HOPE.

Those of who you are reading this on my Facebook page, already know about the medical issues that have plagued me for the past ten months.  For those reading this on my blog, I’ll give you the ‘Reader’s Digest Condensed Version’ of what all has gone on since last April.

I live in a rented duplex.  They have a landscape company that comes out weekly to mow the lawn.  There are ‘dirt areas’ in most of the individual yards where the tenants are allowed to plant and maintain their own gardens.  (You’ve seen MANY pictures of my garden!)  Management emphasizes that the landscape company that mows the lawn DOES NOT maintain the tenants garden area; which is fine by me!

A bit of my medical history needs to be explained at this point.  I have quite a few medical issues, but have learned to do the best I can with the limitations those issues bring to my life.  I have asthma and scoliosis, both of which adversely affect my lung function.  About 5 years ago I learned that my lung capacity is only 30% of what it should be.  But I was used to it, and as my bad back limits most strenuous activity; the limited lung capacity really did’t limit me much further.  I could still ‘walk for exercise’ and go on ‘easy hikes’.  BUT, because my lungs are so small and weak, my doctors informed me that I should NEVER be put under general anesthesia.  Reason being: MY lungs would not be strong enough to recover and work again on their own.   Meaning that if I were ever put ON a breathing machine, I would never be able to come off it and breathe on my own ever again.  Kind of daunting.  But I deal with it.

So, I don’t have very good lungs to begin with; and over the last decade have been prone to getting upper respiratory infections.  I get my flu shot every year and have had both pneumonia vaccines, and just TRY to stay healthy.

I have a supplemental oxygen system at home.  It was prescribed by my pulmonologist a couple of years ago when my breathing became more difficult just after the first of the year when the weather is extremely damp.  I really didn’t need to use it very often though.  During the hot dry summer months, I didn’t need it at ALL that first year.  Once the damp fall weather rolled in, I needed it now and then.  Became a noticeable trend that my breathing worsened the higher the humidity was.

Towards the end of last April, my asthma flared up, which usually turns into a respiratory infection.  I wasn’t feeling ‘sick’ quite yet, but needed something more than my asthma maintenance and rescue medication to breathe normally again.  I went to urgent care and they prescribed a five-day course of steroids.  I took my meds and got better.  Then my asthma flared up again.  Back to urgent care for more steroids, and scheduled a follow up appt with my pulmonologist.

About this time I noticed that along the borders of my flower garden areas (three full sides of my home!)  where the lawn ends and the garden soil begins, was ‘dead and brown’.  You know, the annoying tufts of grass that creep into your flower beds along with the weeds?  This was the beginning of my 5th year living here and I have always ‘hand weeded’ my garden.  Remember, tenants are told that the hired landscapers DO NOT maintain our garden areas.

For some reason, it really didn’t ‘click’ with me.  WHY all that grass and weeds were DEAD.  A neighbor was walking by and stopped to chat and I was telling her about my breathing issues.  She asked if I noticed that they had started at about the same time as I noticed all the dead grass on my garden border.  Ding.  DING!!  DING!!!  She and her dog had both also become really sick and she had learned that the landscapers had sprayed Round Up in all those areas.  No notification.  No warning.

THAT had to be what made me so sick!!  I had had really bad reactions to herbicides and pesticides over 20 years ago, well before my lungs were so compromised.  That would explain why I wasn’t getting better.

I shared my ‘Ah-HA!” moment with my Pulmonologist at my next appt; thinking/HOPING that the additional information would help him come up with a more effective, LASTING treatment.  Alas, all he had to offer me was a longer course of oral steroids.  Again, I got better . . . for a while, but when I had tapered down to the lowest dose, I was having difficulty breathing again, and needing to use my supplemental oxygen 24/7.

It got SO bad that I had to go to the ER twice; and was admitted to the hospital both times; for a total of 12 days.  First for just 2 days, and yes, MORE steroids; which made my symptoms improve again   . . . for a while.  Symptoms bounced back even WORSE a couple of weeks later, and they kept me in the hospital for 10 days; treating me for CHF (congestive heart failure) but it was NOT my heart.  They could not figure out what the cause was; and I continued to tell every doctor or nurse who asked, that I was certain that it was caused by the exposure to the Round-Up.  I had fluid on my lungs, but it was not pneumonia; so they gave me a diuretic to dry out my lungs.  As the fluid dried up, my breathing gradually improved.

