Sheila Cooper

First post: Jul 29, 2022 Latest post: Apr 16, 2023
Sheila’s journey started with a toothache.  After numerous trips to the dentist, she was told she needed a root canal.  There was swelling in her cheek but was scheduled to have the procedure done in July.  

At the end of May, she and Kent went on an amazing cruise to Alaska with her childhood friend Nancy McGrath and her husband Kevin, along with another couple.  The trip was breathtaking, and they did some truly exciting side excursions, taking full advantage of the opportunities to see everything and experience all that they could.  Sheila was a trooper.  She continued to have some pain associated with swelling on the trip.  Convinced it was an abscessed tooth, she went to the ship doctor and was put on Augmentin.  The combination of antibiotics and aspirin helped and she was able to enjoy the trip. 

Once home, she had a maxillofacial appointment for a needle extraction of the infection, believed to be the cause of the pain and swelling. But there was no infection and the doctor sent her for an MRI that same day. 

On July 13th, she and Kent went to have the procedure done and when the radiologist came in to discuss the findings, Sheila said “It’s cancer, isn’t it?”  

His reply was yes.

They scrambled to find doctors who could see them and could move the information-gathering process further.  When they talked to the oncologist, they were told to get to MD Anderson, in Houston and pack for the long haul.  

Daunting instructions, to be sure.  They’ve rented a VRBO close to the hospital.

In the last 2 1/2 weeks, Sheila and Kent have been hit with a continuous barrage of cancer news and updates.  As it stands now, Sheila has High growth B Cell non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, aggressive cancer.  The original tumor is in her cheek, but a PET scan showed small  lesions on each kidney.  Luckily there has been no cancer found in her brain.

Sheila was admitted Friday, July 29th  to MD Anderson and started her first treatment of CHOP chemo  for 5 days.  It’s very harsh chemo and she will be monitored very closely to make sure she can tolerate it.  Per Sally – Sheila was very disoriented last night after her chemo.   Sheila said the addition of the drug Rituxan proved to be more formidable than the chemo.  Almost saying the chemo was a breeze compared to Rituxan.  But the pain in her cheek has subsided to the point she can eat and the nurse believes the swelling has gone down.  All positives for her first course of treatment.

She is not able to answer texts and emails right now. But she is receiving them, so please keep them coming!

She will be admitted for 5 days each chemo cycle, then home for 2 weeks. We are unsure of how many chemo cycles she will have to endure.

As you can imagine – cancer, chemo, and treatments are fluid.  The doctors have to work with what the body can handle.  So, this may change and is likely to change.  We will continue to update.

Our goal is to keep Sheila engaged – which she has been, God love her.  Injecting her Kay humor and jokes about her status.  Undeniably, this chemo will take its toll, and it already has based on Sally’s report, more so with the Rituxan.  But insulating Sheila and her family through prayers, positivity, and encouragement will help immeasurably.  Please post your messages on our Caring Bridge site and let her know how much we are all behind her, and the entire family.

So many prayers are coming her way and so much love – always.