Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

“What is now proved, was once only imagined.”

William Blake said:  “What is now proved was once only imagined.”  

I travelled half way around the world on two airplanes covering a distance of 8,852 miles (14,246 km) from Denver to Delhi via Frankfurt in twenty something hours; my emails evaporate into cyber space and are delivered to my friends in the US and my family in Australia in a matter of seconds; and Human Embryonic Stem Cells are alive and growing in my body, infusing me with life and awakening my legs.

As I near the end of my second treatment at Nutech Mediworld, I continue to regain strength.  I have three days before I board my flight bound for the US.  This time around, I am discovering that my body is so much more sensitive to the treatment, and I am more in tune with my bodily sensations.  I realized a dramatic change in my sensitivity upon returning home to Colorado last year after my first treatment.  Like a newborn, I was more susceptible to sunburn, and varying temperatures of hot and extreme cold really affected me.  During treatment, I have found that HESCs deplete my body.  Why?  It is my understanding that HESCs need energy to grow or gestate in my body.  I must think of myself as being pregnant. During treatment my body craves extra sleep with an afternoon nap almost every day.  I crave healthy food and lots of little meals; vitamins; exercise; and a smoke-free and alcohol-free lifestyle.  I crave chocolate and Pringle potato chips (of all things!).  I haven’t eliminated coffee from my diet.  I still rely on a strong cuppa java to jump-start me into action (I’ve never been one to jump out of bed).  My French Press was the most critical item on my list of things to pack for India.

Along with my diet and exercise regime, as a pregnant woman might visualize her baby growing in the womb, feeding it nothing but positive life-enriching thoughts, I too imagine my HESCs gestating in my body.  My mindset is equally as critical to my health.  I try to clear my thoughts knowing that each thought affects each moment from now.  I have incorporated meditation and a daily Buddhist chanting practice into my routine.  When I am disciplined with this practice my thoughts are more positive, I have more physical energy, and my day flows smoothly like the river outside my condo in Basalt.  The flowing river is my calming metaphor—always moving, never stagnant, transforming from current to new.

My final three-day procedure went off without a hitch and I am already feeling stronger in my torso and legs.  A five-inch catheter was inserted into the space between the spinal cord and the outer casing (Dr. Ashish Verma is an anaesthetist and could provide a much more professional description with more credible medical lingo).  This catheter remained in my back for three days.  Two times a day I was injected with millions of HESCs through the catheter, saturating my spinal cord.  After each injection, Dr. Ashish requested I lay in a certain position for several hours at a time (sometimes I’d lay on my back, my right side, my left side, sitting upright, or on my stomach).  As the flood gates were opened, I felt the stem cells affecting the pressure in my ears and sinus cavities depending on my bodily position.  I was submerged 50 feet below and my head was encased in a diving bell.  The toughest position was lying flat on my back for five hours with my head tilted downhill, feet elevated, and the bed reclined the old fashioned way—bed posts resting on four sturdy bricks on the floor.

Thank God I didn’t get sick, horrendously vomiting as I did in the previous procedure.  When I returned back to the newer hospital in Green Park on Wednesday evening, I opened numerous emails from my incredibly supportive community at home, praying that I would have a pain-free and healing procedure.  I felt your prayers as I lay in Room 202.  Yes CP, I felt cradled in everyone’s arms.  I never felt alone, not for one moment.  Thank you!  I had periodic phone calls from Mum and my sister, Michele.  From my hospital bed I lay with my thoughts, contemplating, reflecting, and writing.

Cat Stevens’ song, Where Do The Children Play? sings over and over in my head.  In the older hospital at Gataum Nagar a park sits outside the hospital’s windows.  At all hours of the day I hear children’s voices.  Sometimes I hear laughter and high pitched squeals.  Occasionally a baby cries.  I feel like I am at a children’s party, or in a school playground.  There are a gazillion voices.  I hear them from the wee hours of the morning when light peeks through the lace curtains…to the late hours of the evening.  I have heard children playing until 11 p.m.  The children’s voices fill the air with a zest for life that only stirs from the lungs of the young and uninhibited.  I know they are fearless.  Electricity from the park buzzes through the hospital walls into me.  My ears are tuned into their sound of life, vigor, and play.  How many of us in our adult years have forgotten how to play?  I have forgotten how to play and play hard:  To be joyful; to run, jump, and be silly.  I remind myself to bring my thoughts back to where the children play.  I will make a genuine effort to regularly visit a park at home with Tucker romping by my side…or a school yard.  I will surround myself with the vibrancy of youth—carefree and full of life.  I will ski over whoop-dee-doos and giggle with my friends.  I will laugh on a chairlift with Jim and John…and I will gently fall back into fresh powder and make a snow angel with my arms.  I will catch snowflakes on my tongue and dance in a blizzard.  I will embrace life’s mystery and PLAY.

My thoughts are interrupted as I hear the cry of a newborn outside my door.  This hospital at Gataum Nagar is also a facility where babies enter this world and life begins.  It’s all perfect.  Like a lotus flower that blossoms and seeds simultaneously, so is this hospital—what is beautiful in life bears life.

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