Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Some bad news, the internet seems to be acting up here at the condo. My phone won't connect to the wifi at all, and the laptop loses the wifi signal every once in a while. Hopefully it will not interfere with my postings but I will try my best! I had a very good workout today, my legs were very tired but I still managed to get some good reps in! Also focused on upper body today, I am moving up in weight!

Right after we got back home from the gym, a huge storm hit! It was super loud and intense, and was a bit scary since we are all the way up on the 15th floor!! It lasted for a few hours before it died down.

I have my next injection tomorrow and hopefully I won't have a headache afterwards! My head was fine after yesterday's injection so lets hope for the same! I will also be looking out to see if the pain of the needle is as intense as it was yesterday, if so then I really may be getting feeling back already! :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Today I noticed a few changes!! I noticed this morning my upper right thigh had some spasms(I also noticed these on my left leg shortly before I was able to move it!). I have never had spasms there in all the years since I have been injured! Second thing I noticed was during my spinal injection today it was a lot more painful than the previous ones, which could be caused by increased sensation returning from the stem cells! I will have to see how my next injections feel to be sure first. This week and next week I will be having injections Mon, Wed, and Fri! Hopefully I won't have any more headaches though! Today in therapy I had a very good session, went on the treadmill at 1.7MPH for about 4 minutes and I was able to do it 4 times, an increase from the last time I was on the treadmill! Afterwards we worked on my chest and biceps for the rest of the session.

I am very excited to have noticed these first small changes after only 2 weeks! I can't wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for me! :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Today I said goodbye to two amazing people who had their last day of treatment today. I am wishing the best for them and excited to see the results of their treatments over the next few months!!

I may have said goodbye to two people, but I met 3 more amazing people today! I had the honor of meeting Dr Neil Riordan who is the founder of the Stem Cell Institute, the lovely Tina Hillstrom who is also here for treatment, and Mel Gibson who is here for a family member receiving stem cell treatment! It was so wonderful to share my story with them and to see how these treatments are also helping so many others!! I had my fourth spinal injection today which also went well, and my next one will be on Monday. If I notice any changes over the weekend I will post them! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I really pushed my legs to the limit today! In physical therapy I wore the Bioness L300 device on my right leg(which uses electrical stimulation to lift my ankle so I am able to take steps). I got on the treadmill and was able to sustain a speed of 1.4mph for about 3-4 minutes before needed a break. I completed 5 rounds of this before my legs were totally fatigued. Will try this again next week and see if I am able to increase!

After my walking I finished the session with working on my my back and triceps and then a good stretch to end it all.

I have my next spinal injection tomorrow and I am hopeful it goes as well as my last one did, I barely had any pain during it and no headache afterwards :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Had a very good workout at the Biofit center today! I have noticed my legs have been tired a lot more than usual from all the physical therapy everyday, working out muscles in my legs that I normally don't use very much. We worked on upper body and abs today as well, and my balance and core seem to be in great shape. It was difficult to stand while pulling the weights down but I had my trainer there to support me.

My doctor at the stem cell institute as well as my physical therapist suggested I start taking Creatine supplement to help with my leg muscles while I am receiving the treatments and therapy.

So far everything is going great over here! My next injection is on Friday so I will be working out hard everyday until then!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I had my bone marrow extraction procedure this morning! The worst part about the whole thing was getting the IV in haha! I was very comfortable the entire time and didn't feel anything. I had to strip down and get into my gown and they set me up on the bed face down with pillows and blankets it was very cozy! I received antibiotics through my IV and was then wheeled into the operating room. They then took my vital signs and gave me the anesthesia and before I knew it I was awake and it was all over! They gave my pain medication also so I was in no pain after I awoke and still feel good a few hours since then.

The doctors will use the extracted bone marrow from my hip to harvest autologous mesenchymal and CD34+ stem cells. These will then be injected into my spinal during my final week of treatment. I have no physical therapy today so I am going to use this day to rest up from my procedure and will be back in action tomorrow! :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

During my visit here I am meeting such amazing people from all of the world who have also traveled here to receive stem cell treatment. I'm lucky to be making friends with such inspirational people and to have others to share this experience with!

I had my third spinal injection today as well as another IV infusion. I was shocked that it is even less painless than the second time! Almost no pain or discomfort whatsoever this time around! Tomorrow I have my bone marrow extraction procedure, which is done so that my own stem cells can be harvested from my hip. I was given the pre-surgical instructions to follow and have to wake up about 5:30AM tomorrow, which anyone who knows me that is a crazy time for me to be getting up haha!!

