Monday, November 4, 2013

Ups & Downs (& Ups Again)

     Side effects from Chemo #3 have been pretty similar to the first two times but Beth's mouth has bothered her quite a bit, and for longer this time too. We attended a couple of fun events on the first weekend after her treatment but she couldn't enjoy them quite as fully because of her mouth issues. We dressed up for a stag & doe celebration for Alison's friend (and ex-roommate) on the Saturday and enjoyed visiting with folks there. On the Sunday there was a gathering in Exeter for all of Beth's cousins on her mom's side. We went to a restaurant for a buffet and then back to her cousin Linda's for a huge dessert spread. Unfortunately Beth was pretty discouraged because she took a nice sampling of a few of the goodies but couldn't eat most of them.
     Then on Tuesday morning she had an appointment with the parathyroid specialist but it turned out he couldn't really do it as his computer system was down. So he called later in the day on the phone but it turned out to be quite an upsetting conversation (and in retrospect it should have been done in person). He was investigating her high calcium levels and had the results from the parathyroid scan. He said that there was a tumour on Beth's parathyroid gland and that he was wondering about possible involvement of her liver as her alk phos level was elevated. When Beth asked if he was saying that she could have cancer in her liver he responded that he couldn't really say either way for sure, but that it should be investigated with another specialist (GI doctor). While this information was very troubling, Beth was also concerned when talking to this doctor, as it became apparent that he hadn't read some of the other test results very carefully (if at all) since her CT scan showed that her liver was clear. He also was suggesting she possibly have a drug infusion to treat the higher calcium level but it comes with a whack of more side effects, including severe jaw pain.
     So we were quite discouraged to hear this news and tried not to worry, but that was difficult. Beth was at the cancer centre the next day for a genetic counselling appointment so she went to see about talking with her cancer doctor concerning all of this. She met with the nurse and (after breaking down crying and then pulling herself back together) explained about the phone call. The nurse relayed all of the information to the doctor and then the doctor responded through the nurse, saying that she doesn't feel the anti-calcium infusion was necessary, but agreeing that Beth should see the GI doctor. The parathyroid doc had said that it might be 3 or more months before getting an appointment with the GI specialist, but there was no way we could sit around waiting for confirmation for that long. Since Beth knows this particular doctor from the hospital, she was able to make contact with him and got to see him on the Thursday afternoon. He went through all of the results with her and told her that the tumour on her parathyroid was benign and that he didn't feel the liver was involved. He ordered more bloodwork and explained that one of the tests would give him a more definitive determination about her liver. So we felt much more hopeful after she met with him.
     In the midst of all of this it was really nice to have a couple of evenings with our granddaughter Lindsay. Our son David was away the whole week because he was travelling to Nova Scotia to help the organization he volunteers with to dismantle and bring a back a fighter jet that was on display there. So we invited Rachel and Linsday over for supper on Tuesday, and went out together on Thursday too. Lindsay just turned 8 months this past weekend and she is so much fun to be around - she's such a happy little girl and it's just amazing to see her interact with people and her environment.
     On Friday we had a nice visit with Beth's sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Ted, along with their granddaughter Jenna. This past Saturday we had a great breakfast out with a newer couple from church and then Beth's sister and brother-in-law from Chatham, Bob and Elaine, dropped in for a visit on their way to Toronto. We shared some great laughs (always therapeutic) and were so touched when Elaine presented Beth with a beautiful quilt that she'd made for her. She'd been gathering up pink material for the past months but as she said she had no idea at the time that she'd be using it for her sister. Then on Saturday evening we went to a wonderful concert in town by a singer-songwriter we like (Jacob Moon from Hamilton) who was playing with the KW Chamber Orchestra.
     On Sunday evening (yesterday) Beth was anointed and prayed for by the leaders of our church. This was a special time - we so appreciate the prayers and support of our many friends, relatives, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

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