Lab Rat #19

Lab Rat #19



This post should explain my recent absence at My Odd Sock.  Enjoy!



Please don't feed the animals.
Please don't feed the animals.


Maybe you have had the urge to give back.

Maybe by making a donation.  Or taking part in a benefit MS walk.

Well, since I don’t have money to spare….and walking has become as awkward as chatting with a priest, I decided to do the next best thing…..and volunteer for a research study.


Little did I know the study my doctor asked me to join would be so dang important.

Turns out this was the Phase One clinical trial of mesenchymal (What the?) stem cell transplantation in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Twenty-four MSers were chosen.  And I am lucky number 19!


Damm, pellets again!
Damm, pellets again!


My doctor said it was the first study of its kind in North America.

And the most comprehensive study of its type ever conducted.

(I began to feel like one of the original NASA astronauts.  I even like Tang!)


The description of the study contained a lot of scientific-medical jargon which had to be dummied-down to my level of understanding.


In essence, they will take stem cells from my bone marrow…culture them to be fruitful & multiply…then, infuse them back into My Odd Sock.

Apparently, early tests worked in mice with a mouse version of MS (Just imagine the tiny wheelchairs!) with positive results, so why not try it on humans.  (The success with mice explains my recent affection for cheese!)


I figured what the heck, might as well give it a shot.  Shots of FDA-approved medications haven’t done anything to help, so why not let the body try to heal itself…using mesenchymal stem cells (What ever the hell they are!).


But before that could happen, I had to be medically-screened.  This amounted to a battery of tests.  Seems I had to give everything except a stool sample!

They looked at my history & previous medications.  They took vitals.  I had vision tests.  I did the nine-peg test so many times I had calluses!

Actual image from Odd Sock's MRI.
Actual image from Odd Sock's MRI.


An MRI confirmed I had nothing between my ears.

Blood tests.  Chest X-rays.  EKG.  25 foot timed walks.

I gave a urine sample….and needless to say, because of a shy bladder, I kept them waiting!


Last, was a test called a VEP (Visual Evoked Potentials) which involved having electrodes attached to my head, then watching a flashing checkerboard pattern on a monitor.

As big as a melon and just as quishy inside
As big as a melon and just as quishy inside


I told the technician he would need more electrodes for my gynormous head.

In fact, I offered to get the jumper cables from the trunk of my car!

The VEP test determines how quickly your processes the changing checkerboard on the TV.  (The test sounds cooler than it actually was.  Pretty boring, I say.)



My bone marrow aspiration happened several days later.  The doc collected marrow from my hip bones in a quick & pain-free 30 minutes.  (Can’t get a pizza that quick!)  I didn’t even take off my shoes!

Now, we play the waiting game while my stem cells party & culture in a laboratory crock-pot.

Hopefully, the infusion will happen in a couple of months—and hopefully yours truly will have some positive results to report…..not just for me, but for YOU as well.  As Phase One is a small, shuffling step like that of an MSer.  But with success, the future will allow bigger leaps and more wide-spread studies.

Getting a drink.
Getting a drink.



Till that day, you can find me in my cage as lab rat #19.









9 Replies to “Lab Rat #19”

  1. Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out. Especially being left with very little in the way of treatment options now.

  2. Doug, this is way exciting–for you and for the rest of us! I’d usually reserve a “thanks for your service to our country” for returning war vets, but, seeing as you are indeed in the trenches, at the front lines, fighting to push MS treatment forward, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your valuable contribution. I hope the risks to your health and well-being are low in this study. Please take care of yourself, buddy!

  3. I had read about this. Is this the study at Cleveland Clinic? How exciting to know someone in this research study. I’m sure you will keep us up to date on the study. My participation in a research study is lame compared to yours. I give blood twice a year for a Tysabri study. Anything for science…….

  4. Wow, they actually had an accessible cage for you? I do look forward to see if this little exercise does anything good for you! Hey, I would try anything to help me. I also like Tang and loved those space food sticks (You can still get them but they are only through mail order and not cheap.)

  5. James,
    Good stuff. Yes, they built a ramp for my cage. Made me laugh with that one. Thanks for sharing.

    Yes, this is the Cleve Clinic study. I’ll keep you imformed (and bored).
    That’s cool for your study! Every little bit counts. Keep at it.

    Comparisons not needed. Though by the end of this study I will have been pricked & poked more than Jenna Jameson!

  6. Holy Cow! I hope they will be able to find your other sock. This is really interesting. I have had MS for 40 years and still counting. I do love the care and thoughtfulness that you are giving to your sock and in particular the water dripper. You are a funny one. I will be so excited to hear from you when you get your results after all the testing is done and I pray to God that there will be only good stuff to report. I personally think that stem cell research has the best chance of finding help for us. And then again who am I to say? Anyway, I wish you all the best and I thank you so much for doing this you brave soul.
    Renae Clare

    And by the way I have written a book entitled Potty Mouth which is a memoir of my life being disabled with multiple sclerosis. Check it out if you were so inclined.

  7. Nicole,

    Thank you. It is cool that you know someone else in the study. It will be interesting to compare results!

  8. Wow! I find that a bit scary! I admire your cojones!! 🙂
    I’ll be following your progress and certainly hope it works so all of us MSers can follow in your footsteps.