Steemsters and Steemstresses:
(some of you know me as "onceuponatime" but I've been around the block a couple of times)
I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to peruse my good friend @steem-samiam's post on stem cell therapy here on steemit.com? Anyway, here it be for those of you who have missed it thus far: My Stem Cell Therapy Experience...Is it for YOU?
(Her post serves as an excellent introduction to what follows, my report from the front lines, the bleeding edge of medical technology. I hope that you will read and upvote her post!)
Disclaimer (the fine print): I have spent almost my entire life way, way out on the bleeding edge. From the souks of Marrakesh to the studios of Salvador Dali's understudy "Bengal" in Cadaques, Spain; from the neolithic artificial caves of Matala, Crete, to the ultra isolated Himalayan village of Malana; from the presence of persecuted Sufi mystics in Erzerum, eastern Turkey, to the druggie hostels of Tehran, the bazaars of Afghanistan, the arms dealers of the Khyber Pass, and the hole in the wall dervish caves of India. From Parvati, Kulu, Lahaul&Spiti, and other valleys of the great Himalayas to solitary confinement jail cells in Anchorage and Whitehorse; from bicycle couriering in downtown Toronto to picking mushrooms in the wilds of northern British Columbia. I have spent hours listening to the soap box orators of Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London (and I attended the first ever World Bitcoin Conference there in 2011). I have slept in palaces and slept under bridges, in fields, and in ditches. I have walked on the Great Wall of China, chanted in the Taj Mahal, and been interviewed by the phenomenally talented writer James Michener (who first told me about Afghanistan and brought me dinner at my hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco) for one of his books. Along the way I picked up: a smattering of tabla playing, under tutelage of Hindu tabla masters in Delhi and the Shiva Temple in Toronto; an undergraduate degree with a double major in monetary economics and business management from the University of Guelph; and certification in forensic accounting from a government agency. I have been trained in Reiki, done a weekend of Buddha Palm energy work with Mantak Chia himself, run 10 miles a day, every day, for months on end, worked outdoors at 60 below Fahrenheit and in the sun at 122 above Fahrenheit, fasted without food OR water on more than one occasion for over 9 days. Nine, count them, Ayahuasca ceremonies and dozens of native medicine sweat lodges. I have been fired upon, had knives pulled on me, and been charged by a water buffalo in a high mountain meadow. I have found rattle snakes in my sleeping bag and sold flowers on street corners in Phoenix, brought the first ever frisbee to Afghanistan, and presented my case to authorities in Ottawa, as a Special Investigator, as to how organized crime was using the sales tax system to steal and launder money. But be warned, although I have dabbled in almost everything, I am a master of nothing. And I grow old. My only hope is the old saying "A fool who persists in his folly becomes wise". So, Caveat Emptor. As our friend Stan Larimer ("stan" in steemit and bitsharetalk.org) says:
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH/YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY!
I am very much a loner verging on the anti-social except when playing music with intimate friends or kindred spirits. I have, until now, always jealously guarded my privacy. Thus I AM MOST STARTLED TO FIND MYSELF HERE, ON A SOCIAL MEDIA, letting my guard down. But I heed the ADVICE of the HOPI ELDERS with whom I lived for a time on the mesas of northern Arizona: A Hopi Elder Speaks- Now is the Hour.
So should you!
This story begins........
when @steem-samiam and her husband underwent stem cell therapy at a clinic in Florida. Upon their return to BC, she suggested that perhaps stem cell therapy might prove an alternative to the hip replacement surgery that I had long been dreading and actively avoiding.
Well, my mother has undergone hip replacement twice (God bless her 94-year-old soul), my older brother twice, and one of my younger sisters recently underwent her second! Would I be able to escape this, apparently genetic, fate?
I first noticed a subtle discomfort in my left hip area about five years ago. Having undergone a full ten session course of Rolfing (not for the faint of heart!) a few months previously, I made a new appointment with my Rolfer asking him to work on this errant hip. To no avail. Not only did the tinge of discomfort not disappear but, indeed, it has only grown, slowly but relentlessly, over intervening years.
About a year ago I no longer could walk without a cane taking some of the weight off my left hip.
photo by some flunky holding@onceuponatime's tablet :-)
I had to do something, and fairly SOON!
Having strong anarcho-capitalist/voluntarist tendencies, I don't participate in Canada's state run medicare system. I find it highly inefficient and oriented more towards serving its providers and the pharmaceutical corporations with political clout than serving its "clients". (Remember, there are only two things that you can do with power: use it to serve others, or use it to force others to serve you).
