It's January of 2011, so over 6 months have passed since our visit to Panama City and the Stem Cell Institute. I was reading my last update from July and not too much has changed since that time as far as my MS symptoms and improvements go. I read where I made it up the EHS stairs without using the rails, and that's still an accomplishment for me - some days I can and some days I can't. I still feel better and feel improved from my status of a year ago, and that continues to be very encouraging. As I have said before, for five years I could never make that statement, "I'm better today than I was a year ago." So it's encouraging and motivating to be able to say that, and to know I can only say it after returning from stem cell treatments!
Obviously I am sold on the idea of stem cells holding the key to my continual improvement, and that's why I have already scheduled my next visit. I will be returning to Panama City in March, around my spring break from school, for my second round of stem cells. I am really excited about this next trip because another step in improvement would simply be amazing and wonderful.
There are several people who have done really well with these stem cell treatments, and the ones who have done best have gone back several times - not because the treatments are not working but because they take a step upward each time. One such man is Richard Humphries - I have met Richard and become friends with him, and he is my stem cell icon and encouragement. He's my age, has secondary progressive MS like me, was forced to use a cane for walking and stability, could not drive his car because of cognitive issues, and obviously could not play golf which was his passion and his livelihood (gave lessons and worked with teams) - all of this in the last 4 or 5 years - well let me tell you what he is doing today since taking four trips for stem cells - he is driving anywhere and everywhere, he is playing golf every week, giving lessons again weekly, mowing his own grass, and obviously speaking out for the miracle of stem cells! I tell him all of the time, "You're my goal - I want to play golf again (not that I'm a good golfer) and mow my grass again (not that I enjoy that)" I really want to be able to coach football again; I want to know I will be able to play ball with my future grandkids; and I, too, want to be able to tell people who are suffering from diseases my story that stem cells are the ticket to improvement so they can experience the same.
I again want to say THANKS to all of the wonderful coaches and friends across Texas who donated funds and to the great folks of Ennis who generously gave at the benefit in March of 2010 because there are enough funds in the Hope foundation to send us (Steve Betik and me) for a second round. Without those generous folks this second trip would not be a possiblity.
When March arrives, I will continue my blog from Panama so stay tuned!