Beth had two really good appointments last week that brought more peace regarding a couple of issues. On Thursday we met with the surgeon who will be performing the mastectomy in January. He explained things very well and agreed that in Beth's situation a double mastectomy would be appropriate. He will also need to remove some of the lymph nodes under her arm on the right side which makes the recovery on that side a bit more complicated. That is, she will need to have some physiotherapy for that as it will take some time to regain normal mobility. It was interesting to hear him say that he felt Beth will find the surgery to be easier to handle than the chemotherapy (not sure yet if we'd agree with that but we'll wait and see). Beth's chemo doctor had mentioned at her last appointment that the ideal time to wait between her last chemotherapy treatment and the surgery would be about 3 weeks. Since her surgery was scheduled for January 31st (about 5 weeks post chemo) I was a bit concerned and asked the surgeon about moving the date up. He said that shouldn't be a problem and when his secretary checked into it Beth got a new date for surgery - it will now be on Monday, January 20th.
On Friday we went to Toronto Western Hospital to see a liver specialist who deals with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. The first thing she said was that cirrhosis is actually a misnomer and that this condition really doesn't fit that designation. She also said that when people respond to the drug treatment (which Beth apparently has, as her levels were much improved with her last blood work) then their life expectancy is no different from the rest of the population. As well, the doctor said that there have been some cases where they have actually found there can be some healing in the liver with this drug. So this was really great to hear, especially because Beth had been quite worried about the long term consequences of this disease. It was also interesting to hear that the doctor who spearheaded the Canadian study of this drug just retired in June and so the (quite young) doctor we met, has worked with one of the best experts in this area.
As far as her latest chemo treatment has gone the most annoying side effect has been her mouth being affected. She continues to use the special mouthwash they provide but it still is hard for her to enjoy food. That timing was unfortunate too, as we had her family Christmas gathering this past Sunday at her niece's in Cambridge. Still it was a wonderful time of visiting with extended family.
On Saturday we visited the ChristKindl market at Kitchener City Hall and then met with our friend Daryl who had taken some family photos for us back in September before Beth lost her hair. There were some good shots and we thought we'd share one here: