that it is the invasive DCIS and that the margins were not healthy tissue so that is why it is invasive and why he said he didn't get it all with just removing the tumor. I don't have a copy of the report that has the Hormone and Her 2 Neu studies on it, but that was also the information he gave us that day you guys were there and he said those studies were both negative to the receptors. That is per your notes on our list of questions that we took with us.
Now for the chemo drugs. The first day of chemo I get the drug Adriamycin (or Doxorubicin, this is the name on the sheet of info the oncologist office gave me, but the Adriamycin is the name that is in all the chemo info books from the Cancer Society). The second day I get the drug Taxotere (or Docetaxel). We looked at the pamphlet more closely that they gave us because it said lung cancer on it, which scared Doug. Taxotere is a drug that treats breast cancer, prostate cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. It's just that it works for all those, not that I have lung cancer. Though I told Doug at least if it was thinking of moving that direction this drug would prevent that. Okay and the last thing is the growth shot I get which is Neulasta (or Pegfilgrastim). The info sheet the oncologist office gave me on this drug simply says that it helps my body make white blood cells more quickly after chemotherapy. So this is just to make it possible that I take the chemo every two weeks instead of three.
Hope all this info helps you. If you want copies of any of this info that I'm getting just let me know and I'll make copies and send them to you. We ordered a medical alert bracelet and it should be here next week. That will be a good thing for me to wear. I also got a medical alert card that I keep in my wallet that says I have a port in me. All good stuff to have on me to let anyone know what's going on. Hope your week starts off well tomorrow. Talk to you again soon.
Love You Both,
Subject: Re: How Ya Doin
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 10:03 AM
Everything went fine. They didn't check my white blood cells because it was too early to check. They will check them next Monday when I go for my check up. I'm going to send you a separate email with some before and after pictures of my hair. Just so when you get here it won't be as shocking to see. Plus it will be even different than the pictures when you get here. I'm not sleeping well, but I guess that's to be expected. Can't get comfortable and too much on my mind. The doctor said it was
okay to take Tylenol PM so I may try one pill tonight and see if it helps. Enjoy J. T.'s musical. Talk to you soon.
KeriA Note from Doug: We're also telling Keri's breast cancer story as a weekly comic strip. Check back each week to follow her story. This week's episode, Episode 2, skips forward a few days in May, following Keri's second session of chemo.
Also, read Keri and Doug's next update: The Second Chemotherapy Treatment