Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stem Cell Primer - NBA Style

Thought I might give you a layman's (coach's) view of stem cells. This info may not be medically accurate, but it might give you a little better insight into what we are trying to do down here.

All of us have millions of stem cells in our body working every day. That God-given process is how you grow new skin after a cut or heal up from a sprain or bruise. These stem cells work in your body to heal us and keep us healthy. Everyone has a different amount and a different strength of stem cells. Some are just born with a larger, more active "bank account" of these healing cells - that's why some can live an unhealthy lifestyle and yet stay healthy and live for many years. For example, George Burns worked and played right up to his death at age 100 while living a somewhat unhealthy lifestyle - most of us would not live to 100 living like George. He definitely had a large, active supply of stem cells.

As we age our stem cell count and effectiveness decreases (unless you are one of those with a big "bank account"), so as a result of that decrease, we don't fight off diseases and illnesses like we once did. So you may be thinking, "Why would you get some of your own stem cells injected back into your body?" (As I did after they did lipo on me and harvested my own stem cells from my fat tissue.) That's a good question.

Your stem cells that have been "tied up" in your fat tissue haven't been "working" through out your body. They have been "resting" and staying potent in your fat tissue, so when they are extracted, they are "rested" with "good legs" and ready to enter "the game" - kind of like reserves coming off the bench, but these guys aren't "bench-warmers", they are as good as the starters! It's like the original Dream Team at the '92 Olympics - when Bird, Jordan, Magic and Ewing got tired, Barkley, Robinson, Drexler, and Stockton would come in. So these stem cells coming in from my fat tissue are like Barkely & Stockton coming in the game! Not bad.

The doctors are also injecting me with donated, cord blood stem cells because those cells are really young and active. In our NBA analogy, it would be like getting new faces on the team. As good as Bird and Magic were, they couldn't win the Gold medal still today, so putting LeBron, Kobe, and D-Wade in the game is very effective.

So today I had my first spinal injection. These spinal injections are always stem cells from donated cord blood. So today I got literally millions of new cells injected into my spinal fluid to go to work through out my body trying to heal the damage that MS has done to me.

That is a coach's view of what the doctors here hope is happening with these stem cell treatments. So after my injection today, I had millions of little LeBron and Kobe healing cells enter my body - it's Showtime!


  1. Conner will love thinking about "little LeBrons" healing your cells- Can't wait for him to read this post!!! We're thinking about you!

  2. Wow! Impressive! That explanation was genius!