Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stem Cell Institute in Panama welcomes Mailia's Miracle for Treating Eisenmenger's Syndrome

So much has transpired in the Mailia's Miracle realm this past year and half...ever since she had her last sten cell treatment and follow up heart cath.  It is shared with great respect and gratitude our sharing the results of her medical and stem cell journey.

We started looking at options for Mailia’s next stem cell treatment and found that the researcher and biochemist responsible for Mailia’s first two stem cells had developed a new stem cell line, derived from a patient’s own blood similar to the first two she received in 2010 & 2011.

This new cell line is purported to be much better and more potent than the previous two she has had but we were told, before it can be used to treat any vascular conditions, it must go through clinical trials that are being scheduled in Lima, Peru.
We spoke with various clinics and doctors’ about Mailia trying stem cells derived from using her own bone marrow and adipose fat cells and it was recommended to us not to go that route at this time and to wait for the new cell line she has become accustomed to already.

We would have to wait until clinical trials were completed before she could be treated and this we found, would take time.
In our consult with Dr. Amit Patel at the University of Utah who is aware of the new stem cell line that is in the pipeline, we discussed the possibility of Mailia having to wait another year or longer to benefit from being considered for treatment once the clinical trials were completed.

We discussed a viable option to help tie Mailia over until that time. That we might consider taking her to Panama to the CellMedicine Institute to be treated with “Whartons Jelly”.  That it would be a much less invasive procedure for her than harvesting cells from her abdominal fat and bone marrow and a cost that we could live with.
The cells that are found in the Whartons Jelly are mesenchymal stem cells from donated human cord blood from healthy live births.  These cells can fix things basically at a much higher rate than cells churned out by bone marrow and fat harvest. (you may browse their web site & videos for this stem cell science).

The cells will be processed at a Stem Cell Production Laboratory here in Panama called MediStem Panama. (click on link to see video).

The delivery method will also be easier on Mailia…the mesenchymal cells will be delivered intravenously and as Dr. Patel told us…these cells will go directly into her lung vasculature and that is where we want them to go.
So this is where we are right now…en route to Panama City, Panama to test these new waters for Mailia and pray she will be successful with this newly offered treatment protocol for Eisenmenger's Syndrome and Pulmonary Hypertension.

We started our communication with the clinic in Panama three months ago, have done our best to discern the best dates and logistics surrounding this trip and could not have done it without the help, guidance, assistance and support from so many wonderful and blessed sources.
More posts and updates to follow.

The Goforth’s


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mailia's Right Heart Cath Study on 06-13-12 Charts Another Path Forward Toward Her Miracle

June 13, 2012 Sacred Heart Institute Spokane, WA.

Mailia was scheduled back in June to undergo a right heart catherization study with Dr. Carl Garabedian in hopes of finding out where her lung pressures would be 7 months after her last Adult Stem Cell Transplant. This was done in order to ascertain weather or not, she would be at a point to safely undergo corrective heart surgery from Eisenmenger's syndrome.

We packed our belongings and plenty of oxygen to head to Spokane late Tuesday afternoon and settled into a hotel right behind the hospital so we could get Mailia admitted at 6:a.m. the following morning.

After a nice dinner at a little Italian bistro we found, we settled in for the night listening to the cracking of thunder and lightning...with the rain hitting the windows and trees.

While waiting for Dr. Garabedian to come in the following morning, nurses abound getting Mailia ready for her procedure while SteelDust, Max and I waited anxiously to talk with Dr. Carl...with regards to Mailia's procedure and also, took time to snap a bunch of pictures.

Dr. Carl came in and graciously greeted Mailia with much humor and wit...and set the wheels in motion.  He said he would most likely sedate lieu of intubating her but wanted us to know he was going to try a different protocol and was going to add a combination of Nitric Oxide with 100% oxygen and that Mailia would be his first patient try this new which would act as a "double vasodilator".

We went on to discuss the published video and works of Dr. Randas Batista for Eisenmenger's syndrome on the CTSnet web site and how we were asked by Dr. Joel Dunning of the leave a comment on Mailia's relationship with Dr. Batista and also the flood of comments that were generated by other heart surgeons, especially one well noted heart surgeon, the head of the International Childrens Heart Foundation, Dr. William Novick.

