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July 28, 2007
As I type this email
communiqué, I am sitting propped up in a hospital bed at the older
hospital. An air conditioner is humming in the middle of a window and a
fan is whirling above my head. I have a catheter in my spinal cord and
strips of micro pore tape plastered across and up my entire back. I
feel like a mummy. A thin plastic tube runs up the length of my spine
and connects to a port…the port for the magical stem cells to be
injected into my body.
My room is sparse but
I have all that I need. God Bless my dear Gabrielle. She has been with
me for three and a half days and she is my angel per usual. She sleeps
on a pull-out mattress on the floor by my bed, keeps me company, plays
Scrabble, laughs, chats, and entertains. We have had more quality time
together in these past three days than we have since our last trip we
made together. I adore traveling with Gabrielle—she is so easy to be
with and completely accommodating. We like the same foods, we crave our
morning cuppa together, and we are even reading the same book on
virtually the same page without planning it. I love Gabrielle so much
and I am blessed that her husband Todd let me have her for this precious
witnessed me make some more strides forth with my stem cell treatment.
Although I am not sure how to tactfully convey my ground breaking news
to the world, I shall resort to the simple facts…I had my first bowel
movement on my own in fifteen years last night. Yippee! I have also
emptied my bladder completely on my own four times since
yesterday with only a small residual of fluid left (which is normal).
Now, Gab is a true friend. It was so funny I must share at least some
of the facts. I was sitting on the pot as Gabrielle held my legs open
and I held the plastic container to collect my urine and measure the
amounts. After my maximum effort exerted and fully voiding, Gab’s nose
gave a wiggle, a sniff and she asked, “Are you sure you didn’t do
anything else? Have a look”. I looked and low and behold, a small
nugget was in the loo. My God! I shall spare you any other details,
but this is truly miraculous given that I haven’t been able to use my
bodily functions normally in fifteen years. Thank you Dr. Geeta Shroff
and Dr. Ashish. I feel like I am becoming normal again (whatever normal
On Thursday Gabrielle
and I checked into Room 201 at Nutech Mediworld. A nurse inserted an
intravenous needle into the back of my hand and filled my veins with
burning antibiotics mixed with sodium chloride. At 12:30 p.m. I was
rolled into the Operating Theater surrounded by nurses in blue gowns
with face masks. I was then transferred on to the familiar skinny
operating table and told to lie sideways in the tightest fetal position
with my chin and knees tucked into my chest. Dr. Ashish proceeded to
inject my site of injury with anesthetic to numb the area. He then
inserted a catheter below my injury level in between the spinal
processes to the outside of the spinal c ord. The tube to the catheter
runs up the outside of my spine and attaches to a port over my
shoulder. Tape covers my entire back and is now beginning to itch. My
body was then stretched out and Dr. Ashish injected three fat syringes
full of stem cells into the port. More than fifty million stem cells
were injected and flooded my lower spinal cord. Like liquid jelly, I
could literally feel pressure as the icy cold cells filtered through
into my cells, my veins, my nerves and down through my buttocks into my
thighs, my calves, and into my feet. It was as though a million rubber
bands were wrapped around my legs compressing every cell and firing them
into action. With each i njection the pressure increased, and searing
pain swept through my lower back, abdomen and down my legs. My nerve
pain intensified and then pins and needles tingled all the way to my
toes. I was wheeled back to my room and lay on my back with two bricks
under my bed tilted downhill for four hours. Another fifty million or
so stem cells were injected that evening. Two more doses were injected
through the port the following day. I was required to lie on my stomach
for two hour intervals after each dose, with my head still downhill.
With the third and fourth doses, I felt intense pressure in my head
around my ears, nose and sinus cavities. It was as though I was
immersed fift y feet below the ocean’s surface sensing the need to
equalize my ears. After a short while, the pressure and pain subsided
completely. It was after the third massive dose at approx. 4 p.m. in
the afternoon that I had my little miracle moment in the toilet. J Yes,
the stem cells work that rapidly—I find it hard to believe myself.
Today is my third day
without showering, my arm pits stink, my hair is greasy, and the tape is
still itching and stuck to my back. I keep reminding myself, “It’s
worth it Amanda, it’s worth it. Picture every stem cell bathed in
golden light sprinkling loving healing energy throughout your body like
fairy dust. It’s all worth it!” Now is the time to bring my higher
spiritual self to the forefront and bring it into balance with my
physical, mental, and emotional self. This is my chance in my lifetime
to crush all iniquity in my life and live more vivaciously than ever
before. I continue to pee on my own and life is fabulous. I am
grateful beyond description.
I thanked Dr. Ashish
with immense gratitude. Later I learned that Ashish in Hindi means
Blessings. I give blessings to you my friend for your great work for
humanity. He and Dr. Shroff have the most amazing jobs in the world.
EVERYONE in this hospital shows improvement! And it isn’t because of a
pharmaceutical drug to band aide an illness and temporarily treat a
patient. The human embryonic stem cell lines created by Dr. Shroff is a
cure for humanity—I see her treatment as life giving life. In
Dr. Ashish’s own words: “This is as big as the discovery of fire. You
have been injected with the most intelligent chip ever created. It is
I am on the third day
of my procedure and Gabrielle is venturing out into Delhi on her own for
the first time. She has returned to the apartment to have a shower and
grab some tuna fish that we’ll stir into some mayo for lunch on Rye
Crackers. This afternoon she’ll fight the traffic in a taxi and visit a
couple of the more reputable markets for some shopping and trinkets.
She’ll be accompanied by Carroll, another angelic lady who is looking
after a Parkinson’s patient named David Moore from Perth, Australia.
David, like everyone in this hospital, has shown remarkable
improvements. He and Carroll flew into Delhi barely three-weeks ago.&
nbsp; When I first met David I observed that life was slowly being
sucked out of him—he was expressionless with nothing more than a mumble
for speech…and he hardly moved his body. He has the freezing kind of
Parkinsons (as opposed to the shaking kind). After 2 ½ weeks on
embryonic stem cell therapy, David walks independently across the room
consciously picking his knees up high; he is writing his name perfectly
(and is preparing a love letter for his wife in Australia); and he is
speaking in his mother tongue with a heavy English accent that hasn’t
been heard for the past sixteen years. Apparently with the return of
his speech came the old accent. So, I’ll always be an Aussie, no matter
how hard I fight to retain my accent while living abroad, it will always
be there deep inside. Once an Aussie, always an Aussie.
