Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Information concerning Shayna's memorial service

I apologize that it's taken me so long to get this information posted on her blog. Her memorial service will be held at Harrison United Methodist Church (15008 Lancaster Hwy
Pineville, NC) at 5pm on her birthday, August 28th. It will be a remembrance and celebration of her life. You don't really realize the value of someone close to you until you lose them. Make memories.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Resting in peace

Around 7:30pm on Wednesday, the hospice nurse told mom that Shayna probably had 24 to 48 hours until she passed away. As mom was delivering the news to me, the nurse came out and said we probably needed to join Shayna by her bedside because her blood pressure had dropped and 24 to 48 hours shortened to a few hours. From the time that we were called into the room, until Shayna passed away, we all sat around her, prayed for her, cried for her, rejoiced in the fact that she would no longer suffer, wept at the fact she would no longer be with us, and intently listened to every breath she took. As the night wore on, we could tell she was close. We all stood around her, each and everyone of us, utterly helpless as she fought to hold on. 3:25AM on Thursday, July 22nd 2010, Shayna Lane Pearl took her last breath, her heart made it's final beat, and God called another angel back to Heaven.

For 2 months and 10 days, Shayna was an absolute warrior. Back in May, when she was told that she had cancer, the first thing she said to me was "I'm scared" and we talked for a bit and I did my best to encourage her and let her know that if she fought hard enough and really wanted to live, she could do it. I believed she could. It wasn't a highly rational belief because although it was entirely possible, without a miracle, her odds were slim. As soon as the doctors told us it was Spindle cell sarcoma, I jumped online and tried to research it as much as I could. Every single piece of information I could find about spindle cell sarcoma said the same thing: "Life expectancy is 2 to 5 years". It was obviously quite discouraging to find out that someone who was only 26 years old would only make it to 31 at the oldest unless she was able to miraculously be cured. "It's possible... anything is possible"... When you keep hearing "anything is possible" you start to believe it... I really thought Shayna had a shot...she did too. Despite what the doctors had told Shayna and what research she had done on it herself, she never once thought she was going to die. At least she never expressed it if she did. Everyday, she would do whatever she thought it would take to get well again. She would pretend like she wasn't in pain when you could see the discomfort all over her face. She truly felt that there was more life to be lived and that it was just too soon for her to go so she fought until her body just couldn't fight anymore.

I am so confused by this entire situation... Shayna was one of the best people I've ever met and it took me losing her this morning to actually realize just how amazing of a person she actually was. For the 24 years and 9 months that I have had the honor of being Shayna's younger brother, she has always been there for me when I needed her. She was an amazing role model because no matter what the situation, if it came down to choosing to be "cool" or doing what she thought was right, no matter what people would say, she would do what she thought was right. To add to that, if someone was picked on for being different, or was treated unkindly for any reason, Shayna would ALWAYS be the person to show them genuine kindness and be the friend that everyone should be. Shayna was the type of person that everyone would be beyond fortunate to have as a friend, or in my case, a sister. I could go on and on about her but if you have ever met her, you know nothing else needs to be said.

I know you all would like to know what the plan is as far as funeral arrangements but Shayna is going to be cremated and we will be holding a memorial service for her. The date, time, and location is still to be determined but as soon as we get that all figured out, I will post it on here.

I was hoping with everything in my being that I would never have to share this news. She will truly be missed by everyone who ever knew her and her memory will live on. She is no longer in any discomfort, she will never feel pain again. She fought the good fight, she ran her race for as long her body would allow it. May she rest in peace, and may her memory live on forever.

Although I'm not even aware of the amount of pain her loss has caused, is causing, and will cause me, I've got to say I'm happy that the last memory I'll have of Shayna speaking to me was her telling me that she loved me. Ever since I can remember, she has always loved Big Red gum... She was so very weak, and so sick, but she had a craving for it. When I was at the grocery store last week, I had picked some up for her so that she could chew on it while she recovered... I brought it into to her, and mom said "Look at this, Shayna! Jonah brought you Big Red!" and she said "I love you, Jonah"... that was the last thing she would ever say to me in this life.

