St. Louis, Missouri
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Treated at Okyanos October, 2014
Although we are fortunate that more patients survive heart attacks today than ever before, those who live with symptoms of congestive heart failure will attest that life with this condition can hardly be called normal. In fact, at 72 years old, Patsy B. says life with congestive heart failure (CHF) is not life at all.
Until 3 years ago, Patsy lived a very full and completely normal life. Not particularly fond of visiting the doctor, Patsy had no reason to see a cardiologist. Her health seemed normal, she had high energy and showed no signs of heart trouble when suddenly symptoms of CHF brought her active lifestyle to a halt.
Living with CHF
While out of town in 2012 she noticed she was having trouble breathing and so decided to see a doctor who recommended some testing. “I was asked to get an EKG and that’s when I was told it was very severe,” says Patsy.
Very soon her normal pace of working 80 hours per week became impossible. In the span of just a few years her condition became more serious and her quality of life suffered. In her hunt for the normal life she had lost, Patsy went through 12 different cardiologists and began a regimen of daily medications.
“Climbing stairs was really difficult and took me a long while to do. I would run out of energy and I had a hard time taking a shower because the steam made it so I couldn’t breathe.”
Patsy was told her ejection fraction (the amount of blood the heart pumps out; a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it pumps) was at a considerably low number, and her cardiologist expressed concern. She then underwent open heart surgery to repair her heart valves and have a pacemaker implanted, but her ejection fraction continued to worsen and the medications didn’t seem to be helping her at all. The next logical option for Patsy was a heart transplant.
“You lose hope,” says Patsy. “The drugs aren’t helping, and you think—what am I going to do?”
Fearful of the idea of a heart transplant and desperate for an alternative, she discovered stem cell therapy for congestive heart failure as an option during her search for alternatives. “I was looking at going to Mexico, and my cardiologist was talking to me about being a part of a clinical trial where they inject two different kinds of drugs into the heart, but I was hesitant about that idea and worried I would get the placebo. A friend knew I had a heart problem, and she recommended Okyanos.”
When Patsy first arrived in Freeport, she admits she was nervous but says her interaction with the medical team at Okyanos quickly eclipsed any apprehension she was feeling. “I was a little anxious. It was something new for me. But when I got there, everyone—every person, all the nurses—were phenomenal. I couldn’t ask to be treated any better than if they were my own sisters or brothers. It was truly amazing. You just don’t get that kind of care in regular hospitals.”
“Sometimes you feel like doctors see you as a number or a dollar sign, but the staff at Okyanos I felt had a lot of personal integrity. They really care about the patients, how they get handled and the care they get. The nurse told me, ‘If you need anything, just tell me.’ She was right beside me throughout the procedure and even moved the hair off of my face to make sure I was comfortable. Whatever it was, they were right there,” she adds.
Life After Stem Cell Therapy for Congestive Heart Failure
Patsy’s procedure took place on October 17, 2014—less than 3 months ago—but she says she is already noticing improvements. “Before treatment, it was a push to work all day long… there was just no way. Every 2-3 hours I would have to sit or lay down. I didn’t invite people for dinner or have friends over because I didn’t know if I’d have enough strength to entertain.”
“I’m doing better. I can already tell the difference. I’m not running up the stairs, but I’m getting up the stairs more easily. I’m doing the laundry again. I have more energy, and when you have more energy and you feel better, your point of view on life is better—it really makes a big difference.”
Looking back at Patsy’s struggle, one is reminded of the millions of patients who suffer from congestive heart failure and are in the same situation as Patsy: no more options. “How could someone my age even think about going through heart transplant? More medication is not going to handle it.”
Stem cell therapy for congestive heart failure is a relatively simple and minimally-invasive same-day procedure—a stark contrast from open heart surgery—yet offers patients the hope of a more normal life.
“I would absolutely recommend Okyanos, the reason being that I know for a fact that it is probably the best facility on the planet,” says Patsy. This facility is top of the line, better than any facility in the world—I believe that. If you want to get your life back, it’s the thing to do. The treatment can give someone hope, and absolutely I would recommend it.”
Ask Patsy what she thinks about the future of adult stem cell therapy for the millions of patients like her, and her emotion is tangible.
“It’s going to give people hope. And give them a life. You get to a point with a body where you push and push and run out of energy. That’s not really life to me. I think stem cell therapy can give back life.”
Update from Patsy: 1 Year Post-Treatment
“I am happy, healthier and now back to working every day! A year ago I wasn’t sure I would live much longer and wasn’t sure I wanted to. I want to sincerely thank Okyanos for giving me my zest for life back.”