Gabrielle and I
retorted that we wanted love letters from David too. He quickly
responded, “I’ll photocopy some for you”. He has his humor back and a
sparkle in his eye in just two weeks. I have my own love letters that
arrive on a weekly basis from Dale. He is beautifully old fashioned and
the entire hospital staff watches me light up when a letter arrives from
Basalt addressed to Dr. Geeta Shroff, Personal for Amanda Boxtel. Thank
you Sweetheart, your letters keep me alive and remind me how much I miss
Another Aussie patient
residing in a room on the second floor is Martin. Martin is 34 and has
diabetes. He has been blind twenty-four years seeing light and dark
only, and has been receiving stem cell treatment in Dr. Shroff’s
hospital for eleven days. Martin has also been catheterizing to empty
his bladder. This past week Martins’ insulin levels have decreased by
remarkable amounts, he is slowly regaining his vision (he could make out
Gabrielle’s eyebrows and vague facial features), and he is fully
emptying his bladder on his own while standing up. WOW! What more can
I say as I write with a tear in my eye and amazement in my gut.
Astounding, simply astounding!
A taste of our
daily life experiences…
On Tuesday I sat in
dappled light on my balcony and caught a sunbeam while eating my lunch.
In the branches of the Neem tree I noticed a nest with baby chicks
squawking for food from their Mummy. I think they were crows. I
discovered I had company and wasn’t alone after all. The Neem tree is
well known for its medicinal qualities especially for treating diabetes
and apparently it makes your skin glow. With that knowledge, Mum ate
five leaves immediately. They taste very bitter. Upon finding out that
they are also used as an anti-fertility herb, I stopped taking the
leaves in fea r of jeopardizing Mr. Singhs’ prediction of my giving
birth to two baby girls.
Gabrielle was a little
panic stricken on the second day of her visit. Distraught and sweating
she tore through the door of Room 201. The hospital sits adjacent to a
park and children’s play area. What we thought would be a great idea
turned out to be disastrous. Bearing two small jars of marbles, Gab
entered the park. She eyed five or six kids and headed their way. With
cupped hands she displayed the marbles. Big mistake! In an
instant as she began to hand marbles to the bare-footed ragged little
ones, she was literally mobbed by about thirty pulling at her arms, her
clothing, and her legs—all begging. The begging grew louder each
moment: “Laaaydy, Laaaaaaaydy more, more…Lady…more!” Flustered she
passed the entire second jar to what she thought was the teacher who
glared at her with a look to kill…you know—the type of evil eye that
speaks louder than words: “Thanks but no thanks for creating a problem
that I now have to deal with”. In a quick minute, the kids were
snatching marbles, crying and Gab was in the midst of a small riot.
Upon her return we decided that we will either opt to keep the other
toys in our room or beg Dale to bring an entire box of marbles f or his
visit in two weeks to appease every kid on the block. How much is the
baggage weight allowance per bag for international travel?
Yesterday’s giving was
a little more toned down—but shocking. We meandered out of the confines
of our apartment complex and around the corner. When I thought I had
seen the worst, it got worse. I am not sure what is worse than
worse…and how bad the standard of living can actually get. Trash is
strewn on the sides of the street where I’ve also noticed children, dogs
and cows defecating and urinating. This is the same place that
children, dogs and cows forage for scraps to eat. Virtually on top of
the piles of rubbish are blue-tarpaulin tent-like dwellings. The day
before Gabriell e’s visit, I rolled down this street with Trevor,
another Australian patient receiving treatment from Dr. Shroff. A small
infant who lay motionless on a piece of board was covered in about two
I turned to Trevor:
“Do you think he’s alright?”
“I think he’s dead!”
he whispered. We rolled on, turned around at the end of the street and
rolled back. The child moved ever so slightly…and the next day he was
gone from that spot.
I feel so fortunate.
Gabrielle passed the marbles to a teacher who was giving alphabet
lessons to tiny little ones using square slates with chalk. They were
all beautifully behaved and nodded their heads with hands in the prayer
position in unison, “Namaste”. They are happy. I ponder: What is
happiness and where does it stem from? They have nothing and yet
they are happy.
As we return to the
apartment, my lungs are filled with pollution from our venture outside.
My head hurts and I blow dirt from my nostrils. My separation from home
has me longing for and has given me a new appreciation for the beauty,
the cleanliness, the crisp unpolluted air and clear distant horizons. I
miss everything so much. I miss the simple pleasures of cooking in my
kitchen and eating fresh fruit with the skin on; eating crunchy lettuce,
mouth watering Swiss chard or kale, and fresh pink wild salmon cooked
medium rare. Ah, to drink water from the tap… But mostly I miss my dog
Tucker, Dale, and my dear friends. I miss snuggling, I miss kissing,
I miss being in love and feeling loved. I miss taking Tucker for his
daily walk and watching him play catch in the river. Oh, I miss the
river…gazing at its constant rhythm in motion—a metaphor for my life.
Mum’s departure was
awful. She was haggled by a horrible man begging for rupees right
through the departure gate. He had zero empathy and refused to budge,
let go of her sleeve, and allow us the pleasure of a last private hug to
share some quick loving moments together. For this reason alone I had
an immediate love-hate relationship with India. I imagined Mum half
giving the middle finger to Delhi as the plane’s wheels left the ground,
and half holding her hands in the prayer position bidding a Namaste of
complete gratitude saying, “Thank you India, thank you Dr. Shroff, thank
you, thank you, thank you…Until I see you again.”
With so much love as
Amanda and Gabrielle (xoxoxoxo)
P.S. Now Gabrielle
has yellow curry on her green shirt. The curry continues to haunt…
Monday, August 6th
I am ecstatic to
report that I am the proud owner of a very strong ham string in the left
leg. Yes, my lower left leg can now move backwards from the knee down
to the foot on its own! This is a first!!!!! In fact, I feel my
gluteus maximus beginning to kick in, along with other abdominal and leg
muscles that haven’t felt alive for fifteen years. I have a weird
sensation that I can deeply tense my calf muscles. The awareness in my
lower limbs is strangely phenomenal—as if a little electrical current
has been turned on filtering pins-and-needle tingles all the way to my
toes. This is all apparent after my most recent two embryonic stem cell
procedures. My body is waking up and I am both the audience watching
synonymous with the actors playing out the motions. I applaud with glee
at the slightest flicker of movement, and I sweat with exertion to
fire-up a body part that has been paralyzed for what seems like an
Gabrielle and I checked back into Room 201 at Nutech Mediworld. Within
minutes I was draped in a bottle-green gown lying face-up on a gurney.
