AWAKENINGS

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

8.15.07 — Dale’s Arrival Heralds Right Leg Movement!

August 13 was a significant day—the day that my right toe and right hamstring kicked in!
Yahoooooooo! This day also marked Dale‘s arrival on a flight that was three hours late. As I
nervously waited outside customs with a red lumpy rash covering my entire face and a uneasy
tummy, I chatted with a South African lady and handed over my most precious commodity—
toilet paper. (As a side note, in two months I never contracted the dreaded Delhi Belly!) Better
safe than not…how could I let this lady venture out into the streets of Delhi without this absolute
necessity?
Finally I had Dale by my side to experience the beauty of the people, my progress, and treatment.
Dale knows my body…a body that used to be swollen and bloated, with flaccid muscle tone, no
leg movement, and a lot of stiffness and spasticity in my lower limbs. After we left the airport
we headed straight into Chavi for therapy. Dale was astounded by my new appearance
(regardless of my red-dotted face), and how my body had changed so radically in two months.
Per Dr. Ashish‘s orders, we jumped in a car for the older hospital to prepare for a two-day spinal
procedure. Dale hopped right into treatment and my routine with ease. He was such a loving
support and a comfort—what I had longed for two months.
Room 201 was waiting for our arrival, along with the familiar bottle green gown and cute, giggly
nurses. Opi and Dimples escorted me into the Operating Theater one last time. Dr. Ashish
performed the procedure with confidence and delightful chatter as I lay on my side in the fetal
position. He inserted another five inch long catheter into the outer sheath of my spinal cord and
taped down the tubing that ran up my entire spine. A port hung over my shoulder, which Dr.
Ashish used to inject the embryonic stem cells. He gave me a more concentrated dose in two
syringes and tilted my body slightly to the right so the stem cells bled into the nerves on my right
side. I felt icy cold stem cells encased in tubing traveling down the outside of my back and into
the catheter. Extreme heaviness swept through my right leg and the familiar pressure of a
million rubber bands compressed my muscles. My burning pain increased with almost
unbearable intensity and then dissipated after a few minutes. After receiving my final big dose,
Dr. Ashish made a pact with me, which was settled with a firm handshake. He said, ―Lie flat on
your back until 7:30 p.m. Do not move your body at all. At eight o‘clock I want you to move
your right hamstring with the same intention that you used for your left. Deal?‖
―Yes Dr. Ashish. Deal! I‘ll move my right hamstring, I promise!‖ I made this statement with
complete confidence…and in front of Dale, with both of our eyes focused on my lower right leg
as I lay on my side isolating my upper body and hip flexors; I moved my right hamstring on
command! My leg and foot moved backwards from the knee down. The movement was slight
(an inch or two is all) but it was there. I then sat up with glee and said, ―Let me try my toes.‖
With the same intention, I moved my right toe repeatedly. Dr. Ashish came in to check after 8
p.m. and upon hearing my news he high-fived my right hand in the air with elation.
―See, I told you. Anything is possible Amanda. You will continue to see improvements.‖
As I lay flat that evening on a thin hospital bed, Dale curled up next to me. He was exhausted
and jet-lagged. His feet lay next to mine. All of a sudden I felt a deep sensation in my right foot
as though he had rubbed it with his foot. I sat up and looked at our feet. They were still.
―Did you rub my foot with your foot?‖ I asked inquisitively.
―Yes, did you feel that?‖
―Yes, do it again!‖ And Dale rubbed the bottom of my foot over and over. I could feel a deep
sensation and I knew he was there, rubbing away. My leg didn‘t spasm at all. I could simply
feel his rubbing deeply underneath my skin.
―Can you feel it now?‖ He asked.
―No….‖ I hesitated as I looked at him with disappointed eyes.
―Hah! I was testing you…I stopped. What about now?‖
―Yes….yes….and yes!‖
Dale had witnessed three little miracles in the span of an hour. He was speechless. He couldn‘t
believe what he was seeing with his own eyes…my body was coming alive.
In summary, here is a list of the noticeable changes in my body that have taken place over the
past two months of receiving human embryonic stem cell treatment. Keep in mind that I have
sustained a spinal cord injury and paraplegia for 15 1⁄2 years—since February 27, 1992. During that time, my disability has remained stable. While I have not regressed, I have definitely not
shown any progress with muscle power or return of sensation. I have kept my legs supple and
alive with regular massage and occasional acupuncture and acupressure, which contributed to my
overall well-being. My active life-style was also a plus.

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