Dr. Novick recently has done an unpublished study about 36 patients that were treated with high pulmonary vascular resistance (pulmonary hypertension secondary to a heart defect) using the double flap patch for a VSD.  It is our hopes that at some point, Mailia's team of doctors will obtain this new data from Dr. Novick to see if these patients pressures are anywhere in line...with Mailia's current pressures making her a potential candidate for this type of corrective heart surgery.

We then went on to ask Dr. Carl if he would please for both Max, Mailia and I gather all the data today, review it objectively and give his opinion and recommendation to Mailia's current heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Black in Florida...on a path forward in hopes he would find it in favor, of a mechanical fix.  Dr. Carl told us..."that, it what we are looking for".  He told us you know, until that hole can be completely fixed, the pulmonary hypertension will never resolve.

We asked him if we would be able to compare Mailia's pressures from her last cath in 2010 to today's and he assured us we would, that after her procedure we could crunch the numbers to see where she stood.  After asking Mailia to sign the consent forms...since she is now 18 he saw how quickly her heart rate went up and joked with her about SteelDust not signing them and so... left that task, to us.

Dr. Garabedian said he needed to go change into his hospital pajamas just like Mailia, and we asked him to please take good care of her and how very grateful we were to him and how much we appreciate this and to now...get the party started!
I cannot emphasize enough how blessed we feel to have some of the best doctors in Mailia's corner and on her Miracle team.

The cath lab nurses came to fetch Mailia and we followed her to Dr. Carl's new state of the art cath lab that has just been constructed for him and his team. It was almost like comparing an astronaut getting prepped to go on the space shuttle. Thumbs up...Mailia knew what to do. We left the pandemonium and headed back to the room to get comfortable for a bit of a wait, while Max went to browse the gift shop for a Webkinz surprise for Mailia.

After they brought Mailia back in to her room we got her comfortable and drinking lite fluids for a couple of hours until she sounded off that she was hungry.  I fetched her some lunch from the cafeteria, soup and grilled cheese sandwich and more water to re hydrate herself.

Dr. Carl came in later with paperwork in tow.  He compared the numbers generated in this cath report to the cath he did in 2010 and the one from 2006.  In looking at the numbers that Max and I later charted into an excel spreadsheet, we still have numbers (PVR) that are high...but that the were definitely a lot better this time around.

So these current numbers were a nice response to the potent combo vasodialators he used, the 80ppm Nitric Oxide and 100% Oxygen.  He told us she had not improved her baseline conditions but that her "reactivity" has so there appeared to be a significant IMPROVEMENT in her PVR based on these numbers.

He told us he was happy with this outcome and that he would get the wheels in motion to discuss this data with Mailia's heart surgeon and see what Dr. Black thought of these numbers, his impression and what as a team, he thinks we should do next.

We thanked everyone profusely and got Mailia and SteelDust headed out the hospital door to her waiting chariot for the quick trip home. What a beautiful sunny afternoon it turned out to be.  Mailia got home to rest and recuperate and so now we wait to hear from her heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Black and will post another update to this soon.

Love and blessings...
The Goforth's

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mailia Follows Up With Her Florida Heart Surgeon Dr. Michael Black at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach

St. Mary's Medical Center - Palm Beach Children's Hospital Nov. 04, 2011

We left off in our previous post arriving into Miami from Mailia’s recent adult stem cell transplant down in the Dominican Republic. Mailia had been scheduled for a follow up visit with her heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Black who is world renown and had recently accepted a new position with St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach Florida while still maintaining his privileges and connection to his hospital in San Francisco, California Pacific Medical Center.

What a remarkable opportunity for Mailia to have the best Adult Stem Cell clinic AND Cardio Thoracic Surgery expertise in such close proximity which logistically for her, works out perfectly.

After clearing customs with all our belongings, we proceeded to our rental car and tried to figure out how to get us headed north, out of the maze of traffic and freeways.  Mailia and I plugged into her computer to get us going in the right direction while Max did his best to navigate through all the hustle and bustle the end of the day usually brings. Still had to stop at a convenience mart to ask directions after getting detoured a bit.  Oh well.

