Keri's Breast Cancer Story: Chemotherapy Sessions - 3 Down 1 to Go
My wife, Keri Haberstroh, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25. It was March of 2005, and we had been married for nine months. My name is Doug, and I am here to tell Keri's breast cancer story, from start to finish.
See the full breast cancer comic strip.
Subject: Only ONE More Left
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 3:32 PM
Just an update to keep you current. I had my 3rd session of chemo yesterday. It went pretty much like the last two. We had thought that we might speed things up since the doctor was noticing how well I was taking this round. So I had my blood checked earlier this week and it was a little low, but the doctor said I could do it earlier if I wanted to go back to taking the shot afterward that helped boost things.
In case you don't remember the shot was what gave me the ache in my bones and joints last time around and kept me on the couch often. So I opted for leaving things as scheduled. It's just not worth the extra pain just to shave off a couple of weeks, especially with how well things have been going lately.
Side effects wise I don't have many things time. There is one drug that I'm getting that gives me a headache for a few days that feels kind of like a constant brain freeze, but it goes away within a couple of days. Nothing I can't handle there. The hair loss is of course nothing new.
I have discovered that my change in taste this time only happens for the first few days after the treatment and then it goes back to normal. I am kind of tired for a few days, but that's to be expected. The only one that really bothers me much is my trouble sleeping. I seem to not have the ability to turn my mind off when it's time to go to bed. So regardless of what time I get up in the morning I am still awake at 2:00am because my mind is running a hundred times a minute with random thoughts that just won't settle down so I can get some sleep. Thankfully I'm not working so if I end up sleeping a little late it's not a big deal.Keri at the hospital for chemotherapy treatment.
I am so excited about having only one treatment left. Of course that is so long as the doctor doesn't change his mind. I don't foresee that happening, but I also didn't foresee this second round of chemo either. I have been researching and asking questions about my after treatment care and so far I've been finding out that they will be checking my blood count every time I go in which will be every 3-4 months for the first year or two and so long as things continue to look good it will dwindle from that to a regular once a year.
At each year mark (which I'm not sure if that's according to my date of final treatment or my date of diagnosis) I will have tests done like chest x-rays, CAT scans, bone scans, etc to make sure that everything looks clear. I will be having a lot of these check-ups done here since we still have at least a year or so before we get sent anywhere else. That makes me feel good to know that I will still be with these doctors for a while.
I have listened to stories from other patients that have other surgeons or other oncologists and I feel very lucky to have been treated by the doctors I have. They are the best in this town and I have not had a bad experience with them. Of course outside of the obvious situation. You know what I mean.
I have found that my attitude this time around has been much better and I am learning to relax and be patient with how things go. I have no control over any of this and even whether it comes back or not. It's all in God's hands and I know I'll only experience the things that He believes I can handle.
I can say that I am amazed at times at what I can handle when presented with a situation. I didn't think I would make it through another round of chemo when I found out I had to have it again, but here I am getting ready for the last treatment.
It does give me a lot of courage to face whatever situation I may be presented with in my future. I feel like if I can make it through all of this at my age then I can make it through anything else be it moving across the ocean to another country, having a child, or just dealing with Doug on a day-to-day basis. :)
As for my plans I have for the current future...I will have one more surgery to go through to finish my reconstruction after the chemo is finished. I am hoping to get that accomplished between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My plastic surgeon has assured me that the recovery time for this operation will not be as long as the last one.
He will be doing at least two things maybe three. He has to replace the temporary implant that I have right now and put in a permanent implant, and he has to reconstruct a nipple to replace the one they cut off. Depending on what my oncologist says he may also be removing my port if there seems to be no reason to leave it in. I am hoping that will be the case. I have been hearing lately from some ladies' stories about infections with their ports and it doesn't sound fun so the sooner I can get it out the better.
Doug and I have decided that we are going to take our after Breast Cancer vacation in April and have gotten passes to get into Disney World in Orlando. We are both very excited about it. Seems like a worthy vacation and plus you can't live this close and not make it to Disney World. I am hoping to find a teaching job for next school year.
I have a couple of connections that I haven't severed yet with a couple of principals and I am hoping that will help. Life will be getting back to a remotely normal state soon. I kind of like that idea. I am learning to deal with the fact that breast cancer will always be a part of who I am and my normal after all this will be a new normal, but I think I can handle that. Just makes me a little more unique. As if I needed help in that department.
I want to thank you all again for all the support, thoughts, and prayers. We could not have made it through all this without you. I will apologize for creating another novel as an update, but if you know me at all I have always liked talking and these emails are like conversations from me to you. I wish I could send this to each of you individually and I appreciate you allowing me to send it as a mass email.
I will be celebrating the end of a chapter on Thursday November 3rd my last chemo session. Thanks again for everything you all have done for me and for Doug.
Love to all of you,