This is the first of four stories that will publish in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month detailing the stories of breast cancer survivors.
ANDERSON — Kathy Erb, 66, has been in remission from inflammatory breast cancer for 10 years and considers her survival nothing short of a miracle.
"Between March and October 2003, I saw five different doctors who all told me that I had mastitis and gave me antibiotics," said Erb. "My symptoms never got any better."
"The first part of October 2003, I had a breast biopsy at the Women's Center of St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. I received a call from the surgeon saying that she found no cancer cells in the tissue she removed. A few days later, I found an enlarged nodule in my neck. Within a week I had a biopsy of the nodule and was diagnosed with cancer."
By the last week of October 2003, Erb had her first appointment with Dr. Brian Eddy, an Oncologist at St. John's Cancer Center (now St. Vincent Regional Anderson). "He took all the information available, a CAT scan, Biopsy, Symptoms," said Kathy, "and told me I had inflammatory breast cancer. I was stage 3B."
The first week of November 2003, Erb had her first chemotherapy treatment. After the second round of treatment, she lost all her hair.
"That was really hard for me," said Erb. "I took medication to prevent vomiting but I was so weak that I couldn't do anything after a while. I was the office manager at the Salvation Army and tried to keep working but had to quit. I spent most of my time in bed."
Between November 2003 and February 2004, Erb had six rounds of chemo. After a month to recuperate, she had a mastectomy in March 2004. Her left breast and 13 of her lymph nodes which tested positive for cancer were removed.