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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An MS Patients' Diary of his Stem Cell Therapy treatment

Written By: Preston Walker

After undergoing adult stem cell treatment in May 2008 for multiple sclerosis, I felt better than I had in several years. About 10 months after the treatment, I noticed my depression and fatigue symptoms had returned. I recognized this as the beginning symptoms of what I experienced in the late 90's that ultimately led to my diagnosis in December 2001. I wanted to catch the disease before it progressed any further. I had already done my research leading up to the eventual trip to Costa Rica. After the first treatment going as well as it did, I didn't have to do any more research. I made arrangements to hop back on a plane for more therapy through the Institute of Cellular Medicine (ICM) in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Staff at ICM was still as compassionate as I remember from my initial treatment. I can't imagine a better experience with staff at a clinic, anywhere.

I again stayed at the Apartotel Christina. ICM left my treatment schedule within my room. I discovered my treatment would consist of another mini-liposuction, two intravenous injections of stem cells taken from my fat tissue, two intrathecal injections and three sessions of physical therapy.
I went through my second intrathecal injection as well as my second IV injection of stem cells taken from my own fat.

A hint on the injections. The intrathecal (into the spinal cord) sounds very painful. The procedure has been compared to an epidural that most women allow during child birth. My wife told me she didn't feel it because well,,she was distracted!! It is not much different for the guys with the exception that we aren't giving birth!! I barely felt either injection.

When I underwent the mini-liposuction, they didn't take any fat from the same areas they did last year. Specifically, fat was taken from my inner thighs and lower back. Before the IV injection of those stem cells, Dr. Tomas told me staff at CIMA hospital was unable to get enough stem cells to only use mine so she coupled the injection with adult stem cells taken from donated umbilical cords.

Apparently the magic number for the injections is 50 million stem cells. The second mini-lipo was a little more painful than the first. I can summarize that experience and my outlook on the pain with this, if I must endure pain with hope of improving my quality of life - bring on the pain!!!
I compared the physical therapists at CIMA hospital to drill sergeants in United States Army boot camp that I experienced in 1987 where some very serious "learning" exercises were provided. That was long ago but they made a lasting impression on me.

My drill sergeant in 2009 is named Jennifer. The one thing you can say about the physical therapists at CIMA hospital is that they are consistently trained!! They are very compassionate but tough as nails. When my physical therapy sessions concluded, she concluded my session by giving me printed instructions on the exercises we had been doing. .

There is one change this time. Dr. Riordan and staff are keeping 20% of the stem cells for use should I ever need to come back. Dr. Riordan said he is doing that to keep us from undergoing another mini-liposuction.. I thank God for that man's intelligence!!

I haven't noticed much improvement yet from this second treatment. Possibly, my hopes should be more realistic. I didn't get here over night so the return to health will not happen quickly either.
Richard Humphries, whom I underwent stem cell injections with in 2008, had already returned for his second treatment. The difference between he and I is that a symptom of his MS involved the loss of hearing. His hearing improved dramatically after the first treatment. Richard returned because scientists there believed they discovered the stem cell responsible for inner ear hair growth. His return involved the hope that his hearing would be improved even more.

Richard experienced other improvements but they took several months to materialize and were more subtle. He has already been through this for the second time so, I wait patiently. I will keep you informed as I notice any improvements.

More updates to follow as time permits

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