In the Operating Theater, three masked angels dressed in blue maneuvered
my body into the fetal position as Dr. Ashish Verma prepared the stem
cell syringes for injection. As if on cue, the power cut out
completely but the trusty generator light kept shining on my back. This
procedure entailed swabbing my back down with a sterile solution and
then numbing the area. Dr. Ashish then inserted an extremely fine
needle in between my lumbar vertebrae directly into my spinal cord,
which was similar to an epidural. He then injected two syringes of stem
cells into the cord. The procedure itself took a matter of minutes and
was pain free. I rolled onto my back and lay still for fifteen
minutes. I was then transported back to my room and asked to lie flat
on my back without moving for the next six hours. The foot of my bed
was elevated on two bricks so that my head tilted downhill. I felt a
little dizziness and pressure in my head yet it was tolerable. At 8:00
p.m. I was allowed to roll onto my side but I wasn’t meant to sit
upright for the next twelve hours until 8:00 a.m. the following
morning. Four bo ttles of electrolyte fluids pumped through my veins in
the course of the evening and the next morning. Three separate
antibiotic injections staved off possible infection. I’ve been jabbed
that many times in India I’m beginning to feel like a pin-cushion. With
obstinate intravenous needles I sometimes wonder why I voluntarily
signed up for such torture. Then, when I pee on my own I quickly remind
Gabrielle and I passed
the time with visits from Martin, the blind diabetic patient who
continues to show improvement in both blood sugar levels decreasing to
normal; and he is regaining his sight so that he can make out more
defined images. At one point I tried to play travel Scrabble flat on my
back with the board in the air and an IV dripping through the veins in
my wrist. When the IV ceased to trickle because my hand was too high
we gave up the game. As they jabbed the other wrist to begin another
IV, Gab even sang to me.
When I was totally
bored and lying on my left side with the right knee tucked behind my
left knee, I pointed my finger to my lower left leg and exclaimed with
“Gabrielle, I just
want to move that leg over there!”
After I made that
comment, I moved my leg…just as I had intended. Stunned, I said,
“Did you see that?”
“YES! OH MY GOD, did
I see that? Amanda, you moved your leg!”
“Yes, I moved my
Gabrielle leapt from
her bed and was standing before my legs saying, “Do it again!”
I did it again. I
moved my left leg from the knee down backwards from the edge of the bed
to the center of the bed four times. On the fourth time the movement
became weaker. I was isolating my lower limb completely—a movement that
had to stem from the ham string.
Gab screamed, “Call
Dr. Shroff! You must tell her.”
Today I demonstrated
my new leg movement to the physio therapists: Chavi, Deepti, and Deepak;
and to Dr. Ashish, and Dr. Shroff. Dr. Ashish was so excited he ordered
a spontaneous ‘deep spinal muscle’ procedure in the OT. It was another
fifteen minute procedure involving injections of stem cells directly
into the back muscles on either side of my spinal cord. The injection
on the left side was excruciatingly painful as the fluid bled through my
left buttocks, thigh and lower limb. The burning pain was
unbearable…but with time, it dissipated. I felt electrical tingles all
the way to my toes on each leg.
My limbs are
responding beautifully, my mind is alert and positive, and I am grateful
beyond words. It’s all worth it! I ask, “How can we deny a world
filled with spinal cord injured patients the right and opportunity to
receive this miraculous treatment? It has been fifteen years that I
haven’t been able to move my lower left leg on my own…and now I can.
While the movement is slight and fatigues easily, it is there. I am
living proof that human embryonic stem cells work!
I have immense
gratitude in my heart and soul. I am thankful for the body that is
mine. I ventured into this journey free of expectation or attachment to
a specific outcome. One percent change in my body would have been a
small miracle…but I never imagined that I would begin to regain my
bodily functions and accomplish all that I can do and feel today. I
embrace my legs, my bladder, my bowels, my abdomen, and my nerves with a
golden light of love and gratitude. My body is a temple and my legs are
connected. I am not a half a woman but a whole woman—I am One. I have
a song in my heart that is peaceful. I give thanks…so many thanks for
this opportunity to be here in India and I feel blessed to be receiving
the gift of life.
A Verrrry BIG
The amber flame of my
candle is flickering as I watch the same orangey-yellow sun set amidst
the silhouette of the neem tree branches. A purple-blue orchid sits in
my window, and four little elephants stand side-by-side on my desk—two
with their trunks up for luck and prosperity, and two with their trunks
down symbolizing peace and as Gabrielle claims, “groundedness”.
I asked where she heard that bit of trivia and she confidently replied,
“I made it up.”
In India and Asia the
elephant is a powerful totem animal symbolizing royalty, fertility,
wisdom, and success—here’s praying for all of the above! Indra, the God
of Rain, used the gray elephant to bring forth the monsoons. I think
Indra was working overtime this past week given the torrents that
flooded the northern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I’ve never seen rain pelt
down so hard for so long. All through the afternoon and night it
showered last Thursday—buckets and buckets. Small floods caused road
blockages in downtown Delhi, and the stench lifted. Delhi had a much
Perhaps the rain’s
downpour was partly due to Gabrielle’s and my incessant quandary over
purchasing a certain elephant—our dilemma was not only the price, but
the animal’s size. Yes, this elephant is large—bulky enough to warrant
its own suitcase. We dreamed elephants all week. Gabrielle tossed and
turned and finally I said, “If you love it, buy it”…and like a true
friend I added, “And if you die, I get it…Deal?”
So, on Friday
Gabrielle purchased Ellie. Weary and with nowhere to go due to the
downpour outside, we stuck to our guns and bartered the shop owner down
by half the price. The deal was through…but how the hell was Gab going
to get Ellie home? As the Universe would have it, two doors down sat a
luggage shop filled to the ceiling with suitcases and duffels of every
size, color and shape.
(please) can I come in?”
Three men jumped to
their feet and proceeded to remove about twelve bags piled high from the
doorway so my wheelchair could barely squeeze in. Upon entering my left
castor wheel snagged another half-dozen that toppled behind me. Gab
followed with the elephant cradled in her arms.
elllllleeeeeephont Maam!” Exclaimed the shopkeeper as he produced the
first suitcase, reached over me and threw it on my lap. This guy’s
armpits reeked to high heaven that I almost passed out. I’ve never in
my life smelled such bad BO.
As Gab tested the
suitcase size according to Ellie, she said, “No, it’s not big enough.
In a flash and a whiff
of an armpit, the man twisted and dumped a larger case on my lap.
“This one’s got some
sort of sticky stuff on the cover. Do you have another case?” smiled
He leaned over my
head, pits fully exposed, and produced another case but it was black.
By this time I’m gagging.
