Well, we think this was one of the best weeks Beth has had since beginning her chemotherapy treatment! We're so thankful for everyone's positive thoughts and prayers.
Last Monday Beth had the infusion to bring her calcium level down and while it was a longer day than expected, she felt next to no side effects from that treatment. It
ended up taking them almost 3 hours to get the port-a-cath access to function correctly, as it seems to get clogged up by a substance in her blood (called fibrin) and so needs to be flushed with a drug, which they needed to do twice before it was working properly. Beth was surprised when she called the hospital later in the week to see if they would do a check of her calcium level - the nurse told her that they find the infusion works well and the retest isn't necessary. At any rate Beth will get new readings with her blood work this coming Friday as part of her prep for the chemo treatment next Monday (the fifth one, or as we like to say, the second last one).
The only other concerning time this past week was waking up for the third night in a row on Tuesday with pretty severe night sweats. Beth was somewhat worried about these, and it is one of the symptoms that is listed on the side effects to watch for and call the hospital about. So she did talk to the nurse about this as well but, it was felt that these weren't related to the chemo since she didn't have an elevated temperature along with them. They likely are being caused by the onset of menopause that Beth seems to be experiencing as a result of the chemotherapy.
On Friday there was an appointment to have a marker inserted in the tumour in her right breast. This is done with local anesthetic and is placed in the centre of the tumour to help the surgeon. Beth really appreciated the wealth of information provided by the radiologist. This doctor helped to explain the kind of tumour and cancer in more detail - we had been told that the tumour was 'diffuse' and we wondered if that was a more negative thing as it sounded like the cancer in the breast was more spread out, but this doctor said it's just a description of the tumour and doesn't affect the cure rate in any way. The radiologist also showed Beth the mammogram they did that day and pointed out to her that there has been a significant reduction in the number of cancerous ducts in her breast compared to her previous mammogram in August.
The rest of the week was filled with lots of visits and warm wishes from a variety of friends and relatives. Every day it seems there is either a card in the mail, or a message online, or a phone call, or someone dropping by, and these are a real tangible support and encouragement as we go through this time.
On Thursday Beth drove to Mitchell's Bay (on the other side of Chatham) and had a great day with her sister Elaine, and her husband Bob, making Christmas gumdrop cake, which is an old family recipe her mom used in the past. On Friday she received a nice package in the mail from Calgary that included a beautiful pink hat and scarf that were made by her great-nieces there.
Laying in bed Saturday morning and reflecting on the week, Beth said she was just feeling so very blessed by all of the support and concern that so many people have shown to her. And of course if you're reading this blog then you are one of those people and we want to say thank you for journeying with us. We so appreciate your love and care.