Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

March 12, 2009 – Delhi Bound Again…Round #5

Delhi Bound…

On Monday March 16th, in just four sleeps I will fly half way around the world through twelve international time zones to Delhi India for my fifth round of human embryonic stem cell treatments.  Am I ready?  Silly question!  Can I ever prepare myself for the onslaught of that incorrigible yet strangely intoxicating city?  Gabrielle and Denise will have to pull me out of this valley and away from Tucker by my ponytail.  Through tears it’ll be a tug-of-war with my heart while my brain screams, “Go Amanda.  Those baby stem cells are waiting to bring more life into your limbs.  Go!  You can’t afford not to.”

Jai Ho-May Victory Be Yoursand may it be mine.  May the hard work that I invest into my body, mind, and spirit every day pay off with a reward as simple but as grand as WALKING.  I have entered into a journey that has challenged me more psychologically than physically these past few months.  I sit in my wheelchair and observe people walking down the street, heel-toe-step-heel-toe-step…wait, rewind, there’s a knee bend in there!  Walking 101 is more complex than I ever imagined.  Babies do it naturally, without thought.  Lift knee with quadricep muscle, place heel on ground, roll to ball of foot and push off.  What comes so easily for most is my hardest feat. 

I have brand new $7,500 leg braces that mimic the knee-bend-heel-toe motion beautifully.  Rather than locking my knees and walking stiff-legged like a robot, these new leg braces provide enough support to enable a more natural gait, while I shift my weight from dorsiflexion to plantar flexion in my ankle joint and foot.  They are also designed to “grow” with me as my muscles get stronger by increasing the knee bend and ankle articulation.

My progress has been slight since my last treatment in India.  I remind myself that I have seventeen years of paralysis to awaken.  I am committed to my journey and I am continuing to defy the odds.  We have become such an instantaneous society with a propensity to want to make things happen with the snap of two fingers.  I want to see my results now, yet I know better to be patient and endure my healing process.  It takes a long time for a caterpillar to transform into a butterfly.  I respect and trust the divine intelligence of the embryonic stem cells to morph into the blueprint of my spinal neuronal cells.  It is happening-one incremental stage of my metamorphosis at a time.  I am now the proud owner of traces of calf muscles in both legs that contract and can be felt with a touch of a hand.  I feel stronger in my muscles and I am more balanced while practicing my squat, walking on my knees, and walking in my leg braces.  One little movement has actually become functional.  As basic as it sounds, when I sit in the shower I am able to hold my leg in place on my own (without using my hands) when I shave my legs.  Yes, I have functionality that is useful.  It’s the simple victories that can bring a smile to my life.  Jai Ho!

I have a hankering for curry!  On countless occasions this past winter I have brewed up a fine yellow curry filled with turmeric, cumin, ginger, chilies and a bunch of goodies that made my entire condo smell like a semi-authentic Indian kitchen.  I even threw in garam masala imported from the grandest of spice markets in Chadni Chwok, Old Delhi.  There are many delicious Northern and Southern Indian delights that I would give my eye-tooth for and are missing from my attempt to spontaneously throw together an Indian meal…namely thick lentil dhal, saag paneer (spinach and cottage cheese), naan and tandoori roti bread, coconut dosa, veggie thali, and my very favorite dessert-kheer (a creamy rice pudding flavored with cardamom and full of nuts).  This is all complimented by a sweet fresh lime soda drink to cleanse my palate.  Mmmmmmmm.  The insides of my cheeks salivate as I anticipate soaking in the real flavors next week, I really have become Indian.  I swear those Indian embryonic stem cells have infused my taste buds with eastern DNA.

1 Comment»

  Kim from Australia wrote @

I can identify with that sitting in your wheelchair and analysing every one’s walking. Heel-toe, bend the knee, also that leg lift using quads and other unnamed muscles to lift a foot up a stair. I’ve just been told that the only yum-cha in town is up a flight of stairs. Just wondering if I can climb what seems like Everest for a steamed pork bun or two. Or can I manage to avoid a fall on the way down!!!! To try it means the help of 5 strong people and it is going to be a 45min trip from the bottom to the top stair. Hopefully it won’t be really quick on the way down, because that would involve requiring an ambulance at the bottom step!
I hope everything goes well in India for trip 5 and here’s hoping for more function!
I’d love to see video of your new leg braces, they sound interesting. Who is the supplier?

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