Gab sweetly asked,
“Oh, I prefer the blue. Do you have a blue case?”
Unbeknown to Gab, the
man’s odor was putting me over the edge as he kept repeating, “Maam,
veerrrrrrry BIG elllllleeeeeephont….verrrry BIG elllllleeeeeeephont.”
My coping mechanism brought on the giggles. In the pure ridiculousness
of the moment I couldn’t handle this man hanging over me any longer.
“Gab, take the
blue…please, I beg you, take the blue suitcase. It’s a damn big
elllllleeeeeephont. Chalo—let’s go!”
How many Indians does
it take to wrap an ellllleeeeeephont? Exactly three.
Ellie is now on her
way back to the USA as checked luggage in a blue suitcase minus the
sticky stuff. She’ll land on American soil at 6:25 p.m. Monday night
Colorado time, hopefully in one piece. Don’t get me wrong, this gal is
gorgeous. She is pure rose wood with camel bone inlay that is so
intricately placed she glows with grace, peace (trunk is down),
groundedness, prosperity, and wisdom. Oh, it is also said that the
elephant has a most auspicious symbolism embodying strength and power of
the libido. So Gab my friend, may Ellie bring you luck and joy in sex
for the rest of your days.
Gabrielle left at dawn
this morning and it was a tearful goodbye. No lady in India dares to
expose her shoulders, cleavage, nor legs, yet there I was in my pajama
top with bare legs and hair like a bird’s nest as I waved farewell.
With a quick glance up, I caught three Indians peering down at me from
the balcony above. I didn’t give a hoot and they kept looking. Indian
men aren’t afraid to stare.
Gabrielle has a halo
that shines over me and brings my true self alive. She lets me be me.
Her light radiates wherever she goes and she is loved by all. Thank you
Gab for giving selflessly to me these past twelve days. You travelled
half way around the world to help, encourage, love and support me.
Together we witnessed my body coming alive after fifteen long years of
paralysis. You saw me do Number 1 and Number 2…and you were the first
to witness my lower leg move on its own—all in a week and a half. Wow!
Thank you for your unconditi onal love and friendship. You mean the
world, the sun, the moon and the stars to me. Thank you my Didi.
I am missing you already.
Gratitude to All for
your emails. I get excited when I turn on my computer morning and night
to check my inbox (that’s if the internet is working…It’s been
frustratingly sporadic lately so forgive me if I don’t always reply).
Gabrielle and I agreed that if there was one word to describe Delhi, it
would be paradoxical.
With love and Namaste,
I am alone this week
until Dale arrives next Monday—Yippeeeeeee!!!! I can hardly wait…seven
August 13-21, 2007
Dale's Arrival Heralds Right Leg Movement!
August 13th was a significant day—the day that my right toe and
right hamstring kicked in! Yahoooooooo! This day also marked Dale's
arrival on a flight that was three hours late. As I nervously waited
outside customs with a red lumpy rash covering my entire face and a
uneasy tummy, I chatted with a South African lady and handed over my
most precious commodity—toilet paper. (As a side note, in two months I
never contracted the dreaded Delhi Belly!) Better safe than not…how
could I let this lady venture out into the streets of Delhi without this
Finally I had Dale by my side to experience the beauty of the people, my
progress, and treatment. Dale knows my body…a body that used to be
swollen and bloated, with flaccid muscle tone, no leg movement, and a
lot of stiffness and spasticity in my lower limbs. After we left the
airport we headed straight into Chavi for therapy. Dale was astounded
by my new appearance (regardless of my red-dotted face), and how my body
had changed so radically in two months. Per Dr. Ashish's orders, we
jumped in a car for the older hospital to prepare for a two-day spinal
procedure. Dale hopped right into treatment and my routine with ease.
He was such a loving support and a comfort—what I had longed for two
Room 201 was waiting for our arrival, along with the familiar bottle green
gown and cute, giggly nurses. Opi and Dimples escorted me into the
Operating Theater one last time. Dr. Ashish performed the procedure
with confidence and delightful chatter as I lay on my side in the fetal
position. He inserted another five inch long catheter into the outer
sheath of my spinal cord and taped down the tubing that ran up my entire
spine. A port hung over my shoulder, which Dr. Ashish used to inject
the embryonic stem cells. He gave me a more concentrated dose in two
syringes and tilted my body slightly to the right so the stem cells bled
into the nerves on my right side. I felt icy cold stem cells encased
in tubing traveling down the outside of my back and into the catheter.
Extreme heaviness swept through my right leg and the familiar pressure
of a million rubber bands compressed my muscles. My burning pain
increased with almost unbearable intensity and then dissipated after a
few minutes. After receiving my final big dose, Dr. Ashish made a pact
with me, which was settled with a firm handshake. He said, "Lie flat
on your back until 7:30 p.m. Do not move your body at all. At eight
o'clock I want you to move your right hamstring with the same intention
that you used for your left. Deal?"
"Yes Dr. Ashish. Deal! I'll move my right hamstring, I promise!" I made
this statement with complete confidence…and in front of Dale, with both
of our eyes focused on my lower right leg as I lay on my side isolating
my upper body and hip flexors; I moved my right hamstring on command!
My leg and foot moved backwards from the knee down. The movement was
slight (an inch or two is all) but it was there. I then sat up with
glee and said, "Let me try my toes."
With the same intention, I moved my right toe repeatedly. Dr. Ashish came
in to check after 8 p.m. and upon hearing my news he high-fived my right
hand in the air with elation.
"See, I told you. Anything is possible Amanda. You will continue to see
As I lay flat that evening on a thin hospital bed, Dale curled up next to
me. He was exhausted and jet-lagged. His feet lay next to mine. All
of a sudden I felt a deep sensation in my right foot as though he had
rubbed it with his foot. I sat up and looked at our feet. They were
"Did you rub my foot with your foot?" I asked inquisitively.
"Yes, did you feel that?"
"Yes, do it again!" And Dale rubbed the bottom of my foot over and over.
I could feel a deep sensation and I knew he was there, rubbing away.
My leg didn't spasm at all. I could simply feel his rubbing deeply
underneath my skin.
"Can you feel it now?" He asked.
"No…." I hesitated as I looked at him with disappointed eyes.
"Hah! I was testing you…I stopped. What about now?"
Dale had witnessed three little miracles in the span of an hour. He was
speechless. He couldn't believe what he was seeing with his own eyes…my
body was coming alive.
