Russel Miller, 53 years, Multiple Sclerosis

Home: Melbourne, Australia

Before Stem Cell Therapy

I am a 53 year old man who has MS and I had my first major MS attack 15 years ago at age 37. I went off to the local GP with my symptoms and was misdiagnosed as having had a stroke. I was correctly diagnosed in 2000; 10 years ago. I was encouraged by my neurologist to start treatment using beta interferon to halt the progression of attacks which I did for 3 years. Unfortunately for me, the treatment did not halt the progression of my disabilities. I also felt gave it me some nasty side effects, so I decided to stop. My disabilities continued to increase and eventually, I was forced out of work.

"My quality of life has improved so dramatically..."

So, for ten years, my health deteriorated and I accumulated many disabilities. My walking was down to a few steps around the house with the aid of a walker and outside in an electric scooter. My bowel and bladder were shutting down and I was in constant pain. The right side of my body had spasticity in both limbs and my foot had dropped. I did like most people with MS in this stage and I avoided going outside, not travelling and not interacting with the community or friends outside of my very small world in my home. I was becoming a recluse.

I had read much about stem cell therapy and often wondered if it may help me. In October 2009 I decided to apply to undertake their stem cell therapy.

One evening I received a call from the clinic informing me I had been accepted as a suitable applicant and to arrange when I would like to undergo their treatment.

It took about 2 weeks to arrange everything; passports, flights and I needed someone to assist me during the trip. I had to use a manual wheelchair as my only way of being able to travel and therefore needed a caregiver to push me. My son offered to be my caregiver and we both flew out of Melbourne on November 29th, 2009.

We arrived at our hotel on Sunday and I made use of the service that the clinic offers it patients; an in-house transport service which picks patients up from the airport and also for all appointments as needed.

On Monday we got picked up at 9.00 and drove to clinic where they where going to perform the first simple procedure of extracting bone marrow from my hip bone.

The hospital staffs are well trained at looking after patients and all spoke English. The doctor gave me a briefing of what would happen and also explained of any possible dangers. The procedure of extracting the bone marrow from my hip was carried out quiet easily. I simply had to be lying down on my side and the doctor extracted the bone marrow from my hip. Because I was not in a position to see him doing the procedure I can only describe it as being about as uncomfortable as a dentist appointment. The process only took about 30 minutes. They then send the bone marrow off to the laboratory where they separate the autologous stem cells.

After the procedure, we were free to do as we wished. I was using a manual wheelchair the whole time I was in Cologne, so my son pushed me around Cologne sightseeing. Since I had no problem with the collection of the stem cells and virtually no pain afterwards, we went shopping.

The next day (Tuesday) was a rest day so once again we were free to do whatever we wished. On Wednesday, I was once again picked up and taken back to the hospital for the implantation of the stem cells. I was very nervous about this part of the procedure but I need not have been. It is the most simple and painless part of the process. I simply had to sit on a bed and bend forward, arching my back to open up the gaps in between the vertebrae. The doctor gave me local anaesthetic injection in my lower back to deaden any pain. I needed to sit still for 5 mins while the local took effect. When he touched me after 5 mins I imagined he was locating where he was going to inject me and he said, "OK all over." It really was that simple. He had already injected the stem cells in my spinal fluid. I then had to lay quietly on my stomach.

After a couple of hours rest I was allowed to get up dress and return to my hotel. The next day I was very tired and just rested. We then had a couple of days sightseeing before flying back to Melbourne.

Progress after Treatment

I have now been back in Melbourne for 11 weeks. The start of my new life was on December 2nd, 2009. I was badly jetlagged when I returned home so my sleeping was all over the place. After a couple of weeks, I was getting out of bed about 3 hours earlier each day and these extra hours were good, productive time. The usual fog or drunken feeling had just disappeared. My energy levels were so high I did not know what to try first; I had virtually no fatigue at all. My muscles had atrophied so much that even though I had the will to do things again, my poor old body was not able to support me. I would wake each morning with a desire to jump out of bed and get started on a new challenge.

On Christmas day 2009, for the first time, I took my dog for a walk around the block using my walker for support. I am now walking with just a cane and am able to cover about 400 meters. My internal organs have started to work again, I sleep 8 hours of peaceful sleep every night and never get up to go to the toilet. I still have spasticity in my limbs on the right and some pain in my body but it is all quiet manageable.

6 Months Later

Well I thought it's about time I updated my notes about my stem cell therapy. It is so easy to forget where I was and what has changed and most importantly how I feel about it. My quality of life has improved so dramatically.

The very best, top of the list, number one thing that I have gained from my therapy is a clear mind. I no longer suffer with any thought disturbances. My attitude is very positive, my emotions are very stable and I am happy. I've even regained my sense of humour! My motivation for life is sky high. I dream of the future and what I might try in life.

To sit at the computer and write this update is an easy task for me whereas once I could not have carried the thoughts of whether I had already written about something or is was a new thought. I no longer suffer from any obvious Fatigue. I am sure when I exercise or push my body too hard, like everyone else, it cries out to stop and relax but that's not a bad thing. My pain levels are a 1 or 2 most of the time and you would have to ask me the question 'how are you pain levels' for me to think about them. What a huge improvement that is.

My energy levels are so much higher now that I have taken up a gym membership for a year and go 3 times per week. My mobility has got so much better that I travel to the gym on my tricycle and I only use a walking stick as my aid. I do about 4 times as much exercise in the same amount of time as when I first started 4 months ago. I also go to hydro therapy once per week. My fine motor control of my right hand has just returned and once again, I am able to write with a pen and paper. This is a very new change so I practice every day and hope I will be able to increase the time I can write before my writing gets very messy.

I am very positive about the benefits of SCT and know my overall health will keep getting better in the future. While the clinic does not talk in any way about this being a cure, it's still got to be the next best thing. I hope in 6 months to be writing positively about the 1 year anniversary of 'my new stem cells'.

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