Keri's Metastatic Breast Cancer Story Comes to an End
A Note from Doug Haberstroh: This will be the last entry. Keri’s struggle ceased. Her love, her memory, her being will live on forever in me, our families, and our friends. Her life was too short, and if I could have changed places with her I would have. If meaning I had to do it all over again just for one more minute with my Baby, I would. I regret nothing. I loved her then and I will love her now forever. Her pain is gone, her hair is beautiful, and she dances with angels.
Thank you to all of you who have read these Posts and to those who have left a comment. As stated at the beginning of Keri’s Story, it was her wish to one day put her journey into words in hope to help those that shared the same questions and worries as she did. She loved helping others. That’s what made her such a great Kindergarten teacher, and it was my wish to make her wish come true. Through the help of this great community and MyBreastCancerNetwork.com, family, and friends we have been able to give you the greatest gift of all, the Story of Keri.
I love you Babe, Love Doug.
Subject: Keri Updatent: Sunday, November 5, 2006 8:36 AM
This is just a short update on Keri. She had a fairly peaceful night last night. The Hospice nurse did not need to be called. Her breathing is about every 20 seconds, but she is still alert and even managed to eat a little bit of pizza last night. She can not sit up for more than a couple of minutes with out getting dizzy and getting a very bad pain in her head and neck on the right hand side.
Doug and Den left a little while ago to go to base. There is always someone in with her now, I will try and keep you posted, it is very sad here.
[Metastatic breast cancer patient stories](http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/keri-metastatic-chemo-201223-5.html)
Subject: Kerent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 7:29 PM
Thank you so much for writing me and keeping my family in your prayers. Keri is not doing well at all. I don’t know how much you know, but on Halloween they found out that the cancer had spread to her spine, skull, and lungs. The doctor told Doug that day that she had about 2 weeks to live. The cancer is still spreading and they’re almost certain that it has also reached her brain.
She is at home and being cared for by hospice. Keri’s parents and my mom are there with them. Her brother and sister and my dad were able to stay for about 1 1/2 weeks before they had to return to school and work.
Since Halloween she has had her ups and downs. These past couple of days have been especially rough though. She is having extreme difficulty swallowing and is now on a diet of baby food; she chokes on even the smallest bites of anything solid. She is also becoming more confused.
Doug is being very strong for her right now, but is exhausted. He hasn’t gotten much sleep because he listens for her breathing all night long and helps with her pain medication throughout the night.
Keri, understandably, never wants him too far away. Please just continue to pray for them. Keri also loves to get cards from people. So if you have time I’m sure she would really appreciate a “just thinking about you” card. It is all just very sad.
If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to write again. I’ll try to keep you updated.
Family & Friend6 Nov 2006
Hello again, I have some time while Keri is napping and wanted to give you all an update on our progress since the last letter.
I believe I sent out the last update right before the Halloween timeframe and to be honest a lot has happened since then. We are still on Hospice care and Keri is receiving daily home nurse visits to make sure all is going well. We’ve had to increase her pain medication a couple of times but I think we have finally got it right.
She is still in pain but at least a semi-tolerable amount at this time. We did have an unfortunate trip to the hospital last weekend that turned out to be the quickest trip to the hospital we’ve experienced in the past couple of years. Keri’s Life Port needle was leaking medication and we called the Hospice night nurse out to fix the problem, but that nurse had no luck with the needle after sticking Keri three different times with three different needles to try to fix the problem. She finally gave up, thank God, and told us to visit the Emergency Room and have one of the nurses there give it a try. We did, they did and the problem got fixed on the first attempt. So far that night nurse hasn’t been back to our house and I’m not complaining.
Keri is doing pretty well, considering the situation. Her days are spent mostly in bed with a couple of visits to the living room for some fresh air, change of scenery, and a little socialization. I haven’t been to work since 31 October and we currently have Keri’s mom and dad and my mom living at our house.
It’s nice to have family around but I’ll admit that there are times I wish I could have my house back, but that feeling always gets overridden knowing how much Keri and I need their support and help right now. Keri has had some extended family in town as well, which became really busy in the house, but again it was nice to have them around for a couple days.
We appreciate all the love and support you all have been showing and giving. I can’t thank you enough for the cards, flowers, and other items we’ve been receiving. I read Keri the cards every day we get in the mail and she lights up every time.
I do have a small request though that I wish to be understood a little more clearly, please don’t send any flowers. The flowers we’ve received have been welcomed with an open heart and I appreciate the thought and love that comes with them but with Keri’s condition right now it is not good to have living plants in the house. Keri has seen all the flowers that have been sent to date and we’ve kept them out of our bedroom and in the living room, which has given the house some great color and livelihood. But the flowers can bring those little flies and possible diseases that I just can’t afford to have around Keri and take a chance that can be avoided. Again, I’m not trying to scare anyone; we just prefer cards or letters at this time.
Okay, on a lighter side a cool thing happened this past week that I want everyone to be aware of. Through the gracious ability of a friend at Tyndall Air Force Base, Captain Doreen Richard, Keri received a personal letter from the First Lady, Laura Bush. I think the letter is so awesome Keri and I want to share it with all of you:
One of your great admires, Captain Doreen Richard, has written to tell me about you, and I want you to know that I am thinking about you.
I am impressed and inspired to know that in the midst of your own struggle with breast cancer, you have offered hope and inspiration to so many others. By exhibiting your own courage during the Breast Cancer Walk in October, you have given strength to countless breast cancer patients and their families.
In the words of Capt Richard, “Keri is such a kind, gentle person; she has touched the lives of those all around her.” I am grateful to know about you as well.
President Bush joins me in sending our warmest thoughts to you, Captain Haberstroh, and everyone who cares about you.
That letter along with so many others you all send touches our hearts daily. I can not find the words to thank you all enough for the love and support we are continuously showered with.
Lastly, Keri wanted me to tell everyone she loves you all and she thanks you from the bottom of her heart. She can feel your thoughts and prayers and although she may not be able to talk to you on the phone or write you an e-mail she thanks the Lord everyday for having your love and she wishes the best for you all too.
Everyday is an adventure but through Keri’s strength and will I am sure brighter days are on the horizon.
Keri and I also wanted to pass along the sad news that her grandfather passed away last night and we would appreciate it if you could please put him in your prayers.
Love you all,
Doug Haberstroh wrote about breast cancer for HealthCentral. Doug produced a reality-based comic strip chronicling his life with his wife, Keri, who was only 25 when she was first diagnosed with invasive/infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Keri passed away in 2006.