Shannon Bryan SHANNON STRONG

First post: Nov 7, 2022 Latest post: Sep 1, 2023
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. I do want to apologize for waiting a year to create this, I had no idea this site existed! Please read below for a background, followed by monthly summaries to catch everyone up. So much more could be included but to respect Shannon and her privacy, I will only share what is appropriate.

Summer of 2021: Shannon started having headaches which eventually turned into migraines accompanied by nausea/vomiting. At the time, they were happening monthly and she was following up with her PCP on possible causes.

Nov 2021: 4 ER visits within the month. By this point, the migraines were becoming a weekly thing. During the multiple ER visits she had, she was sent home with different medications that helped mask the pain but the headaches still found their way back. On 11/18/21, I received a phone call from our parents that Shannon was having yet another awful migraine. I immediately left work, picked my mom up, and down to Spartanburg we went. When we arrived, my dad was already there, and Shannon was in her bedroom laying in the dark. Shannon was throwing up anything that she would attempt to eat/drink. Highly concerned, we put her in the car, and headed straight to Patewood. This would ultimately be a night that would change our lives forever. The MD in the ER saw the multiple visits and also saw where NO tests had been ordered to date. He immediately sent her back for a CT scan. A few minutes later, he would deliver news that we were not expecting. He informed us that Shannon’s scan showed a tumor in her brain. At that moment, everything changed.

The ER at Patewood was slammed that night and we had to wait for a room so she laid on a stretcher in the hallway, but was given pain med so at least she was not suffering! After 2-3 hours a room was available and in she went. We knew she was going to be admitted so basically we waited for transport and then she was taken to the Bons Secur Hospital, downtown.

The next day, Shannon had a MRI which was also abnormal. At the time, it was still up in the air as to what type of tumor this was. We were also more so lead to believe it was a totally different type than it actually was.

The following week, Shannon underwent surgery to have the tumor removed. The Neurosurgeon removed as much of the tumor as he felt comfortable doing at the time and it was sent off to Duke for review.

While we were waiting for the results, Shannon remained inpatient and spent several days in the ICU. She was eventually moved to another unit but again, remained hospitalized but she was on the rehabilitation floor where she received the best OT/PT/ST services for 3 hours a day. 
 
Dec 2021: Report came back from Duke, and it was confirmed that Shannon did in fact have a Medulloblastoma, a type of cancerous brain tumor usually found in children.  The tumor was located right on top of her brain stem and right on the area of the brain that controls motor coordination. With this being said, she was referred to an Oncologist. It was determined that Shannon would receive radiation and chemotherapy. Prior to starting either therapy, a port was placed in her chest. She tolerated this well.


Jan 2022: Shannon and our family were so fortunate to be able to have a referral sent to MUSC for a second opinion. Oddly enough, this MD specialized in this exact tumor.  Our initial visit with this doctor was scheduled for Jan and on our way to the visit in Charleston, Shannon's port started gushing blood. We made 2 different stops to near by ERs where they tried to control the bleeding to the best of their abilities- at least to stabilize her until we made it to MUSC. Upon our arrival at MUSC, the nurse could tell Shannon was becoming weaker and weaker. The visit w/the MD was rescheduled and Shannon was rushed to the MUSC ER. We spent 4-5 hours in the ER and they were finally able to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding was under control, back to Greenville we went. This was only the beginning. 


Late Jan/Early Feb 2022: We made way down to Charleston for the second surgery to take place. We were informed prior to the surgery that it could "set" Shannon back a bit which we understood.  Upon her arrival for the 7AM surgery, Shannon tested positive for COVID-19 which meant, we were not able to visit her or see her for the next 7 days. She was isolated in a room, with healthcare providers who basically only went in IF they had to. Basically, she regressed as she could not receive any therapy services since she was COVID positive. However, the second surgery was successful and the remaining part of the tumor was removed!!


Feb/April 2022: 6-7 weeks of receiving radiation DAILY.  This took a lot out of Shannon, as it would anyone.  Shannon RANG THE BELL IN APRIL and was finished with radiation! 


May-July 2022: Shannon had a rest period before starting Chemotherapy. During this time she was very tired and not really doing the best in therapy. She was receiving outpatient therapy through a provider that I will not name but this outpatient clinic did not do much good for her. She hated the environment and therefor, hated going. 


August 2022: Continued to receive platelets as hers were very low. Multiple infusions received over several weeks. 


September 2022:  Shannon was finally ready to start Chemotherapy! Shannon received 1 round of intense chemotherapy which took place during a 3-4 day stay at the hospital. The type of Chemotherapy received was very powerful and again, it took a lot out of Shannon. 


October 2022: Multiple ER visits (I mean weekly, sometimes 1-2 times a week). Various reasons. During the month of October, Shannon also suffered a seizure. She was found by my mom, who said she was face down and barely responsive. EMS arrived and rushed her to the ER. She was in the hospital for 4-5 days and then discharged.


Oct 27 2022: A day or two prior to this date, we noticed Shannon was declining. She wouldn't eat or drink. Couldn't really take her medication. All she wanted to was sleep. This particular morning, my parents felt that something was just not right. Her oxygen had dropped to 74 and again, EMS was called and she was rushed to the ER. Shannon has been in the hospital since 10/27/22. She was admitted for neurological decline. Her BP was in the 180s/150s. She became non-verbal, was not allowed to eat or drink/IV fluids only. Shannon was presenting seizure like symptoms and continued to decline.


10/30/2022: Shannon's Oncologist drove from NC to the hospital in Greenville, to meet with our family. This meeting would be the first of many to come. We were having to answer questions such as, "Does Shannon have a DNR order on file?" We were also told that Shannon would never speak again, and that this would be her new normal. During the conversation, the medical team started to address plans for when she would be discharged..  "comfort care" aka Hospice. 


10/31/2022: My parents and I met with the social worker who wanted us to talk about plans for Olivia Grace, Shannon's sweet 2 year old. This was not a conversation we were ready to have and we declined to do so. About 20 minutes later, my parents and I were in the room w/Shannon and I kid you not, she spoke!! In a soft voice, she whispered, "thirsty." Talk about jumping for joy.. we couldn't believe it! Shannon was starting to talk again.. speech was and still is hit or miss but hey,  that's still PROGRESS! Complete turn around from the previous day. We now believe, comfort care is not the next step but there are still a lot of unknowns. DAY BY DAY.


Okay, I could go on and on but that should somewhat catch people up. Please check for updates, they will be posted in the evenings. Shannon is a fighter, she's fighting hard to get better. 11/18/2022 will be the year mark that our lives completely changed. It will be the year mark since I've seen my sister walk independently. It will be the year mark that she has not been able to rock her sweet baby to sleep. But through all of this, we still have hope. We aren't giving up, we are waking up every single day and continuing to fight the fight w/Shannon!
#ShannonStrong

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