Shannon's Journey

"We choose to fear the unknown or to LIVE the unknown." – Shannon Cocke'

Come Show Your Support Tomorrow and Do Some Holiday Shopping!!! November 18, 2011

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For all of you located in the Puget Sound area, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to come out and support the the Cocke’ Family, by stopping by this Holiday Bazaar happening TOMORROW!  There will be plenty of parking, no lots of vendors beyond our booth supporting Shannon, so come out and do a little Holiday Shopping!  We have ESSENZA products (you may be familiar with this product from seeing it at COSTCO) that we’ll be offering for sale at unbeatable prices and 100% of proceeds will be going to the Cocke’s!  We hope to see you there, please pass this along!!!

Flyer for Meeker Middle School Holiday Bazaar

 

Thankful for Every Day!! November 17, 2011

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***We are working on getting Shannon on here as an ‘author’, meanwhile….she wanted us to share this with all of you.  The following was written by Shannon:).***

Thankful for every day!!

 

I am sorry if some of this that I am about to type might be hard to read but I want to be honest.

I have to honestly, genuinely say I am thankful for everyday!!  In July of this year (around four months ago) when I heard the Cancer was back and it is now stage 4 colon cancer I felt discouraged.  I honestly saw my life flash before my eyes.  I thought, wow, I am going to die!  I have never (even through my first battle with cancer) thought about death, “my death”.  I thought about my children, I am not going to see them grow up, I wont get to see them get married, see their children.  There was a lot of crying, a lot of just staring at the wall in silence.  The question, of “why me” was asked, of course!  I couldn’t do this to Mike.  I couldn’t leave him alone to parent our children (even though I know he is a fabulous Daddy).  I hated the thought of crushing all of my friends and family.  We just got hit really hard with the loss of my Uncle Howard from cancer, how could my family take another loss and so soon?  I thought about my parents, it hurt so bad just thinking of the pain it would be for them.  It hurt me so bad thinking of everyone it was going to hurt, to make sad.  I didn’t want anyone to be sad!

 

Today……. 4 month’s later

 

I am alive

I still have hair (thinner, but I have hair)

I have done so many things with my children

Appreciated every moment

I have my family

I have my friends

I feel like the luckiest person.  Sounds kind of weird to say when I have stage 4 cancer, but I AM LIVING!!

I feel 100% fabulous.  How can I feel so fabulous???  I feel so fabulous because of all the love and support my family and I have been receiving.  From daily encouraging messages, to huge fundraisers that my amazing friends have been putting together, people coming up to my husband in the store and just letting him know that we are in their prayers.  We are so blessed!!  There are so many wonderful things that people have been doing for us.

 

I wanted to say special thanks to my husband who has been holding this family together.  When I have my treatments and I’m pretty much knocked down for a week, he does it all.  He is so strong.  He is the most amazing man!!  For some of you that don’t know he also is a coach.  He coaches for the boy’s varsity basketball team at Foss High School.  He is also going to be coaching our 6 year old Carter’s basketball team (and work and take care of me…..pretty amazing).   He is an amazing coach.  I am so excited for the season, it really helps the time go by.  It’s a pretty busy time of year, but we love it.

 

I know the beginning of this message was probably kind of hard to read (I am sorry for that), but I wanted to release what was on my mind.  This disease affects so many people.  I am not the only victim, everyone that knows me is.  I am tired of being the victim, I am the survivor of this.  I am surviving and will survive this with all of you and because all of you, my friends and family (and doctor’s of course).  I thank god for everyday, for all of my family and friends.  I am just so thankful.  Thank you all for helping me and giving me the strength to do this!

 

Please take the time to realize what YOU are thankful for, appreciate everyone and everything.  In our daily busy crazy lives it is so easy to forget to be thankful.

 

Love to you all,

Shannon

 

Thankful…. November 15, 2011

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So, I was sitting at my computer reading Shannon’s post on Facebook today that she is headed to SCCA for her 3rd out of 4 chemo treatments for this second round and her words really stuck with me.  Here she is, headed to SCCA to receive chemo on this beautiful fall day and yet she is upbeat, strong and more than anything appreciative of it all.  I think we all know how thankful Shannon is for today, for her friends, family and the overwhelming support the community has shown, because she is so great at coming right out and saying it!  Many of us forget to say what we are thankful for or who we are thankful for, big or small…and it can be such a humbling and fun experience, to take a moment and reflect on what you have to be thankful for.

In honor of Shannon and to show her support while she is going through her chemo treatment today, I thought it would be fun to take a moment to tell Shannon why we are thankful for her.  It doesn’t have to be profound or earth-shattering, it can be something simple and heartfelt.  Something to put a smile on her face or make her laugh.

So, pass this along to everyone you can think of that knows Shannon and let’s show her why we are so thankful for her!

