After 37 hrs travel from Dallas to Chicago, Tokyo and finally Delhi, we arrived at NuTech at 1:30 am CST on November 15th...
Yes... We are more than halfway through our trip. There has been virtually no internet, so I haven't really had an opportunity to update... All my chances for internet have gone to work Bc I'm working while here. Oh, ok, and to cheer my Pokes on, lol! Didn’t really work for bedlam… SHUSH. I'm deeply depressed after staring at GAME TRAX on a computer screen from 10:30pm -2:15am for THAT. But, I still love my POKES. =)
Ok... So, this is a really short trip - 5 1/2 weeks. Our shortest to date, so it's all about the stem cells... I've had 11 procedures to date - in addition to the twice daily intra muscular injections, the twice weekly injections into the muscle at my injury site, and numerous intravenous infusions. My last procedure ended Friday. It was a five-day EC (Epidural Catheter),
a procedure during which they run a catheter line into the lining of my spinal cord and shoot about 15-30 million stem cells into the line 3-4 times each day of the procedure. This was FIVE DAYS!!!.... So TONS of stem cells!! The downside is that you have to primarily stay in bed and forego Phisio...
So, I haven't had much Phisio this trip. But, we did move to walking in a supported walker in Phisio for three days. One
day was near perfect, one ok and one my blood pressure and spasms sabotaged. :(. Additionally, all movements in my legs, which began last visit, are stronger and my balance /overall strength has significantly increased. Unfortunately, We won't be able to post videos until we return because of the internet issues. But, know that I am doing well and getting lots of stem
We received a new MRI and Tractography our first week. Both showed new growth and shrinkage of the holes/fluid pockets in my spinal cord! I’ll post when I get home. One interesting thing on my Tractography was a progressive increase of
brain activity over the past two visits. HMMM… unplanned benefit. During my accident, I died and incurred some brain damage. In the hospital after my accident, 2007, they gave me a series of IQ/Cognitive exams which I completed significantly faster and scored higher than any patient in the administrator’s tenure (11 yrs). Consequently, they deduced I must not have sustained significant brain damage and decided against giving me any brain spec scans. However, I have noticed pre-accident memory loss. Apparently the stem cells are fixing my brain damage too. =)
I JUST WANT TO GIVE A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED, HELPED AND DONATED IN THE OKC GOLF TOURNAMENT AND DALLAS BLUSH AETHETICS RAFFLE! There is no way we would be here without your support and generosity.
So, 3am Delhi time (3:30pm 12/23 CST) on Christmas Eve, we head to Beijing, Houston and finally arrive in Dallas at
6:30pm CST on Christmas Eve…hopefully!
Before that, I should have five more procedures, including another EC – 4 days…. I hope to post another update, but we’ll see how the internet goes…
STAY SAFE AND WARM MY FRIENDS!
As you can tell, I'm still making steady progress... A clip from last from one of last week's workouts...
Nooo, none of the puppies ate my updates, but I do have excuses for taking so long to update on here... We arrived home from India 12/13 and after jet lag subsided, we were immediately caught up in the holidays and January I was busy dealing with the flu and strep throat.... So, I'm just now getting full-swing into my routine. AND.... it is going well; I had a great week last week!
I work a 75% workload at the office, so I use 3 different trainers/facilities for therapy in order to allow me to complete all my job responsibilities (AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, because they are all awesome and bring different disciplines and strengths to my recovery!):
PROJECT WALK - facility specializing in exercise-based spinal cord recovery
RODNEY NAYLOR - brace walking in my home
TRAVIS MARTIN - hand therapy & strength training
I also use my FES bike, do strength training and hand stimulation at home as my schedule allows. Oh, and am driving myself most places now. I still can't get all the way up my van ramp, so I have to be going where I know someone can help me up it, BUT it's huge progress and helps immensely with my independence and mom's sanity, lol! =)
Friday at PROJECT WALK:
* I stood without holding onto anything and with only my knees blocked for 15 seconds multiple times
* While standing as described in 1st bullet point, I was able to swing my arms (as non-injured people do while walking)
* On the recumbent bike, I wheeled for the first time on my own without someone having to keep my knees in line - @ 5 minutes worth....
