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Stem Cells for Hope Provides Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Therapy for Texas Woman with RR Multiple Sclerosis and Optic Neuritis
In October of 2008, Angela, a Customer Service Representative from Austin, Texas, was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) and Optic Nerve Atrophy. A disabling disease, RRMS is characterized by optic disturbances, muscle weakness, paralysis, impaired speech, vertigo, and a host of other crippling conditions. Having received no relief from conventional treatment methods in the U.S., in February 2010, Angela left the country to begin a five day treatment at Stem Cells for Hope’s affiliate treatment clinic in Mexico.
Click on the link below for the Press Release in its entirety:
(This is a journal that Angela, a Stem Cells for Hope RRMS & Optic Neuritis Patient wrote while she was at our Treatment Facility in Mexico. She has given us permission to publish this Journal as well as her email address below so that she can discuss her experience with Stem Cell Transplantation Therapy. It is a long read but worth it, enjoy)
“Stem Cell Journal 2010”
February 21st, 2010
I awakened this morning nauseous. I should be excited, and in many ways I am, as this is the day I traveled to Mexico in hopes to regain health I’ve lost to Multiple Sclerosis. I also hope to retrieve the life this disease has stolen from me. I know most of my stomach issues related to my anxiety about flying. Though I understand the physics behind flying, it still seems unnatural to me to be that high up in the air. I mean, I’m over 200lbs. and I don’t fly (LOL). Though I was a nervous wreck at takeoff, I have to admit the flight was not as horrible as I thought it would be and I handled my stress well.
I realize a lot of my unease also related to the larger picture at hand I will be facing this week and the coming days which follow. I have spent six months building my faith that this procedure will be the answer in repairing the damage MS has done to me physically. I really don’t want to be disappointed. On the one hand I want this to work; however, if it does I have so many things in my life to face in terms of getting back to work and getting my life back. If it doesn’t work, life will be more living with an illness that is nothing more than a series of mysteries. MS appears to be the Polio of the modern era.
I must be really tired and anxious here in Tijuana as I am full of internal conflict. Actually this is nothing new for me since I’ve been diagnosed; perhaps tonight it is just more intense with tomorrow being day number one. I am really nervous about the procedure for my eye and how all that will play out. I never thought I would have an illness that could take my vision; so I definitely never dreamed I would require a procedure that would place a needle in my eye in an attempt to return my vision. What a crazy, wild ride this existence we call life can be.
While I sit here writing about my thoughts, I am deeply grateful for this opportunity no matter how anxious and nervous I am. It is the hope I now have that it is possible to regain my health I hold in my heart to influence my dreams tonight. Tomorrow is not merely just a new day but hopefully the start of a new life and future for me without the daily plague of MS extremes. Goodnight old life and hopefully goodbye to MS.
February 22nd, 2010
Wow! Yes, I actually just wrote the word wow. That is too funny to me; however, there is no other word I have for my first day in Tijuana at the facility. Everything so far has gone according to what Walter told me I could expect. The minute we landed last night in San Diego, I worried we would not find the person picking us up to take us across to the hotel. A few minutes after we arrived at baggage claim waiting for our luggage, that concern was quickly laid to rest. There was a man waiting for us with a sign with my name on it.
The hotel is beautiful and the people working here are very nice and accommodating. Walter was also right about the food at the hotel, dinner last night (oh how I love homemade refried beans) and breakfast this morning was amazing. Christina was there in the lobby at 09:30am to take us to the facility. Everything is going smoothly and efficiently without confusion or complication.
We were taken back to the treatment area immediately upon arrival where I met my nurse Angelina and the Doctor 30 minutes later. The Doctor sat down for at least an hour explaining the treatment and procedure in detail. I was completely surprised by this. I have never had a doctor sit down and spend so much of their time to explain everything fully while displaying care and compassion. I had been seeing my neurologist in Austin since October 2008 and had four visits with him at $250 a pop. The total amount of time my neurologist spent with me for all four visits is about 40 minutes. How pathetic is that? I wish 10 minutes of my time was worth $250-it must be nice. Anyway, I am digressing from the subject in my own journal (LOL) so back to the point. The Doctor disclosed I would be having chemo (this news rather stunned me and put me off at first). In his words he stated, “Your immune system is out of control.” Chemo is used to clean up the immune system in preparation for the procedure. My response to his statement about my immune system being out of control was, “Who are you telling?” Once he mentioned Chemo, I immediately thought today was going to suck like no other. I figured I would feel crappy and be nauseous all night long. He assured me I would be given medication with the chemo that would prevent such side effects. So far so good as it is almost 9pm and I’ve had no issues. The Doctor also told me I would receive chelation therapy, an IV bag of vitamins (also known as a banana bag), and a few injections during the day.
The entire day was spent in the treatment room while chemo, chelation, and vitamins flowed through my IV line. The shots were no big deal and the IV was easy. I spent the day getting to know the Dorigo family, caught up on reading, and did some writing. In a strange way this is like a vacation, granted it’s weird, but a vacation nonetheless.
