As part of a new stem cell treatment series, I am trying to find patients who have been helped by Adult Stem Cell research and therapy. In May, I featured a Multiple Sclerosis patient named Arndt Roehlig who described his successful stem cell experience in Israel in his own words.
Barry Brown- Stem Cell Study Volunteer
This time, I present Barry Brown, a heart attack victim who was involved in a stem cell research study at the University of Miami. We had presented Barry before back in May in this stem cell post . Barry was kind enough to write to me and wished to present his own stem cell success story in his own words.
A Stem Cell Success Story
Hey Don, Barry here, sorry its taken so long for me to do this but here goes.
Last February, after moving from Las Vegas to Miami upon retiring from 20 years in the Air Force, I started getting a dry cough which upon doing some research on my own was attributed to the use of lisinopril. My cough cleared up but I realized when i would start exerting during exercise I would get a hot flash down the middle of my shoulder blades I would just shrug it off thinking it was just the side effects of the BP drug. A few weeeks went by and I got a cold and I started coughing so much I coughed my chest sore and couldn’t breathe. After about 10 days of suffering with this I finally went to the doctor. An Ekg was conducted and the results came back Abnormal. I’m like ok, Ive been exercising eating well, no caffiene, no Nicotine ( I had Dipped tobacco on and off for 20 yrs) I had just stopped in February. So I thought “whats going on?”
Heart Attack Misdiagnosed
The first diagnosis was I was out of shape and needed to lose about 10 lbs. Hmmmm ok ill buy that i need to lose a few lbs, but mind you, just 2 months before that, I was working out 5 days a week doing cardio 45 min a day and weights 3 times a week and teaching 2 circuit training classes so why had my cardiovascular health gone down so quick?? “Im not buying it Doc, run some more tests I want to get back to where i was 2 months ago and I want to make sure 1000% that my heart is healthy to exercise!”
Next test was an echocardiogram that showed some weakening of the lower part of my heart. The 2nd diagnosis was I need to lose a few lbs and lets see how you are in a month…..”
I thought to myself ” how am I going to lose any weight? first off if I cant walk 15 minutes without feeling like i got 1000 slaps on the back for a good game????”
Watching Hugh Laurie and House Saves Barry’s Life
OK look Doc i said, “Im no bleeping doctor, but Ive watched enough ER episodes and House to know you can run some dye thru my veins and check my arteries and valves. I dont know what its called but thats what i want!!!!”
Thallium stress test was what i had done, I stayed on the treadmill about 4 min before I had to get off, the nurse said stay here we want to read the results……. the results were read and off to the 7th floor I went to meet with the Cardiac folks
I met with the Cardiologist he explained to me that they thought there was a blockage in my heart but they want to run a cath up my leg and angioplasty the blockage and put a stent in and that it should take no longer thatn 30 min. He said when can you come back mind you it had been about 2 months since it all first started so i said TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The day of the Cardiac cath comes, I get on the table and I’m on the table for what seemed like an eternity. The doctor comes in and says “Mr. Brown we have a few things we need to discuss with you, some options for you. Did you know you’ve already had a heart attack? Fighting back some tears and trying to regain some composure from the lil self deprecation and a little self pity that went through my mind for a few minutes then a conscious decision made I wasn’t going to let this situation get the best of me. “Ok Doc what are the options???”
The options were laid out…..
- Option 1 was have a triple bypass get it over with and start living the life I was living just 12 months earlier.
- Option 2 enter into this radical new study involving stem cell therapy, help open the doors for new research and possibly ways were we can change the lives of others from now on. Where at the time of your surgery you may be injected with your own stem cells at several different areas on your heart with the hopes of healing some of the damaged tissue from your heart attack. Hmmm that sounded interesting……
As I waited to hear option 3 which was I’m sure going to be take this pill go home and come back in a month you should be fine– it never came I was stuck with two options I guess……
So to me it was a no brainier- enter into this study have the opportunity to be the FIRST devilishly handsome charming semi fit veteran to have this procedure done and open the doors for other to follow. PERFECT….. There pains and trails, as well as numerous sleepless nights that I had to endure of course this is real life, there was a point in Aug where tests had shown I had an enlarged prostrate so I needed to have to have a biopsy done to be cleared of cancer so I could remain in the study. So, there I was thinking to myself wow I have Heart disease and prostrate cancer. I needed to be cancer free because if I had cancer when injected with the Stem cells it could move to the cancer and make it spread faster.
SO after a bunch more tests to get me back into the study since it had been over three months for all the initial work I was finally cleared back in…..
Then finally the date, Nov 20 2008 triple bypass day….. I’m lobbing congress to have that a legal holiday so you’ll have Veterans Day, Barry’s Bypass day and Thanksgiving all in Nov…
The 3 days I spent, no 4 days I spent in the hospital were a blur and that is where I made my mind up that I was going to get back on my feet and get busy getting healthy again. And it started with one of my post op meals ribeye steak and French fries……. Ok so the dietician was off the week I was in ICU no biggie….. Ill just get something else off the MENU…..
Of course anyone who has stayed in a Hospital knows you don’t get any rest in the hospital, it really started with my release from the Hospital and qtr mile walks after 7 days, to half mile walks after 2 weeks and pretty much adding mileage up to 3 miles in February when I started walking with a 30 lb pack 3 times a week. I’ve had days where my chest hurt so bad I didn’t want to do it but I pushed myself to do it so I could start strengthening my heart and get better so my quality of life would improve.
It has been a long road its been a challenge but with the great help of the Miami VA and the University of Miami Doctors and staff and the support of friends and family my outlook hasn’t looked better, From last summers 3 clogged arteries and not being able to walk a qtr mile, to my own fitness training and life expectancy its all good.
Its been pretty much a whirlwind the last week I was asked to be at the dedication of a new Stem cell research lab located with in the school of Medicine at UM and I did a TV interview the other day and word on the street is that Mens Health wants to interview me also so more to come on that. Also with the help of one of my marketing friends Glen Werstler in Ohio and his marketing group at page gravy had started me out with my own web page and Non profit organization called One Heart to start foundation. I’m excited to try to get people more aware about this medical breakthrough. thanks for taking your time and reading.