AWAKENINGS

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

8.06.07 — Gratitude

I am ecstatic to report that I am the proud owner of a very strong ham string in the left leg. Yes,
my lower left leg can now move backwards from the knee down to the foot on its own! This is a
first!!!!! In fact, I feel my gluteus maximus beginning to kick in, along with other abdominal
and leg muscles that haven‘t felt alive for fifteen years. I have a weird sensation that I can
deeply tense my calf muscles. The awareness in my lower limbs is strangely phenomenal—as if
a little electrical current has been turned on filtering pins-and-needle tingles all the way to my
toes. This is all apparent after my most recent two embryonic stem cell procedures. My body is
waking up and I am both the audience watching synonymous with the actors playing out the
motions. I applaud with glee at the slightest flicker of movement, and I sweat with exertion to
fire-up a body part that has been paralyzed for what seems like an eternity.

NuTech MediWorld

Last Saturday Gabrielle and I checked back into Room 201 at Nutech Mediworld. Within
minutes I was draped in a bottle-green gown lying face-up on a gurney. In the Operating
Theater, three masked angels dressed in blue maneuvered my body into the fetal position as Dr.
Ashish Verma prepared the stem cell syringes for injection. As if on cue, the power cut out
completely but the trusty generator light kept shining on my back. This procedure entailed
swabbing my back down with a sterile solution and then numbing the area. Dr. Ashish then
inserted an extremely fine needle in between my lumbar vertebrae directly into my spinal cord,
which was similar to an epidural. He then injected two syringes of stem cells into the cord. The
procedure itself took a matter of minutes and was pain free. I rolled onto my back and lay still
for fifteen minutes. I was then transported back to my room and asked to lie flat on my back
without moving for the next six hours. The foot of my bed was elevated on two bricks so that
my head tilted downhill. I felt a little dizziness and pressure in my head yet it was tolerable. At
8:00 p.m. I was allowed to roll onto my side but I wasn‘t meant to sit upright for the next twelve
hours until 8:00 a.m. the following morning. Four bottles of electrolyte fluids pumped through
my veins in the course of the evening and the next morning. Three separate antibiotic injections
staved off possible infection. I‘ve been jabbed that many times in India I‘m beginning to feel
like a pin-cushion. With obstinate intravenous needles I sometimes wonder why I voluntarily
signed up for such torture. Then, when I pee on my own I quickly remind myself why.
Gabrielle and I passed the time with visits from Martin, the blind diabetic patient who continues
to show improvement in both blood sugar levels decreasing to normal; and he is regaining his
sight so that he can make out more defined images. At one point I tried to play travel Scrabble
flat on my back with the board in the air and an IV dripping through the veins in my wrist.
When the IV ceased to trickle because my hand was too high we gave up the game. As they
jabbed the other wrist to begin another IV, Gab even sang to me.

When I was totally bored and lying on my left side with the right knee tucked behind my left
knee, I pointed my finger to my lower left leg and exclaimed with full intention,
“Gabrielle, I just want to move that leg over there! ”
After I made that comment, I moved my leg…just as I had intended. Stunned, I said,
“Did you see that?”
“YES! OH MY GOD, did I see that? Amanda, you moved your leg!”
“Yes, I moved my leg!”

Gabrielle leapt from her bed and was standing before my legs saying, “Do it again!” I did it again. I moved my left leg from the knee down backwards from the edge of the bed to
the center of the bed four times. On the fourth time the movement became weaker. I was
isolating my lower limb completely—a movement that had to stem from the ham string.
Gab screamed, “Call Dr. Shroff! You must tell her.”

Today I demonstrated my new leg movement to the physio therapists: Chavi, Deepti, and
Deepak; and to Dr. Ashish, and Dr. Shroff. Dr. Ashish was so excited he ordered a spontaneous
deep spinal muscle‘ procedure in the OT. It was another fifteen minute procedure involving
injections of stem cells directly into the back muscles on either side of my spinal cord. The
injection on the left side was excruciatingly painful as the fluid bled through my left buttocks,
thigh and lower limb. The burning pain was unbearable…but with time, it dissipated. I felt
electrical tingles all the way to my toes on each leg.

My limbs are responding beautifully, my mind is alert and positive, and I am grateful beyond
words. It‘s all worth it! I ask, ―How can we deny a world filled with spinal cord injured patients
the right and opportunity to receive this miraculous treatment? It has been fifteen years that I haven‘t been able to move my lower left leg on my own…and now I can. While the movement
is slight and fatigues easily, it is there. I am living proof that human embryonic stem cells work!
I have immense gratitude in my heart and soul. I am thankful for the body that is mine. I
ventured into this journey free of expectation or attachment to a specific outcome. One percent
change in my body would have been a small miracle…but I never imagined that I would begin to regain my bodily functions and accomplish all that I can do and feel today. I embrace my legs,
my bladder, my bowels, my abdomen, and my nerves with a golden light of love and gratitude.
My body is a temple and my legs are connected. I am not a half a woman but a whole woman—I
am One. I have a song in my heart that is peaceful. I give thanks…so many thanks for this
opportunity to be here in India and I feel blessed to be receiving the gift of life.

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