I found us a hotel about a mile from the hospital…where we checked in and conveniently found a place to finally eat dinner…yep, another Cracker Barrel to Mailia's utter delight. The webkinz of the day...a black footed ferret she had to have to add to the collection.

We all got a good night’s rest and monitored Mailia for any fatigue or discomfort from her invasive procedure just two days prior. She was happy and feeling no pain.

The next morning, Nov. 4th 2011 we got to the hospital and checked in with the beautiful administrative staff at Dr. Blacks new office.  Here we visited for awhile, checked Mailia’s vitals and all her medical records before proceeding over to the hospital for her scheduled Echocardiogram study. Dr. Black was a little surprised that Mailia had showed up with a replacement “SteelDust”…a stuffed toy that was supposed to resemble her little service dog that he went as far as noting that fact in her medical report he later generated from this visit which we will expound on shortly.

Dr. Michael Black & Mailia

After checking in at the hospital…I asked Dr. Black how he was liking his new endeavor and he was really thrilled with the opportunity and that they were in the process of building his new surgical suite and getting him the best profusionist and surgical staff to complement his team. I snagged a link to a PDF that you can click on to read about him now.

Dr. Black introduced us to one of his cardiologists, Dr. Emmanouil Tsounias who was quite interested in Mailia’s adult stem cell treatment protocol. Here she is with the two and her echo tech during her test and studies.

For the most part, this 2 hour consultation and follow up visit with Dr. Black went extremely well and we are pleased with his opinions and observations concerning Mailia.  He was quite hopeful that some variant of surgery may be possible if the stem cell therapy allows for a marked reduction in Mailia’s pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR).

He stated in his report that assuming the stem cell therapy has a positive result, that a  6-month window may be made available for possible surgical intervention.  If and when her PVR falls, a fenestrated patch closure of her VSD, a pulmonary artery band like the one Dr. Batista espouses for Eisenmengers, (see video at bottom of the Dr. Batista page) or a combination thereof may be possible with the likely use of a pulmonary vasodilator. He would also consider a right heart assistance device implantation should Mailia’s PVR remain unchanged following this second round of stem cells.

He encouraged future office visits over the next 3-6 months with Mailia’s cardiologist back home, Dr. Carl Garabedian…and that a repeat right heart cath at 6 months would be needed which has now been scheduled for June 13th, 2012. He told us the surgical options excluding the RHC are time limited depending on the response of her pulmonary arteries to the autologous stem cell therapy.

He left us with the fact that the RVAD is the one option that we can visit at a later time.  That medical advances, both technological and pharmacological may offer Mailia further options and hope once available.  He told us we must be open to new advances and push forward but remain cognizant of our mission of – Primum Non Nocere.  First do no harm.

We also believe when Mailia is able to undergo a surgical repair, that it might be beneficial for her to undergo another stem cell treatment afterwards. Because of this, we spoke with Dr. Black about the financial ramifications this will have upon our family with anticipated costs surrounding additional treatments and mobilization not covered by our insurance. We discussed our ongoing fundraising efforts and I asked him if he knew of any philanthropic avenues that we could explore to help us.  He said he did and his recommendation was that we do a video of Mailia telling her story and journey which we plan to get done as soon as we can.

Back to our visit…we gave hugs and gratitude and said our good-byes and got ourselves headed back to Bonita Springs through Alligator Alley to spend a few days getting Mailia rested for her flight and trip back home later the following week.

We got back to our beautiful condo to remind us once again of the incredible generosity of Nahla and her family, Mailia was excited to see her little moorhen friend Stanley swimming in the pond.  We then touched base with everyone from our Regenocyte family, laid out all our gratitude and counted all our blessing and then, called it a week.