For a chick "paralyzed" from the chest down, these are huge accomplishments! I promise I will get some video of Project Walk soon.
Tuesday night working on squats wi-th Travis, we had some fun... I thought you might get a giggle from the video - the first time I have danced on my feet since 8-24-07... (you can't tell because I have a sweatshirt and scarves on under that coat, but my abs and hips are moving a little bit and I'm stabilizing them)
OK... Lemme see if I can explain this... Dr. Shroff started using a new scan technology - along with MRIs - to try to measure neural growth in the spinal cord from the stem cell treatments. This was my first trip to use this technology, so I only have scans from when I arrived 11.2.12 and one from 12.7.12 after about 5 weeks of treatment. The changes only reflect this trip's improvement. I had one more major treatment after 12.7.12 and the improvements have historically continued steadily for 6-9 months post treatment, so I'm hoping one today would only look more promising. When looking at these scans, the green/blue areas are neural activity, the black part is my injury site and the two white blobs in the black are fluid filled legions in my spine (which have gotten smaller on MRIs from pre-stem cell treatments to now). These fluid pockets are what make my injury so severe. My spinal cord was pretty much shredded in my accident. The first attachment is the scan from 11.2.12. You can see the neural activity down to the injured area (black part) and the two white areas in the injured areas (fluid pockets). The second scan is on 12.7.12 and you can see more neural activity growth at the top and bottom (specifically growing toward the lower legion/fluid pocket.) Remember this only reflects the growth in the 5
weeks I was there. See also my two posts previous to this one for sitting balance and walking improvements during this trip...
Another clip from India exercises... I couldn't do this when I arrived
So mom and I went back to Nutech for stem cell treatment #5 from 10/30/12 –
12/12/12. This trip was filled with more treatments, which meant less
phisio time; therefore, I have less video. Last trip we ended on a high
note by removing my ab binder and cutting my leg braces from one unit to
separate ankle and knee braces… Meaning my walking in parallel bars was without
support from my knees up. We focused on building core and hip
stabilization between last visit and this visit and during the first few weeks
of this visit. Using the parallel bars, I would have to lean on the bars
often to move my left leg. My hip stabilization increased so much during
this trip, we decided to move to a walker the last three days of my trip…
You can see the improvement from the first day of trying and the third. We
have been home for a month now, but I really just started my first full week of
workouts this week due to jet lag, a slight infection and the holidays. We
are already seeing more improvement in my hip stabilization during this week’s
workouts. At project walk, I was able to stand and do hip swings and arm
exercises with only my ankles and knees blocked… without holding on to
anything. I’ll get videos of these workouts soon. I also have some
MRI & Tractography slides to share, but I thought I’d start with this video…
Lol, err, Steps in Walker, that is... I just woke up. It's 6 pm on the day of my last three-day procedure of this trip. This is then big one, where they pump millions and millions of stemcells into your spinal cord lining over 2.5 days. She's been more aggressive this teip, so I've been busy with stem cells and somer sightseeing... And trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to sleep... But, remiss in updates. It's all good, though. ;). Before todate, we've mainly noticed a big increase in core strength and stability. Sitting, standing and walking; an increase in stability and strength walking at the paralllel bars and some hand function and strength increases. See, all good...
Today, we moved to the walker to step. I can officially say I have now taken my first 100% unassisted steps in a walker (in my reduced separate knee and ankle braces). My hands were still strapped to the wslker, The walker was stabilized by two people and Dr. D was right behind me to spot and assist on the first couple left steps. But after those first few, I was on my own. It wasn't pretty, but it was another milestone met!
We should have my procedures and tests completed by next week (and hopefully mom's cold is gone). And we can take some videos. ;). Xoxo. Be home 12/13!!
Special Bedlam week post, lol. GO POKES!!! So, I'm getting a lot of stem cells and procedures this time, i get my next major one this Thursday. Three-days of TONS of stem cells... All that means time away from physio.... So, I don't have ang huge "WOW" moments for you this trip - YET... We are only halfway done... Lol. But, the flickers and twitches in my right leg are getting stronger and the flickers/twitches on my left leg are becoming more consistent and stronger... Slow and steady. As usual, we expect to see improvements when we get home... Thank you all for your continued support! GO POKES!!!