Posted by: Ken Wheatley | February 25, 2009


Well…the news we weren’t expecting to receive today came with heart-crushing weight. Dr. B said they found at least 6 new tumors, in both lungs, but mostly in the right lung. This is the first time any tumors have shown up in Sheila’s right lung. A visit that was supposed to last one hour stretched to four.

So she’s been taken out of the clinical trial. The drugs that we hoped would work for at least two years only worked for 8 months. And the clinical trial at the City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles that Dr. B thought last month would be our next best hope in case the current trial didn’t work out is no longer an option. Apparently the two patients that she sent up there got worse in that trial, so obviously she’s not going to send Sheila.

So the choices we were given to consider is to try to qualify for taking a combination of Taxotere and a vascular disrupting agent, which is experimental; just take Taxotere by itself; or go to another hospital somewhere in the country.

At this point Sheila wants to go for the combination, even though it’ll be a very aggressive and harsh on her physically. We have three weeks to research other alternatives while her body purges the current cocktail of drugs she’s been taking. Steve Birdsall – a fellow stage 4 lung cancer patient – and others have provided suggestions about LDN, and we’ll be researching that as well.

In the meantime, she has to get a bone scan to be sure there aren’t tumors in her marrow. Next week they’re going to surgically insert a port (a portable catheter) in her chest because her veins are shot and sometimes it takes two or three nurses 6 or 7 attempts to get an IV started, which is very painful and can take up to a hour to accomplish. We’ve avoided putting a port in all this time because of Sheila’s propensity to develop blood clots, which could then cause a pulmonary embolism. But we don’t have a choice anymore.  With the upcoming regiment she’ll be getting chemo treatments or various procedures almost every week for the next three or four months and getting needle sticks that many times a week, every week, would be intolerable.

Needless to say, it was a rough day. Lots of tears and sadness. But even though she was subdued when I got home tonight, Sheila was smiling and occasionally laughing. I’m trying desparately to burn these times into my mind so that I’ll have them to look back on. She’s got a very rough road ahead of her for the next four months – the limit imposed by the harshness of the Taxotere. 

I love her very, very much. She is my life.



  1. I’m Nigel Tomm – thanks for your story. I know how it feels.

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