Next post...Mailia participates in a Naples fundraiser to benefit Mailia's Miracle and her nonprofit The Alliance for The Advancement of Adult Stem Cell Therapy and times!~

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mailia's 2nd Adult Stem Cell Transplant to Regenocytes Clinic in the Dominican Republic a Huge Success

We made great time, arriving at the Miami International airport with 3 hours to spare after leaving the beautiful Marriot Marco Island Resort at 5 in the morning. Max ditched Mailia and I at the curb where a wonderful porter helped us inside the terminal to get checked in while Max went to park our rental car for the week and raced back to find us.
Once checked in for our noon flight to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic we made our way through security, the TSA folks all over Mailia…her wheel chair, portable oxygen and her cooler full of her important necessities, not to mention her pretend “stuffed” service dog….but mostly, her smile and sweet demeanor afforded her being delicately searched by the woman TSA agent who was very kind and congenial towards Mailia. 
Our handicap assistant with American Airlines took care of Mailia, pushing her wheelchair and ushering us through the terminal through a maze of elevators and trains, to get to our boarding gate without much stress.  What a blessing that was, for it had been a year since our last trip and both Max and I had slept since then and most likely would have had an interesting outcome given our own devices on directions.

We found a little French coffee shop close to our gate as we were exhausted and hungry.  I got Mailia a mocha and some pastries and Max and I some coffee.  Max did not like the taste of his coffee so he opted to get a slice of pizza to wash away the taste he said.

We charged up our cell phones and Mailia’s laptop while waiting to be boarded and made the last few phone calls we would allow ourselves, as international calls can get rather expensive even with their plans while traveling abroad.  We figured…we would have internet access at our hotel, and would communicate that way.

Boarding was a breeze, we had a wonderful flight attendant with American Airlines who had pre boarded us and got Mailia settled in with her in flight oxygen this time.  We cranked the tank up to 6 liters per minute and Mailia was set to go.  While in flight, our attendant “Anne” came and mentioned that she had a first class passenger that declined his meal and wanted to know if Mailia would like to have it for lunch.  Mailia wasted no time in accepting this incredible gift…a tray with Ravioli, salad, bread rolls and cheese cake.

Such a generous and kind gesture, all throughout our flight, Anna always checking in on Mailia and bringing her oxygen refills as needed. I wish I had got a picture of the two together.

Throughout our flight south to the Dominican…Mailia took many pictures of the Caribbean’s gorgeous blue green waters and islands, but when we finally arrived over the north part of the Dominican Republic, Mailia got her camera ready and positioned herself to take pictures of any and all baseball parks she could see on our approach into Santo Domingo.
  You see…baseball has always been and always will be one of Mailia’s favorite pastimes.  She has such a driven passion and enthusiasm for the game.  The players who come from the Dominican Republic every year to many of the minor league baseball stadiums throughout the U.S. are all very talented and come from these very humble beginnings.

Mailia snapped some pictures of one very primitive field pictured here on the outskirts of one small community that resembled a camp. When we zoomed in on the photo…we could actually see players playing or practicing that afternoon.  This is where is starts for them…or in neighborhoods with children hitting rocks with make shift sticks used as bats.

This is similar to Albert Pujols story…who’s family was “dirt poor” and lived in a community like the one pictured here. Despite his meager surroundings, Albert grew up happy and well adjusted.  He has become one of the most respected and successful players in Baseball today.
Mailia also captured this amazing baseball complex closer to Santo Domingo, a FIVE-plexer!

When we arrived and taxied at the airport, we waited for folks to disembark and gathered up all our belongings and hooked Mailia up to her portable oxygen concentrator and found her wheelchair waiting.  Our porter in the DR…met us at the gate and accompanied us to customs and baggage where we finally met up with Yanely Acosta…our beautiful liaison with Regenocyte who would be our near constant companion for the next several days during our stay in the Dominican Republic.

Yanely had a nice suv this time, and quickly got us going and headed into town to get us checked in to our hotel.  While in route…Mailia asked Yanely if they celebrated Halloween in the DR…as today we realized was October 30th and Mailia wanted to see some action…!  Yanely said no…that unfortunately they did not have any recognition or celebration of Halloween…and right as she said that, we noticed as we were abruptly stopped by a police man at an intersection, there was a huge procession or parade coming towards us.

We heard Yanely converse with the policeman in Spanish…and she told us well….looks like we will have to wait here for a little bit.  This procession with take awhile since there is a visiting Cardinal here this week and today is his birthday and all the pilgrims in the city are celebrating….so to answer your question Mailia…yes, here is your Halloween sweetie!~  It is going to be just like Carnival so get your camera ready! Whooo-hooo!

