December 5, 2008

I can gargle!

I'm back at home.  Sorry it has been a few weeks since my last update....

The last week of my stem cell treatment went well. There were no more earthquakes while we were there.

I continued physical therapy the rest of the week and had my last spinal injection on Friday November 21st. During the last week I was in Costa Rica, a common cold started to go around. On Monday, the girls in physical therapy were sniffling and sneezing. On Tuesday, the transportation drivers were coughing. On Wednesday, everyone around us was sick. I started to feel my throat getting sore Tuesday night, but was aware if it and made sure I was doing everything in my power to not get it before my last injection.

I managed to stay healthy while I was down there and not get a cold and sore throat that was going around the last week I was there, but as soon as I got on the plane to come home, BAM! it got me.

I lost my voice and had a cough and runny nose last week. No more sore throat and no more congestion. My voice is just now coming back. I probably didn't help it much by talking to the 25 family members during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone wants to know how it went and how I am feeling, so I just can't stay quiet

I started the same physical therapy routine I was doing there a few days after I got home. It's going well. I can tell that my grip is stronger and my balance is extremely better than before the treatment. I have more sensation in my fingers and toes. The doctors there explained how important the physical therapy is. Basically, the cells need movement to work more efficiently. I am so appreciative of the doctors' patience in explaining everything step by step to us.

Incontinence and increased bladder urgency at night was a problem before the treatment. I am ecstatic to report that I am no having to get up during the night to use the restroom and no bladder incontinence!

The last thing I have to report is that I can gargle now. I know it sounds weird, but since I was diagnosed with MS 4 years ago, I couldn't gargle mouthwash or warm salt water without choking. When I was in Costa Rica and knew that everyone in physical therapy and all the drivers were sick, I tried to gargle with Listerne Mouthwash to try to keep from getting a sore throat. After 4 years of not being able to gargle without choking, I was able to do it my last week down there, and continued with warm salt water when I got home to help my sore throat. I don't choke anymore!

I hope as time goes on I will continue to feel the positive results from the stem cell treatment, maybe results I wasn't even expecting, like the gargling.

I will keep everyone here informed of my progress. I'm excited about the possibility of my MS not progressing and the possibility of some of the damage being repaired. Maintaining my quality of life is my number one goal. As of right now, I am not planning on going back on Tysabri, but I know that I will have to just take it one day at a time and see how I progress, "good or bad" over time.

I can't express how excited I am about the results so far.

I want to have an MRI sometime next year to see if there are any noticeable changes that can be seen on film.

We did the research on all the stem cell treatments worldwide that we could find, including in Mexico, Israel, China, Europe, and Costa Rica. Tomorrow or over the weekend I will explain in more detail why I decided to go to Costa Rica. I want to post details of my research and I want to be accurate and I'm just too tired tonight to dig out my notes.

I know this treatment isn't for everyone. It's not FDA approved yet and many are doing very well on the medications and treatments they are currently on. I'm not trying to be a cheerleader for stem cell therapy, just a self advocate so that I can continue to be mobile and healthy and productive.

I am so glad that I can share my experiences, good and bad, with everyone who is interested or just curious. I am so glad that I am healthy enough to share and have the resources to do so.

In the next week or so, I will ask some of the others I was with in Costa Rica with if I can share their experiences good and bad so that everyone here can get the "entire picture".

Goodnight from San Diego ...
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