Day number 1 was easy though long. We didn’t leave the facility until close to 5pm so the amount of time spent there made it a long day but everything else was cake. I also learned the actual procedure will be done this Wednesday. I also met with a neurologist today who assessed my physical disability level.
I find I’m telling myself I am better and this procedure is going to give MS the beating of a lifetime. Thoughts are power and I am determined to apply this through during the week. I am taking back my power from MS.
Susan and I decided to walk for a few blocks after dinner and do some shopping. We felt completely safe walking around even returning to the hotel after it was completely dark. I find it funny she was excited we found a Mexican $1 store (LOL); I came all the way to Mexico to go to a $1 store the first day I’m here-too funny.
All in all it was a fairly decent health day and over-all a great day but I am really tired. One day down and four to go. I’m ready for a shower and bed-until tomorrow.
February 23rd, 2010
This morning was the first time in I don’t know how long I was able to wake after only sleeping for nine hours without an alarm waking me up. This may not sound like a big deal but considering that before coming here I required anywhere from 14 to 18 hours of sleep, this is very new and more than welcome. I wasn’t even dragging or lethargic which is usually the case no matter how many hours I sleep I acquire at one time. I don’t know if it is a mental thing or the start of yesterday’s treatment being responsible but whatever the case, it is a welcome change to what is usual for me. It was also nice to have a night without my left leg or arm jerking me awake many times during the night.
The morning began with Christina meeting us in the lobby at 09:30am and the immediate start of my IV once we arrived. Today everything went exactly as it did yesterday; however, there was no chemo today. Apparently chemo is only given the first day. So today was just injections, IV vitamins, IV chelation, a package of B vitamin supplements in pill form given to me to take daily, and enzymes given to me in pill form to take daily. The Doctor came by several times during the day to check on me and visit. The whole staff here is wonderful.
I spent most of the day much like I did yesterday reading and writing in the treatment room. I’ve already accepted the new lifestyle I will be living after the procedure is complete in terms of diet.
Water has become my drink of choice-I like it straight, on the rocks, and with a lime twist (LOL). I’ve even grown very fond of the hotel’s cactus juice I drink every morning. Day number two was another easy day. It is nice that we are not using our phones while we are down here. My only focus since we have been here is my health so not having contact with life in the states is very helpful insuring I have no distractions. This is really turning out to be like a health retreat.
I also noticed that my energy level is already so much more than what it was just a few days ago. We left the facility a little after 4pm and had dinner by 5pm.
On nine hours of sleep the night before, spending all day at the facility, and then heading to Revolution Street where we walked through stores a few hours (basically tourist central where we were told there were specials deals for us and us alone-LOL) for souvenirs, I should have been wiped out. I also noticed my walking gait and foot drop are not as bad as they usually are especially after having had a rather full day; well a full day for me. I am already noticing little changes and I have not even had the procedure itself done yet. I am so hopeful.
I know people are not going to believe we decided to hit the tourist shops but hey it’s Mexico. I want to live life and have experiences like I did before I became ill. We are in Tijuana and the tourist thing is all part of the experience so I wanted to go today. Tomorrow and the day after will not be possible since I will be recovering from the procedure. The entire time we walked around Revolution Street, I couldn’t help but think of the song “Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo and how I want to tell everyone I ate barbecued iguana while I was here (LOL).
We arrived back at the hotel and ordered dessert through room service and now I am ready for a shower here shortly. I am really nervous about tomorrow as it is Stem Cell Transplant day. I’m sure it will be fine but I am nervous nonetheless. Sometime tomorrow I will have a needle in my eye and another in the bone just below my knee; yeah, I’m very nervous with good reason I think (LOL). I also wanted to note before I forget that though it has been a busy day with a lot of activity, I am not as drained as I normally would be. To be completely honest, I was surprised I was able to last the whole time. I am tired, of course, as anyone would be. However, it is nothing like my usual Multiple Sclerosis fatigue I am unfortunately so well acquainted with.
Well it is time for my shower and then off to bed. Day number two down, three more to go. Tomorrow is the day.
February 24th, 2010
Well today is the day of the procedure and I’m very excited. I am also nervous as hell (LOL). I just keep thinking about Walter telling me I won’t feel a thing. He better be telling the truth for his sake (LOL). Anyway, I am leaving my journal behind today and have to head down to the lobby in a few minutes as Christina will be here soon to pick us up. I don’t know if I am going to be up for writing tonight when we get back so the experiences today will most likely go into the journal tomorrow. I’ll just have to see how I feel.
Well…everything went well today but I am really, really tired so I will write about today’s events tomorrow while at the facility. I will note that it appears that I am going to have the shiner from hell (LOL) as I am already starting to bruise around my eye. For now, it is time for me to go to bed so goodnight.
