Walking in Circles

18 Mar

May I e-mail your oncologist?  “If he is experiencing shortness of breath while at rest, he needs to go to the ER tonight.”  Shit.  We should have been in the ER on Friday night then.  “I’m fine.  We’ll go see Dr. D. in the morning.”  I think this is probably going to have to be my last time to pump.  “You have that Southern look about you.”  What does that mean?  “You are all dressed up and smiling, but you actually look quite sad underneath.”  “I am being admitted to the hospital.  Now.”  Ok, I just picked up Joe from school.  Let me get him home and think.  I need to figure out what to do with the kids.  “Dr. D. is waiting until you get here.  She wants to talk to us both.”  Joe Bear, remember how Daddy wasn’t feeling well this weekend?  Well, Momma took him to the doctor this morning and now he has to spend the night at the hospital, so I am going to take him his toothbrush and pajamas.  I’ll see you in the morning though, ok?  I love you.  Good night, Cros.  “There are new tumors.  The Xalkori is no longer working.  This is a major setback.  I am so sorry.”  But it’s supposed to last for anywhere from 6-24 months.  How long has it been?  Calculate, calculate, calculate.  Only 12-13 weeks.  Shit!  Ok, ok.  We’ve got this.  We’ve still got this. “Can you please go check on her husband?  We were told she could go back to see him well over an hour ago.”  “Code Red.  Code Red.  The hospital is experiencing a Code Red.”  Flashing lights.  Make that stop.  I’m freaking out now.  What is this Code Red?  “Mrs. Kennett, you may come on back, but we’ve had a difficult time getting his pain under control.”  Looks like somebody shaved your chest while you were drunk and passed out, buddy.  I want the Sharpie.  “We’re here and in the waiting room.”  He isn’t ready to see them yet.  “They are on their way back.  I’m so sorry.”  No!  Respect him.  RESPECT him.  “Only two people are allowed back here at a time.”  Shine bright like a diamond.  Shine bright.  Valentine’s heart-shaped plate.  Joe, do you know where your heart is?  Let’s find it.  There it is.  Well, Daddy’s heart has water all around it, and that water is not supposed to be there, so the doctors had to poke a straw in him like a juice box or a milk box so they can suck all of that water out and make him feel better.  “Ok.  Can Steve and I play with the balloons in the basement?”  “You need to get some sleep.”  What’s next?  “What’s next is you recover from surgery, and then we figure out your treatment options.”  And now I’m all alone again, nowhere to turn, no one to go to.  “Do I go back on the Xalkori?”  “No, there is usually a 30-day wash out period before you can start a clinical trial, so if you want to look at it this way, you’ve already burned five days on the clock.”  “I would stay on the Xalkori.  Who’s to say it’s not still working on some of the tumors?  It’s better than doing nothing while figuring out the next step.”  “If we can’t find a trial for you, then I’ll have to start you on traditional chemo, but your body is too weak and compromised to withstand that right now.”  “You need to eat.  You need to gain some weight.  You need to consume 2,600 calories a day.  Now is the time for you to eat two pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream a day.”  But, sugar feeds tumors.  He can’t eat ice cream.  Don’t tell him that.  Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.  “You can’t lift anything over five pounds for the next six weeks and can’t drive a car for the next two–or until you are off all pain meds.”  He can’t pick up the kids.  Without him, the world around me changes.  The trees are bare and everywhere the streets are full of strangers.  Joe, Daddy has a boo boo on his chest just like Momma did on her tummy when I came home from the hospital with Baby Crosby.  “Do you want a Lightning McQueen Band-Aid, Daddy?” “You can be angry, you know?  You don’t have to be so strong all of the time.”  “Mommy, I don’t want to play with anybody else.  I just want to play with you.”  “You have to stay strong, Sheila.  Chip is pulling his strength from you.”  “Mommy, I’m sad.”  Why are you sad, Joe?  “I don’t know.”  Ok.  Sometimes Mommy gets sad, too.  Do you want to hug until you feel better?  Hug, hug, hug.  “Mommy, my tummy hurts.”  Why does it hurt, Joe?  Do you need to go to the bathroom and get some poo poo out?  “No, I had too many treats today.”  “You need to go lie down and take a nap.”  “Have you eaten today?  You need to remember to eat.”  “You have to stay strong for the kids.”  My God, I wish there were two of me right now.  One who could go downstairs and be strong and take care of this family and one who could just crawl into bed, pull the covers up over my head and sleep.  Have I shampooed my hair yet?  I can’t remember if I washed it or not.  I guess I’ll just wash it again.  But maybe I’ve already washed it.  I just don’t know.  Left foot, right foot.  Repeat.  “Mrs. Kennett, I know you have a lot going on at home right now, but Joe just threw up at school if you could please come pick him up.  And he can’t come back for at least the next 24 hours.”  “I want to hear a special song, Momma.”  Ok, we can do that.  What do you want to hear? “Something ’Bout a Truck.”  Play “Something ’Bout a Truck.”  “Playing ‘Something ’Bout a Truck.'”  There’s something ’bout a truck in a field and a girl in a red sundress with an ice cold beer to her lips begging for another kiss.  Parenting at its finest.  “You take care of me and Crosby and you take care of Daddy and that’s why you’re the Momma.”  Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. “They are sending me back to the hospital.  He thinks I have blood clots.”  “Would you both like some time alone to review these documents?”  Yes, please.  “Who do you want to make your power of attorney if you become incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for yourself?”  “My wife.”  Inhale, exhale.  Repeat.  WHY do they make so many Easter baskets to choose from?  I just can’t make a decision like this right now.  Focus.  You can do this.  Just pick one.  Wait, what is that?  Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?  I’m seriously getting my period right now?  My first one in over a year right here in the middle of Target?  Ok, just buy the fucking Easter baskets, save the receipt and return what you don’t end up using.  You can deal with this later.  “I would be happy to schedule two or three appointments with you, but I have to be honest, I’m not really taking new patients right now.  Do you think that would be enough?”  Well, I don’t know, Doc.  I’ve never really gone through anything like this before.  You tell me.  Do you think you can fix me up in two or three hours?  Or could you possibly recommend another counselor?  “Not that’s accepting new patients right now, but if I think of anyone, I have your number, and I will text you.”  Seriously?  Ya, why don’t you just do that.  TEXT me.  Bitch.  Oh, and by the way, you are like the WORST grief counselor I have never met with before.  “You look so great!  You would never know you just had a baby three months ago.  You are SO lucky.”  Shut up, innocent mom at daycare.  Yes, I am so lucky I carry my stress in my stomach and shit my brains out at least twice a day. Oh, no.  Oh, no.  Not this song.  Run.  FF.  Damn you, shuffle.  Too late.  Now it’s stuck.  There’s an emptiness inside her, and she’d do anything to fill it in.  “Y’all need to find a church, Sheila Kaye.”  “Keep writing.  You’ve really tapped into something here.”  Play “I Will Wait.”  “Ok, playing ‘I Will Wait.’”  You like that song, Bear?  Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.  “Are you not working anymore?  That’s so great!  One of my friends did that.  She went back to work after having a baby, and it turned out to be too soon, so then she took some more time off.  How great is that!?”  Do not punch the innocent mom at daycare in the face.  Crosby will never get in if you start punching other moms in the face.   “I know now really isn’t the time for you to be shopping around churches to join.”  Did I take my vitamin today?  Gosh, I just can’t remember.  Why can’t I remember if I swallowed that big pill or not?  I guess it won’t hurt if I take two.  But three might be bad.  Ok, I’ll just take one more.  “Just insert the needle into his abdomen anywhere between 45 and 90.”  45 and 90.  Got it.  How long am I going to have to give him shots?  “Indefinitely.”  You smell so good, Crosby.  Oh, look at that smile!  You are my happy baby girl.  Cros, you and Joe Bear make me a happy Momma.  “Mrs. Kennett, you will need to wear these compression tights for seven days following surgery, but you only have to sleep in them the first night.”  Ok.  Maybe I should snap on a garter belt and pretend like they are sexy.  “My eye is starting to hurt again.  Have you heard back from Dr. B.?  Will you please e-mail her again?”  Somebody please help my husband.  You know she wishes it were different.  She prays to God most every night.  And though she’s quite sure He doesn’t listen.  There’s a tiny hope in her He might.  I’m sorry if this hurts you.  I don’t really like having to do this to you.  It makes me sad.  “There is a clinical trial at Fox Chase in Philadelphia for Crizotinib resistant patients.  Let’s try to get you enrolled in that trial as quickly as possible.  I would like to keep traditional chemo in our back pocket for the time being.”  Do you have other ALK patients on this trial?  “No.”  Are you hopeful this will work?  “Oh, we hope this drug leaves Crizotinib in the dust.  We are trying to get this drug approved.”  Oh, thank God.  Thank.  You.  Jesus.  Something ’bout you and me and the birds and the bees and Lawd have Mercy, it’s a beautiful thing.  Mom, I know I am calling late, but can you and Daddy go ahead and come on up?  We need to be in Philly on Tuesday.  “We’ll be there by Monday night.”  Love, love, love.  I just made dinner reservations for us at Morimoto.  It’s his flagship restaurant.  Are you ok?  “It’s been three weeks tonight, I am feeling worse, and I just need to get started on this trial.”  I know you do, baby. I know.  And we are getting started on that this week.  We’ve got this.