I did a little research to see what the health care system charges "taxpayers" (actually, future generations of debt slaves because there are no balanced budgets in socialist Canada) for a hip replacement. It comes in at a cool $42,000CDN (or well over $32,000US). And that's if there are no complications and they manage to kick you out of your hospital bed the next day and send you on your merry way. Further research told me that I could have the same operation done in Spain or Poland at less than a third that price, and India or China or Thailand - even less.
who really wants to have their thigh cut open, the bone of the hip socket sawed out, a metal mechanical replacement put back in and attached (bolted/welded?) to the remaining bone and then be sewn back up again? Definitely Not I!
So the news from @steem-samiam gave me at least a glimmer of hope that there might be a far less invasive alternative. More research told me that some of the most advanced stem cell work is being done in Shanghai, China. So I called up my former lover in Beijing and asked her if she would do some inquiry for me as to which clinics in Shanghai were reputable. How was I to determine that from Canada? Anyone can make a slick looking website, right?
photo by @onceuponatime
(I guess most of you recognize the "bird's nest" Olympic stadium and the Olympic aquatic building in Beijing)
To make a tedious, long story short,
instead of acquiescing to my request, she wanted me to try this new herbal medicine being made in Beijing for the treatment of bone conditions. I did give it a try for several months but found it to be ineffective in my case. I now wish that she had inquired about stem cell therapy in Shanghai as I had asked her. But you know women. Or, maybe, women should know me - that I don't have the patience to stick to a dietary and supplement and vibratory healing and visualizations routine for months on end, especially when all the instructional material is only in Chinese and especially whilst traveling. (I know, I know: "Patience is the mother of will; and without a mother, how can you be born?") So, sue me. I guess that's why I'm single :-(
By now I was trying to work my way through the changes from the old bitshares blockchain to the new Graphene based BitShares2.0 ecosystem. I mean, even just following the twists and turns and hardforks of the old bitshares had been like riding a roller coaster of change. But transitioning to BitShares2.0 with my investments intact has been like jumping off a roller coaster to land on the roof of a speeding bullet train! Any window of opportunity I had to take time away from computer screens, in order to travel to Shanghai, seemed once again quite out of reach. It was once more full on 7 days a week 14 or more hours a day trying to research, connect and grok all the goings on, just like my early days in Bitcoin.
As you probably all know, 7 days a week, 14 hours a day sitting in front of computer screens is probably not the best for one's bodily well-being. The hip pain assumed critical proportions. On rare sojourns outside my hermitage into the wider world of marketplace, walking - even short distances - became excruciating. When my back spasmed and seized up as well, I simply had to do something. Normally I would have gone to @basicbeing's naturopathic clinic here in my little town and have her do acupuncture on me to release my seized up back muscles. But she was out of town for several weeks.
What was I to do now (bent over, barely able to hobble even short distances)?
I managed to get a walk-in appointment with another accupuncturist in town. But I am not the most trusting of souls and don't easily allow someone into my energy field. The gist is that I felt no relief from her treatment - my fault, not hers - but I had a wake up call for the treatment. So I made an appointment with a chiropractor and saw him a day later. He said the muscles in my back were so clenched that there was little spinal manipulation possible this appointment. He did manage just a little and told me to go home and stand under hot showers and try again next day. Unfortunately the next day he was called out of town on a family medical emergency. My last hope was a massage therapist (or a lobotomy?) but I quickly learned they were all booked a month in advance!
The saving grace of this whole situation was that, during discussions with the chiropractor, he asked me what I was going to do about my hip. I told him that I had been looking into stem cell therapy but for various reasons Florida and Shanghai were out of the question at this time. I might go to Panama on my way to Chile later in the year (Panama is the Wild West of stem cell therapy). The Doctor then shocked and delighted me with the bombshell that stem cell therapy was now available in Vancouver. According to another of his patients, it was available at a considerably lower price than in Florida! The Doc had no further details. But a quick internet search later that day turned up the necessary information. I include a link to a detailed backgroundpaper for those wishing to delve further into the nitty gritty details in preparation for my next post (which will discuss my decision to proceed and the actual treatment at the clinic in Vancouver):
Report from the Bleeding Edge ( PartTwo)
Stay tuned. Subscribe? Nah, who wants a bunch of followers. I'm looking for initiative.