thailand diary elephants

 

 

Day 1-2 - July 26-27, 2016

 

Yesterday, we arrived in Bangkok! Cathay Pacific were fantastic. It's been a great pleasure to fly with them. I was able to lie down for the duration of the flight, which was a great relief. I had to sit up for take-off and landing, which wasn't pleasant, but we got through it. The airport staff were very helpful. No hassles.

The humidity in Bangkok hits you like a slap in the face. The weather here is very similar to that of Durban's. But it's terrific. The people are friendly, and so far we've been having a great time.

Today, on my second day at the Better Being Hospital, I have been meeting all of the medical staff who will be working with me; the doctor's, nutrionists, physical therapists etc. They, along with the Better Being Hospital Staff are extremely friendly, and very professional. I had some blood tests done, and the physical therapists had done an assesment to see which treatment plan would be better suited for me.

My physical therapy, and occupational therapy begins tomorrow, along with accupuncture treatment. My first Adult Stem Cell treatment begins on Friday. Very excited about that!

We have taken some photos, I will try and upload them tomorrow, along with photos of my first therapy sessions. We've had a professional documentary camera crew following us around all day, they are filming for Beike Biotech's website. Good fun. 

It's been a challenge though, to find decent affordable food. The food is not nearly as cheap as the many travel websites have suggested. 

Thanks for all the well-wishes, guys. Speak soon!

 

Day 3-5 – July 28-30, 2016 – 1st Stem Cell Treatment!

 

 

Thursday 28 July, I started with Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Acupuncture.

 

Physical Therapy is, as the name suggests, physical workouts and exercises designed to increase body strength, and to also assists with improving the movement and coordination of the body. Occupational Therapy is designed to assist with, and improve my basic motor skills. OT has been fairly trouble-free, with easy exercises that occupy my hand movements and coordination.

 

PT is much more serious, and physical. The therapists are extremely friendly, polite and professional. They grill me fairly hard, but are cautious not to overdo things, and allow for plenty of rest throughout the workouts. So far, the focus has been on lower body strength. I do all sorts of stretches and exercises. I am a bit tired, but the therapy is easier than I had anticipated. My balance is still very poor, with the left side of the body being very weak. Still, it’s early days, and I am very positive about the treatment.

 

The therapy sessions are good fun. The Thai therapists enjoy a good banter during the sessions. They like to laugh, and have a great sense of humour.

 

I’ve been put on a strict low carbohydrate diet. The food is very healthy, with plenty of steamed vegetables. It has had an immediate and positive effect on my overall metabolism. Overall, I feel a little better. I have a bit more energy than a week ago.I wish I could eat food this healthy every day back home! I have yet to enjoy proper and traditional Thai food, but to be honest, at this time I am not in the mood for spicy food.  

 

I have yet to venture outside, and do sightseeing. Though, I would rather leave that for later, and focus on the treatment. I would love to get out, but I have no expectations other than to receive my treatment, and get better. All the photos you see of outside the hospital were taken by my caregiver and friend, Elsabé. She’s been great company thus far, and we are having a good time together. She gets plenty of exercise outside, and has had some fun adventures! She does all of our shopping, and helps out where needed. 

 

I have also received my first Acupuncture treatment. I had received this treatment during my first Stem Cell Treatment in China, in 2011, and had found it to be hugely beneficial. In 2011, I had had great pain in both my wrists, from overuse of typing on the computer and cell phone. The acupuncture had, within two weeks, dissolved that pain completely. The pain is back, due to years of overuse of the wrists, from excessive typing on the laptop and cell phone – an unavoidable activity - I am hoping that the acupuncture will, again, assist with healing that pain.

 

So far, the acupuncture treatment has been a much less painful experience than the one I had received in China. In fact, there is almost no pain when the therapist inserts the needles. They are using a new technique; they put the needle in a very thin tube, then press the tube down on your skin, with ample pressure (it doesn’t hurt one bit), so that the focus is on the pressure of the tube, and not the insertion of the needle. Once the tube is pressed down on your skin, the needle is quickly inserted. Pain free. It’s very smart. They leave the needles inside for about 45 minutes. There is a good article on Acupuncture Treatment HERE, should you be interested.