Max and I were in tears laughing at her inside joke…but Mailia, bless her heart…was so excited and happy that again…God and the universe presented her with another amazing gift.

We finally arrived at our hotel…the Intercontinental this time opting to give it a try, since we did not have the “real” SteelDust, Mailia’s little service dog that required our staying at the Hilton the prior year, the only place in the entire DR that accepted service dogs. Mailia was thrilled with the Intercontinental having plasma tv’s so she could use her wii to play her animal crossing and endless ocean games.

After we got checked in and settled into our suite…we were pretty hungry by that time and opted to eat at the hotel restaurant. Our dinner that first night…was unforgettable. Mailia celebrated by dressing in her Baseball themed costume, decked out with Le Freaks No.55 jersey and championship cap.  Sorry Cory…your 55 got left at home this time.
Mailia had a wonderful shrimp cocktail salad and main course.

Max had a beautiful shrimp dish as well…and a potato like soup that is native to the DR.

My shrimp and papaya salad was divine…as the beef tenderloins cooked to perfection.

During our entire stay in the DR, we would only eat at the hotel restaurant to make sure we stayed clear of giardia or food poisoning and stuck strictly to bottled water. The staff at the restaurant was so very nice and helpful…making a point to learn about our visit to the DR for Mailia’s Adult Stem Cell procedure and to offer prayers and support in every way.  They are so very friendly in the DR…we so believe, you will get out of it…what you put into it. And everyday…we made it a point to be so very grateful and thankful to everyone there.

The following day Monday…was our free day and after breakfast, we met Yanely in the lobby who was poised to take Mailia to the oldest church in the America’s founded by Christopher Columbus, once again…to pray for her successful transplant tomorrow.

Unfortunately…as we got ready to park next to the church, we were told by security guards that the visiting Cardinal was conducting a very special mass…and that the church was closed to the public that day.
So we left hoping to come back another time and I asked Yanely if we could possibly drive by a Baseball stadium to see about getting Mailia and her dad…a cap and souvenirs.  Our personal chaufer and tour guide Yanely…drove us all over the city and when I saw this sign at a local gas station…I really untruly got a sense of gratitude for our fuel prices back in the states.  In the Dominican, it takes $37 pesos converted to be about $1 US dollar. You can do the math. It is very difficult for most people living here when fuel prices are so very high.

After the sticker shock, we came around a corner and found a street vendor in front of the ball park selling her wares.  This is where Yanely came in…to help with the bartering as Max and Mailia looked through a gazillion caps.  One of the home favorite teams in Santo Domingo are the Aguilas Cibaeñas the Dominican equivalent to the NY Yankees. Mailia got the only cap with the AC logo embroidered on the front and a beautiful photo of a bald eagle head and the flag of the Dominican Republic.  This cap…would not leave her head for the remainder of our entire trip.

Not satisfied with a street vendor even after our wonderful booty…Yanely decided to drive around the front entrance of the ball Park and into the main parking lot where we were met by several security guards, some dressed in plain clothes and others in military fatigues.
She asked them if there was a possibility that Mailia could take a peek at their park…as it was an day off for any games and the guards told Yanely…in Mailia’s case, that yes…they would make this exception but told us that there were many stairs to climb. A no win situation for Mailia.  They offered to carry her in her wheelchair up the steep climb but we declined.  Yanely asked them if there was another location that would be easier for Mailia to gain access and they pointed to the rear of the ball park but would need to accompany us.

So with full security escort, even with their shot guns in tow…we drove around back and parked right next to a large gate/portal where Mailia could get out and watch some professional batting practice going on right before her.

One of the players after seeing us and Mailia…decided to pop one right to her in right field.  Talk about rejoicing!
One of the security guards also found another ball behind a batting cage and gave it to Mailia.
This was the first Pro baseball park Mailia has ever set foot in.  We knew…just like the dolphin encounter she had in Florida with Winter and Panama…this would afford her such happiness and healing.
As we loaded her up, we took this snap shot of a unique billboard they have in this park, that has what looks to be people or fans sitting way up on top of it.  Amazing.