"Life"... the combination of four letters to form a word to describe what we all experience from the moment our hearts start beating until they beat no more. It is impossible to provide the word with an accurate definition; it is so very different for everyone. When you were born, where you lived, who your family was, who your friends were, who you loved, what you experienced through your own eyes, the unique thoughts and dreams created by your brain. It seems like there should be different, significant, individual word for what everyone simply just calls "life". Shayna would be a good word to describe her life because Shayna is Hebrew for beautiful. Her countenance, her personality, her spirit. Everything about Shayna was beautiful and beauty will never be the same without Shayna here. May we all find some comfort in the fact that although we no longer have her here as a living, breathing person, we have the joy and beauty in the form of memories that she has helped us create throughout the course of her 26 years and 11 months.

I love you Shayna, Mom loves you, Cameron loves you, Sam loves you, and anyone who has ever met you has undoubtedly found love for you. The only way I can smile right now is thinking of you getting to spend time with dad again. Please keep him company until we all come to our times to find each other again.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steady... steady...

Hey, time for another update!

Ok, so things had been looking quite dreary this time last week. Hospice is on-call now because Shayna has been in quite a bit of physical discomfort due to the immense growth of this ridiculously unnecessary mass that has refused to give up or give her any kind of relief since we found it. On the bright side, Shayna has also refused to give up and has shown a kind of strength and will to live that I have never seen before.

Last Friday, she was, in all honesty, teetering on the edge. Despite our efforts and our hope to see her pull through, last weekend tested us all with a very real fear that Shayna might no longer be with us. HOWEVER, she was able to, what I would consider miraculously, hold on to dear life as that very dark storm passed over. She's not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, but she was presented with the ultimate test of life or death and despite what the cancer was trying to accomplish, she held on tightly and she wouldn't let go.

Since last weekend, she has been able to sleep. The almost two months leading up to last Friday, as I mentioned before, were utterly restless for her. She was not sleeping until she had been awake for so long that her body would just shut down, and that would only last an hour if she was lucky. For about a week now, she has been able to get some actual rest; rest that her body has desperately needed for so long. Her appetite comes and goes and it has been difficult to get all of the necessary vitamin supplements and nutrients into her to help her fight this off. As of right now we are really focused on making sure she isn't in pain.

With the constant discomfort of a rapidly growing tumor collapsing a lung, pressing against the other as well as pushing up against her heart, and God knows what else it's doing in there, her threshold for pain has forced itself to increase. Her mind has been struggling to find a way to block out any of the discomfort that she possibly can. The problem is keeping the pain and discomfort she is feeling from breaching that threshold further. Despite the incredible power of the body and mind, it can only take so much.

She has really had no energy to interact with visitors. She's barely has the energy to communicate with me. With that being said, those of you curious as to whether or not you can stop by to see her, although I am sure she appreciates the thought, her sole concern right now is concentrating all of her efforts on overcoming this. She spends a lot of time resting. When she isn't sleeping, we're doing what we can to get her to eat or drink to provide her body with enough energy to continue fighting. Her current communication consists mainly of requests for necessities, expression of discomfort or pain, or just random thoughts that she says aloud. When she's fully conscious, she seems to be aware of where she is and what's going on although she has not wanted to talk with any of us about it.

That's really all I can share right now. Again, to anyone and everyone who has been praying for her and expressing a desire to help our family, we thank you. Despite the long road to recovery that she faces as long as she continues to keep up the fight, we all hope for a day when all of this is just a distant memory. We pray for the day that we can look back on this time, and instead of the current pain, terror, and sadness, we will be able to see the silver lining and find happiness, serenity, and peace. Remember, express the love you feel to those who matter to you. Do not dwell on the potential of losing a loved one, but please do your best to spend time with them. If you're reading this, you were blessed to be given the opportunity to do whatever you're doing today. Make it count.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where's a miracle when you need one?

Hey everyone, this is Shayna's brother, Jonah. I know a lot of you are wondering what on earth is going on since this thing isn't updated as often as a lot of you would like it to be. That being said, I thought it was time to give you all a very real update.