February 25th, 2010
So yesterday….what a day! I will have to tell Walter he was right for the most part about the procedure. We arrived at the facility and the first thing Angelina tells me is, “Angie baby, mucho pee-pee today”, as she gets out a one liter bottle of amino acids. The majority of the day was spent with amino acids running through my IV. The last two hours before the procedure I was given a small bottle of manitol in my IV. It was explained to me that manitol weakens the blood/brain barrier which allows my Stem Cells to move more easily to the damaged areas (of course I’m paraphrasing the Doctor’s words). I tried to rest, read, and write during the day like I had the previous two days but I couldn’t focus with the procedure on my mind.
At 5pm Angelina brought in a gown etc. and asked me to change. Once changed, we all went into the waiting area outside the procedure room while we waited for the doctors to suit up. In these moments I noticed I was sweating profusely and this continued the entire time during the procedure due to my nerves being on edge (which there was really no reason for as it turns out). Once in the room, my leg was cleaned and then came the local injection in my leg. The stick was a little intense but over-all not to extreme. Sometime past before anything else was done in order to give the local time to begin working. While waiting I asked The Doctor if the needle was a medical instrument or a shank as it looked like a shank to me (LOL). How typical of me to use humor to hide my fear. Anyway, back to yesterday’s events.
Approximately ten minutes after the local injection went into my leg, I asked Susan, “Has he even started yet?” She then explained to me he was already pulling my cells.
I didn’t feel a thing except for an occasional tickling sensation I suppose related to the suction going on in my bone. That was the extent of what I felt.
The procedure for my left eye was a different story. The first batch of Stem Cells removed from my leg were placed into a syringe to be injected into my eye. The ophthalmologist asked me to look up and over her right shoulder and the next thing I knew I felt really intense pressure in my left eye. The pain and pressure subsided as quickly as it presented itself. I have not had any discomfort in my eye since the procedure itself last night which is truly surprising considering what was done. The ophthalmologist held gauze over my eye for several minutes after she removed the needle. The moment she pulled the gauze away I cried as I could see color for the first time in a year in a half. The colors were blurry and not perfectly clear but the fact I can see them at all already is amazing. I can see color now! In the event nothing else works and this is all I get from this experience (which I don’t believe will be the case), the money is well worth it for this alone. The only drawback from this procedure is that I am going to have the shiner from hell for a few weeks and the whites of my eye look like red Jell-O; I‘m not exaggerating (LOL). The one aspect I was most concerned about being the most painful (the pain was very brief) was over in a matter of minutes.
The whole process for everything was done and over with rather quickly. Everything began at 5pm and we were back at the hotel right at 7pm.
The last two parts of the procedure involved the injection of Stem Cells into my spine and then the remaining amount given via IV. I felt a brief tiny prick of a needle in my back while my Stem Cells were injected into my spine. It didn’t take very long at all and there was no pain. The most time consuming part of the whole procedure was waiting for my Stem Cells to drip through my IV. The whole thing was really rather easy and I was nervous for nothing. I wish someone had wrote about their experience or had expressed what it is like for them so I would have had a point of reference to alleviate some of my concerns. It would have saved my nerves. I’ll have to tell Walter he was right as there were no issues and virtually painless with the exception of the few seconds with my left eye.
This morning when I looked in the mirror I had to laugh at my eye. I look like I came down to Tijuana and had way too much fun which appears to have resulted in a fight (LOL). I have quite the shiner. It certainly does not look like I had a medical procedure done to return my vision. I also noticed I felt really great this morning. The area just below my knee is tender of course, however, other than that I’m doing really well. I’m not even walking with my usual limp anymore. My balance is already improving.
The issues with hyper-sensitivity in my left limbs are virtually non-existent. I am amazed at how quickly things are improving for me. In some ways they are small improvements but in terms of where I was physically when I arrived, even the small improvements are huge to me. I am so grateful I was given this opportunity by Susan. I am being given a gift most people with MS do not get to receive either because people are not aware this is an option or they do not have the money. I hope things in our country change soon so everyone has the chance I am being given. How sad that it isn’t this way already-what a shame.
Today I will receive a vitamin bag and some antibiotics for my cough I’ve had for the last two and half weeks when I was sick. The Doctor told me he would give me a dose today and tomorrow since my cough seems to be worse. He wants to make sure I’m not getting sick again. Susan and I figured we would have to pay additional money for the antibiotics but to our surprise it was just added to my IV line and no money was requested. The Doctor even left the facility to go to the pharmacy to pick it up. How many doctors in the states go and pick up your medication and bring it to you? Um…The answer to that is easy-NONE. The staff here are amazing, wonderful people. It’s too bad I cannot transplant the facility and staff to Texas with me because I would do it immediately if it were an option. The day would have been an early day but we had to wait for my Stem Cells that were sent off and cultured for 24 hours. The Doctor had said some of my Stem Cells were going to be cultured overnight in a broth and would be injected. The term broth made me laugh hysterically as all I could think of is they were going to make my own personal Stem Cell soup.
