Today was Beth's second chemo treatment and Alison went along with her for this one. The nurse was able to infuse the drugs a bit more quickly as she was able to tolerate them fine the last time, but it still took about 5 hours. Apparently it should be even faster next time. So everything went smoothly today and Beth is not feeling any side effects except a headache.
On Friday we had an appointment with the oncologist and although it was a brief visit we were very encouraged when she examined the breast tumour. Dr. Bahl said she could feel that the lump had definitely changed - that it seemed to be breaking up. So that was great to hear after only one treatment.
This past week seemed to focus quite a bit on hair. Beth has gathered up a lot of head coverings from friends, the hospital and from a resource support centre called Hope Springs. She even was able to get a pretty nice wig for no charge. Of course, my favourites are the ones we picked out together at Ardene's - I think they even make her look young and hip! It was pretty timely that she explored this because she woke up Friday morning and realized she was shedding hair quite a bit. There was a lot of hair in the tub after she washed it, so that night she had Alison use the clippers to take it down to about half an inch. As of today Beth still has some slight hair covering but she's been wearing a variety of hats the last few days. And we've realized that although it takes some getting used to, this is a small price to pay for the powerful healing effects of these treatments.
Beth's iron and calcium levels continue to be a concern. She has been taking progressively more iron supplements for the last 3 weeks but her level was still quite low on Friday. Hers was 87 - a normal level is 120, and doctors will usually transfuse a patient if it goes down to 80. Her current plan is to eat a lot more iron-rich foods (Cream of Wheat every morning here we come!). Tomorrow Beth is going in for a bone-density test and a parathyroid scan which will be used to investigate for causes of her higher than normal calcium level.
Looking back over the last week we're thankful that Beth has been able to function pretty normally. It was nice to have Joel home on Wednesday and he cooked us a great steak dinner - we had the whole family here, including grandma & grandpa. We also had some good visits with a number of friends this week and have so appreciated the many cards and expressions of support we've received. Beth was especially touched by the beautiful plant and touching card that was sent by her co-workers at St. Mary's Hospital 5th Floor.
(P.S. Do you know that if you click on the pictures you can see a larger version?)