You all know I've been battling long-COVID since March of 2020. I have been part of several groups trying to figure out how to get care, disability, legislative assistance, and there are so many, many people who are sick. I've had at least 6 doctors, multiple types of treatments, and just continued to get worse and worse. My digestive system stopped working, and I weigh 109lbs now. I haven't weight that little since I was in my teens. Long-COVID alters your genes, your DNA. So, my body was mutating, breaking apart. I could feel my systems starting to shut down, and I could see the worried looks in the faces of my family. It was heartbreaking for us all. I had at least 2 instances where I thought I was going to die, and had to look at what that reality would look like for everyone that I love. I was in total despair, we all were.
On May 20th, I posted a question to one of the LH groups:
"Has anyone gotten totally better?"
Out of 163 responses, only 1 person said "1,000%. The rest of the messages were just devastating. This is when I got angry. Furious for all of those individuals and families suffering, angry at the government for so many mixed messages, upset at all of the misinformation, frustrated by the fighting within our communities over things like masks, social distancing and vaccines. Watching everyone putting themselves first, when what we were being called to do was come together to help each other. I used to say that an alien invasion or a pandemic were the only things that would bring peace, and now I know we just have to wait for the aliens (I'm joking...sorta). I could also see the path down the road, pharmaceuticals for each LH symptom, which I did not want (the drugs I'm already taking have enough side effects). And those pharmaceuticals still have to be developed, and it could take years.
So, in absolute desperation, I reached out to the person who was 1,000% better, and asked her what she did that made her health improve so quickly and drastically. She sent me a message and told me that she was in a small town in Mexico, and had come here to die. She had already had the conversation with her children, and the plan was to live her remaining months in a place with sun, and food that her body could tolerate. And a miracle happened, her husband found the perfect doctor to try to give her one more shot at living. He literally had to carry her to the clinic, she could not walk. She was able to get perinatal stem cell treatments, and the cost was minuscule ($200 per treatment!), something that is not FDA approved, so this treatment option is not available in the USA. She felt immediately better after her first treatment, and let me tell you this woman was SICK. Her health record reads like an academic resume (a CV, if you will), it must be 4 pages long. She had just started to try to figure a way to get people as sick as us treatments here in this amazing town in Mexico. I immediately signed up for a phone call, and my mom, sister and I all did as much research as we could.. At the end of our research, we all agreed that this was the last ditch effort, and we had no questions. We knew I HAD to go. And I knew this HAD to work. I knew it WOULD work. I just knew.
I had my first treatment the following day, and had stem cell implants placed on either side of my belly button, and then had a stem cell IV treatment as well. My dear friend Claudia sent me a song to listen to while I was getting my treatment, and I was visualizing the painting that my sister made. Many of my friends were praying while I was undergoing the procedure. Lyn held my hand while I got the implants, and sat with me while I cried and told my story to the doctor.
The clinic is in a retirement community, which I love. I went back to my casita, and took it super easy. I hadn't been able to walk more than 100 feet, or do yoga for months, and I didn't want to mess anything up. That evening, I realized that I had only a few small symptoms. I kept waiting for a symptom to turn into something bigger (as it had done every other day for the last...I don't want to count those days anymore. A hint of a headache that I was sure would turn into a 3-day migraine, went away when I took a walk that evening to watch the sun set. My appetite that was non-existent (I'd been living off of Ensure at this point, and was asking Mike to tell me to "take 2 more bites" of food like I was a child, because my body just couldn't drum up enough energy to have an appetite). The next morning, I woke up and felt like myself. My old self. Normal. Healthy, HUNGRY. I immediately ran out and bought a loaf of bread and cheese. I've missed cheese sandwiches SO MUCH. Of all of the foods, this was what I was craving. Bodies are funny like that.
And now, I feel these cells healing certain parts of my body. My symptoms are gone. My arm that was still sore from the vaccination I got a month ago stopped hurting. My foot that I dropped a can of soup on is starting to knit itself back together. The multi-day migraines, pain, nausea, fatigue, depression, everything just blew away with the wind. I am still trying to process how I got here, and how I am now so healthy after only 1 treatment.
Ajijic, this magical town in Mexico, is a giant caldera (a large cauldron-like hollow that forms shortly after the emptying of a magma chamber in a volcanic eruption, kind of like Crater Lake in Oregon). Today, Lyn took me to hot springs that are bubbling up from under the earth. We spent the day dipping in different pools of volcanic water, got massages, and I feel like I haven't treated my body so well in such a long time, not for lack of effort. We talked about miracles, life, the universe, and our desire to help other people who so desperately need this type of treatment. We were literally in the middle of fire and water, pondering how our lives will look from here on out.
Life is so precious, and I am beyond thankful for another day, another chance.