 

Yesterday 29 July at 17:00 I had my first Adult Stem Cell treatment! Yes!!

 

The Stem Cells are prepared in Beike Biotech’s laboratory in Shenzhen, China, and are flown into Bangkok, Thailand, a few hours before treatment. As you can see from the photos, the stem cells are contained in a 30ml packet, and are administered via IV transfusion. It takes 20 minutes for the packet to empty, and it’s pain free.

 

Now, it is a waiting game to see when the Stem Cells will find their target. I’ve been asked many times by friends how soon I will see results. I honestly don’t know. In China, in 2011, I was able to see results within the first few weeks. I am hoping that things will be the same during this treatment. I am extremely positive about the treatment, so I am hoping for the best! I will keep you updated on any progress!

 

The Better Being Hospital is an excellent and well-equipped facility. There is plenty of room to move about. The service has been five-star thus far. The staff are very attentive, and every need is catered for with a smile, and encouragement to get better. We love it here.

 

 

Day 6-10 – July 31 – Aug 4, 2016 – Improvements!!

 

 

Day 6 – Sunday 31 July, 2016 – Day Off! I slept for a good deal of the day. Very tired! The low carb diet is fantastic. I have lost 500g in just four days. I am less hungry after meals, and overall my metabolism has improved by a great deal.

 

Day 7 – Monday 1 August, 2016 - Elsabé had lost her phone at a big market in Bangkok. A very kind Thai man had found the phone, and brought it back to her by taxi, to our hospital. We never got the name of the person, but we are very grateful to you. Thank you. We paid his taxi fare and gave him a tip. He was very humble, and most grateful.

 

This morning, I had had a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy session. TMS is a non-invasive procedure for magnetic stimulation of various areas of brain and other neural tissue, such as motor cortex, cortical-spinal tract or frontal cortex. TMS has been proving clinically to be effective in treating many neurological conditions as well as mood and mental disorders.The procedure was simple; a therapist attached electro-magnet coils on the back of my scalp, and my shoulder. The session lasted for 20 minutes, and was pain free.

 

Today I had also received Stem Cell treatments two and three. Following the IV transfusion, I become incredibly thirsty. This goes on for several hours. Last night I had emptied twenty 500ml bottles in four hours!

 

Day 8 – Tuesday 2 August, 2016– IMPROVEMENTS!!  

 

I am super-excited, relieved and very, very happy to announce definite improvements in my condition!!

 

I am noticing decided improvements in my balance. My toes can now grip the floor, without becoming spastic and curling up to one side. This allows for better grip of my left foot and leg, thus providing me with better balance. I can walk a good few metres, unassisted, with relative steady balance. The leg muscles are still very weak, but not as feeble as they were a few weeks ago.

 

My left arm also does not curl up (become spastic) when it is not in use, or when I walk. It is more relaxed when I walk, allowing for better balance of the body. I don’t become as dizzy as I used to, which enables me to sit up for longer periods. I can now sit up straight for a bit longer, maybe 10 more minutes at a time. This is noticeable especially during the PT and OT sessions.

 

When I overuse my body and brain, I experience a massive build-up of pressure in the left part of the frontal brain – the frontal lobe. I can feel slight improvements in that area, with less build-up of pressure, allowing for more concentration, and less dizziness.

My concentration is steadily improving. I am able to work on the PC for slightly longer.

 

I am just so relieved that all the hard work of the past few years, all the money, and time invested, has been worth. I truly, truly truly CAN enjoy a quality life with this treatment!! I am absolutely gobsmacked that the stem cells are finding their target so quickly! It is unheard of. It just doesn’t happen. But it is happening here!

 

It is a religious experience, to go from not having balance, and then to have balance within the space of a few days. I had experienced more or less the same thing during my first round of Adult Stem Cell Treatments in China, in 2011. I was able to see results within a few weeks. Here I can see results within the first week. Please understand, this sort of thing is very uncommon; people don’t see results this quick. But I do. And I am deeply grateful, and know that I am very, very lucky.I am just so happy. Very happy!!!! Walking on air at the moment.

 

My wrists are very sore from the Acupuncture. But this is good news. I had experienced the same pain during my trip to China in 2011. I remember asking the acupuncturist why my wrists are so damn sore. He’s answer: “The acupuncture is WORKING!”. Wonderful!

