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Shamarie Claiborne: A miracle is needed for Angel's son

At first, the reunion online with her ACHS high school chum was a sharing of Happy Ever After stories for both women, but shortly after, former Columbian Angela Burton Farrer confided a crisis in her son's life, a medical drama that was all too much similar to one Shamarie had gone through years earlier . . .

By Shamarie Claiborne

I want to state this disclaimer before I start this very unusual article for me. It is not what many of you are use to hearing or seeing from me. But by the end of it you will more fully understand what truly makes me tick. I should say I am not a preacher and the views I will reflect in this article are my own. They are based on the teachings of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his loving father as I have experienced it. My view may not correspond with your own or your church's beliefs but please read with a open heart and understand the big picture.

Many people in Columbia know me for different reasons. Some from my childhood and youth. Others through my children and band. Some only from my photography and articles. Another hand full from my community involvement. A few know me through my spirituality and my firm belief that the Lord has a time and reason for everything.

And a few of you from when mine and Kevin's youngest son Dusty was diagnosed with Neroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma was one of the hardest thing to deal with

Neuroblastoma is a very ugly and fast growing childhood cancer and Dusty had just turned 5 year old. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with as a mother or truthfully as a human being. To see your child laying helplessly in a hospital bed knowing that their existence is a gift. That they are only on loan to you until they return to the heavens is the hardest reality to face while we are still in the flesh. During that time I learned a few things.

The first thing is that God does answer prayers.

Secondly, when two or more pray in agreement -- you will see his hand at work.

Third, we need each other -- and it is our responsibility to help and support each other in both spiritual and financial matters during times of great need. Another words do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Without question, God ALWAYS has a plan

Without question -- God ALWAYS has a plan, it may not be our plan or our timing but he ALWAYS has a plan.

God wants us to be grateful for our blessings from the smallest to the largest without wavering.

And most importantly, no matter the consequences when the Lord whispers in your ear and lays something on your heart to do -- no matter how small or large, no matter how scared you are to do it, you must be obedient and follow his lead.

I told you all of that so you would understand the rest of this story.

As many of us in today's world I spend a good many hours online. It has proven very entertaining at times, full of life's up and downs, but what I see happening most is people searching for support and love during times of need. Had smart phones been around while Dusty was sick the texts of encouragement and posts would have been a gift from God for those endless days in the little room at UK hospital. Where your world shrinks to a 15 x 15 space and nothing else in this world really matters. Not cars, or houses, or cloths, or success or failure the only thing that matters is your lived one. Your precious child, or spouse, or parent who is struggling to continue to exist on this planet -- that is all that truly matters.

You need to know others are praying for you and your loved one. You need the support and connection. But most of all you need the HOPE it fosters. That HOPE is what feeds your belief . Then that belief and your obedience is what fuels God's hand.

So due to the Lord's whisper I am writing this article and praying it will help an old friend I have not seen in years and her child, who like my own at one time, is fighting a battle he CAN NOT fight alone.

Angel's STORY:
Her life seemed to be a happy ever after one

About a year ago I found a old high school friend of mine, Angela Burton Farrer, online. We swapped information and messaged each other on occasion. Angel, as I have called her all of our lives, from all appearances had a very nice life in Texas. She had remarried a wonderful man and it was apparent they shared a mutual love for one another. Through the years she had obtained her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. She had two beautiful children, Krystin McGaha and Talyn Wheeler. Both were born here in Columbia . They were raised in both Columbia and Texas. Yet, both had returned to Columbia and were thriving.

From the brief snip-its I had seen online, her life was going well. She had retired and was living a life full of love and happiness. Her days were filled with her grandchildren and her husband. What more could a human want.

Angel's life not so idyllic as seen at first glance

Yet, as we all know sometimes things are not what they seem. Unbeknownst to me, Taylon Angel's youngest child has been fighting for his life for the last four months. I will try to explain this in terms everyone can understand. I still don't understand it all my self but I understand enough of it to know it is not good.

I will start by telling you all I know about her precious son Talyn Wheeler.

In December Talyn turned 21 years old. He is the proud father of 7 month old Melody Adrianne and fiance' of the beautiful Christa Munoz. He was previously employed as a computer technician and worked at Bruss in Russell County. He also helped his father, Tommy Wheeler, on the side when he needed him. All in all, Talyn was living a normal happy life. New baby, great mate who he loves more than anything. Good job. Planning a wedding. You know the average normal life we all dream of.

Everything changed for family on September 13, 2013

All of that changed in September 2013 when Talyn got pneumonia. At this exact moment I am sure you have stopped and said . . . pneumonia? Yes, it started with your average garden variety pneumonia. The difference is Talyn become septic and the bacteria that caused the pneumonia began to grow in his blood stream. Doctors did blood cultures but somehow overlooked the blood infection and it was not treated. Talyn seemed to improve and was sent home to regain his strength.

Unbeknown to him the bacteria in his blood stream began growing on and in his heart. Roughly four weeks after being released from the hospital for pneumonia the bacteria had destroyed the main valve to his heart and his AV Node which in layman terms is our natural pacemaker.

He was admitted to Jewish Hospital into the Rudd Heart and Lung Center. By the time he was readmitted he was in septic shock and heart failure. His liver and kidneys were failing from the infection as well his bone marrow had stopped producing mature cells which required multiple transfusions before they could perform surgery to try and repair the damage already done.

