Sept. 3, 2013 update: Happy “Ten-Months-Plus-Three-Day!”

September 3, 2013 | By | Add a Comment


This is the latest in a series of updates to bring our friends, and donors to Shayna’s Health Fund, up to speed on the latest concerning her health, life and outlook.  If you’re new to this site, or want a refresher on Shayna’s medical conditions, see previous updates:


Shayna as my co-pilot (August 18, 2013)

Shayna as my co-pilot (August 18, 2013)

Today, September 3, 2013 is “Ten-Months-Plus-Three-Day,” meaning that it was ten months and three days ago that Shayna was given a tragic diagnosis – of one day to four months to live.  Shayna, however, decided that she didn’t like that prediction.  And thanks to her amazingly strong spirit, our awesome medical team, and those who have donated to her Health Fund, she is still enjoying life and is super-active, more than ten months later.

This update contains:

  • The latest on Shayna’s medical conditions: In a word, she is doing awesome, and all the procedures and therapies we’ve employed are working exactly as we hoped.  I have more reason than ever to feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
  • Videos showing how amazingly active Shayna is, in regards to doing our toy-retrieval training, and our outdoor adventures.


The latest on Shayna’s medical conditions

Heart condition


Shayna doing her toy-retrieval training at U.Va.; see video below (August 14).

Summary: The periocardectomy that was performed on May 29 (to remove the balloon that contains Shayna’s heart) is apparently working exactly as it was hoped – her body is absorbing and expelling whatever fluid leaks from the tumor on her heart.

Details: I brought Shayna in to see Dr. Paling (our awesome cardiologist) twice between July 1 and today, because of scares that fluid was building up in her chest cavity, indicated by apparent lethargy and other factors.  The first exam (with x-rays) on July 15 revealed a notable but not significant or worrisome amount of fluid in her chest cavity.  It was hoped that as her body healed from her surgery, it would do what we hoped – be able to begin absorbing and expelling whatever fluid does leak.

We had another visit on August 12, for the same reason – but it had also been terribly hot, and we were experiencing near-daily thunderstorms for weeks, which cause Shayna to freak out. The great news is that the x-rays showed that there was practically zero fluid in her chest or abdomen – meaning that what we most hoped for had come true, at least for now.

Weight issue

Glowing Shayna at Barracks Rd. Shopping Center, Sept. 2, 2013

Glowing Shayna at Barracks Rd. Shopping Center, Sept. 2, 2013.

Since Shayna’s May 29 surgery, her metabolism has apparently increased significantly.  A month after discharge she weighed in at 51.5 lbs, more than 8 lbs. under her ideal weight (at that time) of 60 lbs.  This became a source of concern to Dr. Paling, who urged me to let Shayna “pig out,” particularly as she said that her tumor is, or will be diverting nutrients to itself, that would otherwise be used for general sustenance.  The great news is that Shayna is now at around 55 lbs., which we speculate may be her “new normal.”

Kidney issues

On August 19, after something else caused me concern, we did complete bloodwork and urinalysis.  The great news is that  which showed that Shayna is doing perfect – all her organs are functioning perfectly.  The only minor blip is that her iron was slightly low, which we are addressing with an over-the-counter supplement.

So, as you can see, I have lots of reasons to feel amazingly positive, like the luckiest guy in the world right now.  Plus…

Shayna’s going to be a TV star!

On August 25, the Charlottesville CBS-TV affiliate spent the morning filming an interview with me, and Shayna doing her trick routines, for an upcoming feature they’re producing on my upcoming book, and Shayna’s Health Fund.  Once the feature airs and the video is posted on the station’s website, I will email it Shayna’s friends and donors.




August 14 toy-retrieval training at UVa’s Darden School

This is what we do at least twice a day, every day – though mostly inside, because it has been so hot and humid this summer!!!


August 31 walk through the woods; shout-outs to our amazing medical team



July 29 walk around UVa Lawn

Our favorite place in the world.


July 26 ride to the Senior Center

Video of Shayna and me riding to the nearby Senior Center, so she can go visit her elderly friends. See pics and videos of earlier visits here:


Thank you to everyone who helped make this day and this bliss possible.


Filed in: Shayna's medical condition, The Blog

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