38 Responses to “Walking in Circles”

  1. Lynda (Friend of Mother Theresa!) :) March 18, 2013 at 1:23 PM #

    Ok…..as I sit here with tears streaming down my face I apologize for anything I could have possibly bitched about recently! It would be trivial and insignificant by comparison. You are amazing and my prayers go out to you and your precious family.

  2. Shannon Davis March 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM #

    Damn. Double damn. I’m crying good now. This is not a good thing. I have a raging sinus infection. So, crying my eyes out for you is adding to an intense headache which, frankly, I GLADLY suffer. Would that it would do you or Chip one bit of good. Ah, Honey. So, now I’ll do what I always do. I will pray to our heavenly father. Does He hear you? Oh, yes He does. He is “close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. I am praying hard that he is tenderly holding you all right this minute. I’m praying that he restores your strength and sense of hope. I’m praying that you have the help you need to manage your days. I’m praying that you will reach out to your friends and will let us help you when you need it. I’m praying for a clear and straight path from our God of order. I’m praying for a miracle. And sending you a lot of love.

  3. Katie Denis March 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM #

    I felt crushed further and further reading this, and also had a solid cry at work in my cube, prompting questions from those I share a wall with. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live it. I wish you didn’t have to know. I wish you didn’t have to deal with everyday life in the middle of all this. I wish I knew how to be helpful. I wish I could have bought your damn Easter baskets for you. I wish for the good news you deserve in Philly. I wish for many more years of PFS (ideally not in your basement, for your sake). I have a lot of wishes. Fortunately, it’s my birthday, so I think they’re heard a little louder today. I wish that they are granted.

  4. Annie March 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM #

    Praying for you. Sometimes paddling as hard as you can against the current seems like the right thing to do – just let the current take you where it may. We have no control over it – it’s life’s plan. We don’t know why – we don’t know how and dammit it’s not fair…

    Treasure each sip of air…each millisecond. Refuse to let the stress and worry take those away from you. Let the love you share overpower all of it. xoxoxo

  5. Stacey Ring March 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM #

    ❤ ❤

  6. Jean (Day) Villnave March 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM #

    I just cant even imagine how you are doing all of this! As Katie said I wish I wish there was something we all could do to make this easier for you. Alas there is not but please know that everyone ois praying for you all and are thinking of you all the time. Dont be afraid to break down every once in a while as you are only human and believe it or not it helps sometimes to just feel……….

  7. Megan Costanza March 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM #

    Please know there are people all over the country praying for you and your family and sending you strength each day.