After I got out of the hospital I was STILL taking oral steroids and continued improving.  Even had about a week where I only needed to use my oxygen every now and then.  Had a follow up appt with my cardiologist, who was absolutely certain that I was NOT in congestive heart failure; but, he did not have an alternative diagnosis.  My pre-existing heart issue (aortic regurgitation) had been shown to be stable in the latest echo-cardiogram.

The hope was, that I would get better over time.  But my symptoms just kept bouncing back.  In early fall, I succumbed to the pressure that my doctors were putting on me to ‘get off the steroids’ because they do have negative side effects from long term usage.  (loss of bone density).  I was miserable.  I could barely ‘shuffle my way through the day’.  I was tired and just wanted to sleep ALL the time; WHILE using my supplemental oxygen 24/7.

I kept in communication with my cardiologist and pulmonologist regarding the progression of my breathing symptoms, and they seemed to feel that there was nothing more that they could do.  I eventually had enough of ‘just barely getting through the day with no real QUALITY of life’, and went back to my pulmonologist and INSISTED that I be put back on a therapeutic dose of oral steroids.  If I was never going to get any better, at least I wanted to improve my quality of life.  A broken bone will heal.  ‘This’ was crushing my spirit close to the point of no return.

I am currently still on that last round of oral steroids.  My pulmonologist has referred me to a neurologist, to see if he can diagnosis and figure out a way to treat this mystery illness that is plaguing my life.  But of course it takes 3 months to get an appointment with a new specialist.  Soooooooooooooo . . . . .

Having my morning tea and toast a couple of weeks ago, while I perused Facebook, I came across a post about a free seminar for stem cell treatment for ‘bone on bone’ knees.  Yep, I have one of those too!  (my right knee has NO cartilage left in it and my left knee is half way there)  The seminar was free and nearby.  I was curious about this ‘stem cell stuff’.  MY son had told me about the Mel Gibson podcast , where he tells about getting stem cell treatment for his 92 year old dad instead of the Dr. recommended hip replacement surgery; so I signed up to go to the seminar.  At that seminar I learned that stem cells can repair damaged LUNGS too!

Condensing a lot of thought and prayer and research into one sentence here: in a few hours, I will be getting some new stem cells!  The procedures I am having done are NOT the ones currently approved by the FDA.  I don’t WANT more of my own stem cells.  My stem cells are SUCKING the life right out of me.  Besides, I don’t put much confidence in what the FDA does or does not approve.  Look at how many drugs/treatments that the FDA HAS approved over the years, that have later proven to be very BAD!?!?!

My lungs have been permanently damaged from the exposure to Round Up and need to be REPAIRED.  When we are young, our own stem cells quickly go to work repairing damages to our bodies.  That IS what God created stem cells to do.

I will be receiving stem cells 3 different ways.  First via an IV.  This infuses the blood with new stem cells that will travel throughout my body via the bloodstream; and will go to work ‘seeking out damaged areas of the body to repair’.  For my knees, I will be getting stem cells directly injected into the space where the cartilage shroud be.  Then for my lungs, via a nebulizer.

After receiving the stem cells, I will be getting an acupuncture treatment.  Then weekly acupuncture treatments and follow up visits with the clinic’s naturopathic/Chinese medicine Dr. for the next six weeks.  They also provide some specially formulated nutritional supplements, and require you to refrain from eating ‘gluten, sugar and dairy’ for 30 days.  The dietary changes will be the most challenging for me, because I also have to eat a low sodium and low potassium diet.  BUT, they have you consult you with their nutritionist; which will be very helpful for me.

PLEASE say a prayer for me as I venture into this ‘new world of medical treatment’.  It truly IS my last resort.  All the time and money I have ‘thrown into my treatment’ for the last 10 months has only given me minimal and temporary results.

Please do NOT lecture me on the ethics issue you think these treatments raise.  I did my homework, and the stem cells used are safely and ethically sourced.  I truly believe that God created stem cells with the capacity to be ‘transferred’; and allowed man to discover how to retrieve and administer them for this very purpose.  It’s weird and futuristic in a way, but it’s also very simple and basic when you really think about it.  We are using the building materials that God gave us to repair bodily damage.

I’m very intrigued by the ‘pairing up’ of this new scientifically based treatment, with some of the oldest medical practices of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.   I am looking forward to LIVING my life again; instead of just ‘barely getting through the day’.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My prayers are with you…. Stay positive.

  2. Sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble.  I have missed your emails and pictures.   Hope there is something that can cure your problems,   Have you filed a Round Up claim to possibly be compensated for your illness?  It’s worth a try.  Keep us posed to your progress.   Feel good real soon.   Lee

  3. Best of luck and God bless!!


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