You can't take the green with you

Op-Ed Contributor

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

By WARREN E. BUFFETT
Published: August 14, 2011 – NY Times

Omaha

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

 

- Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on August 15, 2011, on page A21 of the New York edition with the headline: Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.

I'm a very lucky man

I remember the spot…..I have not been to it since and have no reason to really go back.  It was a shopping mall and twenty-two years ago, Love walked right up to me and said: “Hi….how are you?”…(we had gone to the same school together but had never really met before)

Fate?

Don’t know….but she wasn’t kidding when we got to the “In sickness and in health” part.

Happy Anniversary Julie……twenty years…I love you….am proud of you…blessed that you are with me…..and thank you for the happiest years of my life.

***************

Update:

Well…its been to Long….and you maybe wondering what’s going on?

Am going to: http://www.patientslikeme.com/ tonight and updating my profile w/ all my current meds. (no changes in the last two years).

If your interested in what drugs I take or other MS’rs take….it’s all listed there.  My profile name is “Smallie” in the MS community. Dates, History, Drug/treatment research….it all there.  Log in and learn.

Things have been good.  MS is still a major player in my daily life…but much less of a burden since stem cell (9/2009) and less still since CCSVI (2/2011).

The only reason I have not blogged is because everyday I find myself becoming more and more like my old “Productive” self.

Some of the “Productive” stuff since my last post:

-         Battling health insurance over 18K worth of claims that were owed to me.

-         Working out at PB 6 hours?week

-         Custom staircase handrail and Newel post install

-         Two Baseball teams (21 games + practice my son)

-         Property Tax appeal

-         Home refinance

-         Income tax

-         Working as much OT as I can and want

-         Working all but 2 days in June

-         Futures planning $$ (always)

-         1000 s.f. of basement wiring

-         900 s.f. of basement remodel prep

-         900 s.f. of basement remodel w/ volunteers (60% complete)

-         Exterior deck painting

Still no excuses for not updating.  Sorry. Some people emailed me about my status and I was pretty short in reply.

Things are good.

Busy.

Busy is good.

That’s normal life stuff…right?  Busy…

We are all busy…..but when you have a major disease that your dealing w/….then the MonSter disease can really take over that “Life’s busy” stuff.

Thankfully my MS has been stable and I’ve been back to the “getting stuff done around the house” mode.

I’m very happy with my “MS stability” right now.

So nice to not have the disease own me like it used too

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A quick “shout out” to all the volunteers that helped us with the basement remodel two weekend’s ago. (Staircase too)

Mom, Dad, Val, Mike, Bill, Silvia, Lynn, John, Jay, Niki, Alex, Payton, Lauren, Nate, and Tony.

It’s starting to come together and kids are getting excited to see the walls going up. Fighting over where the T.V. and game room will be.

Thank you so much.  In those three days I would have never imagined we could have got so much done

Be Well

Todd

Where do you see the water level at this point?

 

My friend Sandi sent me an Email the other day. She wanted to know more about things, how I was doing, cost for CCSVI. She told me she was trying to make a wise decsion. Soooo……it got me thinking…….

“Do I give people the wrong impression that things are better than they really are????”

  

Dun-no???

 

I hope not…… I still hve MS…… I still walk funny.

So I wrote Sandy back……just to tell her I’m feeling good and happy.

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 Hi Sandi,
 
I have not spoke to anyone from Israel for some time.  I will forward you my last email exchange w/ them.
 
I paid $10,500 for CCSVI at Pacific Interventionist.
($2500.00 – MRV/ $8000.00 CCSVI procedure) 
Dr Arata. performed the procedure.  I explained in this last update why I chose him over the Hubbard foundation. I am now in the process of billing my own insurance myself.  Dr. Arata provided me with a procedure synopsis and the appropriate insurance codes on the invoice.  Were still working on the Letter of Medical Necessity.  I may just turn in what I have now and see if they will require the LOMN later.
 
His protocol attacks the valves that interconnect the veins. He does a little more than just balloon your veins. The “valve” is where CCSVI derives from.
 
Fix the valve…..and the possibility of re-stenosis is greatly decreased.
 
Two weeks out from CCSVI now and I’m feeling good.  My “Lokomat” workout this morning was my best yet……although when I am tired……the communication to my legs is just not there.  That’s MS and I know that.
 
CCSVI has helped me recover from these hard workouts more quickly.  I’m also seeing improvement w/ heat sensitivity.
 
