AWAKENINGS

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

Heading back to India May 1st—in just six sleeps!

Spring is here in the Rocky Mountains…and in six sleeps I’ll be in Delhi amidst the horn honking hussle and bustle.  I seize the quiet every moment I can…

I open this installment by extending a gigantic thank you to Rusty Crossland!  Due to Rusty’s generosity and belief in my journey, I am able to return to India next week for my third HESC treatment in BUSINESS CLASS on Continental Airlines.  Yeah!!!!!  Rusty not only helped with my next round trip flight, but he graciously purchased an economy class ticket for one of my caregivers—Judy Moore-Padgett.  Rusty has supported me from the beginning, always encouraging and believing. I thank Rusty for helping confirm my flight and for bringing me a huge sigh of relief as I begin this next venture abroad.  Rusty’s travel agent, Jackie Boggs, hung in there, calling each airline relentlessly for an entire month straight.  Jackie came through and snagged an award travel upgrade.  Her persistence and determination paid off.  I can now rest assured, flooded with relief that my legs and ankles will be elevated while I endure the grueling journey from Aspen to Denver to Newark…and then bear the arduous fifteen-hour flight from the east coast to Delhi. 

I will be gone from May 1st through June 3rd.  I will arrive as Kasie Burtard, a gorgeous local spinal cord injured female from Carbondale will be departing Delhi to come back home to the Roaring Fork Valley.  Kasie has been staying in the same room that I will sleep in at Nu Tech Mediworld—Room 208.  It will be nice to have her energy left behind as she leaves and I arrive at the hospital on May 4th.  Visit Kasie’s blog at http://helpkasieburtard.wetpaint.com/ to read about her progress.  I will be excited to see my friend Leah Roland and her husband Danno, who are now in Delhi.  Leah is already showing improvements after just ten days or so of stem cell treatments.  Leah’s blog is http://www.helpleahroland.com/ for updates.  It has been fun for me to read about their experiences as they enter into their journeys of new awakenings where hope bleeds into reality.

My adorable yoga instructor, Emily Hightower will accompany me in Delhi during my second week of treatment from May 9-18, 2008.  We will do yoga, Thai massage, and meditate daily together.  We will laugh and be in a total “love fest” when we are together.  I am honored that Em is taking time away from her sweet baby boy and her husband to support me in Delhi, and be my friend.

From May 17-June 3, 2008 my second caregiver/friend will join me in Delhi.  Judy Moore-Padgett is an outstanding woman and I am blessed to have her join me for two weeks.  She is the Canine Assistants Recipient Services Coordinator and the reason why I have my beautiful golden retriever, Tucker (he is my best blonde hairy friend and animal love of my life).  Judy will fly home with me back to the east coast, USA, which will make my trip easier and less stressful.  Last time I left Delhi on February 19, 2008 the Lufthansa ground staff would not allow me to board the flight home alone because I didn’t have a caregiver to assist me during the flight.  It came down to the wire and the 3:05 a.m. departure time was drawing closer.  In-the-mean-time the airlines staff for Lufthansa literally gave away my economy class seat, and the captain of the aircraft with the head crew director ultimately made the decision half an hour prior to the flight’s departure.  Through tears I begged for them to allow me to go home.  I have flown to Delhi from the USA by myself without any issues in the past.  A medical letter from Dr. Shroff detailing my good health and ability to fly didn’t sway their decision in the slightest.  The letter needed to be written from a Lufthansa certified doctor.  Bottom line:  I am healthy, capable and independent.  As things turned out, the captain and crew director ended up accommodating me in business class for that leg to Frankfurt, as the flight was oversold and the ground staff had reassigned my economy class seat to someone else.  I never want to experience this tremendous anxiety and bureaucratic ridiculousness that boarded on an act of discrimination from the ground staff in Delhi again.  Long and short, it will be a relief for Judy to accompany me home to the USA.  She is an angel and I am thrilled that she is taking her vacation time to selflessly be with me during the hottest, dustiest, and most challenging month of the year in Delhi.  Thank you Judy.