In summary, here is a list of the noticeable changes in my body that have
taken place over the past two months of receiving human embryonic stem
cell treatment. Keep in mind that I have sustained a spinal cord injury
and paraplegia for 15 ½ years—since February 27, 1992. During that
time, my disability has remained stable. While I have not regressed, I
have definitely not shown any progress with muscle power or return of
sensation. I have kept my legs supple and alive with regular massage
and occasional acupuncture and acupressure, which contributed to my
overall well-being. My active life-style was also a plus.
Human Embryonic Stem Cell Treatment—June 25-August 17, 2007
Report: August 17, 2007
My goodbyes to my new friends in India were tough. Friday, August 17th
was emotional and teary. Dr. Shroff and Dr. Ashish are a perfect team
complimenting one another with their expertise, cheery optimistic
dispositions, and humbling natures. We embraced lovingly and agreed
that I would report in with an email and follow-up phone call to Dr.
Shroff once a week. I will continue with my physical therapy exercises
daily and I will use my leg braces to stand and practice walking.
I will maintain my strength and give my stem cells the best opportunity
to "gestate" and grow in my body. I should continue to see improvements
over the next two or three months. It has been proposed that I return
to India for a top-up treatment over three weeks in early December this
year. What a perfect 40th birthday gift for myself!
Dale and I boarded our British Airways flight Saturday morning, August 18th
with a surprise upgrade to Business Class. Gillian, the crew director
for my incoming flight from London Heathrow to Delhi, had worked her
magic. She had sent messages through and Dale and I were completely
spoiled our entire journey home. Wow, thank you Angel. What an amazing
gift to fly flat on our backs and stretch out in luxury and comfort.
Gillian, we felt your loving energy all the way home. Thank you soooooo
Back in Basalt Monday night I couldn't sleep a wink and stared at the
ceiling. Exhausted and trying to come to terms with all that I had
experienced and was feeling…here is what I wrote at 4 a.m.
Early Monday morning, August 20, 2007
"All of our lives have changed in ways too inexplicable to understand at
present, but I am concentrating on "today" and trying not to look back
into the past, or anticipate too much from the future. All my
yesterdays have led up to today, and all my tomorrows will grow out of
it, so I'd best be here and now!" Paula Zurcher—August 12, 2007
These past 48 hours have engulfed my mind and body. As I flew half way
around the globe, I tried being lucid in all my actions and conscious of
what was happening in every moment of time, place, and circumstance.
Paula's wisdom became my silent mantra reminding myself to be present
and awake each and every moment, while knowing that my thoughts have the
power to turn a situation around. I practiced seeing things as they
are, feeling each moment right now, and being aware of the reactions
taking place within me at the same time. It's been an enlightening
whirl of emotions and subtle realizations.
I am home and I am changed. I have been a part of history in the making.
My body is tired yet it is alive...more alive than it has ever been! My
mind is alert. It is 4:30 a.m. I am wrapped in a blanket of love. My
neighbors and friends have thoughtfully welcomed us home with surprise
sticky notes scattered in different rooms; groceries are stocked on the
kitchen counters and in the fridge; I have new plants; there are soft
rolls of toilet paper in the bathrooms; a fresh cake of smelly soap sits
on the tub; and a huge vase of colorful sunflowers, lilies, and roses
perfumes the air. My surroundings are familiar yet I feel unsettled.
I feel a light pleasure of being at home entwined with a heavy ache and
missing in my heart for what I have left behind. I know full well that
my purpose right now is not to grasp, but to be. And so I sit
here in darkness.
Dale is asleep, and Tucker is curled up on the ottoman with his head
resting on a scrap of sheepskin like the spoiled pup he deserves to be.
I have parked my wheelchair at the dining table. My laptop screen
illuminates the room along with a faint golden blush from a vanilla
scented candle. I see the silhouette of the cottonwood branches in the
moon's glow and a hint of dawn settles on the horizon. The crisp
mountain air and constant purr of the river outside my window is
peaceful and comforting—a welcome gift of nature's serenity as opposed
to the steady hum of the air-conditioner that has lulled me to sleep
these past two months in Delhi.
These past two months in Delhi have changed me more deeply beyond the
embryonic stem cell therapy and the miracles that have taken place in my
body. I have been on a journey of discovery into the most intimate
recesses of my consciousness. It has been an adventure of delving into
my emotions—of letting go and forgiving, embracing my fears, and fully
accepting and loving myself. With that, my body has come alive with
I learned to embrace Delhi's incomparable diversity. Its frenetic pace,
splendid color, old with new, filth, pungent smells, and incessant
hustle and bustle contradicted an overall voice of prayer and calm
equanimity amongst the people. While paradoxical
describes Delhi, the word family embodies India. There, the
divine bleeds through into the unique and eternal face of Humanity and I
was One, a part of a collective whole…a part of a family.
I have been surrounded by the most loving, nurturing people who genuinely
cared and cheered for my every success. From our faithful driver,
Chatorsingh; to Celestin, the doorman; to Raj, the hostess with the
mostess; to Vandana, the receptionist; to Ruth and Isha and all of the
nurses; to the doctor's assistants; to the room attendants: everyone
has an attitude of optimism as though they are a part of something
special helping their fellow man. You all have impacted me and have
made a difference. "Thank you!" I kept saying with each breath,
frustrated that I couldn't express ample gratitude for all that was
given to me. "Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for the gift of
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I am back to myself. I am rested, my laundry is almost done and everything
has been "de-Delhified". Tucker has had a bath and he is lying by my
side with his head on my wheel. Last night I inhaled my dream meal that
I've been craving for two months—wild salmon, Swiss chard and a crunchy
green salad…and I slept through the night with my head on Dale's chest.
Life is great. I am catching up and I am immersed in a valley of
Thank you to this most special community for supporting and cheering me
every muscle movement and new sensation of my way. Thank you for your
emails, for your positive energy and your welcome home gifts. Mostly,
thank you for your belief and on-going encouragement of Dr. Shroff's
ground-breaking stem cell treatment. I am part of a world first. I
will heed to my calling to create positive awareness and share Dr.
Shroff's human embryonic stem cell therapy around the globe so that it
is made available to everyone. Along with Dr. Shroff and Dr Ashish
Verma, I too have a purpose and a responsibility to Humanity. I am
living pro of that embryonic stem cells work! I have received a gift
from God. I will inspire and motivate others restoring hope into the
vocabulary of those who had given up.
My message is: "Don't give up hope. Instead, look forward to wellness.
You have the opportunity to experience the gift of life with human
embryonic stem cells. No matter what your ailment is, whether you are
deemed incurable or terminally ill, you will get better!"