I will explain how the procedure goes and give more details about why its being done tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Had my second injection of stem cells into my spine today and there was even less pain than the first time! And only a very minor headache afterwards this time, I barely notice it. In therapy I got to try the electrostimulator which basically works all the muscles out in my legs while I lay down! It works very similar to my Bioness device that helps my right leg for walking around.

Before my injection today we go a chance to visit the local supermarket, which thankfully mostly everything was in english and they had many of the same products as we have in the USA.

I have no visits to the Stem Cell Institute or Biofit center on weekends, so my next post will be on Monday unless I notice any changes! I hope everyone has a great weekend! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I had a very nice relaxing day today, a few hours after my treatment yesterday I got a very bad headache and stayed in bed for the rest of the night. I've been drinking plenty of water and I'm feeling much better now thankfully! The doctors told me headache is a possible side effect from the needle going into my spine. Hopefully it isn't so bad after my next injection tomorrow! I've also been doing very well in my physical therapy sessions, my trainer has been assisting me with both my lower body and upper body.

I met this awesome guy who is also visiting Panama for stem cell treatment, he is a week ahead of me and is already noticing some changes! Amazing!

Let's hope I notice some changes soon also! Thank you all for your love and support, its so nice to read everyone's comments and messages. Love you all!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Had my first stem cell injections today! It was a LOT less painful than I was expecting! Sadly they asked me to not take anymore pictures inside the center but I will try my best to remember every detail. First I was brought into the room with both doctors and an assistant, and they went over the process with me. They had me sit up on the edge of the table and got my vital signs and began to clean the whole area of my back. She then put a thin yellow cover over my back and really made me feel at ease by explaining every detail of what was being done and verifying each step with me. I was then given the numbing shot in my lower back and then the needle was put in containing over 9 million of the expanded allogenic mesenchymal stem cells. The process was 4 minutes long and there was no pain except for the pinch from the numbing shot. During the 4 minute process of the injection she would talk to me and the assistant would hold me in place so that I was perfectly comfortable. After that was completed I was given a cup of water and went into the next room for my IV injection of stem cells. I was given a prescription for pain meds if needed and instructed to drink plenty of water and lay flat on my back for 3 to 4 hours when I get home, so now is my chance to finally start season 3 of orange lol :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I had my first visit to the Biofit center today where I will be having my physical therapy sessions for the month. My evaluation went well, they were impressed with the amount of movement I have already. The gym was very spacious and filled with lots of quality equipment. Only got one photo of part of it, but I will get many more over the next few days and go over the exercises and machines that I will be using there.

Here is a short video of some of the sights I saw on my ride to the Biofit center. Notice McDonalds, Popeyes, and Papa Johns mmmm :)

I have my very first stem cell injection tomorrow and I am very excited(except the part where a needle is injected into my lower spine!) So check back tomorrow and see how that goes! :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Had my very first visit to the Stem Cell Institute this morning! I met with Dr. Jorge Paz Rodriguez and had my medical evaluation and blood testing done. I also recieved my schedule for the rest of the week. Tomorrow will be my first physical therapy session and on Wednesday I will be having my first stem cell injection. It will consist of an injection into my lower spine of expanded allogenic mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are found in umbilical cord blood and have the ability to turn into a wide variety of other cells(in my case, neurons and other important cells in my spine to help repair the connections between my brain and lower body that are damaged). Everyone on the staff was extremely pleasant and made me feel very comfortable and welcome.

I was tired last night so I didn't get a chance to give everyone a tour of our living conditions. It is called La Gaviota and is very close by to the Stem Cell Institute as well as lots of yummy places to eat(they have KFC and Taco Bell OMG!) and a grocery store. There is also a mall in walking distance and a casino ;)

The Stem Cell Institute also provided us with a cell phone and contact list so if we have any needs at all they will be taken care of and if we need transportation to and from anywhere!

And here is a quick walk through of our place:

I am very impressed with everything here so far! More to come tomorrow :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Made it to Panama safely!! And I must say I am VERY impressed! Everything is very high tech and modern, and everyone here has been so pleasant and helpful! We were welcomed at the gate with VIP service who helped us with all our bags and a driver picked us up and took us to our condo(super spacious and fully furnished!) We were greeted by our accommodations manager William, and he showed us inside and helped us out with anything and everything possible! I have my first appointment tomorrow morning and I am super tired after a long day of traveling so I will update a lot more tomorrow :)