I was actually finished with my IV fluids around 3pm but we had to wait for the syringes containing my cultured Stem Cells. I had those injections around 5pm and it ended up being two shots in each of my rear cheeks. These were not painful at all and really easy but laying there for twenty minutes after the injections was really boring. We were back at the hotel a little before 6pm. Today was a very easy day; four days down and one to go. Tomorrow will be a vitamin bag and antibiotics so it should be short.
Over the course of this week I am completely in awe of the improvements I am already seeing in myself physically. The frequency and urgency to urinate has settled down drastically, my balance is coming back, I am able to stand on my left leg alone and remain stable, there is additional clarity in my vision, the constant pain on my left side is gone, my left limbs do not jerk, I have no numbness or tingling on the left side, and my energy levels are almost to the level it was before I was diagnosed. All this in a manner of few days. I cannot wait to see how things continue to improve over the coming months.
How exciting my future is truly going to be! This is a view I didn’t think I would ever have again since my health began declining after my MS diagnosis. It is unbelievable and amazing all at the same time. Miracles still happen.
Well we are off to dinner and then I’ll be getting a shower when we get back. I’ll be back writing tomorrow night.
February 26th, 2010
Today was a little sad since we left the facility and had to say goodbye to the Dorigo family. Susan and I got to know the staff and the Dorigo family rather well during the week. We spent the last five days in the same room together all day long so it only makes sense that leaving would be a little sad. We left the facility a little after 3pm. I am so glad I went with Stem Cells for Hope for this procedure. I like the facility and staff Walter uses. This experience has been truly life changing for me and I am so grateful.
It is now 11pm and we’re in our hotel room in San Diego and I am surprised I am not wiped out. We awakened at 8am this morning, arrived at the clinic by 9:45am where we spent the following 5 ½ hours, then spent an hour with customs waiting to get back into the states, picked up a rental car, ate dinner, and went to a casino for an hour. A week and a half ago, I would have been ready for bed after being at the facility for two hours. This is astounding. I’m tired, as anyone would be, because it has been a busy day. However, the sleepiness I have at the moment is the normal type and not the MS exhaustion I am so familiar with. There is a difference between the two. Regardless of how I am feeling, the fact that I was able to do everything today is a miracle itself because I would not have made it through the day in the condition I was in before. I will see how I feel in the morning and tomorrow night. We have another full day tomorrow as we’re going to check out the beach tomorrow morning before we catch our flight out and then travel home.
February 27th and 28th, 2010
Wow and stuff! The improvement just continues in ways I never thought possible. I’m not the only one noticing the drastic differences. We woke up at 6am (how unfortunate for us-LOL) so we would be have time to get to the beach and turn the rental car in before our flight. I walked for a bit on the beach in the rain and would have been in the water body surfing were it not for the tiny hole in my leg from the procedure. I didn’t even care that it was raining. The smell of ocean air and being on the beach made me very homesick for California and surfing. I felt so great that I truly would have been in the water for hours if circumstances permitted.
We left the beach then returned the rental car only to get to the airport to find out our flight had been delayed an hour. This sucked massively as we already arrived at the airport two hours before our flight. We spent about 45 minutes getting through security so this left us with just under two hours to hang out in the San Diego airport waiting for our plane. BORING (LOL). The flight delay and time change put us getting into Austin a little before 7pm. I made arrangements to stay with my best friend during the first few weeks of recovery and she was there waiting for me. We got to her F-150 truck and I leapt into the seat like I did before MS. I used to struggle to get into it or would have to be assisted sometimes. I hopped into the seat and then we both sat there for a moment looking at each other in disbelief. I asked her, “Did that just happen that easily for me?” And she said, “Hell yeah it did! No way. That is crazy. I can’t believe it.” She noticed on the way to the truck my walking gait had improved and there was no limp. She was completely speechless though very happy. She kept asking if my eye hurt because it looked painful to her and made her eyes water. I told her I had no pain in it at all. I understood where she was coming from as I’ve noticed people will see my eye and then look away very quickly, some even move far away from me. I really know how to clear a room, just stick a needle in your optic nerve and people will stay away from you (LOL).
This is another day in which I should have been well past ready for bed long before my flight landed, however, I was hungry as hell and ready to eat. So we left the airport and dropped off my luggage at her apartment then went to dinner. After dinner we went to the grocery store to pick up healthy groceries for me and didn’t return home until close to 10pm. We stayed up a few more hours so I could fill her in on the remaining details of my trip and improvements. By the time I finished up with my shower, it was almost 1am. That’s right, I said it-1am! Unbelievable! This wasn’t possible before I left for Mexico. I am even able to take hot, not just semi-warm, showers and baths once again without being left weak. I haven’t had hot baths or showers, like the ones I’ve had the last two days, in over a year.
I also was curious to see how well my left arm was doing so just before bed I picked up her 15lb. weight and almost fell over in disbelief. I was able to pump out 15 reps. with the weight; before I went down to Mexico, I was unable to hold an empty coffee cup in my left hand without it drooping. The first thing I did the following morning was show her what I was able to do with the weight. She was once again stunned and amazed in disbelief herself.
