AWAKENINGS

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

Feb. 1st: Farewell Note from Rusty & Kathy Leech

Visit Rusty’s amazing blog at: 

www.rustywithoutwheels.com 

A Note from Kathy…

This the end of January and we simply cannot believe it. Our two months of embryonic stem cell therapy has gone by so fast and so slow. Although it is the end of therapy, it is just the beginning of a long road back to mobility for Rusty.

After being here and seeing the leaps of improvement in most patients, we thank God for placing this trip in our path.

Rusty began with much independence – he drives, he works, he exercises, and he (for the most part) takes care of himself. But human nature always “wants” more. He misses walking in the aspen trees, smelling wet leaves, being on the same hillside as the wildlife, getting up in the morning without terrible back pain. He is still far from being able to return to those activities without depending on Kirk or me or someone . . . but he is one tiny step closer to making it possible. Rusty has found the way to mobility and now has the ability to move his legs and his feet, and has a little muscle power in the bowel/bladder. The work is in building enough muscle:  to hold himself up while standing; to push urine out; and to steady himself when he gets off-balance. The next step is to improve on all this and then get some sensation back as well. Human nature always “wants” more.  Rusty leaves here with more independence. We leave having experienced much, seen much, and hopefully, learned much. There will be parts of our lives that will change forever from this trip to India.

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Rusty comes home with calipers that can help him walk, however, at first he will only be able to walk at our home and with parallel bars. With much work to strengthen himself and a second trip back to India, the plan is to be able to walk with calipers and a walker or arm crutches; have more power over his bowel/bladder; and have the deep sensation rise to the skin surface for a light-touch sensation. Possibly, by the third or fourth trip here for stem cell injections, our goal is to be able to “feel” when the bladder is full, get up in the morning and not have pain all day in his back, and to be able to walk to the coffee pot without calipers or braces or crutches. Human nature always “wants” more. Our hopes . . . among many . . . would be to not forget what it was like before stem cell therapy so that we would always, always be thankful and appreciative and humble. As part of the changes in our lives, we want to live simpler, waste less, be kinder just like the strangers we have met in India, and make some contribution to mankind. Maybe we will write a book or maybe we can help by speaking before Congress. Human embryonic stem cells are the way to medical independence and hope for patients suffering from incurable and terminal conditions like Parkinsonism, motor neuron disease, Alzheimer, paralysis, diabetes, or genetic and other auto-immune disorders. As the years wear on without treatment, muscle mass is lost, self-dependence is lost, general health deteriorates, resistence to infection goes down, etc., etc.  We feel it is imperative in a diagnosed, incurable case, the earlier the patient starts human embryonic stem cell therapy the faster the chances are for recovery.

Please learn all you can about stem cells as it could touch you or (maybe worse) someone in your family. As I understand it from Dr. Geeta Shroff’s book, Human Embryonic Stem Cells (2005), there are three major types of stem cell: embryonic, fetal and adult (which includes cord stem cells). Each comes from different sources and has somewhat different properties. The line of human embryonic stem cells used by Dr. Shroff was from one surplus embryo given by a suitable donor created and extracted in a petri dish (which would have been discarded had it not been donated). This one embryonic stem cell then produced the line from which Dr. Shroff is treating her patients. We are so thankful. Rusty’s success is that he got more results than we “hoped” for (we did not “expect” anything).

Please check in on this blog every once in a while as we will occasionally report Rusty’s progress and status. For us from India, it is back to our beloved America, our work and lifestyle, and, of course, the SUPER BOWL on Sunday February 3rd

Signing off from New Delhi, India – Kathy!

_______________________

My wife uses eloquent words to describe what this journey to India has meant and done for us.  I still have trouble believing we made this trip, undertook an extensive embryonic stem cell treatment program, saw and experienced India as we never dreamed possible, met and interacted with so many gracious, kind people, and achieved results we had only hoped were possible. We have seen what dedication, hard work, and stem cells can do in the human body.  The patients who have returned for their 2nd and 3rd times have shown us amazing things are possible and they are an inspiration to the rest of us.  We thank them for sharing their stories and time with us.

Dr. Shroff has given us an opportunity to reclaim at least a part of our life.  The staff at both of the hospitals have been kind, courteous, and professional.  They have gone out of their way to provide us with the necessary support so we could achieve maximum results from this program and we thank them for those efforts.   It will be hard saying goodbye, but we will be back to rekindle the friendships and accept the challenges coming back to India will bring. 

It is unknown how much function I will regain from taking part in this remarkable therapy.   What is known is there have been changes in my motor skills, the sensations my body is feeling, and the ability to control parts of my bodily functions.  This is the one aspect of my life we had hoped to see change in and we haven’t been disappointed.   It is human nature to want more than what we already possess, we have seen some spectacular results here in India and they have made us want more from life.  Now we return home to our family and friends — to those who supported us emotionally and financially.  This journey wouldn’t have been possible without the giving and kindness of so many.  We thank everyone for what they have done for us.  Peace be with all. 

Rusty Leech, February 1, 2008

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