Shannon

 

Shannon was a happy, healthy 10 year old who was enjoying 5th grade. She was so healthy, in fact, that in the 4th grade, she didn't miss a single day of school due to illness and won a perfect attendance award. In late February of 2007, Shannon was busy preparing for a competition with her Odyssey of the Mind team. It involved many long hours of work. She was run down and tired and didn't have much of an appetite. During the last week of February, she developed a high fever. She was brought to her pediatrician who suspected strep and started her on a course of antibiotics. The following week, when her dad picked her up at school, a teacher pointed out swelling on both sides of her neck. She went back to the doctor who felt that her body was having an adverse reaction to the antibiotics and changed her prescription. A few days later, Shannon mentioned that she had another lump on her neck. At that point, a CT scan was ordered and within two hours of that test, her doctor was on the phone directing that she be taken to the emergency room at Monmouth Medical Center. There, they were met by an oncologist. The CT scan had revealed a large mass on the right side of Shannon's chest, which overshadowed most of her right lung and was pressing into her windpipe, which could have caused pressure on her heart. A biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage II(b). Shannon was started on a course of steroids to shrink the mass enough to allow for the insertion of a port in her chest and chemotherapy treatments were begun. After two course of chemo, Shannon was categorized as an "early rapid responder", meaning that the mass in her chest had shrunk significantly. This was important because it meant two more rounds of chemo, instead of four. At the conclusion of Shannon's chemotherapy treatment, another CT scan was performed to determine if she would need radiation treatments. Unfortunately, the scan showed a mass remaining in her chest cavity. It as her oncologist's feeling that this mass was necrotic (dead) tissue and was a remainder of the original huge mass that she had when she was first diagnosed. Therefore, it was determined that radiation would be needed to break up the remaining mass and eradicate any stray cancer cells that may have been "hiding" inside. Shannon underwent 15 consecutive days of radiation treatments. Shannon's next CT scan, performed approximately a month later, revealed "no evidence of any disease". Shannon was in remission and has remained so for three years. Shannon is now a ninth grader. She loves playing her guitar, experimenting with makeup and hairstyles, indie and alternative rock and spending time with friends. She again plans to join the Odyssey of the Mind team at her high school and looks forward to enjoying every minute of her life!.