Despite all she's been through, Shannon is still a vibrant individual who loves life and continues to fight against all the infections that invade her body to this day. She used to work well over a 40 hour week and now finds it hard to deal with the fact that she can no longer work.
High blood pressure was something she's dealt with her whole life, but she was unprepared for what happened next. Her medical problems began fourteen years ago, in 2004, when she woke up one morning with Bell's Palsy. The severity of her case affected her speech and she spent four months in speech rehab. The palsy soon affected her right eye and being unable to blink, her eye had to be sewn shut halfway to prevent it from drying out. Not long after that, Shannon experienced excruciating facial pain that felt like each nerve ending in her face was on fire with every beat of her heart. Medication didn't help and stress increased the symptoms.
Eventually unable to handle the throbbing nerve pain in her face, she went to the emergency room where she was told that the pain was part of Bell's palsy. With an appointment to the pain clinic, she endured facial Rhizotomy treatments, with no success at destroying nerve endings.
Soon her condition was recognized as Trigeminal Neuralgia and further surgeries were tried, Gamma Knife being one of them. More damage was caused by this that would eventually create other medical issues for Shannon. Pain medications, surgeries, inability to work any longer, caused bills to pile up.
By 2008, after even more unsuccessful surgeries to wrap nerves in the back of her neck to prevent facial pain, Shannon's bladder began to go bad. More surgeries to deal with her bladder infections only ended up removing the bladder for a urostomy. Living alone, and now unable to drive, is hard enough without having to go through all the issues of her medical problems. She hates asking family to help pay for medical expenses and prescriptions, but that is what she's had to do. Her family continues to help as her disability money only goes so far after she pays rent and health insurance. Can you imagine deciding whether you need to buy groceries or medication?
Due to so many medications and an internal pain pump, Shannon's teeth decayed to the point of having to remove all of her teeth well before anyone should have to deal with that. A wonderful dentist step forward and provided dentures for her but soon, with the loss of weight, the dentures wouldn’t stay in place. Because of her appearance and her pain, she is forced to stay at home, not wanting to be seen by even friends and family. Her little terrier Nitro, keeps her company now. Shannon has also had knee replacement surgeries due to bone loss and the bills have accumulated even further.
Her most recent medical issue, spanning over the past three or four years, is the non-stop e-coli infection she deals with in her kidneys (no bladder any longer). Rounds of antibiotics, most of which no longer conquer the problems because she is now asymptomatic, also make her break out in hives, yet she needs to continue taking them.
The doctors recently told her they aren't sure how long her kidneys can continue to function at the rate they are before they just totally give out. She's still dealing daily with the urostomy bag as she doesn't have a bladder anymore, but we all need both of our kidneys to survive, or at least one healthy one. Shannon has neither.
On April 13, 2017, doctor’s removed Shannon’s pain pump as it was too close to one of her kidneys and then sent her home the same day. Within two hours of being home, she had complications from that surgery and she continues to struggle. We will post updates as they happen. Thank you for reading about Shannon and Nitro. Please consider donating to help her with expenses and medication costs.