I decided I was going to walk to make sure I was getting some exercise and I was curious to see how my left leg would do with constant activity. I walked a mile without stopping and without incident in about 25 minute’s time. Again, this is something I would not have been able to do a little over a week ago.
There has been a little more clarity in my vision since the procedure, I’ve had no constipation issues, my bladder is dramatically improved, there are no longer any fatigue issues-absolutely none, my balance is still great and better than it was in Mexico, my strength is returning to my limbs, I am able to withstand hot baths and showers without consequence, I have no pain issues, and there has been no involuntary jerking movements with my left limbs. I feel as though I went down in a broken diseased body and traded it in for a better model (LOL).
I’m writing in my journal trying to convey my thoughts and feelings about this past week and there is nothing in any language to adequately communicate. I have no words with which to explain my feelings or thoughts; what I have written seems lacking on so many levels but it’s the best I can do. I wish I could stand before everyone with this disease and say please choose this because in so doing your choosing to take back your life. This is your life, no else but yours so own it and take it back. No one has to live with MS and sit on the sidelines watching it destruct you, it doesn’t have to be that way. There was a time when I thought there were no other options until I did my own research. I am so glad I looked into other options. It has paid off more than I could hope for.
Oh yeah, I’ve also notice my libido is back and I’m glad for that (LOL). I have not really had one in over a year now so it is nice to have back once again. Life is rather dull without so thankfully it has returned. Just another positive coming out of having gone through with the Stem Cell procedure. So there is my Friday and Saturday and I am off to bed.
Please feel free to contact Angela via email if you have any questions at: email@example.com
MS Patient Home Movies of before and after (SCT) stem cell treatment. Paul was unable to get up on his own and could not walk without a walker for a very short distance. He was pretty much confined to a wheel Chair………and Now?
Paul Nicholas (:23) Two Weeks After Treatment
You can see additional videos and comments from Paul Nicholas about how MS affected his life and how stem cell transplantation treatment at our medical facility in Mexico changed his life.
Paul Nichols is a Stem Cell Advocate and he has a non-profit Foundation (the Paul Nicholas MS Foundation), that is working with the Montel Williams MS Foundation.
Click on the link below to visit Paul Nicholas’s www.MySpace.com website and scroll down to see his story on his family’s trip to Mexico for Stem Cell Treatment and home videos from the clinic facility while he was there.
Investigational Stem Cell Treatment Facility Has Success With Macular Degeneration
Stem Cells For Hope is a leading stem cell treatment facility offering regenerative stem cell transplantation to patients looking for alternative treatments to their illnesses, and has had a recent breakthrough with the treatment of Macular Degeneration.
Mt. Sinai, NY (PRWEB) July 24, 2009 -- Started in 2005, Stem Cells For Hope (SCFH) has been working to break new ground in the field of Stem Cell Transplantation Therapy. SCFH is a leader in providing stem cell treatments and regenerative stem cell transplantation to patients looking for alternative treatments to their degenerative conditions via their international network of doctors, clinics and hospital facilities. Medical conditions that have been treated with Stem Cell Transplantation Therapy include MS, Parkinson's, stroke, macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, and diabetes. Other conditions are evaluated by their Medical Advisory Board on a per case basis.
Treating patients with a wide range of serious injuries, biological, neurological and other debilitating disorders, SCFH engages in stem cell research, stem cell product development and the global treatment of their patients via Stem Cell Transplantation Therapy. Recently, they have experienced great success with a 74-year-old female from Kentucky who had been diagnosed with the wet version of Macular Degeneration in 2002.
Currently in the U.S., Stem Cell Transplantation Therapy is not FDA approved for the treatment of human patients except in the cases of leukemia and bone marrow cancer in children. While the U.S. uses embryonic stem cells for research and testing purposes on animals, "it will still be 12 to 15 years until any kind of stem cells will be authorized here for actual treatments. That's a long time to wait with nothing in sight for help [for patients]," says Walter K.
Though the company headquarters is located in the US and they pay their taxes here, due to the current legal restrictions in the United States, Mr. Sidorenko, and his partner Walter Kravchenko, offer SCFH's services to their patients outside of the U.S. in Mexico and Eastern Europe. According to Mr. Sidorenko "the clinics and hospitals that we have on our network have 15-18 years of experience in treating human patients with stem cells. Each location has a slightly different treatment protocol depending on the patient's condition. We are constantly learning from the different clinics and the treating physicians."
Stem Cells for Hope has a distinguished and diverse Medical and Scientific Advisory Board which is comprised of Surgeons, MD's, Ph.D.'s, scientists and research fellows who are responsible for patient evaluations, producing abstracts on the medical conditions and treatment of patients. They also are developing research papers to be published in various medical publications and journals, and prepare patent applications that will go before the USPTO shortly.
SCFH is currently looking for additional prime, successful, international clinic locations to add to their Global Network of Stem Cell Treatment facilities.