With so much love and thanks from my little condo on the river in Basalt,
RETURN TO INDIA (JANUARY
January 27 – January 31, 2008
A Promise Kept
Four months at home of
hard work and intense physical therapy with Tami, Gabrielle, Dale, and
Zander; a weekly yoga session with Emily Hightower; and a weekly massage
with CP; walking regularly in my leg braces and parallel bars; and
cycling on my electrical stimulation bicycle three times a week has ALL
PAID OFF!!!!! I am pleased to report that Chavi (my adorable physical
therapist in India), Dr. Shroff, Dr. Ashish Verma, and Mum are
absolutely thrilled with my progress. Having been gone for four months,
they clearly see my strength and improvements. It has been tough to
monitor my own progress at home. My trunk mobility and lower abdominal
strength is remarkable.
I can rotate my pelvis while on all fours;
I am able to lift up a hand balancing on two knees and one hand
with ease and without falling over (originally I had difficulty simply
balancing on all fours, let alone crawling forwards and backwards);
I am stronger when I lift up to a kneeling position on my knees,
balancing with my therapist/partner and maintaining a straight posture
with my hips forward;
I am able to slightly kick my leg (knee down to foot) away from
the mattress when sitting on the edge (something I could never do
before—quads and hamstrings);
from a sitting position in the wheelchair I can lift my legs one
at a time and place one foot forward in front of the other, which is
evidence of increased power in my leg muscles;
and Mum is amazed at my ability to place my legs on the bed one
by one on my own without lifting them with my hands.
Upon leaving India
last August, I made a promise to Chavi that I would return stronger than
when I left. I kept that promise and Chavi is impressed. While the
stem cells continue to grow, I have rewarded their growth feeding them
with the necessary conscious mental positivity and physical stimulation
I firmly believe that mental
consciousness influences stem cell expression. Dr. Laurance Johnston
forwarded me a note after he recently finished reading the six volume
metaphysical/spiritual classic “Life and Teachings of the Masters of
the Far East” by Baird Spalding. In lectures given in the 1935-37
period, Spalding stated the following, which seems very relevant to HESC
Page 78 Volume 6:
“As the cell divides and
creates a new cell, our thought is implanted upon it.”
“In the first cell, all is
perfect. That cell was first known as the Christ cell. It is always
just as young as ever it was. It never takes on old age. It is the
primal spark of life. When we implant in it our thoughts of limitation
or old age, or any condition outside of perfection, the body responds.
Cells born from the first cell take on its image. Originally it is the
image and likeness of God. It is perfect in every way. But it becomes
the form we carry in our minds.”
“…if we carry the image
of perfection always, what will it do for these cells? It will build
“The moment a cell divides
itself from the parent cell, and the instant before it divides itself,
it takes on the exact image of the parent. As it goes out, it comes
under the influence of this imperfection that we think for ourselves.
What happens? We see the vibrations of the cell lowered, and in some
instances when it attaches itself to the organ where it belongs, it is a
dead thing…The very thought influence of imperfection influences that
cell until it dies. The vibrations go so low that the dynamic influence
I have managed to
maintain this positivity regardless of my immense challenges these past
few days. Last Sunday I had my backpack stolen with all of my most
important documents including US passport, wallet (credit cards), cash,
driver’s license etc. The backpack also carried my Vocare electrical
stimulation device I use to urinate. Although my bladder is becoming
stronger I still use the device to empty fully and to check the
residuals left in my bladder. This negates the use of catheters, and
thus exposing me to possible infection. So, the device is gone! What
is my lesson in all of th is? I MUST learn to fully pee on my own—which
I am, on most occasions. My bladder is getting stronger. All of my
belongings/documents can be replaced. My lesson is to surrender, let go
of all of my attachments, and know that I already have what I need—the
love from my mother, my friends, this beautiful community here in India,
food for my belly, a roof over my head, and a warm comfortable bed to
sleep in at night. I have so much more than the lonely soul on the
roadside across the street who has nothing but the shirt on his back. A
new credit card arrived via FedEx today, and a new electrical
stimulation device will arrive by Monday. A new passport is being
processed at the US Embassy…so all is well.
Stem Cell Procedures
In the two months of
my first treatment last summer I had a total of five procedures along
with six days of intense physical therapy and walking with leg braces.
This time around for my second treatment, Dr. Shroff and Dr. Ashish
Verma are condensing all five stem cell procedures into one month. The
Caudal Procedure (toward the tailbone area) – injection of two
syringe-fulls of HESCs into the cauda equina area near the coccyx
Deep Spinal Muscle Procedure – two injections of HESCs into the
muscles on either side of my spinal cord at the site of injury
Thoracic/Lumbar Puncture – injection of two syringes of HESCs
below or above the injury site directly into the spinal cord
Three-day Procedure – catheter inserted into the outer sheath of
the spinal cord with tubing that is taped to the back and a portal that
hangs over the shoulder. HESCs are injected into the portal to saturate
the outer spinal area over the course of three days.
Two-day Procedure – same as three-day but only for two days.
No physical therapy is allowed during procedures. Each
procedure affects the body in different ways.
Both the Caudal
Procedure and the deep spinal muscle procedure went without a hitch. I
noticed that my strength improved and Chavi increased my therapy
repetitions to fifteen counts instead of ten. After therapy, I practice
walking in parallel bars. My leg braces have been a challenge because
my right foot has a tendency to supinate inwards. Gabrielle, bless her
heart, FedExed my leg braces back to India so they could make some
critical adjustments. I was hoping to try some different braces, but I
will instead locate a good prosthetist in the United States to mold new
braces that will fit correctly and put me in correct alignment.< SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> All-in-all, I am showing improvement and the
HESCs are working!
Thank God for
Chanel No. 5
On Monday, January 28th
I had a very traumatic spinal procedure. The procedure was a Thoracic
puncture directly into the spinal cord. Last year in my first treatment
I had this procedure done below my level of injury in the lumbar
region. This time, the procedure was conducted above my injury at
approximately the T-4/5 area. My goodness, I don’t want to EVER have
this procedure again—I feel like I’ve literally been to hell and back.
