Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Appearance on Animal Planet

Having never been on television, it was a unique experience to see myself and my family on the screen. I looked way too old on high-definition TV (do I look that way in person?) At least the analog televisions didn’t show every wrinkle. Now I know why people spend so much time in make-up. Yeah, I know, vanity, vanity! They should have sent one of those miracle workers along with the cameramen and interviewers. I heard comments from my kids like, "That doesn't look like you." What is that supposed to mean?

There were also some scenes needed that weren't shot in Gainesville. I did a double-take when another woman appeared on the screen impersonating me. Where did she come from? And a lot of events were omitted for the sake of brevity. Really, I am not that paranoid about headaches—except my father and aunt died of a brain tumor. If you know that bit of information, my initial concern about Manisha’s head hurting makes more sense.

But I am thankful for the opportunity that Animal Planet gave my family to share the story and disseminate the information about the pork tapeworm in the brain. It is the most common parasitic infection of the nervous system in the developing world. Six percent of the population in Asia, Africa, and South America are infected. More knowledge about this condition will help doctors and the public to be aware of and prevent this sometimes fatal malady.

I also appreciate the time and effort of all those who were involved in Manisha's care, the filming of the show, and who helped to bless us with a successful outcome. I want to thank the family with the eight-year-old adopted daughter from Nepal who played Manisha in the reenactments. She was a real trooper. I want to thank Joy for allowing us to use her bedroom for Manisha's interview. And lastly, I want to thank Manisha for being willing to share her story on national television. Not every teenager has the guts to do that!

This whole experience has touched each of us in significant ways. Hopefully you have vicariously shared in this journey on “Monsters Inside Me” and in my book Children of Dreams. May God receive the glory for His healing touch on Manisha.

If you want to read the full story, as they say, usually the book is better than the movie, please check out my book Children of Dreams, available at, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstores. I am also available for interviews and speaking engagements within the Gainesville area (and maybe outside the area if I have the time).

If you missed the airing yesterday, “Shape Shifters” will be shown again on Animal Planet on August 31st at 8pm and 11pm. When it’s available on the Discovery website, I will post a link to the episode here.

Lastly, if you would like to follow me on my blog, click on the “follow” just a little ways down the page on the right, and click again there. I do not send out an e-zine for all my blogs—so there will be more there you might enjoy reading. Plus, I would love to get a hundred people on my “follow” list. I have been told that makes you look good, and since I want to publish another book someday, I guess I better get started.

My thought for the day: Life is too short–may we focus on the moment since that’s all we have and give it our best. No complaining allowed. Try it. And then thank God He gave you one more day. Life is a gift—share it.

Don't forget to leave a comment so your name will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of Children of Dreams on September 1. Check back here for the winner.


  1. How exciting! I pray that lots of good publicity will come out of this TV appearance!

  2. That's awesome! I'm proud of everything you got going on for you :) keep up the good work!

  3. I watched this the other night and it was great! I'm proud of you!

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. My father has a similar story and I wanted to know how did you get on the show? Did you send a video or write a letter to animal planet