Saturday, November 17, 2018

A New Hope - A Stem Cell Journey

As a person who suffers from chronic issues I am like many out there, always searching for that cure that takes away the pain. In early August, while I was at a stop light, a teenager backed into my car. It was a minor accident with unexpected results.

In 2009, while I was on one of my fitness kicks, I ended up needing back surgery on my L5 & S1. Talk about a pain, wowzers. But once the surgery happened and the bone fragment was removed, I was all better. I had fallen while in the middle of a ‘boot camp’ running course. Well, as you know, once you have back pains it is easy to become reinjured and that’s what happened.

I don’t completely understand the mechanics of kinetic energy and the transference of it but what I do know, my back and shoulder hurt after my car took a rocking when the kid backed into me. My right shoulder was killing me, I was laying on the horn with my arm extended fully on impact. Looking back I can see why that was a dumb decision, I should have been more relaxed and maybe the impact wouldn’t have jarred me so much.

Two and a half months later I’m at the point in my recovery that it’s either surgery to repair the herniated disc that happened or live with the pain. The law firm that I hired suggested I try stem cells.

Not sure if you all know much about stem cells but that is something that my husband and I have researched. I first really got interested in it after hearing a Joe Rogan podcast with Mel Gibson when they were discussing how it has helped them or their family members. I knew about the controversy of it with embryos and abortions but what I didn’t know was all the different ways you could actually acquire them.

And that’s where this new journey begins. When it was suggested I said absolutely, I don’t want anymore surgeries. Remember I am just 18 months out of my hysterectomy which took a large toll on my body. Not to mention I am the mom of a special needs son who requires a lot of my attention. I don’t have the capacity to be down for any length of time.

I went into my consultation with the orthopedic surgeon who administers the stem cells on a Tuesday. He was informing me of the different successes he personally has felt by the stem cells and some of the others he has witnessed. Once the exam was done and all of the questions were answered they went to get the infusion.

The doctor told me that the auto-immune issues I suffer from should have healing results within 72 hours and my back would take 3 weeks to 6 months to heal. I was game, this sounded like a miracle. But like any medical instant gratification I was skeptical. I’ve suffered from chronic pain for so long sometimes it’s hard to remember what life without pain is like. But, I’m always up for an attempt.

The infusion took twenty minutes, and fifteen of them were trying to find a vein. It was painless and very easy. Then I went home. I felt a little high about an hour afterwards. I’ve not been high in real life so it was what I assumed being high felt like. It is really hard to explain but I told my husband I just felt odd.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt significantly less pain. It was like wow, this has to be a placebo, no way it worked this fast. Within 48 hours I was virtually pain free. It was amazing. Here is a list of all the things that I noticed changing within the first FOUR days.

- My lower back pain has been reduced at least 90%. I still have some twinges of pain when I move wrong but, I am not in constant pain. When the pain does hit, it vanishes just as quick as it came.

- My sleep has improved. Probably because my back isn’t in pain. The past month (prior to the infusion) I had to take steroids when I woke up in order to function and move around. Because the disc are pressing on nerves. It’s been two and a half week’s and I have only taken 1 5MG steroid. I was taking 10-15/day for a while there just to ease the pain, not get rid of it.

- My right wrist, as you may know or may not, in the 90’s I was in Martial Arts. Which included board breaking. Well I was as stubborn then as I am now and didn’t always follow my instructors advice. During board breaking with a palm heel strike I choose to not listen. My right wrist has hurt ever since, for TWENTY years. Within 48 hours it was PAIN FREE!

- When I woke up Saturday, just 4 days after, I thought I was crazy. I’ve had double vision damn near my whole life. It’s gone. I mean, there is a touch of it still, but it isn’t noticeable at all. My glasses have prism’s inside them and now I can’t wear them because they hurt my eyes too much. I had issues with my eyes auto-focusing and now that seems gone too. I do still feel like the astigmatisms  is there. My eyes feel like they still need some assistance I just can’t go in yet to see how much. Because I can tell they are still changing.

- My Eye Thyroid Disease, an auto-immune disorder, feels way less. I no longer am experiencing the pressure around my eyes. I don’t have the constant need to apply pressure to ease the tension in my eyebrows or just over my eye lids. It’s crazy.

- Sjogren Syndrome, another auto-immune disease, seems better. This causes dry eyes and dry mouth. If anyone of you ever ate with me you would know the amount of water I generally consume in a meal is easily 4-5 large cups. I easily drank 160 ounces of water a day. Over the last week (remember I’m at 2.5 weeks out now) I can tell a major decrease in my water craving. I also notice my eyes seem to not be as dry. Which is such a relief!

- Rheumatoid Arthritis pain in my joints is gone. You heard me, gone. My left ankle has been giving me non-stop problems since April 2017 and now, nothing. Thank God! My left foot and right wrist have been a constant pain which of course required horrible medication for. I gained almost 60 pounds on the RA medication in 4 months. So now I am just praying I can reverse all that with this infusion seeming to have helped the RA so much.

There has been one unexpected consequence from the stem cells that I am working to fix. My eyes now have a different pain, pain from the light. It’s like they are very very sensitive and I didn’t see that coming. My glasses had transition lenses so they protected me from the sun or other bright lights. Now because I can’t wear them my eyes are left exposed. My husband bought me some very nice sunglasses with that wonderful UV protection which instantly eased the pain. Now if I could just walk around indoors wearing them without looking crazy I’d be all set.

This has truly been a wild experience. I went in for help with my lower back and not only did I receive it, but I had so many other happy windfalls of side effects. What a gift!

What really has me complexed about all of this though is, why isn’t it covered under insurance to begin with? Just think if we could all get an infusion of this to help aid in the cure of so many different things, it would save thousands of dollars.

I will never understand the insurance world, and I don’t know that I want to. They would rather profit than see people succeed. This stem cell treatment, it’s a success. I can’t wait to see how my back feels in a month or two more months. It would be wonderful to not have those shooting nerve pains racing down my left leg. Or the need to flinch every time I stand up. 90% relief is a huge thing, but I guess time will tell if I can get to 100%.

I am going to document this journey because I think it’s important for people to know what options they have out there. Because people suffer daily, and maybe this could help.

The Doctor’s name is Dr. Henry Small - here is his website.  

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