I’m a glass half full sort of guy and I hope that I have not given people the wrong impression of the severity of my improvements.
 
I have always remained consistent in the fact…that….these procedures are not a cure for MS……but just things that have made my quality of life much better and enabled me to keep working and providing for the family.
 
The last I spoke with Isreal….they were fooling around with liposuction and working on a new patent for their “Improved” ASC/MSC protocol.
 
CCSVI has given me a little more life here…….I’m going to see how much it will give me over the summer………then, I may think about giving Slavin a call and seeing what is the latest with Stem Cell. I still believe that Stem cell is the key to Meylin repair that every MS patient needs.
 
Ever since my stem cell (Sept 2009), I have been stable, happy and working a ton. I think MSC did give me greater Neural communication. It’s been awhile and I still seem to be making small strides in the gym so I’m hopefull for the future and am also broke again from CCSVI costs.
 
Stable for me is a win.
 
Is it CCSVI, MSC, Tysabri or a combination of all three????….
 
I don’t know…but I feel good, am working/providing,happy…and that is just where I am right now.
 
Your proaction is what makes you wise Sandi. And my repsect to you for your continued fight with the MonSter.
My prayers back at/with you.
 
Be Well,
Todd

In January, 2010… I posted about “CCSVI and all the hype.” I have been looking at the procedure ever since that day w/ much interest. On 2/12/2011…I finally pulled the trigger on the procedure.

Just like "Elmo"......CCSVI looks to have the "Staying Power" w/ the MS community

Well……..happy new year everyone.

Been a long time since my last update and I apologize.  Everyone that has MS knows it can be a fulltime job……..an in the last six months, I’ve definitely put in the overtime…literally

Family, Work and MS rehab has totally engulfed my life. I try to get in 8 hours of rehab/week…..Then, after all the travel, workouts, and PT/strength training…..there is very little time left to write.

My last post looks to be November and so to start: A little update on Montel and the “Wisconsin Project”. After looking for a follow up the last few months…The best I can deliver is this:

http://tcnl.med.wisc.edu/pubs/2010-Wildenberg-fMRI-BiB.pdf

A summary of a twelve person study from the University of Wisconsin using what seems to be the technology in the Montel video.  This summary though, is rather old.

Or this:

A link to “Brainport Technologies” website:

http://www.wicab.us/technology/

This company is dedicated to the technology and if you navigate through their website, you’ll be able to read clinical publications which are sort of promising.  I have searched all over the web to find a “follow up” to the Montel Williams story this last November but I had no success.  If somebody can find something of a progress report w/ regards to the “Wisconsin Project” or Montel’s progress w/the technology……I’d love to look at the results

*****************************************************************

Update:

I started back at “Pushing Boundaries Gym”, (Redmond, WA)  back in October 2010 and I have continued with “Lokomat” gait re-education 3X/week since. Things are going good but I wish I had not taken 3 months off prior to Oct./2010 (due to lack of money) because I lost a lot of strength during that time.

This last holiday were very busy for the family and I worked a ton of overtime in the last six months of 2010 to catch up financially. My daughter now drives and so I gave her my Buick and I bought an old BMW which runs well and so far has been very reliable.  The best thing about both cars is that they are paid for and I can drive the BMW comfortably.  The BMW has an emergency hand brake as opposed to an emergency foot brake on the Buick. Hopefully you can understand how that would benefit me.

On my MWF rehab days, I drive in excess of 75 miles and spend approximately 2.5 hours in the car. Traffic in this town is crazy but you do what you got to do when you’re sick.  My normal work commute is 58 miles.

*************************************************************

Why did I wait for CCSVI?

#1. Money

#2. Risk of re-stenosis associated w/ “the standard liberation procedure”

#3. A better Protocol (we still don’t have an effective scan process down yet)

Where and who you get the CCSVI procedure from is still a big deal right now.  As far as I know….there is only one person in western Washington doing the procedure?  His name is Dr. Torrance Andrews.  Dr Andrews has not been doing the procedure for that long. When I first inquired at Dr. Andrews’s office last September he was just getting started and I was put on a waiting list that was over 120 people long. I checked in with his office numerous times until December.  Never to have my phone calls returned from his support staff……I then looked toward  out of state CCSVI options.

One of the biggest CCSVI “fish” on the west coast is the “Hubbard Foundation” located in San Diego, CA.

