Shattered Dreams!

Just as Bill, Shantel and I were settling into our new family life, we were given the heart stopping news that Shantel had cancer in both eyes!

I noticed a yellow bubble that appeared from time to time and floated over Shantel’s pupil. It was more apparent when she was looking towards a light. I took her to her doctor but was told it was nothing to worry about. The more I saw the bubble, the more it haunted me, so I asked Bill to take her to our eye doctor for a second opinion. I said if our doctor said the same thing, then I would let it go. When Bill called to make the appointment for Shantel and was explaining why he wanted her to see the doctor, the nurse relayed the information to the doctor who told Bill he needed to get Shantel to a Pediatric Eye Specialist right away and the doctor called ahead to set up the appointment for Shantel. Bill took her in immediately.

Imagine me sitting in me office at work when the phone rings and it’s Bill saying “Shantel has cancer in both eyes and you need to meet me at the hospital right now because she needs to have her right eye removed immediately”! I didn’t even hear anything past Shantel has cancer. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t even breathe! I had to ask Bill several times to repeat where he was so I knew where I needed to go. I flew out of the office and raced to the hospital where I was met by Bill and teams of doctors, nurses and specialists of every kind. The whole hospital was buzzing because they said this type of cancer is so rare and even more rare to have it in both eyes. There were only fifty cases diagnosed that year in the United States.

We were immediately thrust into learning more than we ever wanted to know about the ugly world of cancer. We had no choice of treatment for Shantel’s right eye. To keep the cancer from advancing into her brain, which would kill her, the right eye had to be removed the following morning. Oh My God! How could this be happening to my precious little Shantel?

After the surgery to remove Shantel’s right eye ,we were in a race against time with the doctors to discuss treatments to see if her left eye could be saved. It was decided she would need three different kinds of chemo, three times a week, for four months. In the words of Bon Jovi’s song, Livin On A Prayer, “you live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got” and that’s exactly what we did.

After months of treatments the bad news we dreaded was delivered. The chemo wasn’t working and Shantel’s left eye couldn’t be saved. The only good news in this bad news was that the doctors assured us that the cancer was contained in the globe of the eye and  if the left eye was removed, leaving her blind for life, at least she would be cancer free. Bill and I told the doctors we would rather have Shantel blind, than not at all, and we gave permission for the surgery.

Next: How we prepared Shantel and ourselves for the surgery that would leave her blind for life!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 03:35:02

    I can’t even imagine getting that phone call…xoxo


  2. Megs
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 15:55:31

    Crying my eyes out!


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