The Journey Begins

Thank you all for the incredible outpouring words of support and encouragement. As many of you know by now, Ken is one of the first military veterans being treated with his own stem cells to hopefully correct the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury as well as other areas of his body, which I will talk about below.

Several of you have written with questions about the procedure. I will try my best to answer the most common questions below.

How long before you see the effects?
*It is expected if Ken is to see improvement in his body and brain within about 6 weeks. I will post updates periodically.

Are you documenting the journey?
*Yes! Time for a Hero and Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine are tracking this process. Ken took a “brain check” before the procedure and will continue to take “brain checks” in the months and years to come.

How did doctors collect the stem cells?
*Liposuction! Doctors took fat (about the amount of a coke can) from Kens stomach and sides. The water-assisted fat harvesting is done to obtain a sufficient amount of adipose (fat) tissue. The unique blend of stem and regenerative cells which exist in the adipose tissue are then isolated and prepared for intravenous delivery utilizing a closed/sterile, fully automated CGMP cell processing system.

How did the doctors open the blood brain barrier?
*Approximately 45 minutes before stem implantation begins, mannitol is administered to facilitate the cells crossing the blood brain barrier for a potentially more efficacious cell delivery.

How did they put the stem cells that were collected back into his body?
*IV. His stem and regenerative cells were delivered intravenously and by direct injection. This combination of IV and direct injection is a standard technique developed by doctors at Okyanos. Direct injections were performed under ultrasound or 2D-fluoroscopic guidance to ensure proper placement of the cells.

Direct injections as well???
*Yes, besides being given the stem cells via IV; the doctor also injected Ken’s lower back and both hips with the regenerative stem cells.

How long was your trip?
*We left to go to the Bahamas on Tuesday. Arrived for pre-op. Wednesday was procedure day. We were at the facility about 8 hours. Check up on Thursday morning and flew back home Thursday. It was a 3 day event.

Why isn’t this procedure done in the USA?
*FDA has not approved this procedure in the USA yet.

Are you afraid of possible side effects?
*Using your own stem cells is completely safe, with zero chance of rejection. Doctors have given Ken and other veterans a very bleak future outlook stating many with TBI will go on to develop Alzheimer’s,Parkinson’s and other brain diseases. At this point, if we do not give this a try, we could be missing out on something amazing!!

If Travis Wilson is not the guy in the picture, why do you keep tagging him?
*Travis the new CEO of Time For A Hero. I’ve known Travis a while now, he’s a super good guy and deserves recognition! 🙂

Why don’t you tag Ken in the photo?
*Ken doesn’t like to talk about himself, but he does like when I post these updates because he knows it’s going to help others! Ever since he joined the military again (yes, again)… I have been writing/blogging about the experiences. I can honestly say, doing so has helped MANY. I will continue to help our military veterans and their families through advocacy and education as long as I have breath.

What branches did Ken serve in?
*Ken was Recon in the Marines and a CAV Scout in the Army. He still has many friends he has served with and we are in communication with so many of them. They are family.

As a side note – my hope is that many of the 5/73 CAV family from the 2006-2007 Iraq deployment who have TBI and other injuries will be able to have this treatment. We thought of you all when we were in the Bahamas and I talked about many of you to one of the Founders of Time For A Hero. You know who you are and you know I will do anything I possibly can for you that is humanly possible. 

Time for a hero made all of this possible. They arranged transportation with Veterans Airlift Command. The pilots from Airlift Command were AMAZING. On the way home, Ken sat in the front seat of the plane and was happy about that!

Everyone from Time For A Hero checked in on us often. There was another veteran in attendance having the same procedure done. Ken was the 12th military veteran to have this procedure done through Time For A Hero. They are a nonprofit organization that has paid out of their own pockets to date to send veterans for this life changing procedure. I will have the link to Time For A Hero in the comments below. Consider making a donation, this organization is truly changing lives.

Aside from the actual procedure itself, Time For A Hero swooped in and treated Ken like family. This is a legit, real deal organization. I wish the US would allow more studies and more natural approaches to treatment when it comes to our military veterans. Many procedures and medications have horrible side effects. I can tell you about MANY. After Ken came home from war wounded, there was a time doctors had him on over 2 DOZEN pills. The past decade thankfully, he has been stable but with this treatment we are hoping for not just keeping him stable, but improvement. Please continue to cheer him on.

His current “homework” is to play brain games on an iPad Okyanos Center for Regenerative Medicine sent him home with. As silly as this initially sounds, he will also be reading Dr. Seuss books to himself and aloud. This really isn’t so silly though. There’s a rhyme and a reason for this… which, I will talk about at another time. I feel like I’ve written a novel already. 😉 

Written by Patti on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

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