Brooke Lauren Lives Strong In Faith
This story was originally published in the 2011-2012 RMHCB Annual Newsletter. Brooke Lauren Shockley lost her courageous battle with Cancer in August 2012. “Fly” Beautiful Brooke… we will miss you. Your heart prints will remain with our House forever.
A year ago this time, Brooke Shockley was a typical 8th grader at Wicomico Middle School: playing soccer, hanging with her girlfriends, being a great big sister to Logan and Jordan and playing in the Marching Band. There is no way we could possibly capture the details of Brooke and her Mom’s 10 month odyssey from middle school routine to an anything but ordinary life spent between Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. The medical terminology, the doctors, the dizzying array of medicines, surgeries, treatments, side effects, the highs and the lows – it’s overwhelming and exhausting. At the time when this newsletter was being written, Brooke was in week 29 of a 40 week chemotherapy regime.
Brooke’s Mom Tammy keeps friends and family as up to date as possible through a CaringBridge website dedicated to Brooke’s progress. We share with you just a few excerpts that capture some pivotal moments in the roller coaster that occurred that year. To give you some perspective, there are a total of 98 entries to date from Tammy documenting their journey. In her own words… a mother’s perspective.
THE STORY OF BROOKE
March 1, 2011
For the past few months Brooke has been in a lot of pain and has had swelling in her right hip bone (pelvis area). She started to walk with a slight limp. Finally, she was sent to have an MRI and immediately sent to an orthopedic surgeon at Johns Hopkins because there appeared to be a growth on her hip bone. The results from the biopsy determined that Brooke has Osteosarcoma. Chest and bone scans showed tumors have spread to other parts of the body – 4 tumors in her lungs. She will have chemo, surgery to remove the tumor in her hip, hip replacement surgery, physical therapy, more chemo, lung surgery to remove the tumors, followed by more chemo and physical therapy, scans and blood work.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 5 :47 AM
Brooke has had some side effects to the chemo and increased swelling and pain the past week. Brooke has another biopsy this morning to see if the cancer has spread to her left shoulder. Please, please pray the biopsy comes
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 10:24 PM
The biopsy of the left shoulder is Positive with Osteosarcoma. Brooke has had a rough day as far as the news goes. We are hoping to go home Friday to see our family and friends and go to Church for Easter. We come back Tuesday for more chemo. Please pray hard for my girl that God will just heal her of all the Cancer and that she will live a long healthy life!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:46 PM
Brooke’s surgery is scheduled for June 13th. The name of the surgery is Internal Hemi-Pelvectomy. The bad news is they will have to take out the entire hip. She will be left with absolutely nothing and her leg will be a floating leg; meaning she will be in a wheelchair and replacement is not an option. Brooke and I are devastated.
Monday, June 6 , 2011 10:29 PM
Brooke, Logan, Jordan, and I are taking our first ever family vacation! We will be in Ocean City for one week. This is the best week of my/our life and its only been a day!
Monday, June 13, 2011 12:20 PM Surgery Day
Brooke is the strongest person I know. While waiting for her surgery to begin, she was able to smile, joke, and laugh with her family. We started the day at the Weinberg Building at 6 am. They took her back at 7:45, and I stayed with her until she fell asleep.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:44 PM
Brooke’s surgery lasted 13 hours. The doctor said that this was the biggest tumor that he has ever dealt with. Brooke lost 8 units of blood and fluids that needed to be replenished. She has been in a significant amount of pain last night and still today.
Saturday, June 18, 2011 5:01 PM
Brooke is back in ICU due to excruciating pain. Please continue to pray that her pain will subside and she will recover quickly.
Monday, June 27, 2011 9:36 AM
Brooke is becoming more alert and being her cheerful self. She has a lot of pain in her legs. I am so very proud of my Baby Girl. She is my Hero. No matter how much pain Brooke is in, she never gives up and always has an AMAZING ATTITUDE! I LOVE YOU BROOKE LAUREN SHOCKLEY LOVE, MOMMY
Thursday, July 21, 2011 9 :13 PM
Brooke can get out of bed into the wheel chair by herself. Everyday is still a struggle but she is pushing through it. It’s a beautiful sight to see how strong my baby girl is and what an inspiration she is. I would love to thank everyone that has helped Brooke and I get this far in our journey.