To see the on-line version of this article, click on the link below:
For additional information regarding Stem Cells for Hope please Contact Walter Kravchenko at (631) 929-3900 or visit the company website at www.stemcellsforhope.com
Walter Kravchenko, CEO
Stem Cells For Hope
631 929 3900
Sparta woman heads to Mexico for stem cell treatment for MS
Editor’s note: Sparta artist Nina was interviewed just prior to her trip to Mexico to receive adult stem cell treatment to battle her multiple sclerosis. The Herald will re-visit Nina when she returns in mid- to late- July, and continue to do so periodically.
By SETH AUGENSTEIN (Before Treatment)
SPARTA, June 14, 2009 — For Nina, there’s hope south of the border. Nina, an artist afflicted with multiple sclerosis, left Sunday for a pilgrimage to Mexico, where she will have bone marrow taken out of her shin and then have her own adult stem cells injected back into her spine. In doing so, the hope is she just might be able to ditch her two canes at the clinic.
For the artist’s deteriorating body, the treatment could slow or even reverse some symptoms of the incurable disease by the time she returns 10 days later. Nina said she’s taking the gamble of traveling south, because the MS treatments available in the United States continue to fail.
“It’s not going to be a cure — but everything we’ve been waiting for here is still the same,” she said last week.
Nina and her husband flew to San Diego, and will cross two miles over the border into Mexico for the treatment. In doing so, she’s part of a growing trend of “medical tourism,” in which patients with MS or Parkinson’s are taking their treatment into their own hands by going abroad for stem cells. Research indicates that diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS, spinal cord injuries, optic nerve damage and other medical problems might be improved, but not cured, by the treatment. Thousands of undocumented patients have been lured to places like Mexico, China and Costa Rica by the promise of the results.
Nina said she’s had a hard time sleeping as she’s thought about the new lease on life that could be waiting for her. She hasn’t even had time to practice her first love, painting. She has carved out a reputation as an artist inspired by Pablo Picasso and the scenes of Lake Mohawk right out her window. She’s had featured shows at galleries in Essex County, the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council in Newton, and places as far afield as Omaha, Neb.
She’s also become a focal point in MS activism and stem cell advocacy. Dozens of people in Sparta and beyond are watching Nina’s story unfold with hopes and prayers. Some are considering their own “medical tourism” trips abroad to get treatments still not available in the United States, depending on how people like Nina will respond.
One of the people who inspired Nina’s decision was Paul Nicholas, a musician from New York. He was “drooling in a wheelchair” before he received the treatment two years ago.
When he returned, his family didn’t recognize him at the airport — and since then; he’s had a new lease on life.
“Going for adult stem cells was the best thing I have ever done for myself, in my whole life,” Nicholas said. “We are always told, ‘There are no second chances’ — and I can now say, ‘Yes there are.’”
Walter Kravchenko is the chairman and CEO of Stem Cells for Hope, where both Nicholas, and now Nina, received their treatment. The company is a new one that is meeting the increasing demand for stem cells, and Kravchenko said two months ago the $25,000 to $35,000 price tag is not cheap — but is something many patients still can’t afford not to have done.
“It’s not snake oil. I go to sleep really well at night knowing we got somebody up and out of a wheelchair,” Kravchenko said.
There is no guarantee of success for stem cells, and doctors caution patients who want to make such a trip. Dr. Saud Sadiq, the clinical and research director of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York, said in an interview two months ago that while there are documented stories of stem cell success, he has personally seen several of his patients bilked for thousands of dollars for trips to Israel and China.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about stem cells’ biology,” Sadiq said. “I’m not being cynical for the sake of being cynical... The more hokey it sounds, the more hokey it probably is.”
But there are differences within the stem cell treatment umbrella, many say. Stem Cells for Hope’s founder, said the difference in his company’s treatment is a massive infusion of the stem cells. Between 60 and 70 million stem cells will be injected into Nina’s system this week, whereas other clinics abroad might do a quick shot of less than 2 million. There are also exacting procedures — including abstaining from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol — and ongoing vigilance, including physical therapy and diet control, that help the stem cells like Nina’s have a better chance to make a huge difference.
“It’s not a cure. But we do turn back the clock on the person’s condition,” Sidorenko said.
For patients like Nina, the upside is too enticing to pass up. She said she is hopeful not only for herself, but for others who are watching and waiting to see her results.
“So many people are waiting to see the outcome,” she said.
The critically-respected artist has not been painting recently, with the preparations for the trip and the energy of expectation. However, a young neighbor friend bought her a sketchbook so she might be able to begin creating again — perhaps with a newfound energy.
She’s sure of one thing about the Mexico trip, though. “I consider it a vacation,” she said, beaming.
To read the Article from the NJ Herald, please follow the link: http://www.njherald.com/story/news/29NINA-web
For more information on Stem Cells for Hope visit their website at:
Sparta resident on the mend from MS
Editor's note: Sparta artist Nina returned earlier this month from a medical trip to Mexico to receive adult stem-cell treatment for her Multiple Sclerosis. The Herald spoke with Nina before and after the 10-day trip -- and will do so periodically during her projected 10-month recovery.