 

Today I had also received Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy today, as part of the therapy. As you can see from the photos, they put me inside an airtight container that looks a little space ship. It’s kinda cool. Once inside, you are fitted with an oxygen mask, and given pure oxygen for an hour. I had to sit up straight for this therapy, but was only able to do so for 25 minutes, which was not too bad.

The purpose of this therapy is to greatly increase oxygen concentration in all body tissues, especially in areas with poor blood flow such as in traumatic brain or nervous tissues. Pure Oxygen stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, stimulates an increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body's principal, antioxidants enzymes, and aids the treatment of infection by enhancing white blood cell action.

 

The Doctors, nurses, and therapists are simply wonderful. They are very dedicated to their jobs, and truly seem to love what they are doing. They WANT to see you get better, and they are quick to offer encouragement, and a good laugh. Drs’ Kusuma, and Worawit came over today to a therapy session, and presented me with an “I Love Better Being” T-shirt! It was a wonderful gesture, and good fun. Thank you, doctors!

 

Today, Elsabé and I ventured out into the street across from our hospital. We sat for a good while, observing the street; the people on their bikes, fruit vendors and massage parlours abound. The air was hot, the street very busy. It was mesmerizing, observing this other culture. What a truly unique and wonderful experience. The sidewalks are in a terrible condition, thus we couldn’t’ venture too far. We had good fun.

 

There are so many sick people here; most of them much, much worse off than I. Many sick children. I feel so hopeless for them. I sincerely hope with all my heart that they too will benefit from the treatment. And soon.

 

Days 9-10 – Wednesday 3 & Thursday 4 August, 2016I am exhausted from all the activity and exercise from the past few days. Not feeling well. It was too much all at once; a lot for the body to take in such a short time. Was given ample time to rest during OT and PT. I was only able sit up for ten minutes inside the oxygen chamber. What a pity, since I really enjoyed it.

 

The dietitian came by again today. She is very friendly, thorough and knowledgeable. I enjoyed hearing about all the healthy food options, and how my diet is progressing. She gave me a warning that I can’t cheat on the diet, since she can see it in the test results. Oops. I am following her diet to the core…well almost. I do like a sugary treat for all my hard work at the end of the day. But no. I am willing to give that up for now. Though, I stopped her dead in her tracks when she wanted to remove the one spoon of sugar that comes with my morning coffee. Oh nooooo…..

 

 

Friday 5 Aug – Tuesday 9 Aug 2016: Day 11 – 15

 

 

 

Friday 5 Aug: Day 11 – I had my first Aqua Therapy session this morning.  Aqua Therapy is just a fancy title for water aerobics. The pool was heated – wonderful! – and designed for people with disabilities. The exercises I had done this morning were designed to coordinate the muscles. It was pleasant and fun.

 

Today I received stem cell packet number four! Dr. Kusuma is present with the opening of each packet, to ensure each patient receives the correct stem cells.

 

I don’t get out much of the hospital. I’m starting to get cabin fever. But I refused to get depressed. I love to interact with the wonderful Better Being Hospital staff, and learn more about the Thai culture. It’s great fun. We are having a great time. Walking on air.

 

Sat 6 August 2016: Day 12 - I am exhausted. Absolutely exhausted. Dr. Kusuma came by this morning, and said I can have the day off to rest. I tried my best to sleep – a perennial difficulty I’ve been having since my teenage years – but couldn’t.

 

 

Sun 7 August 2016: Day 13 – Day Off. Tried to sleep, but couldn’t. The nursing staff gave me two Lorazepam tablets to help sleep. It didn’t help much. It tickled me for about two seconds.

 

 

Elsabé brought back two packets of Thai cigarettes. On the cover and back of each packet, are pictures that shows what happens to smokers when they smoke too much. The pictures are horrifying beyond description. They don’t mess about to scare you. I hear that smoking is not big in Thailand. I understand why. Looking at those pictures made me physically ill. All I can say is that I am very, very glad I quit smoking.

 

Mon 8 August 2016: Day 14 – The therapy sessions are tough, but fun. My favourite is PT. It’s the hardest to do, but the most rewarding. I am dying to get out and see some of Bangkok. We are hoping to get out on Sunday, after I’ve had three more rounds of stem cells.