Link:

http://hubbardfoundation.org/

Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Haacke in San Diego are the real deal and between the 2 of them they have performed hundreds of CCSVI procedures. Dr. Haacke has a CCSVI protocol named after him and is studying the efficacy of his CCSVI procedure/protocol.

Another great website for CCSVI info is:

http://www.thisisms.com/forum-40.html

The “ThisIsMS” website has an entire forum dedicated to CCSVI and members log in and share their experiences from around the country and the world.

************************************************************

Patient Experiences:

One thing you learn real quick about CCSVI is that no two MS patients have the same out come. Some experience a myriad of lessoned MS symptoms and other MS patients experience nothing.  A few even report that they felt worse after. (But not many)

CCSVI makes sense……..blood flow issues are serious and could cause a number of problems if left untreated……and if those problems get worse…..who knows?????

This was my line of thinking……..Could I have this stenosis?????…….Would I see some relief of symptoms????………I’d at least want to get a scan (all be it…..scans could sometimes be misleading)…………

What if…???????……I kept asking myself

And you just keep wondering.

*****************************************************

Leave it to me to ruin a 5 day romantic getaway

Julie and I had planned a little getaway to Palm Springs in early February.

While I continued to look for CCSVI weeks before we were to leave……..I stumbled across this:

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=495917362733&id=182832983940&ref=mf

Dr. Arata had visited Seattle at the end of January, 2011 and gave a presentation about how he goes about treating CCSVI a little differently than all the others.

I called Dr. Arata and he informed me that since he switched his protocol in July/2010…..he believed his re-stenosis rate to be under 10%.

Those are great ##’s when compared to CCSVI “Liberation procedure” (or the original CCSVI protocol)

Dr Arata treats his patients w/ slightly larger balloons and attacks the valves that surround the affected blood vessel.  He claims that the blood vessel valve is almost always the cause of the stenosis in the area.

Dr. Arata is located in Costa Mesa, CA.  Julie and I were going to be in the area anyway, so why not try and reach out to him and see if he could squeeze me in.  I also liked the fact that he had been performing CCSVI for over a year. That already makes him an elder statesman in this, relativly new, CCSVI  procedure being performed by Interventional Radiologists the world over.

http://pacificinterventional.com/arata.html

After about a 40 min. Q and A with Dr. Arata I was convinced.  The MRV clearly showed both my jugulars blocked (head/brain bloodflow)…..but Dr. Arata said the Azygos vein (spinal bloodflow) is much more difficult to see until he performed the actual procedure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azygos_vein

During the procedure you are lightly sedated and the whole thing takes about 3hrs from prep to discharge. Dr Arata gave me some blood thinners to take for two weeks and then I should be good to go.

Some of the noticeable improvements I saw just days after receiving the CCSVI procedure were:

- Slightly Better Balance

- Slightly Better Fatigue

- Much Better leg muscle tone (spasticity/stiffness)

- Much Better Heat sensitivity

- Much, Much Improved Sleep

Maybe even more symptoms to come……..Thank you Dr Arata.

A little neck soreness but that seems to be going away.  I went right back to work and am feeling really good right now.

 I’m very hopeful that I will be able to spend more time outside this summer and not inside the house chained to an air conditioner. Already seeing a difference at work.  I’m able to do more stuff on the job and not with as much leg muscle tone (spasticity/stiffness).  Can’t tell you what a relief that has already been. 

Now all I have to do is find insurance coverage for all this.  Should be a piece of cake ….right? 

Right…… 

Be Well

Todd

Say Ahhhh...............

Thanks to Family that saw the “Oprah” show and then People at PLM that did a little digging…….we now know what all the “Montel hoopla” is about.

Looks like some very cool technology……….something to watch closely and if successful……how fast can this technology get to market????

Don’t hold your breath.

Link: 

http://www.montelnetwork.com/#|episode|fs000080000iocr24040000000

Be Well

Todd

Sorry…my longest post yet.

As men......we sometimes want what we can't have..........For me...it's "Legs"

 

 

Hmmm………………

Scrambling to get out the door every night to work…………….

“What do you need?”……..she asks.

“Legs.”…….I reply in frustration.

Sorry Julie……my stupid sence of humor and I’m only kidding myself.

******************

Hopefully that’s what you’re going to get for me,………not a bunch of complaining bout MS and my struggles. I do complain about my issues w/ insurance and their unwillingness to pay valid claims, however.