MY BABY GIRL NEEDS A MIRACLE! If I can say something it would be… Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Let your loved ones and friends know how very very much you love and appreciate them and how blessed you are to have them in your life. We love you all so much.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
More chemo and another surgery on Monday Sept 12th. Brooke has kept me pretty busy now that she is back at the Ronald McDonald House. We got to meet the Ravens Cheerleaders. That really made Brooke’s day and night. Thank You Ravens Cheerleaders for all you did to make Brooke so happy.
Monday, October 3 , 2011 11:50 AM Brooke’s 14th Birthday
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROOKE!!! WE ALL LOVE YOU SO MUCH!
Brooke was released from the hospital yesterday to the Ronald McDonald House so she did not have to spend her birthday in the hospital!
Thursday, October 27, 2011 12:03 PM
CHEMO TONIGHT Tonight Brooke goes in for Chemo and will be discharged Sunday to go back to RMH until next Thursday for the next round. Her Math Teacher is here at RMH now. Instead of radiation on the shoulder, Brooke will have a procedure called RFA. The goal is to kill the tumor and the cells around it. The surgery will be Nov. 16th in the morning. Brooke has been asked to be in the Ronald McDonald House Newsletter because she has been such an inspiration to so many people. It is an honor to be asked to share Brooke’s Story and our Journey through Cancer, and WHAT RMH MEANS TO US!… I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL EVERYONE HOW THANKFUL and GRATEFUL WE ARE TO BE ABLE TO CALL Ronald McDonald House OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME!!!
THE GLORY OF BROOKE
Now that you know a little of the Story of Brooke, it’s time to get to know the Glory of Brooke. She is so much more than her cancer. She is quite simply one of the best people we know. She fills our House daily with humor and sassiness and joy. She is so comfortable in her own self that it’s easy to forget that she just turned 14 a few weeks ago. She is a young girl, an old soul, and wise beyond measure.
We met Brooke at the very beginning of her journey, on the day she arrived in Baltimore for that very first CT scan. We’ve watched her face every test, every chemo cycle, every surgery and every new piece of news with humor and grace and resilience. We’ve watched her mom, Tammy, turn a parent’s darkest hour into her finest hour. She is unfailing patient and strong and loving. They are a mother daughter force of nature, tag team extraordinaire.
When she’s not inpatient at Hopkins, Brooke is here at the Ronald McDonald House spreading her joi de vivre to every adult and child she encounters. She is part comedian, part artist, part fashionista, part motivational speaker and all wonderful.
She is also a Raving Ravens fan and loves when the cheerleaders visit the House. Jonathan Horton, Captain of the Ravens Cheerleaders, has developed a special bond with Brooke. He gives her Ravens socks for her swollen feet and she gives him a hard time for being a few minutes late for a visit. On a recent Dinner visit from Under Armour’s sports marketing team, Brooke struck up a friendship with Guilian Gary. By the end of the night he was calling her “Beach Bum” and she referred to him as “New York.” It’s their inside joke, but we know that night, the UA team learned that Brooke knows how to hold her own with the big boys.
In between chemo cycles, Brooke tries to keep up with her studies as a High School Freshman. Tutors come to the RMH to give her lessons in Math and English. And while they are working with her on the academics, Brooke is teaching everyone else lessons about the really important stuff.
In addition to her fashion forward chemo caps, one of Brooke’s favorite pastimes is jewelry making. Just like everything else about her, there is nothing ordinary about the baubles she creates. She finds beauty in a utilitarian item – duct tape. You can find Brooke rolling around with a suitcase full of every pattern of duct tape imaginable. With combinations like leopard and hot pink (Sandy), purple and blue polka dot (Debbie) and yellow, red and white (Susan), she has made each of us a bracelet. We call them Brooke Bangles and wear them proudly every day. These bracelets join the green and white rubber bracelets that are worn by hundreds of family and friends who love and support her. They read… “Brooke Lauren Lives Strong in Faith.”
Every time we finish a conversation with Brooke, she ends it by saying “I Love You.” We love you too Beautiful Brooke.