November 13, 2008

A leap of faith

I have been extremely proactive in fighting my MS since I was DX in November of 2004. At that time I was unable to walk or drive or see out of my right eye. Over the last 4 years I have changed my diet, done acupuncture, taken yoga, swam regularly, taken Copaxone, Rebif, Tysabri, Solumedrol, Prednisone, and kept researching the "NEXT STEP" in fighting my disease progression.

When Tysabri started to work less and less over the last 24 months, I started to research stem cell treatments all over the world. I talked to doctors, clinics, and patients from China, Israel, Mexico, Europe, Canada, and South America. After about 9 months of research and fact finding of my own, I decided to come to San Jose, Costa Rica to the Institute of Cellular Medicine. They are a clinic that has a partnership with Medistem (MEDS.OB), a US public company founded in October 2005. Medistem is a biotech company that is developing and commercializing stem cell procedures to treat inflammatory and degenerative diseases.

I understand the stem cell procedure and it's possibilities in repairing the damage in my brain and spine that MS has caused, as well as resetting my immune system so that it does not keep attacking the myelin.

I am a 35 year old female. I am self employed. I have been with my high school sweetheart for 15 years. We do not have any children. I have gone through my life savings over the past 4 years fighting my MS, always pushing the limits, taking the meds, and trying to stay positive most of the time. I have insurance, but I am still paying a fortune for my Tysabri treatments, and now Tysabri is slowly becoming less and less effective for me. I want to continue walking and driving and being mobile. I want a clear mind and the healthiest future I can have.

For me, taking a "leap of faith" in the stem cell treatment was the next step. I look at it as an investment in myself. Like any investment, I understand that there is a risk of failure, but there is also the possibility of great gain. Isn't that what life is about, weighing the risks against the benefits and then proceeding with the best course of action? Maybe that's just my perspective coming from a business background.
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