September 9, 2013
The past 11 days have been something of a whirlwind and so first off I want to apologize that this information hasn’t gone out sooner. As usual I’ll also apologize for the mass email but we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed (but thankful) with the number of people we need to be in contact with about our present situation.
The short version is that Beth has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She noticed a lump in her right breast in August and quickly went to see our family doctor. He sent her for an ultrasound but the doctor there felt he should do biopsies (of the breast and a lymph node under her arm) because things looked suspicious. Amazingly the results were in just 3 days later and when we met with our family doctor he acted quickly to get Beth set up. In fact, that very afternoon (Thurs. August 29th) we met for over an hour with a nurse ‘navigator’ at the Grand River Cancer Care Centre. She works exclusively with breast cancer patients to help coordinate getting their treatment started and she had already booked appointments for the following week for tests and a meeting with the cancer doctor, Dr. Bahl.
We met with Dr. Bahl a week later, but it took her an extra day to decide on the best treatment because of Beth’s previous cancer treatments, especially one of the drugs she received 30 years ago during chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease. At this time the planned treatment is 6 doses of chemotherapy (actually 3 drugs each time) every three weeks, then surgery to remove the breast and affected lymph node, and finally radiation. So this will be a long haul overall, but we’re not sure of the exact end date at this time.
However Beth has started her first round of chemotherapy today, Monday September 9th. If we keep to the schedule then her last chemo would be Dec. 23 (Merry Christmas!). They would wait at least a month, we believe, until surgery and there would probably be 4-6 weeks wait before radiation. Anyway it looks like things won’t be finished until next spring sometime and even then it seems like one of the drugs will be kept up for some time after that (fortunately that particular drug has very limited side effects).
It’s important to know that the doctor assured us that “we’re dealing with a curable situation here” - those words of course helped us immensely. While this cancer is fast growing and has spread to one lymph node, the tests showed that it has not gone beyond that, and they are confident in the effectiveness of this treatment.
We appreciate your thoughts and prayers. We believe in the power of prayer, and have already sensed God’s ‘peace that passes understanding’ in the midst of this process.A good friend gave Beth this acronym when she was battling Hodgkin's disease (and it continues to apply):
Ps. 33:22 "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You."
Thanks so much. Love,
Beth and Terry