Shauna Barron – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
This story is especially close to our heart because Shauna is not only our patient – but one of our amazing pharmacists from our Houston location. Her story begins with a routine mammogram in March of 2020 at 40 years old. As a person who is used to staying busy and active, it was totally out of left field when she was asked for a follow-up due to enlarged lymph nodes. “I will admit that my first thought was breast cancer with emotions including ‘why me? why now? How will I get through this? How much will it cost?’” After my follow-up, it was again confirmed that I had enlarged lymph nodes but nothing else was evident. My OBGYN just told me to wait six months and come back for a repeat.
The repeat confirmed the lymph nodes had grown larger, and she started on a one-year journey that involved a general surgeon, a rheumatologist, and finally an oncologist. She was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in March of 2021 but was told to “watch and wait” for about a year. In February of 2022, her white blood cell count started increasing and she began treatment in March. “I was relieved to finally have an answer for what was going on with me. But I was also upset since this diagnosis is not normal for someone my age.”
“Working as an oncology pharmacist was helpful, but it definitely doesn’t prepare you for being on the other end. But Onco360 was so wonderful. They were an immense help financially, by finding me copay cards for my medication which brought my out-of-pocket costs down to a manageable level. I was most grateful that they allowed me to work from home while I was going through treatment. I was just so tired, and it would have been extremely hard for me to go back and forth into the office during this time. Not only did they arrange for me to work from home, but they also allowed me to make up the time I spent at the IV facility each time.” Julie Owen, Vice President of Pharmacy Operations said, “We know the impact a cancer diagnosis has on families and we were happy to work with Shauna to ensure she received the support she needed to fight the battle.”
Even with the understanding and support at work, she was not prepared mentally to slow down. Just doing simple things around the house became so difficult, but she had so much support from family and friends. They set up meal trains, people kept checking on her through text and email, her husband was there for her every step of the way as her caregiver and rides to and from every treatment. She said, “I appreciated all of it, especially since I felt so alone at doctor’s appointments and treatments because this all happened during the height of COVID. I didn’t even see my doctor in person without a mask until my last appointment in February 2023.”
Shauna’s husband, Jason, felt the call to be an advocate for others going through the same diagnosis while she was in treatment and he decided to donate a percentage of his real estate commissions to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Because of his efforts, he was nominated as a candidate for the LLS “2023 Visionary of the Year,” where his team, The CUREsaders, will compete to raise the most funds for LLS in Shauna’s honor.
Shauna is now in remission. She feels so grateful for the support and modern medicine that helped her get this far. She believes her cancer has helped her to show even more compassion and is even more effective than before during patient consultations. We are thankful for her and are so happy that she is back to work in the office and doing well.