I’m getting better at dealing w/ insurance and should have a positive report in a few weeks ( maybe months?) on how I got them to cover “Lokomat” training here in Washington.  I think I’ll be the first.  We’ll see? 

 Complaining about MS is a waste of time. “It is what it is.”…..I say.  Nobody wants to listen to you “bellyache” and I’m to busy working, working out, and keeping the “Small financials” in order.  Oh yea…..I’m a husband/dad first though. I have worked a ton of overtime since July 1, and things have been good physically so I’m able to comfortably take on the extra work and still feel I’m working out hard (away from the job) and continue to slowly get stronger.

******************

 Daily MS life for me can be tough still

Training away from work is the foundation for my little success. I’m working hard and I’m pleased with my efforts in the gym.  I’m putting in the time. You know when you’ve tried or not.  I’m OK w/where I’m at mobility/strength wise.

For the last couple of years…..everything takes a little bit longer…..a little more technical….and a whole lot more tactical.

Each little task in my MS day can be a challange…….i.e.

- How long will it take to get up the stair today.

- How long will it take to get dressed for work.

- How fast can I make it to the bathroom.

- How fast can I get downstairs get something to drink and get back upstairs to bed

- If I leave now while the wife and kids are upstairs…..can I beat them to the car and get in so they don’t have to wait for me.

*******************

Each day I try to better myself at these little obstacles. You name it……I can just invent a challenge for myself ….on the fly….anytime…..anywhere……..

…..maybe that’s some of my motivation. Who knows?……I still feel strong to battle all the “crazy little MS life delay’s”. I’ve made the mental adjustments for my mobility issues. Still striving for improvement all the time…though.

*******************************************

Anyhoo…….sorry bout the lack of updates…..things have been good, My energy is good and the fatigue is gone. Spasticity is gone and I hardly ever take Baclofen anymore.  Don’t feel I need it.  As I mentioned before….I’m back on the Lokomat and hopefully to stay if I can get this insurance coverage worked out. (were getting closer).

***************************

I have been at www.patientslikeme.com the last few weeks corresponding w/ another member: “Jezebel”.  She’s really interested with the whole MSC protocol and asked me some pretty tough questions lately.  I assured her that I was no expert but I would do my best to explain how things have worked for me. It may also explain further how I have been feeling of late.

Here is part of those conversations:

***********************************

After a few email exchanges Jezebel writes:

Dear Todd,

Forgive me for overwhelming you. (with a ton of questions) Please in any email take your time even if it takes three weeks to respond back; by no means I expect a reply back right away. 

…………….my emails are overwhelming. I am also a bad writer sometimes. The question marks that were in the body of the email were intended to express my thought process, trying to paint an image of what goes inside my head. They were not intended as actual questions. The only questions that I would like to have answered are the numbered questions that I was asking toward the end. Please do take your time, I appreciate all the perspectives you are making me aware of. Here are those questions again…………………

*************************************************

My responses: (I’ll put my answers in bold below) 

************************************************

Hi Jezebel,

Here you go:

1. You said that Stem Cell therapy did not help you with mobility? What kind of mobility issues do you have? 

A). I’ve walked w/ a cane steadily now since February 2006.  Before that…..I had used the cane only as I tired.  I was building my “Dream House” at the time in 2005/2006. As I was running out of time and money (the house was nowhere near livable yet)…..I had a huge relapse (MS exacerbation) and a nervous breakdown. At that point, I had been Dx’ed w/MS for 12 years. I mistook the exacerbation for “Nerves”, “The stress of it all”and “Overwhelming house remodel”. Never before had I experienced something so debilitating from my MS. Call it Naive” or “Stupidity”…….pressing on to finish the house and all the urgency I felt from it all… was a huge mistake….and looking back….if I would have just dealt w/ me 1st….well????……who knows?. Would I be in the same spot mobility wise?….I often wonder…..things might be a little better now???

The problem that I have w/ mobility is:…..It has been so long since I have walked correctly,…..that my bad habits and walking form have become normal.  I’m trying very hard to break these bad habits.  Stem cell has given me the ability to now tackle this issue. My MS is currently very stable and I am able to focus a lot of my free time… (w/ family I don’t have a lot)…to all my gait and leg strength issues.

