AWAKENINGS

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

Post Caudal Procedure

Third HESC Treatment will be a charm!

Have you ever had a shower, dried off with an already damp towel, and then in an instant you’re wet again from perspiration?  That’s Delhi in May!  With wet hair and swollen ankles from the heat, I sit propped up on my bed in the late afternoon light.  My blinds are pulled up exposing the buildings next door.  Two pigeons that I befriended on my previous visit to Delhi are perched on the same ledge, preening each other’s feathers and then the female squats while the male proceeds to mount her with wings flapping in a copulation dance.  They flutter off.  That’s my afternoon entertainment from Room 208.

I am tired having risen at 5:45 am—my circadian rhythm is gradually adapting to Delhi’s time zone, but I have a few more sleeps to adjust to my normal late night later morning clock.  I managed to catch up a little yesterday as I laid flat on my back for five hours post caudal procedure.  What is a caudal procedure?  Quite simply: an injection of two or three syringes full of millions of HESCs into the cauda equina–the bundle of spinal nerve roots running through the lower part of the subarachnoid space within the vertebral canal below the first lumbar vertebra.

What took place during the procedure? 

Shortly after 12 noon I am rolled on a gurney from my hospital room into the operating theater.  The operating theater assistants line the trolley side-by-side to a narrow operating table and I roll over on to the skinny surface face down on my tummy.  The table is tilted six inches or so with my head pointing downhill.  I feel instant pressure in my sinus cavities and my head thumps with fresh blood.  A finger pulse oximeter to monitor my blood saturation levels and my heart pulse rate is positioned on to the tip of my index finger.  A steady bleep bleep bleep bleep beeps in the background while the Blue Angels (assistants festooned in blue scrubs) hold my body face-down in position.  Dr. Ashish smacks his gloved hands together and announces:  “Are you ready?”

“Yes, I’m ready whenever you are Dr. Ashish.  I trust you.  Go for it.”

I feel the cool moist alcohol swab as he bathes my lower back and spine clean with cotton soaked in brown povidone iodine antiseptic solution.

“Can you feel this here?” asks Dr. Ashish as he proceeds to press on my lumbar region. 

“Yes”, I reply.

“What about here?”

“Yes”….

“And here?”

“Yes, but a little dull”, I respond as he moves further toward my Coccyx.  My sensation has increased slightly these past few months.  Dr. Ashish oozes confidence while his serene composed nature calms the atmosphere.  Any anxiety or anticipation I felt a moment ago disappears. 

Dr. Ashish then inserts a fine needle into my cauda equina flooding the area with stem cells.  I feel heaviness in my bladder, butt, and abdomen.  The pressure moves into my legs and tingles buzz to my toes on both feet like electric currents.  I feel as though my legs have been dipped in bronze casting and I am encased in heavy metal.  Within a short while, the procedure is over, a bandage is applied to the site, and after several minutes the heaviness in my legs dissipates.  Opi and Celestin continue to monitor my pulse.  

While the procedure went smoothly, afterwards Dr. Ashish commented on the misalignment of my vertebrae in my spine.  The scar tissue and misalignment could have worsened over the past sixteen years, yet he alluded to the seemingly poor workmanship of my initial spinal surgery.  That first surgery entailed placing metal rods and three clamps from T10-L1 to stabilize my spine and relieve pressure from my spinal cord.  His comment sheds light on thoughts that I have pondered regarding surgeons in the western world who operate, do a mediocre job but neglect to do their very best in light of the potential a patient might have to return to perfect health in the future.  Sixteen years ago, and even with doctor’s mindsets today, the potential for me to walk again was never conceivable—in fact, it was ruled out completely.  I have an extensive spinal cord injury with a big old hole in my cord that prevents my legs from moving and spinal cells don’t regenerate.  Fixing my back and stabilizing it was the primary concern back then—and rightly so.  While my rods and the consequent stabilization were necessary, the instrumentation and misalignment in my spine impedes my perfectly up-right stance and overall posture today.  Surely, years of sitting in a wheelchair factor into my equation.  My butt sticks out because the indentation in my lumbar spine is so pronounced.  So, I have a sticking-out-bum!  If I can walk that way, then who cares!  It is what it is.  I’ll give it my best shot.

I rested lying flat on my back for five hours after my procedure.  It was good nap time and reading time…and today I feel FABLOUS!  My physical therapy sessions were strong.  I stood in my leg braces, walked with the walker, and climbed a set of shallow steps.  I felt like a rock star today.  I embrace these days when I feel my best; when my muscles are strong and I am energized; when my eyes are clear; and my brain is alert.  It’s been one week since my departure from the United States, and six full days on Indian soil.  My stem cells are working and they are giving me life.  I can feel it.

Two more sleeps and two more days of therapy before Emily arrives.  Yes!  Nu Tech Mediworld watch out… Emily’s Spa is coming to town!  I can’t wait.

Thank you for all of your loving emails—they keep me going and make me want to jump out of bed in the morning excited to read your little notes of encouragement with my mornin’ cuppa.

Tonight’s dinner:  Miso and mushroom soup in a bowl with an icy cold mango for dessert.  My stem cell injection was a pin-prick appetizer into my left deltoid just moments ago.  I can’t face another hospital curry with dahl and chappati bread this evening.  “Pleeeeeeeze madam…no more curry!  Not tonight.”

With love until next time. 

Namaste, Amanda

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