“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.”
This past Friday, the first human patient was injected with embryonic stem cells in a clinical trial at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. I am sure this will prove to be a controversial subject for many — but for me it ushers in a new period of excitement! While the success of these cells in restoring function to paralyzed people still needs to be proven, it is hard to not be fascinated by the potential possibilities that may soon exist one day.
People living with paralysis have spent most of their lives being told that they may never be able to move their arms or legs again, and therefore must learn to adjust to a new way of life. While I agree it is important to adjust our lives to changes we encounter, I have never felt that we need to accept these changes as the end-all be-all. We need to accept the fact that our lives are now different, but should never accept the opinion that we will never get back what we have lost. After all, isn’t that what constitutes hope? While I do not feel that it is productive to sit around and wait for a miracle cure, I do feel it is okay to be excited about all the scientific and medical breakthroughs happening. In no way is this a reason or excuse to stop working hard on our own to keep ourselves healthy and hopefully restore function to our idle bodies. In fact, it’s a reason to work even harder, to stay fit and stable, in the hopes that one day there is a cure. If that day ever does come, we need to be ready.
I had a good day of appointments at Metro yesterday. My checkup with my spinal cord doctor went well. At one point while doing some exercises, he felt some trace movement and muscle contraction in both my biceps. While this doesn’t imply I’ll be able to feed myself or brush my teeth anytime soon, it does tell me that you never know what your body will do — further proof to continue to work hard in the event our bodies decide to one day cooperate.
I also had another appointment to measure my new found cough. My results continue to be very promising. In fact, there’s even talk of removing my trache within the next few weeks as opposed to months. This would be a monumental step. My trache has served as my” life line” since my injury. Whenever I have secretions in my lungs or any type of breathing issues, it is the trache that allows these issues to be resolved. To no longer have this safety net is a little scary, but at the same time to be told I don’t need it is such a feeling of independence and advancement. Just another example of the progress being made through science, technology and medicine!
I also got to spend time with my friends and patients on the spinal cord rehabilitation floor. This was an especially great visit because of the improvement some of them are making! It is so great to see someone continue to improve week after week, especially after seeing them in their moments of despair and doubt. To all the SCI patients out there — keep pushing forward!
I plan to go back to Metro on Friday to meet with a potential candidate for the cough assist system. I’ve been told this patient also has the type of exercise bike that I hope to purchase. It will be a good chance for me to ask all the questions I have regarding the equipment, and hear someone tell me first-hand the benefits they’ve enjoyed as a result of using the system.
Unfortunately, I haven’t stood since my surgery. I want to get back to the routine I had prior to surgery. I feel it is important to stand for so many reasons. Please pray that I am able to “get back up” and stand again very soon.
Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support!