In mid-life, Shannon was diagnosed with cancer. She had been a shy child, raised by her mother and stepfather in a trailer park. Her stepfather isolated her and her mother from the rest of the family, told neighbors that his family was crazy, and physically abused his family members. Shannon came to avoid others, labeling herself as shy. No one in their family had attended college, and, after high school, she joined the Navy. In the Navy, she was assigned to a personnel position for which she regularly needed to interact with others. This, in turn, forced her to act in a more outgoing fashion.