Keri's Breast Cancer Story: The "Halfway" Mark

Doug Haberstroh Health Guide
  • My name is Doug Haberstroh, and this is the story of my wife Keri. Keri was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She was only 25 years old. This is Keri's story, and we have reached the halfway mark for chemotherapy, not the complete story.


    The title of this SharePost signifies what we mistakenly thought the halfway mark was, early in our experience battling Keri's cancer. In this email to our friends and family, we are coming up on the last couple chemo treatments (first round - there are more) and are starting to get ready for the surgery and breast reconstruction.


    If Keri and I had had a crystal ball at that time, we would have known that the halfway mark was still a way ahead. But, before we knew the cancer had spread, this was truly what we had thought was our downward slope to a beautiful ending.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    Subject: Update

    Sent: Saturday, June 4, 2005

    Hello All,

    Well, we've officially passed the halfway mark through the chemo sessions, and I thought it would be about the time to update everyone on our (Keri's) condition. This past Thursday and Friday marked her fourth session with only two left to go. We've crested the hill and are now on the downward slope. The first three sessions went without a hitch but she developed a very interesting cough after about the second session that kept getting worse as the weeks would wear on.


    The doctor finally became a little concerned after the third session where he decided to change her chemo drugs and prescribe a cough syrup that would eventually suppress it. The fourth session, just recently, went smoothly. Her cough has dissipated, still noticeable but much better than before, and the new chemo drugs have about the same side effects as the previous drugs so there really hasn't been any noticeable differences yet. With two sessions left we can finally see the end in sight but it also signifies another, maybe even bigger beginning: surgery.

    Once she completes the chemo, the last session is scheduled for July 1st, the doctors will reexamine her situation and if all goes as planned will schedule surgery about two or three weeks after the 1st of July. We will most likely meet with our surgeon again to reexamine his procedure and technique then get Keri ready for the big day. I am still not sure on the recovery time of the surgery but sometime afterwards she will meet with our plastic surgeon for reconstruction that will be a total of three surgeries until all is said and done.


    So yes, we still have a road to travel but the ending of every step is an accomplishment and we keep making good healthy strides forward, keeping fingers crossed hopefully we won't run into anything that would make us take a step back.

    Keri is well, although for the cough and racing heart, which has all been medicated and mended, she is keeping a positive attitude and continues with good days and bad days. We usually know what kind of day it will be a few minutes after breakfast, depending on her temperature or how her nausea is holding up. We are getting ready for a trip to Tulsa on Wednesday to see her sister graduate from high school which I think will be good for her. It will give her a chance to be around her entire family and visit with people she has only talked with over the phone since this all began.


    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    She's a little worried about the plane ride with all the people around but the Doc said it would probably do her some good to be home and not to worry about airports or planes. His biggest words of advice to us were to make sure we carry hand sanitizer with us everywhere and keep her hands clean. She doesn't have to wear any kind of a dust mask, which I thought would be a good idea, but she was informed not to stand or sit around a very crowded area and if possible find a corner to ourselves. So, with all that, we will be arriving in Tulsa this coming Wednesday and leaving Monday. I took about a week off from work but I've been gone so much lately I don't think they will even notice.


    One of Keri's get well cards.



    Keri and I do want to say thank you to you all for all the thoughts, prayers, cards, flowers and gifts that we've been receiving. I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate everything that everyone is doing. Keri's face lights up every time she opens the mailbox and it makes me happy just to see her smile. Thank you and believe me when I say I can't wait till this is all over and I can finally start giving back to you all everything you've showered us with in the past few months. It's more than ever expected, thank you.

    Hope you all had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and for those who live in the Stilwell, KS area I'm still not sure when we'll be visiting but when that day comes it will be certain that we'll all get together. Thanks again for everything and have an enjoyable summer.

    Doug and Keri

    A 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. Episode 3 skips forward to July to discuss some bad side effects Keri experiences from her chemotherapy.
Published On: August 14, 2007