Today was my first day receiving treatment. It began with electrical wave therapy which involved strapping an electrode to my thigh and another one to my lower calf on each leg. A brief electrical impulse was generated by each electrode that repeated every two or three seconds that caused each foot to involuntarily twitch. This process lasted for 20 minutes which I assume was meant to stimulate my muscles.
The next session was physical therapy that lasted just over an hour and I was quite exhausted by the end of it. The focus of this session was mainly working on my balance and retraining my feet how to walk. With weights strapped onto both ankles I was walking, going up and down stairs, balancing on a wobble board and all the while not permitted to use my cane! I actually surprised myself at how well I performed. My therapist Andy speaks very limited English but we managed to communicate quite well. I know that a month of this therapy will be extremely beneficial to me.
Next up was what they refer to as standing treatment. I had to stand on a platform angled at approximately 30˚ with my torso strapped upright so I couldn’t fall back for 30 minutes. I’m not really sure what the purpose of this was but I really believe they know what they’re doing.
Acupuncture finished up my morning which only lasted for 20 minutes. Lying on my back, five needles were inserted into each leg. One in the side of my thigh, one at my knee, two in my calf and one on the top of my foot. Inserted is perhaps too pleasant a description, jabbed sounds more accurate! The needles seemed much larger and it actually hurt which is not what I’ve experienced in the more gentle twisting motion of acupuncture performed in North America. The Chinese came up with this treatment centuries ago so who am I to question their technique.
That pretty much wrapped up my treatment for the morning and I was finished by noon. It appears as though this will be my morning regimen for each day of the week except Sundays. This week is going to be different however because I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday completely free. I was given my schedule today and tomorrow I will receive my first stem cell treatment which will be given intravenously. I spoke with the doctor today and he informed me that the rest of my treatments will be given by lumbar puncture and injected directly into my spinal canal which I am very happy about.
I also talked with several other patients today and heard of some amazing results. Torie a quadriplegic who is from Arkansas is in China for her second stem cell treatment. After her first trip one year ago in July she has regained feeling in her upper body and can use her arms! She was in a car accident 27 years ago which resulted in spinal cord injuries leaving her a quadriplegic. She no longer uses a power wheel chair because she can manually navigate a regular wheelchair! I have seen the staff here have her standing with leg braces on, it is truly a miracle!
Another patient named Linda who is from Okotoks and also has MS just recently had her first stem cell treatment. Some people may have seen her on CTV news before she left for China. She suffered from spasticity so bad that her legs could not even be forced to bend at the knees, she had no feeling in her lower legs and her feet were always ice cold and blue from poor circulation. One day after her first treatment the color had fully returned and her feet were warm! She can lift her leg and bend it up to her face without assistance, she is absolutely jubilant! Not everyone will see this kind of success and so fast but it sure is encouraging. I can only hope and pray for similar results but having seen this all with my own eyes is AMAZING!!!!