We got escorted back to the park’s entrance and we thanked and tipped out guides profusely…hoping that maybe someday, Mailia will be able to attend a real live game here.
On our way back to the Intercontinental, Yanely pointed out this truck she was following and started laughing as she had never run across such a thing.  A mobile billboard of a wedding business hauling a real live wedding cake in the back of this pickup truck.  Only in the D.R.!

Back to our room to rest and have an early dinner, for Mailia was told to eat light and get plenty of rest for her procedure the next day.  Yanely told us that she would be picking us up at 11:00 a.m. to take us to the hospital and then be off to the airport to pick up Regenocyte’s courier coming in from Israel with Mailia’s new stem cells…and later, fetching both Dr. Grekos and Greg Finley from Regenocyte who would be flying in for Mailia’s procedure on another flight. Those are the stressful and busy days for Yanely…coordinating patient, courier and doctor pickups and deliveries amongst other duties in such a busy and bustling city.  She is an incredible woman and beautiful dear soul. God we love her!

We gathered for breakfast the following morning, Mailia could not have anything after 9:00 am so she was not very hungry…mostly anxious and excited but managed a few bites of fruit and pastries. Yanely met us for breakfast and coffee and then, said goodbye to all the wonderful staff and headed for the hospital.
I gave Yanely all of Mailia’s medical records to give to the doctor who would be in charge of admitting Mailia and staying with her THE ENTIRE TIME while she was in their care.  Dr. Karina Fernandez pictured here with Mailia and pretend SteelDust.
We got introduced to the new cath labs recovery room that had recently been remodeled by the hospital (Centro Cardiovascular Dominicano) and it looked like Mailia was scheduled to be the only patient there that day.
Dr. Karina had us wheel Mailia over to radiology to get a chest x-ray and after getting back to her room, we got Mailia settled in and changed into her wonderful hospital gown…she still, was not about to give up her baseball cap.  The nurses came in and prepped her for an I.V. and got her hooked up to all the monitors.
Then…Mailia’s doctors started to arrive one by one.  Dr. Roberto Fernandez De Castro and Dr. Hector Rosario Figueroa, both Interventional Cardiologists and right behind them, Dr. Zannos Grekos and our anesthesiologist with cell phone in tow…Victor. 
It was about 2:30 and after our greetings we went about our ways to find our surgical scrubs to change and ready ourselves for Mailia’s second…adult stem cell transplant.
Back in the room, we took time to joke around with Mailia and lighten things up…with some photos and pranks lovingly provided by her adopted uncles…Greg Finley and Dr. Grekos. Yanely also joined us for a bit and then…they came to get Mailia to roll her into the Cath lab.

I was a little miffed at Victor as he managed to pick and snag my favorite purple scrubs unlike last time.  Beggars should not be choosers I guess. The cath lab was fluttering with activity…Spanish, English…and even Spanglish with everyone there…taking their orders from Dr. Fernandez who so eloquently choreographed this miracle in the making.
Mailia was a little apprehensive about the anesthesia and being unconscious this time.  She started to become so adamant about staying awake for this procedure.  With the stem cell delivery this time being different from the last…it was imperative that she remain still and knocked out so there would be no complications.

Victor did his magic and kept a watch on her vitals and oxygen.  I stayed on Mailia’s port side and held her hand and spoke to her throughout the procedure, at times…restraining her involuntary movements.