  8. Caitlin Kiley March 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM #

    Sheila, there are no words. We love you, Chip, Joe and Crosby so much! We are sending you prayers and keeping you in our hearts everyday. Stay strong but allow yourself to break when you need too. We are all here to help pick you up if you fall down. Also, if you need me to come and beat up that innocent mom at daycare…I will no questions asked!

  9. The MacMillan Family March 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM #

    You all are constantly in our thoughts! Stay strong Chip! We love you and are here for you if you need anything!

  10. Cassandra March 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM #

    My heart hurts for you and your beautiful family… I am so sorry you are going through this but you inspire me to be the best me that I can. To be more like you. Sending you much love and healing vibes…

  11. Karen Franke March 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM #

    The Kennett Team has found a place in the hearts of everyone who has read your blog. May you find some comfort and strength knowing you are surrounded by so much love.

  12. Kate Eastman March 18, 2013 at 4:20 PM #

    Wonder woman, Superman, Robin and Super girl!! You are all my heros!! Love, and hope and caring being sent on wings of prayer for you. So, so sorry this has been so hard, sending you strength as well to turn around and face it all head on. Clear eyes, strong hearts-Can’t lose!

  13. Karen Ball March 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

    Romans 8:25-28 (CEB) — If we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience. In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God.

    Would that life were not so hard… I don’t know what words to pray or how to love y’all…

  14. Elizabeth Hadley March 18, 2013 at 5:18 PM #

    I don’t have any adequate words. My heart hurts so much for y’all. Know I’m praying and sending the biggest virtual hugs I can. Holding y’all in my heart!

  15. Janey March 18, 2013 at 5:40 PM #

    I am in tears, I’m sorry. I don’t have the words. I’ll just keep on praying.

  16. jansen March 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM #

    Oh Sheila. That’s *exactly* it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. hugs and love and everything positive.

  17. Mandy March 18, 2013 at 6:54 PM #

    Love for all of you…that’s all, just love, love, and more love

  18. Melissa Warren March 18, 2013 at 7:01 PM #

    Baby sister, you are amazing, your husband is a stud, your children are beautiful and loving, and together you are simply an amazing team! Keep on loving and living strong!

  19. Deb Roberts March 18, 2013 at 7:04 PM #

    Sheila and Chip,
    I don’t have the words to express how sad I feel for you to have to go through all this pain, confusion, chaos and fear. I pray for you all daily and know that God has a plan for you. It sucks and for some reason it has to be you, but he does have a plan. Our hearts go out to you and the kids. Praying for a MIRACLE. XOXO

  20. Meg Pavs March 18, 2013 at 7:40 PM #

    1. Hot DAMN you are such a good writer
    2. If you’re still looking for a counselor, I recently heard of a website called Pretty Padded Room. They do Skype-like and/or email-like counseling. I checked and they do have counselors that specialize in grief or illness.

    Sending all my love y’all’s way.

  21. Molly Wilkinson March 18, 2013 at 8:52 PM #

    Thinking of you and Chip and the babies. Please have Ginny call me if there’s any running around or errands or help or anything. Love to you all.

  22. Diane Rossi March 18, 2013 at 9:27 PM #

    Sheila and Chip,
    I keep hoping things will get better. I wish I could soak up some of the trouble for you. Life just isn’t fair. I hope Philly holds the key. Wishing you both love and peace, if not peace maybe a respite. Much love to you all.

  23. Kelly Grantham March 18, 2013 at 9:43 PM #

    Sheila, this is beautiful. Poignant, gut-wrenching, and so freaking beautiful. I will continue to dedicate so many breaths, thoughts, and prayers to you, Chip, and the babies. Jay and I chat often with Olivia about our beloved Team Kennett; Cros’ announcement is her favorite fridge accessory. (And we do our best to keep the Chip stories G-rated. No promises.)


  24. The Conleys March 19, 2013 at 12:15 AM #

    I wish I could be there to help in some way, but I know there is really nothing anyone can say or do for you. You have to feel what you feel and think what you think. You are allowed to go through this however you need to. And you are definitely allowed to punch clueless people in the face if you want to. Or at least imagine doing it. I know it worked for me! We are sending all of our love and prayers your way.

