On Dec. 13, a few days before Ken and I were leaving for Egypt, concern about a blood clot sent me to Scripps Clinic for help.The clot was confirmed, but below the knee – a very good thing. My urgent care physican, Dr. Beahr, went the extra mile and ordered a chest CT to check for a pulmonary embolism (PE). No PE, but “it” was found.  A 4cm mass in my left lung. The doctors also referred to it as “large.”

 

Following up with a pulmonary specialist the next day gave some hope of an infection rather than cancer. I never thought I’d be wishing for an infection. Next up was two weeks of anitibiotics, then back for another CT to check on my progress.

 

We left the 17th to begin our adventure in Egypt and Jordan and had an amazing time. A trip of a lifetime! We have many wonderful photos to share. We returned on New Year’s eve. Then the long wait for Wednesday when I could followup with my doctors.

 

The second CT showed no improvement. Ken and I were beginning to prepare for bad news. A bronchoscopy was done on Jan. 7.  We got the news on the 9th. It’s cancer, stage 3b, non-small. So the fight begins.. And, oh yes… the answer to the question I hear a lot… no, I’ve never smoked.   In the following weeks follow-up tests found the cancer has spread beyond my lungs. So it’s stage 4 – as bad as it gets.

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5 Responses to “How “It” Started”

  1. Bobbie Bowers Says:

    Dear Sheila and Ken,

    My goodness, what a shock. Mick and I are so sorry to hear this news. Please believe that you are in our thoughts and prayers and if our optimism and strength counts we give it all to you. Please call us if you need anything at all or if you just need to talk.

    As for your wedding, we will be there to celebrate with you both, no matter when you set the date. And if you do feel up to coming out here for a ski trip, or just for a change of scenery we are here for you. I won’t be in Charleston for the ISMA meeting, but Mick will be and I know he will look forward to seeing you.

    Take Care and Good Luck with your treatment options. Love,
    Bobbie


  2. God Bless You, what a road to travel ahead for you. But you can do it..,

  3. Sara Salzberg Says:

    Dearest Sheila,
    Yes, this is shocking news for all! We know you are a strong woman, surrounded by your supportive, loving Ken, many friends and folks who love you and are praying for you daily. Life is a strange journey. Thank you for letting us know that you were never a smoker. I have been, and have concern about my own lungs often.
    We are in a changing period now due to Chas closing his practice. There is an excellent chance of us moving from our lovely life in Hawaii to possibly the midwest. Never lived in the “real” cold. Still looking for more westerly possibilities.
    We will always appreciate you coming to Jacob’s b-mitzvah and also the fun time had in Hana w/Cathy.

    The image we hold for you is recovery from this life-changing experience back to your full, beautiful and HEALTH-FILLED self!!

    LOVE SARA AND CHAS

  4. Alan Schiegg Says:

    dear sheila and ken, We log on often to help keep track of your progress. You sound a little discouraged on the last blog. want to let you know we are looking forward to your wedding. We read Ken’s comments and feel the special love you two have. WE send our love and deep wishes for your continued journey in spite of the set backs. Look forward to celebrating with you in June. Dawn and Al Schiegg

  5. whitewookee Says:

    Dear Sheila and Ken.

    I have never logged on to your site and I’ve just begun to read your story. My father, age 66, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. In June of this year he had a CT scan (he had not been feeling well) but no cancer was discovered. He was diagnosed with diverticulitis and given adtibiotics. The doctor told him it will be weeks before he feels better. A month later, July, he had another CT. Lung cancer. The doctor said it looked like an explosion inside his body. It was not only in the lungs, but had metastized to the bone and… unfortunately to his brain.

    I was not present for any of this. I do not know what the doctors told my father. I do know they wanted to do a biopsy. Dad refused and went home. My father has made arrangements with Hospice. He has pain medication. He has accepted his fate and chosen to die with dignity. I respect his wishes.

    But I have to wonder: Is his decision the best? I wonder if new treatments may benefit him, even in his advanced state? I understand you are not doctors, but you are experts at dealing with cancer. Your thoughts?

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