I will never give up my quest to walk independently again.  Right now I definitely have the strength to walk…..It’s just the neural communication that I lack.  Damaged nerves definitely. But honestly…..I think stem cell has done a little repair in this department. I have moments of greatness where I will put down my cane and try to take a few steps in the house……but the moons have to be aligned just so (LOL) and I have to be completely rested.  These moments are weeks apart but they are still there.  Consistency in my training regimen is something that will give me better results…..It’s tough w/ the job,  family and money.  The kind of “gait re-education” via Lokomat is not cheap,… ($15,000+ post stem cell and counting)…I’m currently working w/ insurance on this.

I’m hopefull…..I’m also looking into CCSVI….Do I believe CCSVI is the answer to my MS issues???

Of coarse not….but it may just open some new doors with me and help me unlock the “Walking puzzle”.  There are so many pieces and any little help I can get…..”I’m all ears”

So there you go……”Who’s being long-winded now!!!!”

Such a long answer to such a simple question……damn….I’ve looked at these for a week now and I know the questions get a little harder…..but….you asked for it!
 
************************************************************************

2. I am glad that your Stem Cell Therapy helped with fatigue, and strength. I understand your work is very demanding, and that is also something I want to be like: have a job that help others but with the fatigue I have now, I can’t even help a snail! But I guess you would it do it again, because it makes you feel less tired, and stronger physically to handle your own body. Am I correct in saying that?

A). Fatigue has been the “God-send” of the whole stem cell process.  Ask anyone online that has gone through “Slavin’s” protocol and they would attest to some sort of fatigue relief.  As for the longevity of this for them….I do not know….MSC people have stopped updateing….so all I can do is speak for myself…..

One year plus….post stem cell….and my MS fatigue is still a non-issue.  Yesterday was Friday and the 19th working day in a row for me. Since June I have put in a ton of OT. Even a 26 day in a row stretch. Still able to get 5-6 hours of rehab and strength training/week in as well.

I am so happy to have that part of my life back.  It puts me in fighting mode….as was before MSC….I was happy just to have days of “maintain mode” w/ all of the fatigue I was having. I lost a lot of muscle mass back then…..and yes….defiantly a lot of weight lost….but not the kind of pounds you want to be losing.

To some currently…..I may look the same mobility wise….but they cannot deny the muscle mass increase or the fact that I am currently working my ass off. (actually my butt is getting a little stronger….we’re doing weight lifting “squats” at the gym….so techincally…I’m putting a little ass on…..LOL)

Whoops……another long answer…..”what were we talking about again??”

“Oh yea….Fatigue…….YEP….Much better….hopefully done with fatigue for a while.”
  
********************************************************************************* 

3. Aside from the mental issues, if you had the choice to go back with the option of getting stem cell transplant prior to experimenting with Other MS medication, how would you approach it? would you change anything in the way you handled the process of your medication history? do you think you would have decided to get stem cell earlier than you did? if Yes, why? if No, why? 

A) No

Why?……Money

And the fact that…..at the time, my disability was not that great….maybe due to the fact that I had been on a FDA approved DMD for years and was stable.

There’s that word again “Stability”……such a critical MS word!!

Copaxone was a godsend to me and afforded me eight valuable years of Stability. Once I started to falter we tried “Rebif” only to find out after six months my body rejected it. (Developed cellulitis in both arms at injection sites)…So Doc said inteferon’s were not for me…..So on to Novantrone…..Once again: Stability for me for another 2 years.  Then “Tysabri” since Sept 2006 and still on it.

Novatrone had totally wiped me out…..It’s Chemo for “Christ sake” and I never really regained my strength after taking it.  Tysabri has kept me stable since it inception but after Novatrone the MS fatigue had settled in nicely and was with me to stay.
 
Hindsight:

I probably stayed with Novatrone to long….I let the drug wear me down and damage my heart in the process…..I firmly believe….use Novantrone w/ MS people to get stable…then….get the hell off it.  The long-term effects are to costly….again…hindsight 20/20.

So………as you can see…..I sort of was running out of FDA options. I did about six months of research and doled out a ton of cash for a MSC study.  That’s right…..A MSC study!!!

Let’s give you a little bit of stem cell and make sure it doesn’t kill you.  But the research I had done prior said the results had some positives. Possible repair of damaged nerves. Hmmm….what other options did I have last year???? I was very weak and feared losing my job.  If I could  raise the cash, I would go……

I’ll be paying for MSC for a while.

