Keri's Breast Cancer Story: The Second Round of Chemo Begins
At age 25, in 2005, my wife Keri was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she is no longer with us, it was Keri's wish to share her story with the world. This is an email Keri sent to friends and family to update them on the first chemotherapy session in her second round of chemo treatment. She initially needed some time to take in the fact that more chemotherapy was in her future, but Keri was determined to make it through with "flying colors."
Sent: Friday, September 2, 2005 10:54 AM
Well, one down and three to go. Yesterday was sort of weird. It hasn't really been that long since I was there doing chemo last time so I still remembered the sequence of how things go. First weigh in, then blood pressure, heart rate, and temp are taken, then onto the drugs. I am proud to say though that I managed it this time without a panic attack.
Things are a little different this time. I get all the drugs in one day and there are three of them, but with the extra premedication and some extra plain fluid it ends up being 5 separate IV sacks total. So it's actually pretty active. Total we timed it to take about 2 and a half hours from pre-med to removal of the needle. I have one drug that is red in color (we call it the Kool-Aid drug). It's fun to watch go through. Everything else is clear.
The nurse went over the side effects with me again and pretty much they are the same as before with one difference. I have one drug that is prone to causing bladder infections, but I was told that as long as I keep myself hydrated I shouldn't have a problem. I don't get Benadryl this time with my pre-med so I am actually awake the entire time. This may be good so that I can work on some crafts this time instead of sleeping. Plus I think it helps Doug so that he's not as bored just watching me sleep.
Also part of how it's different this time is that they don't plan to give me the growth shot that I was getting last time. I was told that this group of drugs cannot be given every two weeks so therefore I will be getting them every three weeks instead. So my last treatment should be November 3. That will be just enough time to get to feeling remotely well by Thanksgiving. So today I'm doing okay.
I feel a little wobbly, but other than that not too bad. I don't have my load of pills this time, just some anti-nausea. That's kind of nice. I'm hoping that means that I won't be experiencing too bad of side effects. Also with going every three weeks I will be getting more time to be feeling better before I have to go again. I'm not sure how I feel about that one.
Anyway, so far so good. We'll see how things pan out in the next few days as things kick in. I'm feeling a little stronger in my determination though this time to make it through with flying colors.
I hope everyone is doing well. We are having some friends over this Monday for a cookout. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. I will email again soon and let you know how things are going. My arm is doing well. I have hit a spot on the wall that I haven't been able to pass in the past week, but I have an appointment with the surgeon next Tuesday and I'll ask about it.
Normal every day functioning is getting better though. The chemo will delay my last reconstruction surgery so the final stages of that will not happen now until after Thanksgiving and maybe after Christmas depending on what the plastic surgeon says. That's okay though. This will all be over soon. Again I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend. Thanks for all the support. I couldn't have made it through this without it.
Love to you all and take care,
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 treatment. This week's comic strip focuses Keri learning that she must start chemotherapy again.