Sixteen-months-less-one day; prayer request

February 28, 2014 | By | Add a Comment
17Nov12 UVa glowing Shayna 2b

November 17, 2012. Shayna’s amazing smile, and coat, glowing at the University of Virginia, just two weeks after she collapsed, and was diagnosed with this terrible disease (heart-based tumor).

To Shayna’s friends, and donors to her Health Fund:

Despite all the misfortune that I describe in my book, that affected both Shayna and me as youngsters, and me recently, I still have many reasons to feel like the luckiest guy I know.  And this feeling undergirds me as I write this, such a difficult post, when all I want to do is cry.  But for all those who donated to Shayna’s Health Fund, I promised to keep you updated on what your generosity has helped to achieve – and if and when things change – and that is why I am now writing, two days before the next updated I planned (which would have been entitled “Sixteen-Months-Plus-One-Day”).

SUMMARY: Shayna’s heart tumor has grown significantly, is now pressing up on the right side of her heart, causing her to collect fluid in her chest cavity and abdomen.  The fluid was removed yesterday by our cardiologist, but it is now clear that while we have reset the clock, it is on a much shorter timer.  At best, we are looking at months.  At worst, far less.  For now, thank goodness, Shayna looks and acts just like she always does (I will be posting video tomorrow).  But for those of you who are religious or spiritual, I ask that you please pray for her.

DETAIL: Until about a week ago, as you saw in our last update (see Happy “Fifteen-Months-Plus-One-Day”!!!), Shayna was doing amazingly well.  She still is. Three to five intense play sessions a day, a ravenous appetite, loves going to the Senior Center to visit with the older folks, basking in their love as she puts smiles on their faces, etc.

But about five or six days ago I began to notice that her belly seemed to be a little tiny bit distended.  When she laid on her side, atop one of her legs, it became even more apparent.  Of course this frightened me terribly, for it was the discovery of an inoperable, bleeding tumor on the base of her heart, on October 30, 2012, that set this entire situation in motion – at which time she was given one day to four months to live (see Section 2 here).  Here’s a picture of what I observed on February 23:

23Feb14 Belly 2

It doesn’t look like much.  But it was enough to compel me yesterday, February 26, to bring her in to see our wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Anna Paling, at Virginia Veterinary Specialists.  But before I did, we went on a few long walks, Shayna did her training (vigorously!), and we visited the Senior Center, which she loves to do (see video here; more here).  Here are some pictures from our visit on this particular day, taken a few minutes before our visit with Dr. Paling.  We had just arrived at the administrative offices, which Shayna enjoys visiting after saying her hellos to all the seniors in all the rooms, and they all greeted her as lovingly as they always do (you can see the grin on her face):

26Feb14 Hug4

26Feb14 Hug3

26Feb14 Hug2

26Feb14 Hug1

Then, however, my worst fears were realized.

Dr. Paling sedated Shayna, performed an ultrasound of her chest and abdomen, and discovered how much the tumor has grown, and that there was fluid in both areas.  I authorized her to then sedate Shayna, and needle-extract all the fluid.  That’s where we are now.  Here is a picture I took this morning, after we got back from our walk.  Note the shaved area.

27Feb14 After procedure

So that’s where we are.

Those who know and love Shayna, please say a prayer.

If you’re so inclined, donate a few bucks to her health fund.

And enjoy this video, the title of which is the only word that I feel describes what Shayna means to me, aside from “miracle.”

As always, thanks to everyone who has helped us to get this far.





Filed in: Shayna's medical condition

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