As most of you know, I’m new to this whole blogging thing. With that being said, I think this is my first case of writer’s block! Kidding, but not really. All joking aside, I have been thinking about what I want to share and the best words to describe what has been going on since the last update and I’m struggling with the words. I’ve asked Stephen to give me some help and describe in his own words how he is feeling. That was even less helpful. All I can truthfully say is ya’ll better be glad I’m the one writing; this update would have been over in two sentences otherwise. He only got through high school English (hope you are reading this Mrs. Hicks) with a little help from yours truly. But with all sincerity we have some exciting news to share.
This week marks the beginning of week seven since Stephen’s last treatment in Panama and we are happy to say YES – he is seeing some changes! I noticed it a little over a week ago; just something subtle. He seemed to be getting around the house a little easier, walking a little more quickly. The first thing I really noticed was him stopping in the middle of the living room to pick up a dog toy. Bending over and picking stuff off the floor can be challenging because balance is a big issue. Typically he would just leave the toy. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but then I noticed he was walking a little faster (I use this term loosely) but yes, faster. And then a few mornings later I got the best text from one of his co-workers. It said, “Girl…I saw somebody out of the corner of my eye blow by my desk….when I looked it was Stephen. I told him, you haven’t moved that fast since I’ve known you.” He went on to say he was so excited he almost did cartwheels! So YES, there are noticeable improvements with his walking. Others at his office have noticed the difference too. It is hard to see the small changes since I see him daily, but it is noticeable to most people who know him. And my oldest question, “how do you feel?”, gets a new answer. “Just different, I can’t explain it.” I’ve tried to get more descriptive words from him, “what do you mean when you say different?”, but that is all he can come up with. He does say his feet feel less numb and overall he is just a little less fatigued. He has continued with his physical therapy (therapist has noticed his walking has improved) and working out on the other days either at home or the gym. He even went to the grocery store with me on a Saturday, after the gym and walked the whole store. I can’t remember the last time he did that. And he wasn’t even rushing me or complaining about shopping. This is HUGE.
To say we are excited is an understatement. We can only hope that changes will continue and improvements will get bigger and better. He had a follow-up with his neurologist a few weeks ago and his examination showed no real decline since the last appointment 10 months ago so that is always encouraging news. The doctor won’t say too much about the stem cell treatment. He has other patients that have done it and have seen some significant changes, but that is about all he really says. Stephen is scheduled to receive his routine infusion in early November. This is a new MS treatment he started a little over a year ago. It consists of 2 infusions (8 hours each) two times a year. This coupled with the stem cell treatment is hopefully the perfect cocktail!
We continue to feel so blessed by all those around. The true concern, interest and overall thoughts and prayers are more than we could have ever imagined. The changes we were so desperately (cautiously) praying for are happening slowly, one day at a time. He’s still not quite ready for that marathon, but he is a few steps closer. Who knows what the future will bring?
Here are a few videos to show the difference in his walking!!! Please forgive my basic video skills. The first video is from Stephen walking on July 26 of this year. The second is from just last week – October 15, 2018!!!