By Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboy Legend and Hall of Famer
Do you know what it’s like to not be able to dress yourself? I do.
I spent the better part of my life playing an extremely physical sport – football – and up until recently, I was not able to do everyday tasks such as comb my hair or even dress myself, due to the immense pain I was experiencing. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, polymyalgia rheumatica. Prior to that, I was still a very active man. Whether it was rock climbing or playing a round of golf, I loved being outside. It felt like one day I woke up and my world came crumbling down. I was in so much pain that I could not even pull myself out of bed, and eventually I had to be rushed to the hospital. Doctors prescribed steroids which helped decrease the pain, but it was not a natural solution. Every day I felt weaker – I did not recognize the life I was living. I went from a completely active adult to being crippled with pain. My disease was eating away at my soft tissue and I lost 50 pounds at a rapid rate. I worried I would never be active again. There were days I was completely immobile; I couldn’t even imagine swinging a golf club or picking up my camera. My family and friends said I looked like a ghost, and I really felt like one too.
“Every day I felt weaker – I did not recognize the life I was living. I went from a completely active adult to being crippled with pain.”
In addition to my pain, I was diagnosed with a heart murmur and atrial fibrillation. I was going every six months to have check-ups on my heart and discovered I also had a slight mitral valve prolapse. As the years progressed, my eyesight and hearing were becoming worse. Needless to say, I felt as if I was falling apart.
I watched my son suffer from psoriatic rheumatoid arthritis. His shoulders were down to a mere five percent of cartilage. He was in constant pain; so much in fact, he had to quit his job because everyday tasks were becoming too difficult. It is extremely hard to watch a loved one suffer and I felt helpless in offering a solution. My eldest son was the one who discovered stem cell therapy, which he told my younger son about. After the stem cell therapy, my son regained 98 percent cartilage back in his shoulders. It was absolutely amazing to watch his transformation.
After witnessing my son recover at a tremendous rate, and after speaking with my dear friend Jackie Sherrill about Houston-based biotechnology company, Celltex Therapeutics Corporation, I decided to visit their lab. I was blown away; David Eller, the CEO, was very passionate about stem cell therapy. The lab was extremely clean and modern. After seeing their work up close, I knew using my own stem cells was going to be the best route to recovery.
My first therapy was in March 2016, where I received stem cells in my left shoulder. As with any new therapy, I felt some apprehension, but after checking into the hotel in Cancun, I was completely at ease. My wife and I marveled over how modern and clean the hospital was, and how hands-on the staff was with us. My second trip for therapy was even better. I received a thorough blood test and a visit from the cardiologist. I expected him to tell me I had a heart murmur and atrial fibrillation; he told me that I still have A-fib, but he could not detect a heart murmur. I was astounded with this news.
Now, one year later, I have full range of motion in my shoulders. I can wash my hair and pick up my camera. I never thought I would be able to take another photo, and anyone who knows me knows that photography is my passion. I am traveling again and taking road trips with my family. Overall, I am not suffering anymore.
And the good news continues. My ophthalmologist explained that my vision has improved to the point that surgery is no longer necessary. My vision went from 20/40 and 20/44 to an improved 20/30 in both eyes. In addition, my hearing has seemed to improve as well – in fact, I no longer have to use hearing aids.
I have never felt better – I feel like a younger man! I cannot thank Celltex and the staff in Cancun enough. They gave me my life back.