Sorry it’s been a while since our last post, but things have been incredibly busy for each and every one of the Palkos. My dad wants to start off by thanking everyone for the cards, gifts, kind words, well wishes, and secret Santas who graciously enhanced our Christmas. The consistent generosity displayed by friends, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers is impeccable. Your support is undeniably appreciated.
We spent the holiday up in Vermont, and it was one of the least Palko-like vacations I’ve ever experienced. This meant sleeping in as late as we wanted and actually choosing which outdoor activities we wanted to partake in. The parents spent their days snowshoeing with the pups, and Kyle and I skied a bit, but for the most part we all just relaxed in the house together. Christmas night was spent at our great friends the Pattons’ house. Chris Patton, better known as CP, has been one of dad’s biggest supporters during all this and certainly knows how to keep his spirits high. We had a blast playing “name that song” and dad, of course, was the reigning champion. Perhaps my favorite moment of the week was the final day when my mom was cleaning out the fridge an hour before leaving. She pulled out a pint of unopened Ben and Jerry’s that had been forgotten and couldn’t be brought home. Dad and I took one look at each other then proceeded to tackle the daunting task of finishing it, one spoonful of cookie dough and brownie bite at a time.
This season we were blessed with what could be the ultimate Christmas miracle. Dad was lucky enough to be selected for an experimental stem cell trial at Massachusetts General Hospital. With the help of Dr. Berry and the rest of the staff, my dad has been pushed through a rigorous screening process to enable him to be eligible for a stem cell transplant. Spending 2-3 days a week at the hospital with countless MRIs, ultrasounds, and constantly being poked, prodded, and tested, dad claims he feels like Steve Austin. “We can rebuild him, we can make him better.”
Stem cells have the potential to cure the effects of ALS. More details about the transplant and this technology can be found here. This is an experimental process and has only been done a handful of times at other hospitals. Some of the patients witnessed high success rates. In one case, a man received 500,000 stem cells in his spine and went from being wheelchair dependent to walking again. Dad will be receiving the largest dose given yet, about 7 million cells. Who knows, he may come flying out of the hospital!
The surgery is tentatively scheduled for January 15th, but it’s a very meticulous process and everything must fall precisely into place in order for it to happen. If the surgery does go through, dad will be hospitalized for 4-7 days in ICU. We are incredibly lucky that he has been selected for this trial. His role in this experiment could pave the way for a cure for ALS. We will do our best to keep everyone updated throughout the next few weeks. So please cross your fingers, say your prayers, and send your positive vibes to us in Boston for an outcome that looks something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRtlkcQ6brE