Welcome to my Stem Cell Treatment Experience

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November 2004. My fight against MS and my determination to stay healthy and mobile has led me to consider an experimental and somewhat controversial therapy using adult stem cells extracted from donated umbilical cord blood.

Join me for a glimpse into my 4 week treatment at the Institute for Celluar Medicine (ICM) in San Jose, Costa Rica.




My interview at ICM - Before and After


The Institute For Cellular Medicine took a before and after interview.  My "before" interview was done in Costa Rica at the ICM Clinic on Monday, October 27th.  The "after" interview was taken on Friday, November 21st, 2008.

After my first physical therapy appointment

Earlier in the day I met with the doctors and staff at ICM, the Institute for Cellular Medicine, in San Jose, Costa Rica to discuss my 4 week stem cell treatment. They drew blood and we discussed any questions I had and the details of the weeks to come.

In the afternoon I had my first meeting with my physical therapist, Jennifer, to determine the best therapy treatment for my condition. My strength, for the most part, is pretty good because I swim and exercise, but my hands are weak and my balance is poor. We will be focusing on those things as well as general overall physical therapy while I am here.

She also gave me a list of exercises to do everyday when I get home.

This is after Day 1 of Physical Therapy at CIMA Hospital.



Orientation with the Plastic Surgeon

On day 2 I went to physical therapy again in the afternoon. I got to try to balance on this ball thing with a disk around the middle of it. It looks like something you would see on the 2nd grade play yard at recess. My therapist, Jennifer, and I laughed as I tried to master a little balancing act :)

After physical therapy, I had an appointment with the plastic surgeon who was going to perform my "mini lipo" to extract some adipose tissue that contains my own stem cells. After my consultation, I was confident that I was in good hands with Dr. Alfaro Davila.

Wow, 6:30 am comes early

Day three of my stem cell treatment experience. It's early and I an waiting to be taken back to be prepped for the "mini lipo".

The plastic surgeon will remove some of my adipose tissue that will be used to extract my own stem cells that will be used in my stem cell treatment along with the stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

 
A little nervous before surgery

So they took me back to an area that sort of looks like an emergency room, with hospital gurneys in individual areas that are separated by those curtains you pull around your area to give you a little privacy.

I was getting a little nervous at this point, not because of anything I saw or anything that looked bad or out of the ordinary, but because I knew I was getting ready for "real" surgery.



Hospital gown . . . not my best look!

So it doesn't get any more real than this! Here I am right before surgery.

After I changed into this beautiful green ensemble, a pleasant, friendly nurse prepared an IV that contained an antibiotic. Only about 20 minutes passed until I was moved upstairs into the operating room and the "mini lipo suction" procedure began. This procedure was to extract my own adipose tissue. My stem cells from that fat tissue will be used in conjunction with stems cells extracted from donated umbilical cord blood.

What an amazing concept! I am still trying to wrap my head around all of this information. 

Waking up after surgery

I arrived at CIMA Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica at 6:30 am for surgery to extract my own stem cells from my adipose tissue, otherwise referred to as "fat" tissue.

I woke up in the recovery room at about 10:30 am. My abdomen was a little sore, but all in all, I felt pretty well, at least as well as can be expected after surgery.

Only 4 hours until I have my first stem cell injection. Wow, what a busy day!

Ready for some stem cells?

This is my first day of treatment, my 3rd day in Costa Rica. I had the "mini lipo" this morning, and now I am back at CIMA Hospital to receive my first intrethecal injection of adult stems cells derived from donated umbilical cord blood.

I'm not quite sure about this whole injection into my spinal cord! Sounds pretty painful, but I'm here now, and there's no turning back :)

I am scheduled for 8 stem cell injections over 4 weeks.

How many stem cells did I just get?

Here I am after my first injection of adult stem cells that came from donated umbilical cord blood. The injection into my spine went well. I was sitting on the side of the hospital bed, bent over so that my vertebrae were separated. The injection felt like a little bee sting in my back, then some pressure, then I was done.

On my way for another stem cell injection

I have had 5 spinal stem cell injections and have been in Costa Rica for 3 weeks. I'm on my way to CIMA Hospital for injection #6.  So far, so good.

 
6 injections down and only 2 more to go

After 3 weeks of stem cell treatment, I am feeling pretty good. Before heading down to Costa Rica, I couldn't feel my feet. After 3 weeks of treatment, I felt my socks for the first time. Exciting to say the least!

 
Update before leaving Costa Rica

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004. I took Copaxone, Rebif, and Tysabri. I went through my life's savings in 4 years trying to fight my MS. I then took the chance on an alternative - STEM CELL THERAPY. It's not an FDA approved treatment yet, but I went anyway and am glad I did!

This was my last day in San Jose, Costa Rica. I could feel improvement while I was there for my 30 day stay. We will wait and see how I continue to feel when I get home.

Stem Cell Treatment Update From My Swim Spa

I had my stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis in November 2008. I have been home from Costa Rica for 16 weeks and I am continuing to improve from the stem cell treatment.

Part of my success can be attributed to staying active and doing physical therapy that I was doing while I was in Costa Rica for the treatment. I was swimming before I had the treatment, but I am enjoying swimming so much more now. I can feel the movement of the water now between my fingers and toes. AMAZING TO SAY THE LEAST!

5 Month Update On My Progress

It's been 5 months since I returned home from San Jose, Costa Rica after having stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. I am happy to report that I am continuing to feel the benefit of the procedure. I can ride my bike for 13 miles now. And I have been off of all MS medication now for 6 months 11 days! AMAZING to say the least!

Hot hot hot ... and still doing well

We took a little time to have a little fun this summer. We love Lake Mojave, water, and river fun. It's a hot summer weekend, but I continue to feel well. even with a bee sting and 107 degree heat.

9 Month Update

It's been 9 months since I returned home from San Jose, Costa Rica after having stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. I'm continuing to live life and have been focusing on tackling my crippling debt that cam from aggressively fighting my disease for 4 years. No MS exacerbation since having the treatment and I have been off all MS medications for 292 days.

More Stem Cells Extracted For Later Use

It's been over 9 months since my first stem cell treatment. At the time, Cell Medicine wasn't saving patient's own stem cells for future "tune ups". I'm back to have more of my own stem cells extracted, saved and 20% grown for later use as needed.