By SETH AUGENSTEIN (30 days after treatment)
Photos by Amy Paterson/New Jersey Herald
SPARTA, July 29, 2009 -- Nina can stand and walk, and there are fewer "two-cane" days after her trip to Mexico.
However, there still is much left in her medical journey toward long-term health.
"I have to learn to walk again," she said Tuesday, exactly a month after she left for the clinic.
When she says she has to learn to walk, she's smiling. Nina still has the ups and downs associated with her disease, but she's gotten a kind of toehold in her fight against it.
The momentum against the degenerative disease is now in her favor, she says. The next 10 months likely will be a slow process of recovery requiring diligence, and vigilance, in almost every aspect of her life.
She spends almost every day in the pool, going underwater and swimming strokes that will encourage her own adult stem cells -- removed from her shinbone and injected back into her spine -- to travel to the places in her body where it can patch up, fix, and generally heal the damage left by the disease.
There's also a whole litany of dietary requirements to help purify her body -- from a prohibition on caffeine and artificial sweeteners, to milk and meats with hormones in it, and other artificial ingredients.
The benefits of giving up even the most mundane indulgences already have brought small but important steps. From a late-night painting session in her living room, Nina recently walked across the house without a cane. The going was slow and careful, but it was the first time in six years she had gone that far without any help.
Nina said she met a lot of like minds during her time at the Mexican clinic, from her MS-afflicted limousine driver, to the other patients with the same hopes she had. Some like minds are even closer to home.
Donna, a Jefferson woman, heard about the clinic from Nina, at first a complete stranger. The two became fast friends, and Donna just returned Saturday from her own excursion to the same clinic. Her results have been even quicker than Nina's; for the first time in two years, Donna has taken steps away from her wheelchair. Eyesight in her blurry left eye has returned, and feeling has come back to her feet and hands. Just days after returning, she said she's still tired, but hopeful for both her and Nina's parallel recoveries.
"I'm experiencing different things, things are happening," Donna said. "But it's going to take us some time."
The chief operating officer of Stem Cells for Hope, said both women can expect results to continue to come back with work and time, as the some 70 million stem cells make their way up their spines. He said positive effects -- whether minor or sweepingly dramatic -- always are there and need to be cultivated through exercise and diet.
"Everyone who's gone (for the treatment) has had a positive effect," he said.
Walter Kravchenko, the chairman and CEO of the company, agreed. The company turns away people when the treatment has no chance of improving their condition. He said honesty and highly attentive care, which both women rave about, are important to what the company is doing and saying about their treatments.
"It's not snake oil," Kravchenko said.
Both women went to Mexico because the experimental stem-cell treatments are not available in the United States, and will not be available for some years. That is something that should change, they contend -- vehemently.
"They should be doing this here," Nina said.
Nina still has her work cut out for her, not only in building up the strength in her atrophied legs, but also with her art. Her Picasso-influenced and widely-admired, colorful paintings are about to average two shows per month through the month of February, in galleries from Essex to Sussex counties.
There's still a blank canvas in her living room, too. She hasn't painted since before her trip because she's focused on the stem-cell treatment. She has at least a half-dozen images in her mind to work from, she said.
"I just have to get moving on these paintings, on swimming -- on everything."
To read the Article from the NJ Herald, please follow the link:
For more information on Stem Cells for Hope visit their website at:
Editor’s note: Sparta artist Nina Palumbo returned in July from a medical trip to Mexico to receive adult stem-cell treatment for her Multiple Sclerosis. The New Jersey Herald spoke with Palumbo before and after the 10-day trip — and will continue to do so during her projected 10-month recovery.
By SETH AUGENSTEIN (5 months after treatment)
Photos by Amy Paterson/New Jersey Herald
Five months after stem cells were extracted from her shin bone and injected into her spine, Nina Palumbo looks healthier and has stretched her limbs and her boundaries a little at a time. There were the steps to the woodpile at the corner of the yard and she’s even driven the occasional short trip to the bank, for the first time in years.
Her canes always are at hand and ready, even if she has made improvements. The stem cell treatment has not had a Biblical transformation on her physical capacities. The work remains, and Nina knows it.
“I’ll still have MS, no matter what,” she said.
“But even the worst day is better than the best day before I went to Mexico,” she emphasizes.
The tendons and muscle in her legs, so long underused, are stretched out regularly with the help of husband, Sal. Already she begins to lift her legs a little on her own, without the assistance of the straps she once used. The pedals of the exercise bike in her
bedroom slowly grind forward, and she takes the occasional jab at Bob the Boxer, a mannequin with a strong chin.
Such success is not a daily reality, by definition of the disease. Multiple Sclerosis is known to be an erratic one whose effects change from day to day, and even on the same day. Fatigue still sets in, and there are days of utter exhaustion, particularly last month when she picked up one of the viruses making their seasonal rounds. None of it has been a deterrent.
