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My Story

Thanks for stopping in to check up on me.  I am 16 and loving my new school and living in Georgia!  -Shelbi



Shelbi Mae is a vibrant and sweet 11 year old little girl. In early 2003 we began to notice some changes in the right side of her body. Her foot was turning as she stepped and her arm was exhibiting a lot of odd movements. After seeing several doctors and therapists an MRI was ordered where it was discovered that she had a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma. This is a slow-growing low grade brain tumor that had grown large enough to begin to cause these physical problems on her right side. We were immediately referred to St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis,TN. Surgery was performed 2 weeks later at LeBonheur Hospital in Memphis by Drs. Sanford and Boop and they were able to take out 95% of the tumor. Shelbi suffered a stroke during surgery which left her with no mobility on her right side and loss of most of her right side vision. After 3 years of lots of therapy(thanks MMPT),she is pretty much back to where she was prior to surgery. She is a tough strong-willed little girl who is determined to do everything she puts her mind to.

On our last visit,July 11,2006 we were told that the residual tumor has begun to grow again. It has grown about 20% in the last year according to the MRIs. It is causing problems with both of her eyes as well.  This is something we never expected to happen and we are stunned,to say the least. The doctors feel that there is no time to waste and want her to begin chemo right away. We will begin visits on August 17 and have surgery to install a central line and begin a year to a year and a half protocol of chemotherapy. Shelbi received her first chemo treatment on my birthday,August 23,2006. Due to the course of treatment she is on,it takes 10 hours to administer the chemo and all the fluids that go along with it. She gets these treatments once a week,for the next year and 8 months. We are currently receiving them in Memphis,but hope to begin getting them in Shreveport(St Jude affiliate) soon. She has done really well up to this point on the chemo and keeping up with her schoolwork. We are very proud of our strong girl!!!

Update 05/01/08-Shelbi is finally done with her chemo protocol and we are thrilled! No more weekly bloodwork or trips to Shreveport for 8 hour treatments-YAHOOOO! We will continue to go to the clinic in Shreveport once per month to get her antibiotic by IV and have her port flushed for 6 months. She is looking forward to a summer filled with camp and even an upcoming trip to Disney!!!

Update 03/31/09-New tumor growth was noted in January 2009.  Shelbi began her 2nd chemo protocol on Jan. 19, 2009 which consisted of 52 weeks of treatment(Vinblastine) to be given here in Monroe-thank goodness.  She has just taken her 11th dose-only 41 more to go! Shelbi is looking forward to Camp Quality and CentriKids church camp this summer as well as a trip to the beach!

03/11/10-Shelbi finished up her 52 wks of chemo in Jan. 2010-that's 132 weeks total chemo she has endured and she is doing GREAT! Please continue to pray that her tumor stays stable so that she doesn't have to face any more treatment! She is now a happy, healthy 12 year old looking forward to summer!

08/29/10-Shelbi had brain surgery again on 04/14/10 and has just finished up 6 weeks of radiation at St Jude(30 treatments). She will have an MRI in late October to check the status of the tumor.

08/09/11-Shelbi's most recent checkups have shown that the tumor is continuing to shrink thanks to the radiation.  The February checkup showed the tumor was the size of a half dollar and the June checkup showed that it had shrunk down to the size of a dime! Praise the Lord! Her next checkup will be in October and we can hardly wait to see how tiny it is at that time(or maybe gone)! Until then we are just living life and enjoying our summer while Shelbi is feeling great!

04/22/14-Shelbi's most recent checkup showed her remaining small amount of tumor still stable-Praise the Lord! It's been 4 years since she had any treatment(chemo or radiation)......prior to this the longest she had ever gone without needing treatment was 3 years....God is Good!


Emily Gaylor posted a new journal entry, "Prom is right around the corner!".

Hey everyone! Just a quick update to tell you Shelbi has only a month left of school.  She jumps in the car at least 2 days a week and says "I just love my school"-WHAT A ... Read more

Sandy Gass signed Shelbi Mae's Guestbook.

Happy Sweet 16th Shelbi!!   Sorry to be late -- I can't believe it's March already -- maybe the cold has something to do with that.  Hope the coming year is filled with ... Read more

Vivian Blackwell signed Shelbi Mae's Guestbook.

Glad to hear you are busy and that all is going well!  It does make my day to get this awesome news!  Love to all of you!! Read more

Emily Gaylor posted a new journal entry, "St Jude visit update/birthday".

Sorry for the delay everyone....I get so busy with the day-to-day that I forget to update everyone on how well Shelbi is doing! We went to Memphis week before last for her ... Read more

Chari Warner signed Shelbi Mae's Guestbook.

Good luck with your upcoming appointments...please keep us updated. Hugs and prayers being sent to Shelbi!! Read more

Sandy Gass signed Shelbi Mae's Guestbook.

So glad to hear how much Shelbi enjoyed basketball -- being so uncoordinated myself I admire anyone that can do that.  Prayers for the angels to prepare a way and a path ... Read more

Emily Gaylor posted a new journal entry, "February update".

Well, Shelbi played her last basketball game for the year last night.  She misses it already, but we are so very proud of her and thrilled that she got the opportunity to ... Read more

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