About

shannonleebarry

Bio: So, Crohn’s Disease. Have you googled it yet? If not, let me fill you in. Don’t worry, I know what I’m talking about because I literally google “Crohn’s” every other day. It’s my version of facebook stalking myself, only much more anonymous and sadder. Crohn’s is a chronic gastrointestinal disease. By now you have probably looked it up and recognized some of the symptoms from your own life- don’t worry. Pretty much anything sounds like a symptom. You can rest easy, you don’t have Crohn’s. Unless, of course, you do, which is why your mom/aunt/random facebook friend sent you the link to this blog. In that case, sorry. Email me at happygirlsguide@gmail.com!

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6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey Shannon,

    I don’t have Crohn’s or know anyone that has it, but I just wanna tell you that I think it’s very brave to start a blog about something you’d rather keep to yourself. I am sure you will help a lot of girls (and maybe even boys) and I wanna thank you. Not for me, but for everyone else. Keep going like this ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done Shannon! Very few can take a personal disease and talk openly to others about it. I didn’t even know of this disease until I read your blog. Once again, well done, I am sure that this blog will make all those who read it and have Crohn’s Disease feel like they have someone to relate to.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is an amazing blog 🙂 You write beautifully and engagingly, and it’s so brave of you to talk openly about everything. I’m certain you’ll make lots of peoples days brighter when they read this. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Shannon! I don’t have Crohn’s, nor do I know anyone (besides you) who does have it. But nonetheless, you are a huge inspiration to me and I love everything you stand for. You’re such a cute and motivated person, and I can’t wait to hear more about your life. Also, almost every single one of my friends goes to UT and I am so happy for you, because Austin is the most perfect place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi,
    You don’t know me from Adam but I follow you on Instagram ( my handle is @mishcabelle ) I am also a fellow Houstonian. I just wanted to offer my support and extend a hand of friendship. All though I don’t have chrones i do have an extremely rare bone eating tumor that took my whole life to diagnose. I’ve been in an out of every hospital in the Texas Medical center since I was a baby and it wasn’t until I couldn’t open my right eye ,had a facial deformity and several biopses and DNA testing that they finally figured out what was wrong. My tumor is so rare that has only been documented one other time. The tumor eats all the bone in my face, was moving down towards my sinus cavity ( it actually ate all my jaw bone,) toward my brain and out past my nose ( causing me to look like Cindy Lou Who.) The tumor completely turned my life upside down. I started acting when I was 5 and was actively following my dreams of becoming a professional actress. My dreams were crushed during portfolio review my senior year of college when I was told ” You can act , sing and dance circles around everyone in this department. You’re Blessed with a natural talent and your passion for theater touches our hearts but when it comes down to it you don’t look like a real person. The times you have not been cast in a main stage show had nothing to do with talent and everything to do with your looks. We hate to say this but…your looks are a problem and we can’t have the audience spending the whole show trying to figure out what is wrong with your face.” My heart broke and it took everything in me to hold back my tears. I made the choice to give up acting. My professors suggested plastic surgery but I couldn’t be that kind of role model to all the kids who looked up to me . if my talent and passion were not enough and my looks meant more then anything else then I wanted nothing more to do with acting . As soon as I returned to Houston I was constantly stopped by strangers asking me , ” why did God make you ugly?” “Do you have Down syndrome?” , ” what is wrong with your face?” , ” Are you getting plastic surgery to fix it?” I even had a costumer when I worked at Coach (in the Galleria) snap a picture of my face with her phone and laughed as she said ,” My friends won’t believe this!!!” My self esteem was completely destroyed and to make matters worse nobody in Houston knew what was wrong with me or how to fix me. I was told