In the operating
theater I was asked to sit up on the operating table with my chin tucked
into my chest. I curved my back in the fetal position sitting up. I
was asked to keep very still. Dr. Ashish swabbed my back clean
instructing me not to have a shower for a couple of days. He then
anaesthetized the area and inserted a very fine needle into the spinal
cord. He proceeded to inject the human embryonic stem cells. I felt
immediate burning and warmth all over my back and down to my lumbar
region. Electrical tingles filtered to my toes. After a brief while,
Dr. Ashish asked me to lie down on my back, he tilted the operating
table up and down, right and left. I felt a huge gush of tingles on my
inner left thigh. Deep pressure filled my ears and sinus passages and I
felt like I was submerged beneath fifty feet of water. My legs felt
heavy and stiff. The blue theater angels then carted me away to what I
deem to be “my” room…201. Not long after a humungous headache throbbed
in my temples. The headache became a migraine and soon after my
vomiting began. I vomited for a straight 25 hours. If I couldn’t bring
anything up, I still dry heaved. Clutching a silver kidney dish, I
retched until my insides ached. Finally I ate half a pear upon strict
instructions from Dr. Sherma, a beautiful young doctor who said he
wasn’t leaving until I got better. I kept the pear and a half a cup of
tea down…and the vomiting ceased…yet the headache persisted. The nurse
was kind enough to give me an injection into my right thigh (the one
where I can’t feel) to help with the headache. Each time I threw up, my
body sweated profusely and then I shivered for ten minutes. I was a
putrid, sweaty, sticky mess and my arm pits stunk like an Indian in a
luggage store in 117 degree heat at the height of summer in Delhi. Mum
whippe d out the Chanel No. 5 and splashed my wrists and neck.
“Thank God for Chanel
No. 5”, she smirked. “It goes really well with the Detol Antiseptic Soap
I used to wash my bum in the shower this morning!”
And then, in her
candid moment she exclaimed, “Manda, after this procedure I expect
nothing less than the Can Can…and I’ll watch you do it on the webcam on
Skype from home.”
Now that’s a lot to
live up to…but if Mum wants the Can Can, I’ll do it.
I say, “Thank God for
MUM!” Mum has been a pure Godsend. When I’m sick, I want nobody else
but my Mum. She soothes my brow with her cool hand, comforts me, and is
calming. I love my Mum and I’m really thankful that she is here.
(Mum’s are also great when purses are snatched and you’re left stranded
without a cent to call your own.) Thank you Mum for your patience,
perseverance, and unconditional love.
Two days later, I
still have a headache, but I’m strong enough to write as I sit propped
up on three pillows in bed. I had a light physical therapy session with
Chavi–legs only! Any exercise in the sitting position caused tremendous
dizziness and made my headache worse. While this procedure is the
roughest on the body, it usually produces the most improvement in
patients. In my light therapy session today, Chavi noticed that I
was stronger as I performed one exercise lying on my right hip, with my
left leg bent. I was able to assist her lifting my inner thigh and left
knee upwards for the fir st time. Wow. Chavi was impressed.
Dr. Ashish expects it
to take seven days to fully recover from this procedure, which will be
just enough time for me to begin the next procedure. I can’t help but
think—I volunteered for this pain…but as the saying goes, “No pain, no
gain!” I am keeping the big picture in mind. I shall walk into this
hospital one day!
As I type this
little/long communiqué—yes, I know, it’s long overdue…Mum has gone
shopping with Val. Val is here with Lorraine who has ALS and is also
receiving her second HESC treatment. Lorraine looks fabulous—I mean,
she actually looks younger. Remember, HESCs are an anti-aging remedy
too. Lorraine has stopped drooling, her face is more alert, she is
walking with perky steps and retains her great sense of humor. Mum,
Lorraine and Val are all similar ages, so the girls get on well and
their room is warmer than ours.
Mum and Val
entertained themselves with a little shopping experience purchasing
shoes and clothing this afternoon. Delhi is always under construction
and sidewalks don’t exist, except in the more posh parts of town. On
one particular sidewalk, which was literally a foot wide, the two
negotiated a deep rocky trench. Having both made a purchase from a
store they were rewarded with a gift in the shape of a small square
“What do you think ’s
in this box?” asked Mum.
“It’s probably a
“That’d be really
useful for us.”
Val exclaimed, “We
could put it on our noses so we don’t have to breathe in the Delhi
dust.” And the two laughed hilariously.
First two weeks,
January 11 - January 26, 2008
26, 2008 – Republic Day in India (and Australia Day too!)
Today the Australian
headlines read: Beer, Barbies and Babes. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…Oi, Oi,
Oi… I don’t think the Indian’s have such a chant for their holiday (or
I haven’t yet heard it). Every noise seems to be drowned out by
constant horn honking abuzz with traffic zooming by and an aircraft
roaring overhead. Silence doesn’t exist in Delhi. Now that I am a tiny
bit more seasoned to the racket and frenetic pace of this absurd city,
I’ve learned that peace must come from within. I see it in every person
on the street. That calm equanimity and air of happiness emanates from
the gaze of a homeless woman sitting on the curb; to the security guard
in front of the hospital; to the auto rickshaw driver quietly sitting in
seven lanes of smog-filled traffic. In the four months I have been gone
from this city, nothing has changed. Delhi will always be chaotic, yet
life flows here. I am dumbfounded by this paradoxical dance...hysteria
entwined with serenity.
If a chant exists to
celebrate Republic Day in India, it’s most likely permeated with “Om” in
a rhythm that is more Godly and spiritual that resonates with the soul.
celebrate Australia Day with some Aussie friends foregoing the
traditional Barbie for a still-somewhat-westernized-dinner of lamb minus
cumin, coriander and turmeric, ending with a promised apple pie and
ice-cream for dessert. Yes, very Aussie, which my belly is hungry for
after two weeks of curry. Mmmmm. I must say, with fingers crossed in
fear of jinxing myself, that my clothes are stain-free of saffron and
bright yellow curry. Alex Shaw has invited us to dinner with her hubbie,
David, and their two kids, Laura and Jack. David has very aggressive
and debilitating ALS yet he is putting up a stellar fight. The family
opted to sell their home in Australia and move to India to receive Human
Embryonic Stem Cell therapy from Dr. Shroff. It seems to be the only
treatment that is keeping David alive infusing his life and his family
January 26 celebrates
India’s establishment as a Republic in 1950. Mahatma Ghandi, India’s
greatest advocate for a nonviolent passage to Independence from Britain,
called the people to work toward independence on this day in 1930. The
celebration lasts for three days. While Delhi never comes to a
standstill, many of the streets are closed; a terrorist alert is imposed
upon the city; a parade showing off India’s military tanks, missiles,
camels, and elephants is broadcast on National television; and Dr.
Geeta’s patients don’t have physical therapy! Chavi was granted a day
to sleep in. Dur ing our PT session yesterday she mentioned that she
had purposely requested her Mummy not to wake her this morning so she
could rest in delicious heaven—a rarity for my blessed physical
therapist who works diligently six days a week. When I woke at 7:53
this morning, I prayed Chavi was sleeping sweetly and soundly. One
consolation for today: I still get my daily IM (intramuscular)
injections of stem cells, regardless of the holiday. Later this week
January 30th marks Martyr’s Day. On this day in 1948 Gandhi was
assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in New Delhi. So, it’s a celebratory
week and holy time for prayers and songs for our Indian friends.
