Weird to think we have spent the last 3 years of our lives living for and undergoing embryonic stem cell treatments in India with Dr. Shroff, Dr. Ashish, and their wonderful staffs. It seems like the planning, organizing, and fund-raising efforts for these trips have taken on a life of their own, with us just being along for the ride. What a whirlwind of adventure. This will be the first Winter that we haven’t made the journey to New Delhi for treatments. We had an opportunity to go again, but we just didn’t have the financial resources to put it all together, lacking just the $10,000 needed for airfare. It doesn’t seem right that the airlines can be making these huge quarterly profits, charging exorbitant fees for booking, seating, checked luggage, tickets, and every thing else they want to charge you for just to get from one destination to another. They are almost as bad as the banking system, who are also making record profits after the American taxpayers bailed them out when their banking policies almost ruined our country. But the worst ones are the oil companies. How can the price of gas be so high and their profits be so huge when there is no shortage of oil? Talk about the need for federal regulation and oversight. These guys are killing us. With the US still struggling to emerge from this recession, and our unemployment still at record highs, the American people are struggling to make ends meet. Anyway, I transgress. This blog isn’t about economics or corporate profit margins, it’s about life and the journey for a better quality of life.
In my last post I wrote about the problems I am experiencing from a pressure-sore my walking braces caused on my left heel. Unfortunately, I am still dealing with this, it just won’t heal. The wound nurse had finally quit trussing me up in 3-layers of compression bandages because the sore healed over, but yesterday I noticed a skin-flap had torn loose and was bleeding again. Don’t know what I did to cause it do tear, but now any prospects of walking soon has been pushed back at least a couple more weeks. The last time I walked was the week before Thanksgiving, more than 10 weeks ago. I had told my therapist just last week that it looked like we would be able to resume therapy this next week. Bummer. That new skin is so delicate that it damages very easily. Bummer. Just have to keep moving forward even though my body doesn’t want to keep up with the efforts from my brain. I continue to lift weights and work out. I know I must keep my body in as good of shape as possible. Working out occupies my mind as well as my body. It gives focus to my soul. Above all else, I must remain active and keep my life moving forward, no looking back, That is counter-productive and depressing. I must avoid that at all costs. It will bring me down and with it every thing I have worked so hard to accomplish since I was injured.
I also mentioned that I was losing my job at the power plant on January 14, 2011. Well, that day has come and gone. I am now a member of the ranks of the unemployed. For 33 years I had a reason to get out of bed, get around and get ready, and go to work. Now I spend my days wandering the Internet and publications looking at job postings and applying for jobs I might be qualified to do. We are in a tough economy, with a lot of people looking for jobs. Being middle-aged (53) and disabled limits the opportunities for employment and I am competing against able-bodied, better educated, and younger job seekers. If I am unable to secure a job in the next month or so, I will volunteer in some capacity some where. There are a lot of areas in our community that need volunteers and at least I will feel like I am contributing somehow and possibly helping others. Eventually, some thing will turn up and I will rejoin the ranks of the employed.
Not much to report as far as progress with my body and it’s response to the last round of stem cell treatments we had in January-February 2010. I continue to experience new, subtle nerve and deep muscle sensations in my lower body, but there has still been no transition to any motor control of the muscles at all. Pain has been my constant companion for 12+ years. unfortunately the level of that pain has increased each year since we started receiving stem cells. I understand that pain is a sensation and feeling pain from areas I never experienced pain from before is progress, but I don’t think I want any more increases in pain to occur. Making the decision to undergo stem cell therapy included acknowledging there might be downsides to the treatments, but unless you’re willing to take a chance there is no way to know for sure. Overall, our experience has been an eye-opener for us. We journeyed half way around the world, partook in a society we knew next to nothing about, met some wonder people, and were a part of an exciting new treatment option for people with spinal cord injuries. I wouldn’t have changed a thing if I had a chance to do it all over again.
Life is about taking chances. I took a chance and wound up in a wheelchair. We took another chance for the opportunity to possibly get out of that wheelchair, it just didn’t turn out as we had hoped. When we traveled to India the first time, we didn’t go there with delusional expectations that I might some day walk again, we went with the hope that my body might reconnect some of its neuro-pathways and that I might regain some sensation in my bladder so that I would know when I needed to pee. This has been our everlasting hope. If this happened we would be ecstatic and any thing else gained would be icing on the cake. So to speak. We still hold onto this hope. One day it might happen, who is to say. But, we hold onto the belief that someday some thing miraculous could happen. Without hope, there is nothing but emptiness. I refuse to live my life without hope.