12Mar13: “Celebrating 4 months plus 1, 2, 3, 4…”

March 12, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Shayna and her very proud dad as we drove to the park, March 9, 2013.

Summary: Shayna is doing amazingly well.  We are very, very fortunate, especially for those who’ve donated to Shayna’s Health Fund, which helps enable me to continue providing her with the array of medicines and supplements that, so far, are keeping her in such amazing health.

Previously: See our February 8 update, which contains a detailed description of Shayna’s medical situation, and the remarkable progress we’ve made.  Basically, on October 30, she was diagnosed with a hideous disease, and given an anticipated lifespan of one day to four months.

On March 1, we celebrated what I termed “Four Months Plus One Day,” and each day after that has been a new celebration – just as every one since I adopted her, on April 7, 2002, has been.


  • Shayna has her good days and bad, as before.
  • Overall, she is doing extremely well.  She is maintaining her ideal weight, and while her energy level fluctuates, on whole she is quite active, as shown in the videos and pictures below.
  • Thank you to everyone who has helped us to get to this point, through your prayers, encouragement and financial donations to her Health Fund.


Notable aspects of Shayna’s life as of March 12, 2013:

  • Shayna’s new talking basketball hoop: It counts off and speaks how many tennis balls she’s dunked, and cheers her after the third one.

    Shayna’s new talking basketball hoop: It counts off and speaks how many tennis balls she’s dunked, and cheers her after the third one.

    We’ve begun doing near-daily visits to the Senior Center, which Shayna absolutely loves.  I hated leaving her at home when I go out for my morning coffee at Panera or similar, but it’s often way too cold to sit outside these days.  So, as she loves to visit the older folks, and they love having her there, and as they have free Wi-Fi… a light bulb went on in my head about a month ago and, voila!  A good time is being had by all.  See a raw video of our visit on March 1, here.

  • Shayna has now memorized the names of 43 toys, and can put away by name.  See the videos below for the fun we have with this trick.
  • We’ve recently begun working with her flash cards again; I show her the picture of the toy I wan her to retrieve, and she does so.  Video below.
  • In late February, I got her a talking basketball hoop (right), that counts off how many tennis balls she dunks, and cheers at her when she’d done three.
  • We still go on our long walks around the University of Virginia on Shayna’s good days, but haven’t done many recently, because it’s been so cold.

March 11: At Panera, getting ready to do some work, and give Shayna her treats.

08Mar13-ShinyShaynasmile 09Mar13-SmilingShaynaAtUVa 09Mar13-DrivingWithDad2   20Feb13 - Shayna UVA5 20Feb13 - Shayna UVA2 09Mar13-SmilingShaynaAtUVa




March 7: Working with Shayna’s flash cards, and her new talking basketball hoop

Regarding her talking basketball hoop, I’d recently heard about them from somewhere – and decided to get a small one for Shayna. Basically it verbally and visually counts off how many balls she dunks, and after the third one, it plays audience applause.  And on February 26, I finally got her one (video below of her first interaction with it, showing how quickly she “got it.”).  After several weeks of training, her ability to follow my command from a distance, to take one of her balls, bring it to the basket, and drop it into the basket.

Also, as you can see, she is really starting to get the concept of relating her real-life toys to the flat pictorial depictions of them, on her flash cards.


March 5: Toy training outside, on a warm day, taken for a friend:

Shayna’s had a rough couple of days, just kind of feeling icky.  Today, she sat through a long discussion I had with a good friend – to whom I hoped to give a live demo of Shayna doing her toy retrieval training, but we ran out of time.  So as it was relatively warm today, after our meeting I went to a nearby grassy field to give Shayna the training session she’d so patiently waited to engage in..  Enjoy – I think she got 100% of her toys (about 16 that I brought, out of 75 total toys) correct.


February 26: Shayna learning to dunk her tennis balls in her new talking basketball hoop (1 hour after she first saw her new basketball backboard)

This is probably the happiest video I’ve taken with Shayna in a long time.  The video was shot about an hour after I installed the hoop near our play area. As it’s winter, we haven’t played with her tennis balls for quite some time, and at one point, I tell her to get one, but instead, she gets her Waldo toy. But then, she starts to “get it” in a big way. You can hear my joy, and see hers, as she begins to master this new toy:


Filed in: Shayna's medical condition, The Blog

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