1. Where did you have your stem cell treatment done?
After months of research and questioning and fact-finding, I decided to go to the Stem Cell Institute (cellmedicine.com).  My first 2 treatments were done in San Jose, Costa Rica.  The company continued to grow and expand to Panama to develop Medistem Panama.  In 2009,  the company was undergoing full development of a new $3M state of the art adult stem cell laboratory.  In 2009, the Stem Cell Institute consolidated and moved all lab, research, and medical procedures to Panama.  
2. Why didn’t you have the treatment done in the United States?
The stem cell treatment I had done for Multiple Sclerosis is not an approve treatment by the FDA.
3. Weren’t you worried about having a treatment done that is not FDA approved?
No.  In my humble opinion, I do not think that the United States is the only country that has the technology and resources available to develop and perform beneficial, advanced medical treatments.  It is ignorant to believe that the FDA always knows best.   Medicine is the art and science of healing.  It encompasses a range of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness.  United States scientists and doctors are not the only professionals looking for solutions to solve health issues.  It is a worldwide endeavor.
4. Where is Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus with Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South.  It is not an island. It is bordered on the north by Nicaragua, the southeast by Panama. It is bordered on the East by the Caribbean Sea and on the West by the Pacific Ocean and is situated very near the equator.
5. Is Costa Rica safe to travel to?
Without a doubt Costa Rica can be called the safest country in Central America. First and foremost, Costa Ricans (whether foreigners or Ticos) are honest and friendly people. They have a saying, "Pura Vida" ("Pure Life").  Wealth is very evenly distributed in relation to North America or European countries. Simple living without great material excess is the rule, and education, health, and welfare are freely available. Dismal poverty is rare, and therefore crime is reduced considerably. It has one of the lowest violent crime rates anywhere in the world. It's a democracy, has potable drinking water and an excellent, if basic, cuisine.  There is no army, though the well-trained police force is highly qualified to keep the country secure.
6. Isn't Costa Rica a third world country?
No.  The United Nations uses the phrases ‘developing countries’ and ‘least developed countries’ rather than ‘Third World’.  While it does have an official list of ‘least developed countries’ it does not have an official list of ‘developing countries’ because its members have not agreed on the criteria.  Here is the link to the United Nations: http://www.worldbank.org
The US is considered a “first world country” because it is on the list of “High Income Economies.”  The next level down is “Upper Middle Income Economies” and that is what most people refer to as “second world countries”. Costa Rica and Mexico are on this list.  Costa Rica is NOT a third world country.
7. What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the forerunners of the specialized cells that generate all of the tissues in a human body. Stem cells are capable of renewing themselves almost indefinitely, ensuring a steady supply of replacement cells for those lost to disease, injury and age.
8. What is the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells?
Adult stem cells are found throughout the body and come from mature tissue including bone marrow, blood, the brain, hair follicles, fat, the pancreas, inside the nose and umbilical cords.  They multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Adult stem cells are multipotent because they can develop into several different types of cells, but not as many as embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are derived from fertilized eggs from in vitro fertilization done in a clinic. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman's body.  Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, which means they can differentiate into nearly all cells.  Embryonic stem cells also have an unlimited ability to self-renew.
9. Did the stem cell treatment work?
I felt improvement during my 30 days in Costa Rica.  I could feel new sensation in my numb hands and feet.  My balance was noticeably better.  After I got home, I continued to feel improvement.  My fatigue is diminishing and I am getting stronger every week.  I can see again out of my right eye.  Best of all, I haven’t had any incontinence since coming home.
I understand the importance of daily movement and exercise to promote the repair that the transplanted stem cells are doing.  Since returning home, I have continued to do the same physical therapy routine I was doing while I was in Costa Rica during my treatment.
10. What was the hospital like?
I was impressed.  CIMA Hospital rivaled any of the top hospitals I have been to in Southern California.  All of the staff, nurses, doctors and surgeons were fluent in English and Spanish.  Many spoke a third language as well.  The doctors’ education, experience, and specialties compared equally to some of my top specialists in San Diego.
11. Did the treatment hurt?
I had 8 intrathecal injections of adult stem cells into my spine.  There were a few times the injections were uncomfortable, but as soon as I let the doctor know, he made an adjustment and I was fine.  I was extremely surprised and pleased.  I was definitely expecting more pain.  I made sure to lay flat like the doctors told me after the treatment so as not to get the dreaded “spinal headache”.  As far as the “mini lipo” surgery, it went well for me.  I had a little discomfort when I first awoke from surgery, but nothing major.  I did have bruising for a few weeks, but not a great deal of pain.  I have experienced more pain at my local hospital when the lab tech couldn’t find a good vein to draw 14 vials of blood.
12. Would you do it again?
Definitely.  I didn’t have much to lose going into it.  My finances were in shambles and I was having trouble sustaining the high co-pay of my FDA approved drug therapy.  The risks were minimal.  I could have gotten an infection, but I take that same risk every time I go to the hospital for my Tysabri infusion.  I could have spent the money to go and not had any improvement, but that’s no worse than taking a drug with a black label warning that was becoming less and less effective over time.  Researching the possible benefits of stem cell treatment gave me hope before I decided to go.  Now that I have gone to Costa Rica, had success with the treatment, and continue to feel improvement … I now have a second chance for a healthy future.  Thanks to everyone who turned my hope into a reality!