I want to preface this story, the first entry of “Loretta’s Journal,” by explaining that this is not a typical story that I post on SuperMommyNot.com. My mother, Loretta, is undergoing stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease. I appreciate all of you who read this and I hope this helps anyone living with a difficult disease or going through a challenging time in their life.
“Anyone can make a paper plane, or a sketch of a plane, but it’s the one who can get the plane up in the air and flying… that’s what we’re looking for.” That’s the analogy my father, an aerospace engineer, shared with me as we embarked on our search for the right doctor to treat my mother with stem cells. We were looking for a doctor who could “get the plane flying” – i.e. administer result-driven stem cell therapy.
My mother has suffered from Parkinson’s disease (the akinetic, or rigid form, not tremors) for more than 15 years. She and my father have worked, as a team, to continue to enjoy their life together with their five children and extended family. It’s not always been easy, but it has been manageable.
Recently, however, my mom’s condition has dramatically changed. In the last year and a half, she has exhibited a significant decline. Her quality of life has suffered tremendously. In the past, a change in medicine might do the trick to mask or decrease symptoms. My mom even had a relatively new procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which proved helpful for a while. But now, the disease is progressing rapidly. We thought we had no other options and felt hopeless. That is until…
A few months ago, my oldest brother, David approached my father, my siblings and myself and threw out the idea of stem cell therapy for my mom. After doing some research on the subject, stem cell therapy began to mean HOPE. But this unconventional treatment, one that is not yet approved or performed in the United States, was not to be taken lightly. We decided to conduct some serious due diligence and do more intensive research.
As a journalist, I researched stem cells to the best of myability. I called and emailed doctors all over the world. One of my first calls was to a doctor in Ecuador. I felt like I was talking to a used car salesman. I quickly dismissed him and moved forward, but inside my heart sank a little and I thought we might not be on the right track. Thankfully, that feeling didn’t last long though. After all, we saw no other viable options to help my mother.
As we researched more and more, my sister, Nicole, a scientist, helped in areas where the rest of us had little or no knowledge. But in the end, it was my Dad who found the doctor whom my parents ultimately chose. And this is no ordinary doctor… this doctor, at least in my eyes, is an angel.
As my mother and family continue on this life altering journey, I will be writing when I feel compelled. I have been journaling to my two boys since they were in my tummy. Writing is my way to gather my thoughts and understand what is happening in my life. I feel it’s time to begin a new journal – Loretta’s journal – a chronicle of this amazing experience my mom is going through. She has approved of me sharing her story. I have learned so much from both of my parents and in reading this journal, I hope you will too. These thoughts and perspectives are solely my own.