 

****Change of plans, when Shannon got to SCCA today her bloodwork came back great (allowing her to do her chemo); however, her oncologist decided she wanted her to wait one more week to recover from her last round of treatment as it was a rough recovery.  So, she is bummed that it pushes her treatment out another week.  So, let’s lift her spirits and keep this going…tell her why YOU are thankful for her:)!****

 

Flock Colon Cancer! November 14, 2011

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That’s right, Flock Colon Cancer.  What does that mean?  Well it sounds fun, right?  That’s because it is and don’t worry, you will have an opportunity to participate in this FUNdraising event for Shannon and her family!

A flock of pink flamingos is rumored to be making it’s way around the Brown’s Point/NE Tacoma Community, landing in resident’s yards and nesting for a day or two at a time!  They deliver a nicely prepared note describing in detail how you can kindly send them on their way to someone else’s home:).   Some of you may be familiar with this sort of fundraiser (a flocking fundraiser…girl scouts have used this before, sound familiar?) and for some of you, this may be completely new and you may be reading this thinking I have gone nuts, because you haven’t the slightest clue WHAT I am talking about!

I will not go into great detail here, but here are just a few basics of how this works.  Let’s say the flock lands in your yard and first thing you do is read the attached letter, which will better describe your options on how to get them to leave your yard.  What it basically boils down to is, either you make a donation (check payable to Shannon Cocke’) or if for any reason you choose not to, or are not able to participate, we will come pick them up.  It’s pretty simple, you let us know once you’ve made your decision and have decided where you’d like to send the flock to (locally of course), we come pick up the flock and move them to the next house and this continues on as long as we continue to receive YOUR support!

As I said, the note the flock has with them goes into much better detail about everything you could possibly want or need to know.  This fundraiser will hopefully be a fund for the Cocke’ family to turn to during this stressful time in their lives, for anything from medical bills, household bills, to groceries, holiday expenses, etc.  Please know that any amount is helpful and we are all EXTREMELY grateful.

Let’s keep this flock moving!

 

 

 

Let’s get it Shannon! November 13, 2011

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Photos September 9, 2011

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Happy Friday, it’s a beautiful day and what better way to send Shannon off to her chemo this morning, than with all of the lovely comments from you all! She has said what a tremendous support and sense of strength everyone’s thoughts and prayers mean to her and their family, so keep them coming!

Just a quick update, a few pictures have been added on a second page to the blog (look in the upper right hand corner and you’ll see a bright green tab that reads ‘photos’). If anyone has pictures to share of Shannon, The Cocke’ Family or of yourself and Shannon, etc. Feel free to e-mail: courtneyjberg@gmail.com and I’ll work on getting them uploaded to the gallery! This will be a fun addition to the blog, considering how much Shannon loves photography and well…pictures are just awesome!

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Shannon’s Journey… September 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtneybergphotos @ 11:55 pm

As promised when we first began this blog, Shannon has taken the time to put into words, her personal story on what brings us here today, to this blog in support of Shannon and her family.  Thank you, Shannon for sharing your story with all of us!

I would like to start out by giving BIG thanks and love to all my family and friends.  Thank you Courtney for creating the “Shannon’s Journey” blog site.  I along with my family love to read the posts.  They are very encouraging and empowering.  I thought about naming people specifically but my list would never end.  I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.  I have had family who have been there since the day I was born, family since I met my husband, friends who I have had since grade school and high school, friends who I have made through other friends, friends that live across the street, friends who I met at the Northpoint Co-op, friends who are the parents of my children’s friends.  Gosh, the list can go on and on and I didn’t even list names.

For those of you who have known me for a LONG time (maybe even a short time) you know I tend to ramble and also lose my train of thought.  More so lately.  I was talking to my husband before beginning to write and I told him I have been procrastinating on starting “Shannon’s Journey” because I was putting the pressure on myself to write a perfectly spelled/written A+ paper.  I have decided….that’s not me and if I worry about it, it won’t get typed.  So for those of you who already know me, you will read this and hear my voice as you read it because it is exactly as I would say it and those of you who know me but not years and years know me, you soon will.

I feel I am the luckiest person, I have so many incredible friends and family.  I have, as a lot of women would say “the best husband in the world”.  I really feel I do!!  My husband and I met in the summer of 1995.  I remember the first time we met, it was after my friend Jenny and I met a guy Josh, who was looking for directions to a beach, but never found the friends and the beach he was looking for.  He left with our phone numbers though!  I later met his friend Mike, it was “best friends at first sight”.  We began dating and in January of 1997 we had our first child, Michel Scott.  In 2004 we got married and soon to follow in 2005 we had Carter James.  Then in 2008 Came Madison Michelle (better known as Mae).  My children are AMAZING, as I’m sure most of you  already know.