 

I uploaded a video to YouTube that shows my improvements thus far. It was a very proud and emotional moment for me. Seeing the positive results from the treatment washed away all of the years of hard work, stress, pain, frustration and worries.

 

 

Tue 9 August 2016: Day 15 – Received Stem Cells packets 5 & 6 today. So happy, since I KNOW they will bring improvements to my condition. I had the BIG THIRST again: following the IV injection of the stem cells, you drink water for about 5-6 hours afterward. That’s ALL you do for 5-6 hours. Water, water, water! I drink between 10-15 litres of water on stem cell nights!

 

 

Today I found a way to lie down inside the oxygen chamber, which I wasn’t able to do. Now I can have 45 minute sessions of breathing pure oxygen. I am so relieved, since it is an important part of the treatment, and very beneficial.

 

Had a rough night with my stomach, which was very painful and bloated. The nurses came by twice to give medicine, which has helped. I am in a very positive frame of mind, but I must say, I am very tired. It's day 16 of the treatment, and all of the physical activity over the past 16 days are beginning to wear me down. I could really do with a few days rest.

 

Wednesday 10 – Sunday 14 August, 2016: Day 16-20

 

 

MORE IMPROVEMENTS! My balance is improving by leap years. With good energy to my disposal, I can now walk much faster, for short distances. My concentration levels are also increasing with each stem cell treatment. I can focus longer on lengthy conversations. My energy levels are also on the increase. I can sit up for longer periods. Though, sitting up straight – for instance going out into town to do some shopping, or a bit of sightseeing – still requires ample rest in between. But I am much better in that regard. Excellent!! I will post a new video soon, showing my improvements.

 

Wed 10 Aug: Day 16 – I am drained, physically and emotionally from all the physical activity. I have no energy from being up all night with a bloated and painful stomach. The doctors have given me rehydration packets, which are very helpful. Not eating solids today. A very, very tough day at the office.

 

Thu 11 Aug: Day 17 – A quiet, tired day. I feel like a zombie, from only four hours of sleep last night. Aqua therapy was cancelled because of heavy rain. Very ironic, lol. It has been rescheduled for next week. 

 

My dietitian has commended me on keeping my Ketogenic diet in check. I feel very good about that; I’ve been working really hard at it. My body water levels are looking good. If you eat foods with too much carbohydrates, the levels of water in your body increases, which apparently is not very good for you.

 

Elsabé made a new friend, a very friendly and amiable Iranian man, who has brought us some lovely fruit. They all look very bizarre, and taste like litchis. Really looking forward to getting out on Sunday, and see some of Bangkok. Come hell or tsunamis, I am getting out to see this city!!!

 

Fri 12 Aug: Day 18 – A quiet day, with a round of Adult Stem Cells to round it off. This was round seven. One more to go! I continue to see improvements, on a daily basis. I am so very happy about that!!!

 

I’ve been thinking how hard it was for me, coming back from my first round of stem cell treatments in China, 2011, to convince the medical profession in South Africa that Adult Stem Cell Treatment works. I was met with a brick wall of scepticism and stunning ignorance. I was very angry and upset about that, for a long time. Here in Bangkok, however, after proving AGAIN that Adult Stem Cell treatment has worked for me, I’ve realized I don’t need to convince ANYONE anymore that the treatment works. All I need to do is come for the treatment, and go about my life.

 

We have heard that bombs had exploded on the southern Thai islands of Phuket and Hua Hin. Four people have died and scores more are injured. There is no panic or fear in Bangkok, however. It’s very sad knowing that, while I am getting another chance at a quality life, the families of the bombing victims are waiting for their deceased loved ones to come back home, in coffins.

 

Elsabé had gone out with her friend today, on a boat trip through Bangkok. She came back rather upset, and showed me pictures of the real poverty in Bangkok. Our hospital is situated in an affluent area, where Europeans live, so I don’t get to see any of that. The pictures were upsetting.

 

And I know this a non-sequitur, but we are going to miss the free Wi-Fi, that’s for sure.