Copaxone, Novantrone, and Tysabri all did what they we’re supposed to do for me. They gave me “Stability”. They worked and I would try them all over again before I shelled out the big bucks.  We don’t hear from the patients that MSC didn’t work on.  I bet they are out there.

There is that word again “Stability”.  I was one of the fortunate one w/ MSC.  Do I plan to return for more?……possibly….gotta come up with the cash first….I gonna have this CCSVI scan first.  That’s gonna be about $2000.00 I think?

********************************************************

4. relating to the question in point 3, I am still a bit struggling with why you feel that stem cell therapy should be exhausted as a last resort? Are you concerned that it is too much money for the benefits you received? are you concerned that patients may be having high expectation from stem cell therapy and it is not really all that, and that the results can be just as well achieved with less expensive treatments such as proper diet, counseling and MS medications?

A) You Say: 

“and that the results can be just as well achieved with less expensive treatments such as proper diet, counseling and MS medications?”

You bet that’s what I’m saying!!!,……..Try a DMD……yes it will be Nerve wracking at first for some…..

But it’s about “stability”…..MSC… I believe in,..The Slavin protocol…I believe in. But I also believe that Stability can be achieved w/ the right DMD and other supplemental medication here in the US and if you can get insurance to pay for it…….why the hell not.

 The mind is first.  Some people freak out over the words “Anti-depresants” or “Anti-anxiety” medication. I’ve taken them. Still do. Wellbutrin works for me. I get angry when I don’t take it.  The wife doesn’t like angry.

Well there it is……..your questions…..Good questionsI’d say.  Makes me think of where I’ve been….and where I‘m going.

I pray that you find MS stability Jezebel. Promise me you will do what ever it takes to get that.

ONCE YOU GET YOUR MIND RIGHT……the rest will follow.

Be Well Jezebel

Todd 

It's good to be back on the "Lokomat"

Gait Re-education is a tricky thing.

People make walking look so easy.

Trust me……It is not.

Continuing with my bad walking habits these last three months only did one thing……it keep me on a consistent path of “Bad Walking”.  

I got on the “Lokomat” this last Friday and it was like my legs were re-learning again.  My time on the Machine was good (40 mins.) but my resistance levels were poor.  Mainly due to the fact that it took me awhile to get acclimated to talking those good steps again.

“Lokomat” Link:

http://www.hocoma.ch/en/

I got off the machine and was pretty tired but after I got home that day….a funny thing happened…..I had my best walking day in the last three months.  I was remembering the proper mechanics and had better balance and confidence.  Those feeling continued Friday and into Saturday.  Then….Saturday night….back to my old bad habits. 

I’m trying to get two days of “Lokomat”/week for the rest of the year and at :40 min/time…..it’s much more than I’m doing at home.  My elliptical sessions at home are usually :25 min.  

My insurance claims are still being reviewed.  It’s been about 2 months now…..I’m just waiting on the denial letter so I can immediately appeal it.  For me…each denial letter is a stepping stone.  The first one will give me a good idea of what was missing or policy guideline not followed.  As more and more time passes…..my confidence continues to grow in the fact that I just may pull this off.  Then, if i do……I’ll need to look seriously at getting into “Pushing Boundaries” three days a week again.  

I’ve still been working a ton.  It a good thing cause my car just died and it took major funds to put that right.  I guess after three years and 45,000 miles (My used car has 130K total miles now) somebody had to take a wrench to it.  Glad to have it back out of the shop and running good.  Hopefully I can get another 45,000 out of her.  

All in all……my strength has been good……nothing major to report except the fact that I’m still grateful to have the lessened fatigue and have drastically cut back on my Baclofen intake.  I’m now taking only 10mg every three to four days.  

Everything else has been the same……stable and grateful.  

Tysabri is tomorrow and it looks as though I will start to stretch these treatments out a bit.  I will now schedule these App. 5 weeks apart instead of just the 4 week regimen I’ve been doing the last 4 years.  

I used to really feel the need for Tysabri about week before my next infusion.  Now…..not so much.  This is just another example of the new-found stability since stem cell.  I still have heard no results from that new JC virus test I had the last month.  There was a problem with the waiver I signed so I had to sign another one, send it back in and I think this is the reason for the delay.   

Hope all is well with everyone and I saw an ad for the christmas holidays this last week……that was scary.  

Same thing on this years christmas list for me:………..”Legs”  

Be Well  

Todd

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