  25. Marshall March 19, 2013 at 4:24 AM #

    Sheila and Chip,
    I am praying that you find peace, courage, strength, love, and everything you need in this scary and unimaginable time. Sheila, all I can say is you are a true Steel Magnolia and so many people are lifting your family up and have you in prayer. I struggle for the words to give you. You ARE a bad-ass. Absolutely

    My love to you all,

  26. Kathy and Bill Ela March 19, 2013 at 6:50 AM #

    Wow girl you have such a way with words and so very well said. We are thinking of the whole Kennett family and you are all in our thoughts and prayers. There aren’t enough words that can be said……..be strong.

  27. Susie Hall Kennett March 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM #

    Prayers are up and away..My heart is aching

  28. sarah montgomery kennett March 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM #

    So much love to you both, Lil Cros and Joe Bear, always, always thinking about you guys, XO

  29. Patti Haugen March 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM #

    sheila…i wish i was there to help you out. as a mother of 3, life is hard enough just living life as a woman, mom, wife…i really cannot imagine what you are going through. i’ve had sick parents…that’s all i can compare it to and that’s not even a comparison. all i can say is i’m sorry and God has a plan…what the heck is it?! prayers are being said…use your helpers and hug your babies. chip is so lucky to have you. hugs to all of you.

  30. Ali Harden March 19, 2013 at 11:12 AM #

    Sheila, please know that I am praying for you and Chip, and your beautiful family. Let me know if there is ANYTHING that I can do or help with. xoxo

  31. The Popps March 20, 2013 at 10:59 AM #

    Sending our love and prayers for continued strength, tenacity and humor when needed. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help – will check the Loving Hands calendar too. LOVE Y’ALL!

  32. Lisa Eastman March 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM #

    Sheila…we love chip so very much but my heart is breaking for u reading this..i know u r trying to be strong for chip and the kids but it is ok to have times of being overwhelmed sad and angry…i dont know why tjis is happening but God has a plan and I will pray that he gives u the strength to get through this.

  33. Tamera Luzzatto March 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM #

    We are rooting for you and just wish we could absorb SOME of your pain to relive you of some of it. Oceans of love, Tamera and David

  34. Amy Smith March 21, 2013 at 8:11 AM #

    Thank you for sharing that as it draws us all closer with our Team Kennett clan. Remember: Chip is one “Tough Mudder.”

    P.S. Had “Rendezvous BBQ” ribs from Memphis overnighted to your house. Probably breaks every dietary restriction Chip has but it’s like the South giving you’all a hug. Hang in.

  35. Tina Than March 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

    Words can’t express our deepest prayers for your family, we are praying for you all everyday! If you need ANY help, please call me any time you need me. Cindy and I would be more than happy to babysit Joe and baby Crosby. We love you all.

  36. Jana Whealdon March 30, 2013 at 7:09 PM #

    This certainly makes the little stomach bug running (literally) through Denton and Harper and then me during what was to have been a lovely Spring Break for us traveling to visit Jennifer and family a very, very small and minor inconvenience. Thanks for sharing your very honest assessment of how it feels to have your world turned so upside down and then spinning so out of control. I just can’t fathom what you all are going through and, yet, your blog has provided much insight into how it must feel to be you right now. Prayers for your family continue from the Whealdon family.

  37. AMT April 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM #

    Sheila – I have thought of you, Chip, & your little family often. I am lifting you all up in prayer and positive thoughts. Jansen told me how much she relates to this particular blog entry. This post is a gift to those of us who are watching or have watched a close girlfriend’s journey with her spouse’s battle with cancer. We may never be able to fully appreciate or understand your personal experience, but your words selflessly shine a light on Team Kennett’s courageous fight. There is no doubt you are a warrior, even when you feel you are walking in circles.


  1. Let Freedom Ring | Team Kennett - April 23, 2013

    […] been insincere, which is not my style.  Finally, I just made the decision to screw it and write “Walking in Circles” and let everyone inside the overwhelming world we were living in, and I am so thankful I did.  […]

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