Posted by: Ken Wheatley | March 12, 2008

103 degrees

It’s 11:30 at night and it’s been a very rough day for Sheila. First the scoping of her lungs was very, very tough for her. She looked like she’d been in a 15 round fight when they wheeled her from the room. Her hair was matted with sweat and she looked haggard. I found out later that she had physically kicked at and fought the doctor who was putting the scope down her throat. They ultimately had to hold her down. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I could hear that someone having a really rough time, but I never thought it was my sweetie. I thought it was the patient in the next room. The first scoping that she had at Scripps was a piece of cake. What a difference.

She also started out the day with a bad headache and a temperature of 101. Since then her temperature has risen to 103. Obviously the antibiotics that she’s been on aren’t working.  She had a flu shot back in December, and her symptoms aren’t flu-like. She’s just VERY hot. The nausea and fatigue she’s having is caused by the chemo.

They’re not 100% sure what’s causing the blood in her cough, but they’re speculating at this point that the blood thinner she’s taking to treat the clot in her lung is also causing the tumor to bleed. But she has to take the thinner, especially now because it looks like she may have another in her left leg. Apparently tumors also generate clots, so there’s no getting around them.

When we got home this afternoon – we were at the hospital for over 6 hours – she slept for about two hours. And she’s been dozing/sleeping most of the night on the couch. She doesn’t like to be apart from me at the other end of the house, so I set her up with a pillow and soft blanket and she’s out.

She started her third round of chemo last Wednesday, but with her fever we’re not sure if she’ll get her treatment tomorrow. We left a message for the doctor and her nurse, so I’m sure we’ll hear in the morning.

I’ll get to end on a good note…she’s still asleep on the couch, but whatever she’s dreaming about is causing her to laugh and smile. There’s hope….

I love you, Sheila….



  1. Ken, I met Sheila several years ago through my step-daughter, Cathy. We spent the evening sipping champagne and sharing “war stories” and laughing. I found her to be beautiful, bright and charming. I was deeply saddened when I learned of her illness.

    People will tell you that they understand how you feel…but they usually don’t. Having walked in your shoes I KNOW the pain and uncertainty that you are facing day in and day out. I know about that first conscious thought that you have upon awakening from a fitful sleep; when you pray through the fog, in that place that is neither asleep or awake, that it was just a bad dream and then suddenly you are fully awake and it’s then that you are hit between the eyes with the reality of the nightmare that you are both living.

    My husband, Cathy’s father, fought and lost his courageous battle with lung cancer. However, that was eighteen years ago and treatment has come a long, long way since then.

    I am now married to a physician and I attend medical meetings with him and I never cease to be amazed at the miracles that have become almost commonplace.

    My best friend’s sister was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1992. She was given five to seven years, tops. That was sixteen years ago and she is still with us, cancer free, vital, happy and just became engaged to be married. I’m not saying that it was easy for her. There were many times when we thought that she wouldn’t make it through the night. There was pain and suffering, nausea from chemo, fear, anger and everything in between…but she NEVER gave up fighting and neither did we.

    This is the message that I offer you today. There IS hope and people DO get well and what YOU are doing is a great part…a HUGE part… of Sheila’s recovery. You are her strength and her reason to fight for her life. I think you are an amazingly strong, insightful, sensitive, wonderful and loving man.

    I will follow your journey and I will hold you both close in my thoughts and prayers.

    Keep strong but allow yourself the tears…you’re not alone…

    With love,

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