Day 1: Chemotherapy and Cold Caps


September 8th, 2022

35 mins 1 sec

Season 2

Your Hosts

About this Episode

On the eve of her first chemotherapy infusion, Natasha hauls a pile of new prescriptions home and questions why so much harm must be done to be “healthy” again.

After meeting her oncologist Dr. Chen, a specialist in HER-2 positive breast cancer, the clinical trial that originally sounded promising turned out not to be a good fit, leading to a much less invasive chemo recipe consisting of Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta spaced three weeks apart, but thankfully no need for Taxol.

To save her hair from falling out, Natasha’s dad graciously volunteers to cover the cost of cold caps (thanks Neil!) but the tradeoff is additional logistics, longer appointments on the chemo days, and no guarantee that it will work.


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About Breast Cancer Stories

Breast Cancer Stories follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, through her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually pulled herself together and went back to work. A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump."

Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.

Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt

Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.