All throughout Shannon’s battle/ journey with her health issues, God was present and with us. Our faith never wavered. We are not sure why Shannon was given this path. Shannon and I speak of it often in these recent days, that in comparison seem much easier but hard nonetheless. We are stronger, more loving, better friends, and parents. Our journey seems unimaginable to many, we too are in awe of what we have endured as a couple. The underlining strength we have is our faith. Shannon is prepared to die. Let that sink in. We had this discussion on one of the dark days. In her worst days, she said she made peace with the fact that she is prepared. I would love these posts to be happy and inspiring, and don’t get me wrong, they are. But in fairness, there are many stories that are not, and without faith, and a belief of everlasting life, the days we have here on earth are numbered, for us all. It is what we do with the time we have that is important. For Shannon, it is making a positive impact on those around her, and inspiring them to do the same for others – Be a Ripple. Be a stone thrown in life’s waters, the ripples carry forward and move in a positive direction. This “Ripple Effect” is Shannon’s mission now, and it could have only come from God.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Thessalonians 5:11
My hope in sharing this is to let those know that don’t have faith, or lost it along the way, or feel like God is far away, please know and find comfort in others. Having a prayer team is essential. I used writing as a way to heal and was comfortable asking for prayers by sharing what we were going through. God is with us, if we are looking. I mention a book, “God Wink” that was recommended to me by one of my “Brothers in Christ”, Brian Leach. I am so grateful for the recommendation, because as strong a faith as I feel I have, there were many days that I felt God was far away. This book is a collection of stories that demonstrate just how close God is to us. I encourage you to get it, read it, and share with your loved ones.
Journal entry by Kevin Beasley — 10/30/2013
Hello to everyone and sorry again for the delay in updates on Shannon. Shannon has asked me over the weeks to let folks know what has been going on. I apologize and will do my best to catch everyone up.
Let me start by saying thank you for those folks that sent in donations and checks. I was able to make a small dent in the medical bills. They continue to grow as I pay them down, but the funds that came in really helped.
Shannon has had lymphedema therapy twice a week for the past 4 weeks. Shannon continues to have swelling and fatigue. Treatment consists of manual lymph drainage (sort of like a soft massage) moving the fluid around her body. She had to have bandaging which she would wear during the day to reduce swelling, this meant new clothes and having to purchase tennis shoes 2 sizes too big to accommodate the bandaging. Her clothes did not fit, her shoes did not fit and in her mind, this was worse than having cancer. The therapist said walking should make her feel better because it gets the heart pumping and gets the fluid moving. It did not make her better, but on the contrary, made it worse. Shannon was not doing well emotionally, or physically and it was showing. Here is a “God Wink” moment, (if you have not read this book, you can probably get it at the library or for sure on Amazon; “When God Winks”, written by Squire Rushnell. There is a newer device for lymphedema patients that is still considered experimental, the “Flexi Touch”. This is a device that sends air through chambers that uses Velcro around the patient’s legs. It mimics the manual drainage that she has during her appointments. Most insurance companies will eventually cover it, but because it is experimental and expensive they fight tooth and nail. Shannon was denied just recently. Here is the God moment, in Shannon’s darkest time, she went to therapy and her therapist Beth, said “Hey Shannon I was cleaning up in the office and found this Flexi Touch, you want to use it till you get yours”. We were floored. It has made the biggest difference for Shannon. Here is an $8,000 device just laying around in a box, and of all the patients they have (and they have a lot) her therapist thought of Shannon. We know that God is definitely with us on this journey and we are so grateful. Shannon has been using the Flexi touch daily which has really helped with the swelling.
Two weeks ago her therapist called Shannon’s Gyn Oncologist to let her know that therapy was not going as well as she had hoped and maybe there was something else going on unrelated to lymphedema. Her doc ordered another Ultra Sound on both legs as well as another CT scan, looking for blood clots in her legs. Both came back negative. Her doc ordered new bloodwork. It came back showing low red blood and low white blood cells, so she referred Shannon to a Hematologist because Shannon was anemic – low hemoglobin (red blood cells). If you remember this is what caused Shannon to need a transfusion prior to our beach trip this Summer.
We met with a Hematologist at VA Cancer Institute. They ran blood tests and determined her body was producing red blood cells, however probably due to the chemo and radiation still in her body, her body was fighting the red blood cells. This could be treated with Prednisone. Shannon has been on prednisone for a week; 3 pills a day and guess what, no swelling. Shannon is ecstatic. We just returned from the follow up visit. Shannon’s hemoglobin is up to 9.7. It was at 7.6 just last week. Her weight was down to 134 where it was 143 last week. Shannon is feeling great, swelling is down, she is not wearing her compression and feels wonderful. The doctor reduced her prednisone to 2 per day and we will see how that goes for the next 2 weeks.
I have started a new career with New York Life based in Richmond. I will be working with individuals and business owners helping them plan their finances and insurance. My first client is Shannon’s uncle, Ashton Alvis, who needed some funds that were left to him by his partner who passed away in March. I will be sending out a letter in the next few weeks letting folks know what I am doing, so if folks need help or know of others I would love to meet them. If you are interested please respond with your address and I will make sure you get the letter, I am working on compiling a list and want to make sure all those that know Shannon and I, know what I am doing if you need help or know of others that might.
The kids are doing well in school and everything is back to normal. Report Cards come out this week and we are certain both kids will have great grades. I am just back from going to the NASCAR race in Martinsville with my parents and Shannon’s dad, Charlie, along with my friend Jonathan Orrock and his dad, Jim. We had a great time camping out near the track. We had Hot Passes which allowed us to be in the Pits and rub elbows with the drivers. I got a pic with Kasey Khane, #5. We saw them all and we had a great time.
Shannon kept up with Jack, attending the school Fall Festival and then had some girl time with some friends Saturday night. Sydney went camping in Charlottesville with her Girl Scout Troop last Saturday and Sunday. We are headed to Chapel Hill this weekend as Tarheel Basketball kicks off with the annual exhibition game. We will get in line around 2:00 PM on Friday afternoon and stand for 4 hours in hopes of getting as close to center court as possible. The last 3 years we have been 4th row or better. Fingers crossed this year works out the same.
All in all we are so grateful for all the support we receive and all the help. The Lord has blessed us even during this time of despair. We feel his presence and feel the prayers. Please continue to pray for Shannon’s healing. The prayers are working. I would also like to add prayers for me as I take on this new career so that I may provide for my family.