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Thread: Introductions

  1. #51

    Default So how are you feeling now? How many times have you been treated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Howard View Post
    In April of 1989 during a field training exercise with my U. S. Army Field Artillery Unit I suddenly was overcome with fatigue. My legs turned to ?rubber? and I finally sank to my knees. Since it was approaching midnight nobody noticed and I was able to recover eventually and walk to the ambulance where they checked my vital signs, gave me a Coca-Cola, and said ?see ya?.

    After that episode I was able to function somewhat OK in everything except the two mile run in the Army Physical Fitness Test. Sit-ups, push-ups, not a problem. But running two miles was no longer possible. Even though I had an annual physical each year in November, my Commander suggested a visit to the hospital to get checked out. Check me out they did and eventually the diagnosis came down to COPD. May 1, 1990, I was released from the Army with an inhaler of Proventil and paperwork showing I was 60% disabled with less than ⅓ lung function. I immediately began paperwork for Social Security disability and Veterans Administration assistance. In about six months I received my first SS check and the VA took a little while longer.

    In the Spring of 1991, I was finally accepted into the VA system and one of the first orders of business was to upgrade my disability to 100% due to unemployability. So I was ok financially so those worries went away, now let?s concentrate on doing something to get me well. I began driving 68 miles ( one way) to the VA every three months to see the pulmo (He died in 1993 and was not replaced) and every three months to see the regular doctor. Everything rocked along with no changes until September 1999 when I developed Pneumonia and went to the local ER and was immediately admitted. It was there that I learned about Albuterol, Atrovent and Nebulizers. About three months after that I had a recurrence of Pneumonia which took a much longer time to recover.

    Still rocking along with Inhalers, Nebulizers, and such, my FEV1 was still running about 30% and I could do quite a bit of work around the place and even did work for the neighbors. Then along came Hurricane Katarina in August of 2005 where the Low Pressure came directly over the house. Although we are a good ways from the coast the storm was still fairly strong when it got here. After it was over, I could not walk 50-60 feet without resting. I finally went to see my local doc in October and his nurse thought I was gonna die after taking a short walk up and back in his hallway. He immediately put me on Oxygen 24/7 and began making arrangements to see a pulmonologist in Tuscaloosa.

    At the request of the pulmo I began pulmonary rehab for six weeks, after which I bought my own equipment to save driving that far twice a week. I regret that I don?t have a copy of the first two PFT?s from the new pulmo . But in August of ?06 the FEV1 was 19%, November was 18%, Feb ?07 was 15%, and May was 14%.

    It was at this point that the Dr. ordered Hospice Care for me. That was one of the most devastating experiences I had ever had. It was like telling me ?there is no hope - go home and be comfortable.?

    My wife has a large dose of skepticism about the ?all-knowing? wisdom of Doctors and she began searching for alternative treatments in spite of the entire medical profession insisting that there was NO HOPE of improvement for people with COPD. Searching the Internet for hours at a time, she found two companies who offered stem cell treatment. This procedure was (and still is) in its infancy and is considered by many to be ?experimental.? Still, we felt we had nothing to lose and asked for more info from both companies.

    We received a packet of information about a week after our inquiry to the first company. Still not completely satisfied, we filled out a form on-line for info from the other company. No sooner had she pressed the ?send? button, the phone rang and it was a man who had received the inquiry and was ready to answer any questions we had, etc. We were so impressed by the quick response, and his sincerity and honesty that we chose to call the people he referred us to who had had stem cell treatment for COPD. Again, we were impressed with the information we received and took the next step to speak to the head of the clinic. Things were moving fast and we decided to take the first available appointment at the clinic in Mexico (about 6 weeks later).

    The Dr. would not give me permission to fly to California, so we had to drive and arrange for oxygen for the trip. At that time, I was using 2 lpm for sitting and often needed 3 lpm for light activity and walking.

    It took 6 days to get from Alabama to San Diego, but when we arrived at the hotel arranged for by the clinic, everything, including a handicap-equipped room, was ready for us. We were treated extremely well during our stay and a representative from the clinic met us and escorted us in their van across the border and to the clinic, which was absolutely pristine in cleanliness and equipment. The staff was very professional, friendly and took special care to see that we were comfortable and explained each step of the process and answered the questions we had.

    The trip back to across the border to the states took about an hour but my wife and I did not have to get out of the van, although the driver and clinic rep did. We had our passports ready if necessary but at that time, they did not require them.

    After one more night in the hotel, we started home the next day (another 6 day trip back).

    We were both exhausted but very glad to be home. The next morning, before we got up, my wife looked at me and said ?LOOK AT YOUR ARM!? I was alarmed and thought something must be very wrong with it. Amazingly, the large dark purple bruises which covered my arms were almost gone! Only 6 days after the stem cell treatment!

    We have read many comments by people who have said that improvements resulting from stem cell treatment are a result of the special diet, supplements and just plain ?wishful thinking.? Well, those spots on my arm, to me, were proof that the treatment was already working!

    My current status, to me, probably has me almost back to Katrina, 5 days out of 7 I can hang up the hose at about 4:00 p.m. (Quittin? time) until 7:30 the next morning when I hop on the treadmill and listen to the soothing voices of C-span as I take my morning walk. I can shower and shave and, yes, even eat some meals without it. On my last visit to the pulmo three weeks ago, my hospice nurse met us at his office and he turned to her and said, ?Anybody else with his stats would have been in the hospital 2 or three times in the last 2 years?. She nodded in agreement. Even though my FEV1 may only be 15 %, it stopped at 14% and is on it?s way back up. Hang on for the ride!
    Hi there, I'm just looking for some clear data on how many copd'ers have been treated, how many times, how long did the change last, etc. Thank you if you can direct me. TMills

  2. #52
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    12,961
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default

    Welcome to the forum!

    You might try reading through posts in the Pulmonary section. Unfortunately, there isn't a category for patient experiences, but that might not be a bad idea.

    If you have questions, we do have an Ask the Doctor feature almost every month where members can submit questions and the host (it is always someone with stem cell knowledge) will respond. I should be announcing the July Ask the Doctor by the end of this month at which time you can submit a question(s) if you have any. I will post the call for questions in the Ask the Doctor section, but not until the end of the month.

    I've had several treatments and you should be able to find my accounts in the pulmonary section. I continue to do well after my last two treatments which I consider the most successful.
    First treatment in 2007. Pioneering ever since.

    Barbara

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