Keri's Breast Cancer Story: Healing after Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Doug Haberstroh Health Guide
  • My name is Doug Haberstroh; my wife Keri was diagnosed with breast cancer just nine months after we were married. I am here to tell Keri's story from start to finish. These two letters discuss Keri's final surgery: what it will involve (breast reconstruction and chemo port removal) and the beginning of the recovery process. She had an excellent surgeon and everything went as planned. Of course, she had her pains but fought through them wonderfully.

     

     

    Subject: Final Surgery

    Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:18 PM

    Hello all,

     

    Just a quick note to let you all know that my final surgery is finally at hand. I will be completing my reconstruction on Monday January 30. Yeah!!! Everything should be finished during this surgery; meaning reconstruction and removal of port. I will have a recovery time of about 4-6 weeks which is not too bad and plus I feel that I recover faster than they say anyway. All of this is finally coming to an end. What a ride. I will of course let you all know how the surgery goes and how my recovery goes as well. Back to normal soon. Thanks again for all your love and support.

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    Love,

    Keri

     

     

     

    Subject: Quick Note

    Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2006 1:47 PM

     

    Hello everyone,

     

    I just wanted to send a quick note on how I'm doing. The surgery went well. I look once again like I've been through a car accident, but I know the scars will heal in time. My pain is bearable. In fact it's more bearable than the side effects of the medicine so I'm already down to just taking Ibuprofen. I have to keep certain areas dry for the next week so I have to take baths instead of showers. What a pain, but it's worth it so I don't have to go through the surgery all over again because something got wet.

     

    Everything looks good and the nurses have all said that they think it's the best job they've seen done. The worst look and feeling part is where the skin graft was taken. It's on my left side in the crease where my leg meets my pelvis so sometimes it's a little irritating to sit because the stitches hurt when it gets folded up. Yesterday it was burning sort of like when you get a carpet rug burn, but today it's better.

     

    The doctor's say if everything looks good next week they'll remove the stitches and for now I just have to keep them clean and reapply some salve a few times a day. Not too bad. My attitude hasn't changed a bit The only real uncomfortable thing is that I have to sleep on my back again which is not my position of choice so I have quite a few pillows propped up in the bed to make it as pleasurable as possible.

     

    Before long everything will be healed and I'll be able to move past this chapter in my life. This new implant looks much much better than the tissue expander did and from what I can feel aside from the little bit of swelling I still have it feels pretty normal as well. I am truly impressed with what the plastic surgeon has done. Well, I just wanted to let you all know that I am doing fine and just taking things easy for this week or so until I can get back to doing some normal things. I hope you are all doing well. I'll talk to you later.

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    Love,

    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 treatment. In last week's episode, Episode 10, Keri discusses all the lessons she has learned from her breast cancer experience.

Published On: October 23, 2007