Shawna has been through more than most 29 year olds. She has diffuse scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, a disease characterized by hardening of the skin and potentially life-threatening effects to internal organs. While this disease normally effects older individuals, Shawna started noticing symptoms at just 14 years old. The rapid progression of her disease was so concerning that doctors recommended she undergo a stem cell transplant (also known as a bone marrow transplant) to completely reset her immune system.
In episode 15 of the Major Pain podcast, Shawna takes us through her incredible journey with diffuse scleroderma. She discusses her initial diagnosis, trial and error with different medications, and the decline that prompted a stem cell transplant. She takes us through the entire transplant process, discussing the risks, preparation and recovery from this intense procedure. She also discusses being immunocompromised in a world stricken by Covid-19, most notably how her immunosuppressant drugs prevented the Covid vaccine from working in her body.