Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

The Miracle Continues

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - Stem Cell Guru

Jeannine Lewis just got her three month check-up at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Jeannine received VesCell therapy in Bangkok in May 2005 via the direct injection technique pioneered by Dr. Amit Patel. Jeannine's rapid improvement in quality of life allowed her to return to work. So we hired her as a spokeswoman!

As I began to slide into the tomb-like MRI machine, all I could think about was the irony of the situation. My first encounter with the MRI this past May had been a terrifying experience. For someone who is seriously ill, any reminders of the grave can be frightening. I can remember the sense of panic washing over me and taking away my breath as the machine closed in around me. The only thing that saved me was constant, repetitive prayer. “Please, Lord, help me to be strong!”

That same prayer sustained me throughout my journey to health and recovery. I’ve known for twelve years that my heart would eventually wear out because of my Cardiomyopathy. I just never knew how hard it would be when the time came. I never knew how much I wanted to live until I took a serious look at dying.

Since my adult stem cell injection this past May in Bangkok, I have been anxiously awaiting proof to explain how well I’ve been feeling. There was a tiny part of me that feared I was dreaming and would be rudely awakened by reality. But deep down my faith wouldn’t allow me to be anything but positive.

The constant pressure I felt from others began the moment I arrived home. I was instantly bombarded by well-wishers asking, “Do you feel better yet?” I felt I had something to prove to everyone. Since few people really understood how sick I was, it was just as hard for them to comprehend the complexity of my healing process.

As time passed, I felt myself becoming stronger. With each new triumph I grew more confident in my faith and my stem cells. I was blessed with unending support and praise from TheraVitae and UPMC. It is my new friends who give me the courage to forge ahead on this great adventure.

So this brings me to the day of my three month check-up and my second encounter with the infamous MRI. This time I felt much more relaxed. My sense of impending doom had been left behind in Thailand. I was lying inside the machine, excited about receiving my results. I had a lot of time to reflect on my progress and my plans for the future. The future is a wonderful thing to have the privilege of pondering.

As I exited my “tomb” reborn to the world, I had the honor of finally meeting Ray and Jeannie Suiter. Ray had the stem cell injection in Thailand the day after me. However, he had been treated at a different hospital, and we never got the chance to meet.

What a meeting it was. It felt like seeing long-lost friends. Those of us who have been through this procedure seem to have a connection not easily expressed by words. We truly are the children of God, a family of souls related by a life-changing experience.

As Ray and his wife left we exchanged hugs and well wishes. I then had the opportunity to meet the others. I was first greeted by Joyce, a research assistant. Next came Sherrill, a nurse practitioner who was followed in by Lisa and Gwen from UPMC and Ron from the Wall Street Journal. We were finally joined by Guido and Tina, a couple from Los Angeles who are considering having the stem cell procedure.

While we waited for the MRI results, a doctor explained the video of my surgery and the details of the procedure to everyone. He then displayed the MRI pictures from May before showing the current MRI results allowing everyone to visually compare and contrast the images. Everyone was able to see my enlarged heart which had begun to crowd my left lung causing it to diminish in size and capacity.

After what seemed like an eternity, the new images popped up on the screen. What we saw was fascinating. The walls of my heart were now contracting with greater force. As the results came I saw that my Ejection Fraction had increased from 25-30% up to an amazing 41%. I almost started to cry. It was more than I ever imagined. Everyone was misty eyed and smiling. There was an energy in the room that was transcendent. I saw smiles and thumbs up coming from all around me.
I received hugs as I left the room to call my husband at work.

I was practically jumping up and down as I waited while the phone rang. When my husband, Tom, came to the phone I exclaimed, “I love you, my EF is 41%.” His first response was “WOW, that much. That’s great!” We both knew I felt better. We had gone into this hoping for some improvement never imaging we would receive the best case scenario. His next response of course was, “When can we have another baby?” However we have been advised to hold off on the baby making for the first year at least. After that time we can revisit the topic.

The next big moment comes in three months when I have my six month check up. The stem cells generally reach their maximum potential at the six month mark, so there is still room for improvement. I’m just glad I don’t have to get a defibrillator now. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

What an absolutely amazing adventure this has turned out to be. Don Margolis at TheraVitae has been a tremendous blessing to me. I consider him my guardian angel. Thedoctors are some of the most talented and caring I have ever met. It is my pleasure to know them all. I have so many new friends all around the world that I can’t begin to mention them all. My faith in the world has been restored along with my ailing heart. Who could ask for anything more!

No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results. Jeannine Lewis became a paid employee of TheraVitae after undergoing VesCell treatment.


Anonymous Roy Dixon said...

the word "imaging" is incorrect in its usage. Should be: imagining.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous a.ellison said...

how can a poor person get this treatment

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Paul Talbot said...

Hi a.ellison,

You must remember that TheraVitae does not actually treat anyone. Hospitals treat people using our cells.

In the past we have donated the cells for free to patients who have demonstrated extreme financial need. However, we have no influence over the costs associated with the treating hospitals.

Those in need have been able to raise the hospital costs in various different ways.


Paul Talbot
Outreach Director

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the Max. age that Stem Cell therapy would apply, I'm 58 and diagnosed with class 1V heart failure. Is it available in the U.S. as of yet.What is the cost of the procedure. I'm advised to have a CRT installed, but would MUCH RATHER go through that therapy, that would supposedly enhance my own heart, than have it aided in case of malfunction. Thanks

11:28 AM  

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