Shit Sandwich

26 Oct

I know what to do when life hands you lemons, but when it hands you a big ol’ shit sandwich?  Well, that’s another story.

On October 26, 2012, our lives were changed forever.  A few weeks before that, Chip started to notice a “floater” in his right eye towards the end of the day.  Since it had been several years since his last eye exam, I suggested he schedule an appointment.  When the optomotrist dilated his eyes, she thought she detected his retina becoming detached so she immediately sent him to a retina specialist to have it repaired.  Later that afternoon, the retina specialist said that was not the case but confirmed there was a “spot” on his eye.  The following business day, he saw another retina specialist who identified the spot as what he thought looked like a melanoma, but since it’s dangerous to perform a biopsy on the retina and since cancer rarely starts in the eye, he sent Chip to our general practitioner for further testing.

A couple of days later, Chip met with our mutual and beloved doctor where she conducted a complete physical exam.  Everything appeared to be perfectly normal and Chip was feeling just fine.  As a matter of fact, about five weeks prior, Chip had just competed in his second Tough Mudder of the year.  But just to be safe, she sent him to the hospital for some lab work and wrote a Rx for an MRI and full body PET scan.  The following week, Chip had all of these tests performed and a couple of days later, Dr. D. called and asked us both to come in.  The first question she asked me was how far along I was.  I responded with 35 weeks, and I remember her being relieved I was as far along as I was, which soon made sense.  Sort of.

Dr. D. told us the MRI came back all clean, but the PET scan was “all lit up.”  Cancerous cells appear as pink and orange spots on the scan, and Chip had cancerours cells in both of his lungs, liver, lymph nodes, and bones plus his right eye.  I was in shock.  I was hearing the words come out of her mouth, but was she really telling us that my 31-year-old husband and father of my babies had Stage IV cancer all over his body?  I just kept saying “What? What?” over and over again.  Chip grabbed my hand, looked me dead in the eye and told me with all the confidence in the world, “We’ve got this.”  So, those are the words I chose to hold on to from that day instead.  We’ve got this.  We’ve GOT this.

So, what do you do when life unexpectedly hands you a shit sandwich?  Well, we chose to go to the zoo.

– Sheila


5 Responses to “Shit Sandwich”

  1. Rachel Garrity November 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM #

    Wow! You really are a great writer Sheila! I just learned of Chip’s diagnosis a short time ago. I’m so sorry and really am at a loss of what to say. You guys have an amazing attitude about this big horrible shit sandwich you have been served. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to be as positive and strong if I was in the same situation I’m glad you are writing this blog! Thank you! Chip is a lucky guy to have such an incredible woman by his side to support him. Good luck with the delivery of bambino #2. Your family will be in my prayers every night until we get the news through your blog that he is on the road to recovery!!! God bless!

    • Paul Alexander Clark November 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM #

      My heart goes out to you both. Thank you for sharing your experience. I will be following you both diligently and ready to help when you call out to your friends and family. If anyone can do this, you two will.




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