I find it hard to
believe that I am already two weeks into my month-long treatment. I
haven’t been in a mental space to write, taking my time to process many
thoughts, and visit with friends from around the globe.
This is our first day
of rest. Mum finished one book and is on to a James Patterson thriller
titled: The Quickie. I can always count on Mum bringing along a
few James Patterson novels to pass the time away. She especially loves
his books because he sets the scene in four pages, making the rest of
the read a page-turner.
Mum’s been here almost
a week. Tami Cassetty, my beautiful new friend and physical therapist
from home, spent the first week transitioning me into Delhi and hospital
life. Tami was as awesome a friend I could ask for. She really stepped
up to the plate and had to drag me from my britches out of Basalt the
day we departed in a full-on blizzard. January 11th was
disastrous weather wise. In fear of a cancelled flight out of Aspen, I
scrambled to leave some five hours early as Gabrielle frantically
stuffed the last items of clothing into my suitcase, and drove off with
my sweet Tucker in the back seat. (Thank you Gab). Tami then drove us
to DIA, braving horizontal snowstorms, icy conditions, and cross winds
on I-70. Even more courageous was Tami’s mom, who drove almost seven
hours home to Carbondale that evening after dropping us off at the
International terminal. Our journey had just begun. Twenty hours in
cattle class was torturous on my already-spent body (United never
granted my upgrade, which is a whole other story in itself). My
wheelchair hadn’t been tagged properly and was lost for almost an hour
and half in Frankfurt, and to make matters worse, I realized my favorite
silver watch had dropped off my wrist as I sped through the streets of
Delhi to our hotel. For a mere 600 Rupees my wr ist is now garlanded in
a lovely Indian Sonata with a blue dial to keep track of time (it’s
quite boring really).
Two weeks have sped by
keeping up with Delhi’s frenzied pace. I have been more social here
than at home. Robert Margolin appeared with his friend Elizabeth soon
after Tami and I arrived. I met Rob at The Stem Cell Summit in Boston
last September and challenged him that if his mind was curious and he
wanted to see what was happening in Delhi with Human Embryonic Stem
Cells, then why not visit? Without hesitation, Rob jumped on a plane
and ventured out of the United States for the first time in his life.
Elizabeth is an intelligent, gorgeous, fun medical student and both she
and Rob were an absolute delight. Rob has come to feel like a brother.
His knowledge on the world of stem cells is astounding and he became an
immediate walking encyclopedia I could refer to when a question or
thought popped into my mind. Rob’s link to his website is
http://www.stemcellresources.org/index.html which dispels a ton of
credible information on stem cells including general resources, teaching
tools, news and journals, and policies and ethics. It was a privilege
to have Robert visit, meet Dr. Geeta Shroff and Dr. Ashish Verma, and
see what is deemed by many to be the holy grail of medicine alive and
working in human patients. One cannot deny that every patient in this
hospital shows improvement and one cannot leave this place with a
changed mindset having witnessed both science and resilience of the
human spirit at play and in perfect unison.
I look forward to
further collaborations with Robert in the United States. He is a mover
and shaker, and entrepreneurial at heart. It is reassuring knowing that
such a young, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and sincere individual has
visited Delhi. The mere fact that he understands me, Dr. Shroff, and
will be a cheerleader rather than a naysayer for this treatment means
more to me than anything. Thank you Rob for taking the time out of your
busy life, and money from your own pocket, to witness the little
miracles that are taking place daily with human embryonic stem cell
therapy at Nutech Mediworld.
The social calendar
has been “chocablock” as the Aussie’s would say, or “full-to-the-brim”.
CP Kanipe (my beautiful massage therapist from Aspen) and her husband
Steven paid a spontaneous visit while touring around India. I am so
grateful that they took the time out of their schedule to come to the
hospital, meet Chavi, record my physical therapy on video, and share
some quality Delhi time with Tami and me. I could tell that after
travelling for ten days they were fed up with haggling and India in
general. Delhi pushed them to their limits. After Steven’s shoes were
stolen on a train to Agra to see the Taj, they almost called it quits.
Thank God CP has big feet as Steven is wearing her tennis shoes for the
remainder of their trip. They spent just one full day in Delhi opting
to fly back to the South where warm beaches, tepid water, and cleaner
Delhi’s smog is awful
and is far worse in the winter months. The air is thick with fumes, my
eyes sting, and I can’t inhale a full breath. When I travel by tuk tuk
(auto rickshaw) I wrap a scarf around my face doused with droplets of
eucalyptus oil. At night homeless people huddle around open fires on
sidewalks to keep warm and cook. Thick smoke infiltrates the atmosphere
mixed with exhaust fumes and a gray-brown haze envelopes the streets.
Trees are brown and dusty. Dirt hangs in space. Cloudy days keep the
smog thick like soup and I find it almost unbearable. When the nurses
take my blood pressure three times a day, I am amazed that my oxygen
saturation is generally 100% or 99%. I keep thinking it’ll drop twenty
points but living at high altitude has obviously served me well.
Tom Eldridge flew in
from the UK to film a small documentary from the patient’s perspective.
He will continue to document my journey over the next two years,
following other patients and my progress and recording my body
awakening. He has been a wonderful to work with. His nature is gentle,
easy going and not intimidating. It’s as though the camera is invisible
when Tom is filming and he has the most creative eye as if the camera
lens becomes a part of him. Tom has interest in sponsorship from
Channel Five and BBC in the United Kingdom to help fund the film, which
is really exciting. He might even create a short 5-7 minute piece so I
can show the community a slice of Delhi and my treatment here at Dr.
Having Tami, my
faithful PT at home, visit Delhi with me was absolutely perfect. Tami
and Chavi met and swapped Amanda stories chatting about my progress.
Chavi was able to show her some new exercises and in turn, Tami was able
to share some new ideas with Chavi. Tami was a perfect travel buddy and
caregiver. I appreciated having her company so much. Each morning she
would call home to her husband, her Mom, and her two adorable kids. I
loved hearing her chat as a Mommy to her girls, Megan and Maeve. She
asked about their days and sent them hug s and kisses from afar. It
made me yearn to have a family of my own one day. Tami is a beautiful
Mommy and it shows in her children. My favorite comment from Tami while
she was in India was: “Where’s the beef?” This is how I will remember
Tami in Delhi.
"Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy has restored life into my limbs and
"hope" back into my vocabulary!"