Beth Polhamus

First post: Jun 11, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

First, some history on how we got here;
     Beth had some bouts of shortness of breath and on March 9, 2018 struggled to catch her breath and called 911. Bill of course rushed over and got there even before the ambulance. After a chest x-ray and CT Scan it was discovered that there was fluid built up around her right lung (the pleural cavity) and her right lung was practically collapsed. Upon being admitted to Atlanticare, they drained some of the fluid and she was able to breath easier again. She remained in the hospital that weekend to be monitored and upon discharge was told to follow up with an oncologist. A PET Scan was subsequently ordered and Beth was diagnosed with lung cancer. While the doctors at Atlanticare were fabulous, after discussion with family, Beth contacted the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and began treatment there. All the while assuring us "I'm fine and I will be fine!"
     Her first appointment was March 29th with a pulmonologist for a consultation and biopsy. Upon further review of the PET Scan, that doctor admitted her and the biopsy was performed the next day. A drainage tube was put in place for 24 hours to clear the lung cavity of all the fluid that had built up. She stayed over the weekend and came home on Easter Sunday.
     We returned to Penn on April 5th for the biopsy results and were informed that she in fact had mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of the lung, on her right lung. Days later we were back up at Penn meeting the team of doctors that would be treating her and getting her well again. Dr. Alley, a mesothelioma oncologist, Dr. Cengel, a radiation oncologist and Dr. Singhal, the thoracic surgeon, all explained in detail what was involved in a pleurectomy (removal of the lining of the lung) and also that she qualified to participate in a clinical trial that they were doing called Photodynamic Therapy. So many factors were in her favor; aside from this condition she was perfectly healthy, she is young, the cancer hasn't spread, and of the 2 kinds of mesothelioma there are, she has the kind they can operate on and remove! Most importantly though, and something all the doctors acknowledged, was her positive attitude! She told them the same thing, "I'm fine and I will be fine!" 
     And so began the pre-op schedule, 2 long days of testing at Penn to ensure that her body could endure the extensive surgery. She of course passed them all with flying colors! After further testing and other procedures to prepare for the pleurectomy, she was more than ready to begin the healing process. Which is where we are today, March 22, 2018. Linda, Bill and Blair were with her as she prepared for her surgery and she assured them that she was fine and will be fine!
    Though the surgery proved more extensive than anticipated, the doctors successfully removed the cancer and performed the clinical trial procedure as planned. Beth is now healing and on the road to recovery!
     Thank you for reading her story, for all your prayers and support, and for loving Beth, our Mom, Grandmom, Sister, Aunt, Sister-in-Law and Friend!

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