Tucker, my sweet doggie, is already sensing that I am leaving. He is giving me a pouting attitude and sad eyes.  He feels my anxiety.  Leaving Tucker behind is one of the most challenging aspects of this whole path.  My focus and positive attitude is tested while in India because Tucker is with me every moment of the day at home. He follows me to the bathroom, lies with his head resting on my wheelchair when I am stationary, and gives me huge fluffy cuddles on the carpet after yoga.  He smiles with tail waggles when I laugh, and he loves me when I am sad.  He makes me look forward to our daily walks outside, sniffing in fresh Colorado air, and then shaking all over me with icy-cold river water after a quick dunk in the Roaring Fork.  Tucker, I will miss you like crazy… but you will be with your second Mommy—Auntie Gabrielle.  Tucker loves Gabrielle (almost as much as me).  Thank God for my best friend Gabrielle, Todd, Jonce, and Jacob, who are taking on the job of looking after Tucker for another month.  They will put up with blonde dog hair as he sheds all over their house and clothes, yet in return they will receive Tucker’s unconditional love. Thank you Gabrielle for being there for me, and for Tucker.  I know I am leaving him in the best hands ever.

I am also leaving behind my Love—Dale.  Leaving for such a long time affects our relationship because we are thousands of miles apart, yet the distance also helps me to grow as an individual and makes us look forward to reconnecting and loving one another with a fresh newness and excitement when I return.  The person who notices my physical improvements the most is Dale.  He knows my body intimately.  He is so incredibly loving.  Dale encourages me to continue forth on my pioneering path that I have started.  While goodbyes are tough, I am so much better at hellos, which is what I keep close in my heart.

I am continuously reminded that my journey is not about me.  While my ultimate goal is to walk again, mine is a journey for humanity.  A million candles can burn from the light of just one single flame.  That magnificent light never snuffs out, but burns eternally in the hearts of all who believe…or even those of us who are simply curious.  My journey is about others lighting my way and helping me along my path.  In turn (combined with Dr. Shroff, her staff, and more than 450 patients from around the world who have received her human embryonic stem cell treatment) I am able to quietly cast a golden ray of hope for humanity by holding true to my vision.  My community has supported me, faithfully igniting the wick of my life waxing love, faith, compassion, and encouragement for each baby step of progress I make.  I thank all—from those who have contributed financially; to the curious passerby in the street; to my loving and intimate friends; to my “Team Amanda” trainers/therapists who keep my body alive every week (Tami, CP; Em—and Harold); film maker Tom Eldridge; Dale; and my family, especially my Mum.  Mum, I’m going to miss you so much on this trip–it will feel strange not to have you there for this journey is as much about you as it is about me.

I even thank the skeptics.  My journey has taken a huge level of commitment.  That is, my commitment to take a risk; to have conviction over my fears; to let go of “what was” and embrace what is and “what could be”; and to hold on to my dream despite skepticism.  

“It is not easy to be a pioneer —
but oh, it is fascinating! I would not
trade one moment, even the worst moment,
for all the riches in the world.”

Elizabeth Blackwell

Interestingly, in 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to graduate from medical school, thereby becoming the first woman doctor of medicine in the modern era.  Her success wasn’t met without struggle, loneliness, and professional antagonism.  One woman literally changed the face of medicine.  As we enter into a new era of medical wonders in the year 2008, I see Dr. Geeta Shroff as Elizabeth Blackwell, contributing to shaping the face of medicine today, filling it with renewed hope and possibility.

It is on to Delhi, India in six days time.  I shall keep everyone posted with blog updates.  Please send emails to aboxtel@comcast.net so I won’t get too lonely as I am thousands of miles away.  I love hearing from my friends.  You give me courage, wisdom, and the will to persevere, which serves to remind me how fortunate I am.  My faith, hope, and love will help me to move forward positively and confidently.  I accept my challenges as opportunities to grow and transform.  I am defying the odds and I continue to believe in the impossible. 

 

Namaste, love and thanks to all. 

 

 

 

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