She has known all along that the stem cells were not a magical cure, particularly with the “double whammy” of the Lyme Disease she contracted several years ago. She hopes for the best, but has no illusions that 30 years of the degenerative neurological disease could be totally reversed in a matter of a few months. The clinic told her the same thing — the longer the disease has had to progress, the less effective the treatment once the damage is done.
The trip has been worth every penny of the $25,000-plus, she said. There was a distinct decline in her condition before she left in June. The former two-workout-per-day, full-time worker and mother started using a cane six years ago, and restrictions gradually closed in. A second cane complemented the first, the exercises slowed, driving a car became an impossibility. Right before the 10-day trip to the Stem Cells for Hope clinic in Tijuana, the sharpest decline was a steep one.
“I would never let myself get to that point again,” she said.
Even after crossing south of the border, the rigors of travel were taxing enough to put the stubbornly independent Nina into a wheelchair for days after the treatment itself. The wheelchair was something she swore she’d never resort to.
However, since she returned, she’s driven a car and has more than slowed the progress of the Multiple Sclerosis. A renewed vigilance in the form of the basket of vitamins and strict diet, exercises, and even sessions in a hyperbaric chamber have produced some results, and she just started a rigorous “bioenergy” alternative treatment.
Her paintbrush also returned to life. She has been actively turning out the paintings that have gotten her growing renown — and led to a series of 10 new paintings and at least half a dozen art shows across New Jersey. She completed her first-ever landscape — a stark painting with a smattering of cheerful yellow in the middle. Another shows a guitar with broken strings, but the reds of the instrument are vibrant, and the paint is thick and confident.
When asked what portrait or scene she might work on next, she simply sticks a thumb toward herself.
“I have to work on this canvas now,” she said, pointing at her chest. Created: 12/9/2009 | Updated: 12/9/2009
March / 2008
A letter from Father Russell Smith a member of the Catholic Health Association for the Third Sunday of Easter:
This is a letter which was circulated by the Catholic Church to their parishioners across the United States from , a member of the Catholic Church Health Association. In his sermon Father Smith describes the historical events that had occurred on the third Sunday of Easter. After an interview with Paul Nicholas about his MS and the Adult Stem Cell treatment he received, Father Smith thought it prudent to mention that the Adult Stem Cell treatment provided for Paul by Stem Cells for Hope and the spiritual journey that Paul Nicholas had gone through is an acceptable medical procedure from the Churches point of view. Using ones own Stem Cells and a strong spiritual belief in a Higher Power can work miracles for people suffering from degenerative diseases. There are no ethical or moral issues to contend with, just a persons own belief that with the proper medical treatment and spiritual beliefs they can become well.
You can read the entire message from Father Russell for your spiritual well being and can see his comments on Page 6 about his interview and comments about Paul Nicholas and his ongoing journey towards his physical and spiritual health.
Thank you and God Bless,
Bend man travels to Mexico for stem cell cure
Posted: June 17, 2008 09:16 PM EDT
Improvement seen since stem cell transplant
By Victoria Adelus, KTVZ.COM
For more than thirty years, Steve Foster has been living his life partially paralyzed, but he hopes a recent trip to Mexico is going to change that.
"I want this...bad," said Foster, an adult stem cell patient.
Foster traveled south to undergo the adult stem cell transplant procedure, in an effort to gain back what he once had.
"I'm tired of this life, and the way it is now," he said.
Julie Hood, a human biology assistant professor at Central Oregon Community College, says although the treatment isn't performed in the U.S., it has been performed successfully in other countries.
"In Steve's case, it sounds like they took stem cells from his bone and put them in his spinal cord, and they develop neurons, or nerve cells," Hood said.
Through reviewing research, Hood says she learned adult stem cell treatments can have both negative and positive results.
"The positive of using adult stem cells is, it is your own body - you're not destroying an embryo. You can use any cell to get this, so you're not going to reject it," she said. "The negative is it's going to be older or it could be sick."
Now back from Mexico, Steve is in great spirits, and his long-time friend Terri Johnston says she's already seen changes.
"I saw his arm relax the very next day down his side, which it has always been across his stomach and his voice was better three days after his procedure,” said Johnston.
Foster said, "Before I had to push the air out and now it feels a little easier and a little less raspy."
Johnston says he can even walk up stairs with less of a struggle.
"He took his first step with his right leg instead of his left, which he hasn't done in 30-plus years," Johnston said.
And Foster said, "I feel more energetic, after I stretch. I have more movement and flexibility."
Foster's journey isn't over yet, but with help from his friends and through living by his own motto of "Attitude is Everything," he says he hopes the procedure will change his life forever.
I'm much happier," Foster said. "I have hope, I have a vision...angels are with me."
Foster says he still has a few more procedures to undergo for him to fully recover and you can help him in his journey.
The Black Horse Saloon is raffling off a 2007 BMC Hooligan Motorcycle for 25 dollars a ticket.
The lucky ticket will be drawn on July 26th, and all of the money raised will go toward helping Foster.
Click on the image above to see the original article