Saturday, July 11, 2015

After many hours of flying I am finally HOME!!!! I was welcomed back by a surprise by friends!! They all wore green too haha!! I am so lucky to have such amazing friends and family to support me. I am happy to be home and will continue updating my progress here over the next few months whenever I notice changes!! Fingers crossed for great results :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

I MADE IT TO THE END!! I am both happy and sad to say that this journey is over and I will return home tomorrow! No more needles but I sure will miss all the amazing friends I have made here with all my heart! They made this experience enjoyable even through all the injections and headaches. Biggest thank you to my dad who has been so amazing to join me on this trip and help me out with everything. I am really lucky to have such an amazing dad. Thank you to my personal trainer Arnaldo for being an awesome pal at the gym, helping to push me to my limits and playing all that Gaga for me during our sessions haha!

Thank you to the doctors and staff at the Stem Cell Institute for making me feel so comfortable and loved! It REALLY makes a difference how scary and painful medical experiences can be when you have the right people! I will miss you all and keep you updated on my progress!!

My last day consisted of a physical therapy session and then over to the clinic for my last spinal injection and IV. Afterwards I was given a survey to fill out and got the results of my blood work, which everything was fine except my vitamin D is low. Then we did my video interview and I received 2 bottles of Stem Kine supplement. I am happy to say I had no headache after Wednesday's injection of the bone marrow stem cells so tomorrow I should feel fine during my all day journey home!

Thank you again to everyone who has followed my progress and supported me! Thank you to everyone who has kept in touch with me when my internet was working haha. I am very lucky to have been able to have the opportunity to get this done finally, and am looking forward to seeing the results!! I will keep posting on here when I notice new things, so keep an eye out! Love you all!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Internet keeps going in and out today, so I will just give a quick update before it goes out again. Had a good physical therapy session this morning and I have started packing up my things just in case I have a headache after tomorrow's inject and don't feel like packing! I am so happy tomorrow is my last day! No more needles! I have a very long day of flying on Saturday and then I will be HOME! I am very homesick and really looking forward to seeing everyone! I am also sad that tomorrow is my last day because I have to say goodbye to so many amazing people here!! We be keeping in contact though and they will be able to see my progress online at least :) Thank you to everyone who has kept in touch with me during the first few weeks when the internet was working, it really helped the time go by!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Today in physical therapy I attempted to use the bike, it was very difficult for me! My feet kept slipping off of the pedals and it was hard to keep my right knee upright.

My therapist Arnaldo assisted me but wrapping my foot with a GREEN elastic band and that really helped with my foot slipping off! By that time though my legs were already very fatigued and it was a struggle to pedal on my own so he assisted lightly with that also.

I also had my very first injections of my bone marrow derived autologous mesenchymal and CD34+ stem cells. The syringe for the IV was HUGE!!! Biggest I've ever seen haha! The needle was bigger also :( A total of 83 million stem cells were infused, and an additional 37 million through the spinal injection. I haven't gotten a headache yet which is awesome! Though the doctors did warn of possible side effects tonight, lets hope I have lucked out!

I also accidentally deleted yesterday's post and don't know how to get it back lol. Oops! There was not much to report yesterday, my legs were tired so instead of the workout I go to use the electrostimulator on my legs again.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I finally made it to my last week!! Over the weekend I was lucky enough to actually see some fireworks on the 4th, I had no idea they did that over here! And I also noticed another change, the last 4 and a half years my right ankle spasms in a way that it would bounce up and down rapidly when I pushed my foot on the ground or if my foot was being pushed against. The last few days this spasm has stopped! This is an exciting sign for me because I remember my left foot would also do the same thing right after my injury, and after the spasms finally went away I was able to move my foot a lot better! So I am very excited to see if the same is true this time around!

My legs felt strong today so I got a good 10 minutes in on the treadmill followed up by various leg exercises. My dad and I have been documenting all of exercises, weights, etc so that when I return home I can continue this at the gym each day. It feels like I am only making minor progress with the workouts, but that is due to my legs being way more fatigued from the constant spinal injections, which sometimes cause me headaches, back pain, and/or weakness. Even with all of the obstacles I am still increasing in weights, so I am super excited to see my increases over the next few months when I am able to train at my maximum and the stem cells are working their magic!

I had another spinal injection today and once again felt the pain very much! I also felt the cold a LOT more today when my back was being prepped. I still cannot feel temperature on my legs yet, but it looks like I am really gaining a lot of sensation in my lower back that I did not have before the treatments! Only 2 more spinal injections and 2 more IV infusions and I am all DONE!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

My legs were still a bit tired today but I pushed myself to get on the treadmill anyways! Plus ever since my physical therapist found out I like Gaga, he has been making playlists with all her songs to play on the gym's Bose sound system during all my sessions! How awesome is that? Great motivation while I am working out! I wanna be able to dance again one day and I know the stem cells combined with my hard work I can get to that point!!

Today was Romeo's last day! Such an amazing person and friend I have made during my stay here in Panama. I am so proud of him and excited to see his results over the next few months!

Today I also had my third injection for the week and am so happy I made it through them! Again I had a lot more pain so my sensation is for sure improving, at least in the upper areas of my back. I can even feel more of the cold when my back is being cleaned and prepped before the injections. I have 3 again next week but then that's it and I am all done! One more week, I am almost there :)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Internet is still acting up, sorry for the late post today! My back was hurting from my injection yesterday so in my physical therapy session today I just used the electrostimulator to give my muscles a good workout while just laying down.

For dinner we went out with our new friends we made while we are here, Romeo and Jenny. Their last day is tomorrow we will miss them!! My dad treated us to dinner at a place called Jimmys and it was very yummy! I got a seafood pasta which I was very impressed with!

I have another injection tomorrow so lets hope my back doesn't get so sore afterwards again! I am already feeling much better so at least I will get to have a good sleep tonight.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Great day today! My legs felt stronger than usual, I used the treadmill today at therapy and increased from 4 sets of walking for 4 minutes at 1.7mph, to 4 and a half minutes per set. Im going to push for 5 minutes next time!

And my crutches finally arrived, my physical therapist ordered them for me and I will get to borrow them for the next 2 weeks! It will be very nice to walk around a lot more now and to give my legs that extra little workout each day.

I had another injection today and I felt the pain again like I did on Monday, which means I AM getting more feeling back already!!! I am SO excited about this, but also now I am not looking forward to getting 4 more painful injections! I only have a week and a half left here and can't wait to come home!