During the wait the vegetation the bacteria had grown on his valve was so large and unstable it broke into many small pieces and went into his lungs which caused a multiple septic pulmonary emboli. To complicate things even more the medication required to kill the bacteria caused even more damage to his already compromised heart. The damage at this point had become enough that open heart surgery was needed to repair all the damage.

First open heart surgery came on October 4, 2013

On October 4th, Talyn went through his first open heart surgery at the time he was only 20 years old. They continued to remind the family frequently that they did not know if the lesion in his heart was even repairable and that re-infection would be a real threat. There were numerous issues with his heart. Many I don't understand and will not even attempt to explain.

When they performed his heart surgery they found more damage than they had anticipated as well as a undiagnosed congenital anomaly. In the end, repairs were made and a portion of his cardiac muscle had to be removed due to necrosis and transplanted with pig cardiac muscle. They also had to remove the necrotic AV Node and put in a temporary pacemaker on the same day. Just so everyone understands this is the first time in history this had been done at Jewish and the largest bacterial vegetation in the heart ever documented.

Three days later, a permanent pacemaker was needed

Angel was hopeful that her precious boy was finally heading in the right direction but on October 7th his temporary pacemaker failed and they realized Talyn's body no longer had the ability to communicate between the top and bottom parts of his heart. A permanent pacemaker was placed for both the atrial and ventricular chambers.

Talyn was being treated with powerful antibiotics by IV and blood thinning agents and things seemed to be calming down so on December 8th Angel, Christa, and Talyn celebrated his twenty-first birthday.

21st Birthday celebration was short-lived

The celebration was short lived when on December 18th Talyn suffered another multiple septic pulmonary emboli. When this happened doctors discovered his blood was too thin and the blood thinners had caused his liver to stop producing clotting enzymes. For the next seven days they treated the infection and massive blood loss. Then on December 25th his left lung and part of his right lung collapsed. They stabilized his clotting and got his blood count and oxygen high enough to endure lung surgery on New Years Eve.

Doctors are currently trying to reduce the size of the new bacterial vegetation growing on his heart with six IV antibiotics a day. These are also being used to treat the massive abscesses in his lungs caused by the last pulmonary emboli. If the vegetation does not further reduce in size he will likely require another open heart surgery to remove it and repair new damage to his heart. They will also have to replace the most recently replaced heart valve again. This can not happen until his lung tissue improves because at this point he has very little functioning lung tissue. They have been told a second valve replacement has a very high mortality rate so he needs his lungs to be functioning to their fullest capacity.

Currently, Talyn is staying in a hospitality room next to Jewish Hospital with his girlfriend and mother, taking his medication and waiting for his next surgery. His daughter Melody has been staying with her maternal grandmother in Texas during most of his hospitalization. Christa has been by his side during the entire journey. They of course text her mother and call Melody daily. But the young family misses their daughter and the days that were filled with their average normal life.

The medical crisis, even with insurance, has severely strained family finances

During the epic downward spiral of her son's health, my old friend Angel has been by his side and her wonderful husband, Mitchell, back in Texas, has been the family's main source of income. Talyn has private insurance through Angel which will continue until his 27th birthday. But there out-of-pocket expense currently for his medication alone is $400 dollars a month. Then there is the cost of Angel and Christa's expenses for just daily existence and food for them all.

A long-term illness such as this stresses everyone in the family. The day in and day out worry can fill the strongest Christian's mind with doubt and disbelief. It can put the best marriages and relationships at risk. Currently, they are standing strong but they need our help both spiritually and financially.

Talyn may be accepted into a new program at Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

News came this morning that a leading Cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ may be willing to accept Talyn into a new program they are starting for second time infected heart valves. He would of course have to go through all the hoops and evaluations that go along with the process before they would know. But the Cardiologist is also a renown Infectious Disease Specialist. Either way the family is praying Talyn will be accepted as his patient.

So here is my request of you -

First, pray for clarity and wisdom for the doctors treating Talyn. Pray for his acceptance into the program at the Mayo Clinic and pray for his complete recovery.

Next, donate a few dollars to the family so my friend Angel will have one less thing to worry about.

Personally, our family was lucky. Our family and friends supported us spiritually and financially during our ordeal. Without their support and the power of prayer there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be able to say - Dusty has been cancer free for 11 years now. I am asking for the same support to be given to another hometown family who have endured so much during the past four and half months.

I will close by saying how grateful I am to each of you in advance for your prayers and financial support for Talyn and his family. My the Lord bless each of you 100 fold for your prayers and donations. Speaking from my own experience your generosity will change them forever.

Prayer of course is easy. Call to the Lord - state your request - and THANK him in advance for his answers.

For those interested in donating financially to the family it is a little more complicated but not much. There has been an account set up at the Bank of Columbia. You can go to any teller, at any location, and all you have to say is "please put this in Talyn Wheeler's account" or go see Sherri Parnell at the main branch. We had Angel take a debit card so she can access the money from Louisville but with this new information it is even better because the family can access the money from anywhere even Phoenix, AZ!

If you would like to contact Angela to send words of encouragement feel free to call me at 270-250-3809 and I will provide you with her information or on FaceBook at Angela Burton Farrer.

May the Lord bless each of you today, tomorrow, and eternally.


- Shamarie Claiborne
Obedient Child of God and believer of My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

This story was posted on 2014-01-20 10:53:51
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Talyn Wheeler

2014-01-21 - Louisville, KY - Photo from Shamarie Claiborne, ADAIR BAND.
A recent photo of Talyn Wheeler

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