Friday, October 19, 2012

Stem Cell Recap

We have returned from our trip to Cancun for the Stem Cells.  I have to say, this trip far exceeded all the expectations I had.  The staff at World Stem Cells were all great!!!  Here is a breakdown of our trip by day for those of you that have asked.

We arrived in Cancun the Sunday before, as we were scheduled to be picked up at 9am Monday to visit the doctors.

Day One:  Dr. Kadish (the American doctor on staff) gave Luke a thorough check up during which he noticed Luke has a zinc deficiency.  Apparently bad acne, white marks on finger nails, and bad dandruff are all signs.  I have say, since we have put Luke on Zinc, I have noticed a HUGE improvement in his acne.  They also took a blood sample to test it, and gave Luke a shot of Filgastrim to stimulate his cells.  I was very impressed by how clean and nice the clinic was.  It was cleaner than some offices we have visited here.  The clinic is a brand new state of the art building as well.
You can tell Luke does not mind the attention at all.  I was super impressed by how everyone acknowledged Luke and spoke to him about what they were doing.  Besides Luke's PT, and pediatrician, it is rare than any doctors acknowledge him.  The other photos are of the building where the clinic is and one of the clean room where the stem cells are tested and processed. 
Day Two: Went over blood test and gave a second cell boosting injection.  I have to say we noticed so many things with Luke after they gave him the second injection of the Filgastrim.  He was super hyper!  In fact, we had a huge battle at the beach because he decided he was going in the ocean deeper than where I was taking him.  Thank you Rafael at Azul Beach for helping two crazy ladies battling a 12 year old out:)  My aunt took him in the swimming pool.  At the end he said, "I can stand," and "I will go by myself."  Keep in mind, he rarely will say more than "yes" or "no."  His words were also coming together closer than ever before and faster response time than before.  You can see in the pic below how he wanted to climb over the pool gate to swim by himself.  At dinner, my aunt and I ordered, and I ordered for Luke which I always do.  At the end he told the waiter, "my turn," and said he wanted, "edamame."  He must have heard me ask my aunt if she thought they had it there.
Day 3: Today was the big stem cell harvest and re injection.  They arrived to pick us up at 8:30.  They harvested the stem cells from his tibia bone, just below the knee, which meant shaving his legs just a bit.  He thought that was funny, and also discovered the up/down buttons on his bed while we were waiting.  They performed the procedure in the same clinic, using a surgery room in a recently opened IVF clinic.  Again, everyone was so nice.  The nurses there loved Luke.  During the procedure they called me numerous times and came in to let me know what they were doing and how it was all going.  The way it works, is first they take the cells, then they take them to the lab to process them, and lastly they re inject using a lumbar puncture.  All went very well!  The hardest thing was keeping Luke on his back for the rest of the day.  He did pretty good though.
Day Four: We first stopped by the clinic for them to check Luke's sites, and all looked well.  We then went to visit with Mrs. Aurora the Physical Therapist.  She was wonderful and gave me lots of ideas of simple things to do with Luke at home to stimulate the cells. 
Day Five:  Our last visit to the clinic where they gave Luke another injection of the stem cells via IV.  As soon as we got back to the hotel, he developed a fever.  I have say the staff was super attentive.  They sent a doctor our to our hotel to check him out and give him a precautionary shot of antibiotics. When we arrived they gave us a cell phone with all numbers for the doctors pre-programmed to use if we needed it.  After a few hours he was fine.  All afternoon he was super tired, and would alternate between irate and just plain sad.  I think his brain was in overload.  He did tell my aunt a story about hunting that I am still kicking myself for not recording it! 
I honestly can not say enough good things about the clinic.  They are truly a top notch operation and have thought of everything!  They genuinely care about the  patients they are seeing, it is not at all about the money.   They have made a difference in a lot of people's lives with everything from neuro ailments, orthopedic aliments, and a lot of kids with autism.  I asked them how often patients come back, and they said most don't have to because of the results they see, obviously most have not been as severe as Luke.  Plus, with views like this you can't go wrong:)

Now for the million dollar question, have we seen results??  Well it has  onlybeen a week, and they say usually wait about 3 months to start seeing things.  Luke saw his PT yesterday.  He said Luke is definitely showing better control and coordination while he was walking him up the stairs.  He also seems to be aware of more.  He was telling the PT that his heart was beating fast when they were walking up the stairs.  He also told him he wanted to go by "myself."  I have noticed that he does seem to be responding/processing things faster.  He is also noticing things around the house he hasn't really paid attention to before.  God is good!  I am so thankful I decided to go that voice inside my head instead of going to Tijuana like I was considering.  This cost the exact same amount (excluding travel,) but we got so much more out of it.  Thanks to my aunt for helping me out with Luke this trip.  She got to see him many emotions/outbursts and helped so much!  Thanks SO MUCH to Dr. Kadish, Rudy, Dr. Jose, Dr. Sylvia, the wonderful anesthesiologist(sorry forgot your name,)  EVERYONE for loving my son and wanting to see this work for him as much as us. You have blessed us so much!  Luke even gives it a double thumbs up:)


Meredith Alaniz said...

It's nice to see Luke smiling and happy in many of those pictures. I miss seeing his smiling face every morning! The picture of him trying to climb over the gate and into the pool made me laugh! I am glad to see that things went well. Please tell Luke hi for me!

NP said...

What a wonderful adventure you had! I am so happy that things went so well. Luke does look wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to detail everything. God IS good. Love you tons!
Love & hugs,

Anonymous said...

I enjoy seeing all the smiling Luke is doing! I'm pleased to hear the results are quickly meeting your expectations! I'm happy your faith is strong and your hopes are at their highest in Luke's recovery. I pray today and every day for Luke to progress in healing. I pray for your endurance with God's plan. God bless...