Shayna has been fighting for her life and doing it well since we found out about her having cancer approximately two months ago. This past Thursday morning (July 8th), we took her to the hospital to have some fluid drained out of her to hopefully alleviate some of her discomfort and pressure. We took her to Presby in Matthews and they checked her out and said that there was definitely a good amount of fluid that she could have drained but they weren't able to do it at the Matthews location so they sent her, via ambulance, to the uptown location. Upon arrival, they reviewed her CAT scan results and informed us that there was not any fluid to be drained. They said that the pressure that she was feeling was from the mass that has continued to grow at an alarming rate. Her right lung is 90% collapsed, and the mass has pushed her left lung and heart to the far left side of her chest cavity. When we initially heard that she would be able to have fluid drained, Shayna was ecstatic and was beyond ready to finally feel a bit of relief since she had not had any since we initially found out about her situation. Upon finding out from the doctors that it was not fluid, and that she would not be given that release of pressure she had been so very excited to receive, she requested that we bring her back home. If she wasn't going to be comfortable, she would rather be at home than stuck in some random hospital bed.

After an all day ordeal, we got her back to the car and headed away from the city. (Since we found out about the cancer, she has been on a strict, freshly squeezed fruit/vegetable juice, vitamin supplements, nutritional IVs, and solely organic food diet) On the way home, she was hungry and had been through so much throughout the course of the day, so she asked if we could stop by Chick-Fil-A. (Keep in mind that she hasn't set foot inside of any kind of restaurant since the beginning of this ordeal.) We got her into her wheelchair, hooked up her portable oxygen tank, and made our way inside. She ordered a chicken sandwich with her waffle fries, and requested that I get her Polynesian, buffalo, and ranch sauces. She was so happy to be able to indulge and she ate what she could.

When we finally got her home and settled in, we were discouraged that the doctors were unable to provide any assistance, but we were happy that she had such a good appetite considering her appetite has been practically non-existent lately. Little did we know that things were going to take a turn for the worst.

Throughout the course of the night, she got very little sleep (which has been the case for the past two months, despite numerous things we have tried). Thursday night was different though... something had changed. She has kept such a high spirit, determined to get through this, and ready to be well again. After hearing from the doctors that there was nothing they could do to bring her any kind of relief from the constant discomfort, her spirit had broken and her mind knew that her body cannot take much more of what it is going through.

Since Thursday night, it has been increasingly difficult to get her to take her vitamins, and she is in and out of a conscious state. Sometimes she will speak clearly, and be aware of what is going on around her, the next minute, she seems to be semi-aware and mumbling, and then she will be talking to someone who isn't there.

She is so very frail, her voice is strained and weak, and when you look into those big brown eyes, you see the fear of a young girl who has battled so hard to fight for every breath she takes, hoping that this is just a bad dream that she will soon wake up from and be able to continue the long, happy, family-filled life that she has always expressed such an immense desire for.

I know this update sounds dreary but for the record, we have not given up hope yet! While she still draws breath, we are bound and determined to aid her in her fight for wellness and the opportunity to live. I keep on telling myself that it is always darkest just before dawn and right now, it cannot get much darker so dawn must be coming soon. Everyone's thoughts, prayers, kind words, and general support have been appreciated thus far and will be appreciated from here on out.

People keep saying "If there is anything I/We can do, please do not hesitate to ask" and my family thanks you for that, but if nothing else, what you can do is appreciate each day that you are given and be sure to let your loved ones know that they are just that. That's one thing about this thing we call life... we never know how long we will be able to experience. Just a little over two months ago, I NEVER would have thought Shayna would be where she is today. You just never know. Live life, love those dear to you, and learn to appreciate what you have. You really just never know...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Just over a month since the discovery

So my brother's friend Jordan threw a fundraiser for me this past Saturday and I was hoping I would get a chance to attend but unfortunately, I wound up back in the hospital on Friday after the trip to my holistic doctor. We had driven to Wilksboro and I was getting a nutrition IV and whatnot and on the way home, I felt as if my chest had filled back up with fluid so I felt the need to go to the emergency room so that I could get them to drain it. They did an sonogram and a CAT scan to find out if it was fluid I was feeling. It wasn't. Apparently my tumor has realized that we are trying to kill it with vitamins and nutrients and has developed something similar to a forcefield that is made up of protein. This annoying tumor-protecting protein shell has pushed against, and caused full collapse of my right lung and it is also pushing against my heart. The holistic doctor has me on a vitamin supplement that is going to eat away at the protein so that we can continue full-speed ahead with the plan to destroy this tumor. They sent me home from the hospital with an oxygen machine since it's kind of difficult to breath regularly with only one functioning lung. This has been an incredibly physically and mentally taxing situation so far but with all the vitamins I am taking, I am starting to feel a bit stronger. I really do believe that all of the prayers and positive thoughts people have been sending my way have helped immensely throughout this whole ordeal. If any updates become available concerning my condition, and progress towards overcoming this obstacle, I will let you all know. I am sorry for not being able to respond to many messages, texts, or phone calls. I get winded very easily and have some unpleasant coughing spells so phone calls are really not an option at this time. Thank you all for all of the support, it really is very much appreciated. God is good and there is a reason that all of this is happening.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Weekend Trip To Atl ( Big Canoe