    I could go blind, lose all my teeth and have major brain damage if the tumor kept growing. The tumor was slow growing so diagnosis was urgent but not an emergency, yet. It took 3 years of testing ( my results were sent to anyone and everyone in the U.S. in addition to other Countries ) and finally a team of doctors from around the world had a week long conference at MD Anderson and agreed upon a treatment. I was so happy to have a diagnosis that I did not care I had to get 5 chemo injections a month thus spending every Friday for a year in a half at MD Anderson. Chemo made me lose weight, lose every ounce of energy I had ( I’m naturally bubbly and have an abundance of energy. My friends and family often call me “Bubbels” or ” Elle Woods”) and made me feel sub human. Some days I crawled on my hands and knees to my bathroom and that was all I could do for the day, other days eating a small plate of food felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest . On those days I wouldn’t eat it took too much effort and most everything made me sick form both ends. I looked sick , I was losing my hair and I was severally under weight ( I too got compliments from everyone about my body and agree with everything you said in your entry about that. ) The hardest part for me was losing my energy, I was used to always going places and being active 24/7. At first I would ignored my body and convince my self I was okay . One occasion I did just that and went to the Rodeo with friends, I ended up fainting inside Reliant Stadium and had to be rushed to the EMS ,I was embarrassed and angry. My friends missed the rodeo because of me which made me feel even worse. Another time my favorite band was playing in Austin, I was not missing that for the world and convinced my parents I was okay to make the 3 hour drive alone. I got to Austin and waited in line for the concert and started to feel weak and kept blacking out. My friend who was supposed to meet me had a choir concert at UT that night and couldn’t come till later . The only people I know were the friends I had just made in line. I felt awful and knew that there was no way in hell I could stay standing or sitting without passing out. I ended up finding a bench in the back of the venue and laid down the entire show. Thankfully I made friends around me and one of the girls I met earlier that day came back and sat with me and brought me ice water whenever I needed it. The next morning I drove back to Houston, I had to pull over several times because I felt so weak and driving felt like I was running the Boston Marathon, I prayed the entire way back home. I was happy to be on chemo and happy to have a diagnosis but I was lived that I physically could not do what I wanted when I wanted and was crushed that no amount of positive thinking could make my body do what I told it to. It felt as though my body was failing me. I was hurt by the friends who disappeared and touched by my true friends who never left my side. Two of my sorority sisters came to Houston just to hold my hand during chemo. One drove 9hours just to stay 48hrs and another flew in from Boston and used up her last vacation days to come be with me. Countless friends, sorority sister and strangers donated to a GoFundMe a family friend had set up to help with my 200 Grand worth of medical bills ( side bar: insurance companies are EVIL!!) My older cousin heard I was going to have to go to chemo alone one week so he flew in from Denver and surprised me at my parents front door with 4 dozen pink roses a giant hug and took me to my treatment. I was overwhelmed by how many people reached out to me, how all my parents neighbors organized times to bring homemade food, flowers and special treats over. Chemo helped me grow in ways I never even thought possible. It made me stronger, more compassionate, improved my relationship with God and made me more optimistic than ever before. I only cried once throughout the whole time and that was when my hair started falling out. I screamed and cried and had a complete melt down then dusted myself off and moved on. I made an appointment with my hair lady and got a hair cut and only lost about half of my hair. The one thing that kept me going was to tell my self ” there is a reason for all of this.think of how many people you can help and be there for you just have to get through this and you can and will help people” it was at that point I made the dession to go back to school and go where no theater major has gone before; a bachelors degree in nursing. My dream is to one day work as a pediatric nurse at MD Anderson or Texas Children’s. I am currently taking classes I need to apply for nursing school and teaching drama at a private academy. This May will mark a year since I completed chemo!! Even though I will never have a “normal” life and will have to go in for blood testing and scans multiple times a year (and the high chance my tumors will come back will always be there , likely needing more chemo,) I’m happy, I now take life one day at a time and try my best to enjoy the ride. I know you don’t know me but I just wanted to let you know that I am here if you need to talk. I found that although my friends and family were amazing and tried to understand what I was going though, they couldn’t. Talking with people who had been through similar medical hardships made all the difference in the world. I was able to be real with them and there was a unspoken understanding, they just knew how I felt and it was the biggest relief to have that. Don’t hestate to E-mail or DM me on Instagram (Mishcabelle) if you need to talk, vent or complain, us Houston med center girls need to stick together :0) . I hope you’re having a fabulous day!
    -Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Michelle, thank you for such a moving comment! I looked you up on instagram and let me assure you that you are incredibly beautiful! Your story is very inspiring, thank you for reaching out to me and for reading my blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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