From little things big things grow

Stem cells. Little promises of something more. With three potentially life threatening conditions in the family, I’ve always sat on the fence when it comes to stem cell research. But now they are touching my life directly and I’m filled with great excitement. Next week I get on a plane to see the only doctor in Australia who is doing stem cell breast reconstruction. And the best bit about it is they are my own stem cells. It’s cutting edge stuff.And  I always love what’s happening at the edge. It speaks to the scientist in me, the part of me that dreams of possibilities. It’s an exciting place to be.

And I’m so excited because this type of reconstruction holds promise for anyone who has had breast surgery. Basically, they lypo-suction your own fat tissue from a donor site and wash half of it to get the stem cells. Then they mix it back together and inject it to augment a breast after lumpectomy or reconstruct it completely. A bit of back fill if you like. And the best bit is the stem cells help repair the skin after radiation too. I was fascinated to find out that fat tissue is absolutely laden with stem cells. And they work to create new nerves and new blood vessels to keep the fat alive. It holds such promise. Thank you tummy after children I say. Rather than despising my womanly curves, I found I have  a new respect.

In trawling the net, I discovered this type of reconstruction has been available in Europe, Japan and America for years now. But it wasn’t discussed as an option with me until I uncovered it for myself. And it’s only an overnight stay in hospital. So much more appealing than the other forms of reconstruction I was offered that involved cutting me up even more, topped off with stints in intensive care – definitely not for me! In fact, I am horrified that women do this to themselves. So, once again it has brought home to me the importance of maintaining our power when making decisions, when the ones we are presented with simply do not feel right. After all, we are the ones who know ourselves best, aren’t we. Who know what’s right for us.

Gut instinct is a powerful survival mechanism, isn’t it. A gift from within that saves us time and time again when we stop to listen to its wisdom. And even if the answers are not immediately there, with a little persistence and patience, I find they always come. Because there are a lot of things we discover when we take the time to look and listen, aren’t there. When we won’t take ‘no’ for an answer…

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“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.” — Buddha

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