Stem Cell Therapy?

I’m in the process of making a big decision.

How big of a decision?

A five thousand dollar decision.

I met with my orthopedic surgeon yesterday to review my shoulder MRI.

He’s suggested I undergo stem cell therapy on my bum arm.

This is an idea Dr. Painless, my pain management specialist, brought up to me awhile back also.

Now I have two doctors suggesting stem cell therapy might help.

(And yes, I do have a “team” looking after me.  That’s what happens when you’re really f*cked up for a long time.)

My arm is currently as “fixed” as it’s going to get.

There’s nothing left surgically to fix.

I don’t, however, have any muscle strength in, or around, my arm or shoulder.

I can’t move my arm.

Well, I sort of can but I move my arm by using my neck muscles.

It doesn’t work too well and it causes a host of other issues.

(This is why it helps me so much to have Paul Newman move my body FOR me.)

In an ideal world, I would gradually get my own muscles working.

This is kind of a two part deal –

First, my brain has to be re-trained on HOW to make my muscles move.

(My brain-to-arm connection doesn’t work after seven and a half years.)

Second, my non-working muscles need to regain strength because they have absolutely no strength right now.

The problem is, when I “try” to use my body under my  own power … I’m stopped by severe pain.

It becomes a never-ending cycle …

I don’t use arm/shoulder/upper body due to pain,

My arm/shoulder/upper body becomes weaker and causes more pain and more problems.

With stem cell therapy, stem cells are taken from placentas.

The stem cells would be injected into my arm and shoulder.

Hopefully, six weeks after being injected I would   have a pregnant arm   experience a decrease in pain and inflammation.

In turn, a decrease in pain and inflammation would allow Paul Newman to re-train my brain and body to use my arm.

There’s really no risk to stem cell therapy.

It isn’t like a surgery where things might go terribly wrong.

It involves some injections with a very big needle.

It would hurt.

I would be sore for a few days.

I wouldn’t be allowed to use my camera for a week or two.

Compared to what I’ve been through over the last seven and a half years, it would be nothing.

But, there’s no guarantee it will work.

If it cost a few bucks, there would be no reason NOT to try it.

It can’t damage my arm,

And it might help.

But it doesn’t cost a few bucks.

It costs five THOUSAND dollars.

And no, my insurance won’t pay for it.

I’d have to pay for it out of money I earn from photo sales.

My son pointed out I’ve spent five thousand dollars on photography equipment without blinking.

(Not true – I DID blink.  I blinked a LOT.  In fact, I’m still blinking.)

“Your body should be a bigger priority than a camera,” he pointed out as only a teenager can.

But?

With a camera I know I’ll have it to use for many years.

(Not to mention, it’s a tool of my profession.)

Stem cell therapy could end up costing five thousand dollars with nothing gained.

What should I do?

P.S.  My doctor had stem cells injected into his OWN shoulder after he had shoulder surgery.  He believes in the benefits that much.

20 Responses to “Stem Cell Therapy?”

  1. Michelle

    I think you have a big decision to make, but from what I have read of stem cell treatments, I think it worth the risk.

    I have also read that using adult stem cells is more effective and has more constant results than embryonic stem cells. I personally would do it, but would try to use adult stem cells.

    But it is your decision, and I pray that you make the right decision for you. 🙂

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Michelle.
      It’s interesting and educational hearing other people’s perspective.
      I’ve read positives on embryonic vs. adult stem cells.
      I need to do more research and find out more.

  2. Denise

    That’s a big decision to be facing. Fortunately it’s not something you have to rush into for any reason and you can take enough time to decide whether it’s worth taking the chance. It’s great that the only downside is $$$ because in the long run, that holds little value. Wishing you well 🙂

    • Suzanne

      You’re right.
      Money doesn’t hold long term value, but I do have to come up with it somehow.
      Sigh ….

  3. Missy Stalcup

    Yes do it for all the obvious reasons. You have invested so much into your healing process I think you should give this a go aw well.

    • Suzanne

      I’m leaning towards doing it eventually.
      I don’t, however, have the ability to pay for it right now.

  4. Stephen

    I say do it. The thought of you having some relief after all these years of pain is sooo compelling. And BTW, if you put a TwentyFourAtHeart PayPal tab up for the stem cell cost, I’ll be the first one in line pitching in.

    • Suzanne

      Thank you Stephen.
      You’re so kind and so supportive.
      I don’t think I could ever be comfortable accepting money from anyone though.

      • Stephen

        I understand Suzanne. However, I don’t see it so much as money changing hands, but rather, a communal sharing of life’s highs and lows with people you trust. Plus, the inspiration you spread around could never be repaid. Just sayin’……:-)

    • Suzanne

      I’m leaning that way Jan.
      I just can’t pay for it right now.
      Maybe I’ll be able to down the road a bit ….

  5. bakingsuit

    There may be research grant money. I have no idea where, but I’m finding out thats often a partial answer.

  6. Linda Tustin

    What does briefcase think? It is hard to part with that much money– but there is no price on less pain and better use of your arm……

    • Suzanne

      You’re right –
      There’s no price on less pain and better use of my arm!

  7. Shri Bonnin

    I know it’s no guarantee of less pain, but it’s an option to have a better quality of life than you’re having now. What if you don’t? Wouldn’t you wonder? I think this is exciting! Could you talk to them about a discount in exchange for being a research study? I’m just thinking here. I wish you the best!,

    • Suzanne

      If I don’t do it I probably will always wonder if it would have helped.
      I wish I could be a part of a research study. Stem cell therapy is relatively new, but not new enough for anyone to be doing research on its use in situation like mine.
      The first factor, of course, is whether or not I’m able to pay for it ….. which I’m not able to at this point. If I do manage to save up enough to do it, I have to be willing to go into it knowing it might not make any change to my arm at all.

  8. Jenny in MN, now in AZ

    Investment in you? Investment in a CHANCE at less pain? Sounds like the best investment you can make! You are so worth it. Your family is worth it and all the things you hope for in the future are worth it. If it doesn’t help, at least you will have tried. Although, I know that terrible feeling and nagging voice in the back of your mind saying – do I dare hope for it to work and then possible disappointment… but if there is a chance? GO for it! You are WORTH every penny of time and $.

    • Suzanne

      You’re such a great support.
      I think you’re right … it’s probably worth trying.
      Hopefully, I’ll be able to down the road a bit.

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