Dr. Rosario….who was at the helm driving these catheters in place, did a phenomenal job this time and with every injection of stem cells inflated a balloon to hold the stem cells in place, for three minutes at a time. 
During this three minute interval…both men would back away from the table, sit down and watch the monitors with their arms crossed as seen here. This was the only way I could tell, when they would be done with each branch.  There would be three to the left lung…and three to the right lung.
Max congregated with the rest of the crew in the cath lab’s observation and monitoring room. He and Greg were in charge of photographing and videotaping for procedural documentation of Mailia’s stem cell transplant.
Approximately 50 minutes after they started, Mailia’s last stem cell delivery was completed. I could not believe how quickly and smoothly it went this time unlike the two hours it took during her first stem cell transplant.
Dr. Grekos pointed out…she is a different person now.  She is able to tolerate the invasiveness because she has gotten stronger.
They held pressure on her femoral artery and Victor worked to get her back to full consciousness. I went and grabbed some bandaging I had brought with me from Regenocyte’s clinic in Florida and gave it to our nurse to use on Mailia.
When we got our precious Mailia back to her recovery room, she was not a happy camper as seen here compared to her before pictures earlier. She was still so very groggy and a bit uncomfortable which was to be expected.
After visiting with the doctors, Max and I thanked everyone so very much knowing that this second treatment for Mailia, was truly going to help make a difference in her overall pressures and lung vasculature healing.
Dr. Grekos told me that Mailia needed to stay the night in the hospital as it was already 5 p.m. and to make arrangements with Yanely to come fetch Mailia and I in the morning. Max would go back to our hotel with Greg and Dr. Grekos and enjoy dinner and a nice relaxing evening before they would fly back to Florida tomorrow afternoon.
Dr. Karina helped me get Mailia all taken care of while later that evening, we would wait for Yanely to bring Mailia pizza from Pizza Hut for dinner.  Mailia ate half the pizza all by herself…she was famished! We watched a couple of movies on her laptop and when Dr. Karina came back into the room to stay with us, she helped me push one of the beds closer to Mailia’s and with all the pillows and blankets we could muster, she too…settled in with us for the night. Just like an old time “slumber party”…as it should be.  I was so humbled and grateful that night…counting our blessings and so very proud of Mailia and her incredible strength and courage to have endured such an amazing journey thus far.
At 4 a.m. as promised, Dr. Karina awoke us both and we got the nurses in to take Mailia’s I.V. out so she could gimp over to the restroom and get dressed and ready to head back to our hotel. Yanely was there at 5 a.m. like clockwork, and got us all loaded and headed back to the hotel.
What a blessed morning that was to be…not a lot of traffic on the roads. Back at the Intercontinental…I was dying for a cup of café con leche so went down to the restaurant and fetched my lifesaver before they opened. Everyone asking…how is Mailia with their beautiful smiles.
By 9 a.m. Max, Mailia and I ventured down to the restaurant to meet Dr. Grekos and Greg for breakfast and a quick goodbye. 

We discussed the procedure and what our expectations were. We told them we would fly out tomorrow Nov.3 back to Miami then head north to West Palm Beach for Mailia’s appointment the next day with heart surgeon Dr. Michael Black.  After our visit with him, we would then be returning back to Bonita Springs to rest Mailia and catch up with them for a few days.

After our goodbyes, we took Mailia back to the room to rest and relax where she played on her wii and I got busy with packing and cleaning.  Yanely kept checking in with us and wanted to see if Mailia would be interested in attending a baseball game that evening since the Aguilas were back home again and it was destined to be a great game.  Yanely’s boyfriend had been given tickets to a whole front row behind home plate. We sadly declined, as it looked like a monsoon had positioned itself in the west and we did not want to put Mailia in jeopardy so we opted to stay at the hotel…and just have a nice last supper and watch the game from the comfort of our room on the TV.
Upon finishing dinner we said our goodbyes and thanked everyone dearly for their wonderful help and service to us and Mailia.  We decided to take Mailia out back of the hotel by the pool to see where they had set up earlier in the day, an area where they were going to have a traditional folklore event about the traditions of the Dominican Republic.

A band of musicians set up playing beautiful meringue and calypso music and dancers came out in droves…leaving only a short while to go change costumes.  Mailia was thrilled to see them and enjoyed this so very much.  I told her that this was for her benefit to remember the gracious and beautiful people of this country and all they have offered her in her incredible journey to becoming healed.  They too, are part of her miracle.

I pray we will be back to visit this beautiful place someday, if not for another round of stem cells then maybe to give back in some way. We also wish to thank everyone who has patiently waited for this late and heartfelt update, one we could not have accomplished without the help, support and prayers from our wonderful team of doctors & staff, family and friends, of Mailia’s Miracle.
But most of all…we wish to thank and acknowledge our beautiful daughter Mailia for making us the people we are today. We are truly honored and grateful…she has chosen us to be a part of this great miracle and part of her incredible "Dream Team".
We love you Mailia!~