McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

February 1, 2013

Virginia woman pieces together 17 years lost to amnesia

(Continued)

Shawnda and Shaylin now live with Marsha in a house in the woods on the outskirts of Frederick County, in Virginia, decorated front to back with Wild West-themed artwork and antiques.

Shawnda Rush doesn't leave the house without her precisely done makeup and array of jangly bracelets. These days, she's less into miniskirts and heels than she was as a younger woman, and is now more comfortable in jeans and a sweater. She talks with a mild country twang, and her demeanor sways quickly and easily between that of a giddy pre-teen and of a 38-year-old woman weathered by multiple sclerosis.

A normal day includes fatigue, numbness, muscle spasms and temperature sensitivity. A bad day includes migraines, vision problems, extreme fatigue and emotional lows. She undergoes difficult, monthly infusions of the drug Tysabri.

"The infusion takes a little over an hour, and then after that they take the IV out, and they have to monitor you to find out if you're going to die," she said, laughing.

But Shawnda is at least lucky that her massive memory loss coincided with the advent of a tool for rekindling relationships: Facebook.

"You've got to love it," Cindy Davekos-Wilson said. "I got curious if she was on there. She has never not been in my mind."

Cindy couldn't find Shawnda under her married name and had never known her maiden name. In August 2010, however, she woke up to a realization: Shawnda's mother's name was Marsha Rush. She sat down at the computer and typed in "Shawnda Rush." Bingo.

Shawnda accepted her friend request, and the pair reconnected over lunch last March. Cindy told Shawnda stories about her former life, and Shawnda told her that neither Shawnda nor her mother had anything to do with her husband banning Cindy from the house. They both cried at the sandwich shop that day. After being strangers for the better part of a decade, the two were friends again.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.