This past weekend we went up to big Canoe to meet up with my Mom sisters and their husbands and kids My mom's boyfriend's bother and his wife went up to my aunt's lake house to discuss everything that has been going on with me and to help me make a decision on how we are going to tackle my cancer. It was a positive weekend with fun, but stress for me, while I know I have support in my family and friends in whatever I choose to do. I want to make the best decision for me and so does my mom and Sam. Everyone was able to voice their opinion and what they thought but was also very open to how I felt and what I am leaning towards, I have decided that I don't want chemo and I don't want radiation I've seen what it does, and I've done research on the effects that is has, not good ones. right now I'm juicing a lot and fruits and I take something called Ip6 b12 and some other things to build my immune system a strong immune system can fight things off it the body has what it need. Cancer can not live in a body that is high on the alkalinity i tested mine and I'm 7.5 which is great which means what i'm doing is working. cancer hates oxygen so i do deep breathing everyday, it also hates vitamin D so i sit out side for 20 minutes everyday, well that's all for now thanks for all the thoughts and prayers and I will continue to keep you updated.

Doctors Appointment with the Doctor who cuts people open

I'm sorry it's taken so long to update a lot has been going on. We went last Wednesday to the therastic Doctor we will call him mr cut happy cause that is all he is trained to do. He was not on the ball at all had just gotten home from vacation and was suppose to get in touch with the posion one ( the uncolgist) He was bragging in the hospital that he thought he could cut my tumor out and then in his office was saying he wasn't sure, mom metioned something about letting nutrition play a big part and we've done alot of research and talked to alot of people on how they have cured their cancer just by changing their diet, he told us we were crazy. I feel strong that the best way is not by posining my body with chemo and radiation but by jucing eating healthy this is called immune thearpy God created our body to heal its self but by doing that we need to feed it live food such as carrots kale and fruits. I've been doing this for 2 weeks now eating nothing but fruits juicing and some other things and I feel so much better than I did 2 weeks ago when I was in the hospital. well thats all for now I will continue to keep you updated on my status.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Trip to my Doctors

Hey there I wanted to give an up-date on the latest. I went to my Uncolygist today. She said from the previous scans I had this past Friday that the cancer has not spread which is great news. She spoke to a couple of doctors who deal with my type of cancer in Boston and at Duke and they are both really interested in hearing more about my case. I will be going to Duke to meet with a Doctor who specializes in Sarcomas, to get his in put all of my doctors are working together to make the best decision, As of right now I will be having surgery I just don't know when yet. They are considering giving me Radiation before my surgery to make sure they get any cells that could still be there. They may want to do Chemo as well which I am not happy about neither is my mother since she and Sam are trying to build up my immune system up so that I can fight, as of right now I feel good I'm eating and I'm sleeping I have a very positive attitude, I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I'm very scared but I have my family my loving boyfriend Jason and all my friends in this with me and I am very blessed. I will continue to keep everyone updated... thank you and I love you all

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Unexpected Surprise of May 2010

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to keep everyone up to date because I know my brother posted something on Facebook about me being in the hospital. I was feeling really sick last week and was having a hard time breathing so I went to the doctor. They did an x-ray and found that I had a tumor, surrounded by fluid pressing against one of my lungs, causing it to collapse. When I went to the hospital to figure out how to handle the situation, they did a biopsy on my tumor. While waiting for the results, I had to have more than 2 liters of fluid pumped out of me so that I could regain full use of my collapsed lung. When the biopsy results returned, the doctors had determined that that tumor contains a type of cancer called spindle cell sarcoma. Right now we are trying to figure out the best, and most intelligent way to attack this but nothing has been determined yet. I was released from the hospital today and I am at home and just trying to get settled back in and relax. When I have more information to share, I will update you all. Please keep me in your prayers.