Kiev and Stem Cell Experiences on Day 2
October 25, 2011 1 Comment
Another interesting day in Kiev and with the staff at EmCell. In the morning I started the day out with more families starting their first course of stem cell therapies. This group included a breast cancer survivor with autoimmune problems and three children with autism and immune dysfunction. The youngest was 4 and she did much better than expected during the usual challenge of blood specimen collect and as usual the skilled nursing staff collected the specimen on the first try (not an easy feat for many of our children on the autism spectrum). They were successful in getting her IV infusion for round one of stem cells, but not without a major tantrum over having her arm held during the process. She was never in pain, but the emotional trauma of having someone restrain her arm was enough to trigger a major meltdown. Not that this is unusual and many of us who live with someone on the spectrum see just how easily they fall apart when the sensory environment and obsessive interests are not immediately satisfied.
The challenge for the doctors is they rightfully want to examine the non-sedated child, yet the child often is intolerant of the entire process. This faces all of use in clinical practice when we attempt our examinations and diagnostic/therapeutic interventions.
After this I spent the rest of the afternoon with Dr Karpenko learning about the rich heritage of the Ukrainian people and the City of Kiev.
Dr Karpenko escorted Aaron around a 3 hour walking tour of the city on his first day after stem cell therapy and he was remarkably calm and interested in the new surroundings.
Dominating the landscape of the city is this huge titanium monument to the victories painfully won in WWII. The statue reminds me to never, never, never give up with the battle to help children with autism.
And Kiev is not without its elegant European architecture. The orthodox churches, opera house and stylish cityscapes made for a pleasant adventure for our first post-transplantation adventure.
This is the famous Philharmonic house – reported to have the finest acoustics in the World.
And while this beautiful Orthodox cathedral appears to be centuries old it was built only 8 years ago and is a reconstruction of the original damaged structure. Without being overly metaphorical it is an interesting model for what we hope to accomplish with stem cells. Remodeling the old damaged structures with a new one which is exactly what it should have been.
Aaron was able to enjoy the remarkable diversity of cultures and food present in Kiev and this ethnic restaurant was a great experience for us all – even without french fries. I tried a traditional Cossack soup of millet, herbs and mouton (all organic) and on a rather cold day it was exactly what the doctor needed.
Later on Dr Karpenko and I exchanged our thoughts about stem cell therapies and agreed to carefully evaluate the progress of the children being treated so we could more properly describe the effects and therapeutic benefits. This conversation was recorded so in 6-9 months it can be part of the full story on this unique form of potential therapy for autism.
All for now – more to follow.