May 2010 is the month my life would change forever.  I was 33 years old, married, a mother of three wonderful children and diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer!

First question I am asked “is there a family history”? NO, no family history.  I unfortunately have started my family history.

I have had amazing doctors, Dr Karen Nelson (PCP), Dr Gordon Klatt (surgeon) and Dr Veena Shankaran (oncologist).  I had my colonoscopy, found the “likely malignant tumor”, CT was done the next day and surgery a week later.  Dr Klatt removed a hacky sack sized tumor along with 14 inches of my colon.  They removed 49 lymph nodes and out of the 49 they found cancer in 25 of them.  I ended up having a complication from my first surgery the colon reconnection didn’t reconnect so good.  I ended up having to have another surgery that gave me an illeostomy bag (EW!).  This was a very difficult thing for me.  It was a bag that was connected to my small intestines and it was connected to the outside of my stomach.  Most people didn’t even know I had it.  I ended up finally getting this removed in February 2011.  Boy was that a good day!!!!  So I had it for about eight months.

I had no fear or question that I could beat this cancer!!  I went through six months of chemo every other week and had to wear a chemo pump for 46 hours after the infusion done at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  I made it through all my treatments amazingly well.  I had a few treatments that I had to skip a week because my platelette count were too low.

I completed my treatment the end of December 2010.  I was so excited to complete 2010 with my last chemo treatment.

January 2011 I had my post chemo scan to see the magic of chemo.  “It worked”!!!  “NO SIGNS OF CANCER”!!  What a relief.  How powerful and strong I felt to have BEAT CANCER!  Three month follow ups from here!

First follow up, I passed with flying colors!  Another three months, my husband and I loaded into the car and headed up to Seattle to hear the “good news”.  We waited in the room for the doctor with no worry of any bad news.  Dr. Shankaran comes and in asked how I’m feeling, of course I am feeling fabulous!!  She talks about my blood work and notices my tumor count has jumped 2 levels.  She wasn’t too concerned, but it surely brought some concern to Mike and I.  We asked if we need to get a scan to make sure everything is OK, our oncologist said after chemo it really isn’t something to be too concerned of, because the levels could bounce around until they regulate.  I think she saw the concern in our eyes.  She decided to schedule a CT to be safe.  I had the scan two weeks later.  What a long time that was!  We had the scan and then get the results the same day.  We just had to wait a few hours for them to be looked at by the radiologist.  We patiently waited and finally our oncologist entered the room.  She didn’t waste anytime and relieved us that the scans came back showing everything was OK.  Phew, what a relief!!  I wasn’t scared! Of course they would be OK!  We finished up the appointment, gave her a hug and headed towards the elevator.  Mike wrapped his arms around me and told me how much he loved me.  We got into the car and of course I am hungry.  We are going back and forth with different option of places to go…..My cell phone rings, I see it is a 206-288 number.  I recognize it, it is someone from SCCA.  I answered it and it is Dr. Shankaran, my oncologist, she asked if we were very far away.  I told her no (we were right up the street), she asked if we could come back and of course we turned right around and headed back to SCCA.  That was a very long and quiet ride.  I was trying to convince Mike that they probably forgot to give us something.  It wasn’t working too well to convince him not to worry.

We got back into the little square room waiting for her to arrive and let us know we were the millionth patient and won a million dollars.  Well, she finally arrived, I noticed that her nose was red, my stomach dropped to my toes and my heart  rose to the top of my throat.  She looked at us and told us, she doesn’t know how this happened and it has never happened before, but the radiologist who re-reviewed your scan found spots that look to be as if the cancer is back (this is not a quote just the mumbled words I remember hearing).  Mikes head immediately dropped and was being held up by his hands.  My throat felt like my heart was trying to make an escape out of my mouth.  It was a moment and a feeling I will never forget.  OK….where is Ashton Kutcher to yell, “YOU GOT PUNKED”?  No, he never arrived.  I was then scheduled for a PET scan to confirm the findings.  My hopes were that it would be a waste of A LOT of money because I was hoping it to come back CANCER FREE!

Unfortunately it confirmed that the cancer was in the lymph nodes in my lower abdomen.  What does this mean…well I have stage 4 cancer.  Still don’t completely understand all of it and kind of choose not to use the internet to explain it to me.  All I know is that I will BEAT this AGAIN!!  I am a mommy, wife, daughter, sister, friend, family member and I will fight!

I am due to have four chemo treatments along with the 46 hour attached pump each time.  When those are completed they are going to do another scan to see if the chemo “cocktail” is “maintaining” or “shrinking” or hopefully dissolved the cancer into nothing!

We will know that soon………

If I may…I’d like to add that Shannon does have chemo scheduled for tomorrow (Friday), so let’s all be sure to show her some love and support and she endures her 3rd treatment!