 

Sat 13 Aug: Day 19 – Today I am suffering from a severe lack of oxygen. I’m feeling very dizzy and experiencing ample pressure in the frontal lobe. This is normal for me. This happens because of excessive and prolonged physical activity. I’ve asked for the day off. I can really only take so much physical therapy at a time.

 

I spent 40 minutes in the oxygen chamber today. I felt a bit better afterward, but took the whole day to recover. I rested as much as possible. We are looked after so well here. Every symptom is catered for, every need taken care of. We are deeply grateful.

I am super-excited about our trip to Bangkok tomorrow. Cannot wait!!! It will be my first day out of the hospital in weeks.

 

Sun 14 Aug: Day 20 – Day Off. We hired a taxi for the day, and went off to Bangkok, to see the city. What a WONDERFUL day we’ve had! We visited three temples, and drove around town as much as possible. Bangkok is a big, big city!

 

The temples were beautiful. Our driver, Kung, was very friendly and knowledgeable. He helped with the wheelchair, wherever possible. Being able to walk on my own, I was able to get up from my wheelchair, and walk around inside the temples. It felt so, SO good - wonderful, really – to be able to walk around and not have to rely on my wheelchair. God bless Adult Stem Cells!!

 

I had good energy, and was able to sit up for quite some time, to do sightseeing. This was absolutely wonderful. A few months ago this was not possible for me.

 

I enjoyed just riding around town, observing the Thai people, the traffic, the buildings, the food stalls, the vendors, the hundreds of scooters with drivers and passengers who don’t wear helmets. We rounded of the day with my first plate of genuine Thai food. Rice, and seafood. Nice!

 

Monday 15 Aug – Friday 20 Aug, 2016: Day 21-24  - FINISHED!!!.

 

 

Mon 15 Aug: Day 21 – My ability to breathe has greatly improved. Lying and breathing on my left side has become difficult over the years. I can breathe much, much better now if I lie on the left side. It feels truly WONDERFUL.

 

I am seeing very good results from the Acupuncture treatment. My wrists are in a decidedly more agreeable condition than when I had arrived here. Most of the pain is gone. My wrists feel really good.

 

I had a full oxygen session (60 min) this morning. I was very glad about that, and so were the HBOT operators, who assisted with the treatment. It was a new record for me, and we were all glad about that.

 

The lift was broken today. The technicians who were working on the problem, told me to stay downstairs, since I was in the wheelchair. I agreed, lied down on the couch, and then realized – and please excuse my profanity – but fuck this, I CAN WALK UPSTAIRS NOW! I grabbed my stuff, walked up the stairs with relative ease, and back to my room. A month ago this was not possible.

 

And that is a good example of what I mean when I say the treatment gives me quality of life. I did not have to rely on other people to help me. I could help myself. It is a wonderfully freeing feeling.

 

 

The OT sessions (Occupational Therapy) are going well, too. The exercises are very simple, kind of for children. But today Elsabé reminded me that those exercises are designed to help the stem cells grow.

 

 

Had my final round of Adult Stem Cells today!  I was excited, relieved, and rather sad. It was a poignant and emotional moment. This treatment, and visit to Bangkok, has been a deeply spiritual experience for me. Being able to see results this quick, and the overall experience, especially living amongst the Thai people, and observing the respect they have for each other, has profoundly moved me.

 

I want to be back in two years, to receive another few round of stem cells. I don’t want to wait another five years to come back for the treatment, and deteriorate to the point where I am suffering. The stem cells work. The treatment works for me. I can have a quality life, a better life. I just need to work much harder now on getting myself here!

 

Tue 16 Aug: Day 22 – Had a busy afternoon, with Aqua Therapy, Acupuncture and Oxygen chamber. It was tiring, but I felt good at the end of the day. It was a little crazy here today, with three new patients and their families arriving.

 

 

We took many pictures today with the wonderful hospital staff. I wa bit heart-rending; knowing the end of our stay is near. I strolled through the hospital with a video camera, and recorded what I could. We’ve had such a blast, here in Bangkok, and we are going to miss it.

 

We’ve been trying to figure out how to fit the Wi-Fi and our fantastic air conditioner into our suitcases. No ideas thus far. Suggestions are welcome.

 

Wed 17 Aug: Day 23 – Had my final acupuncture & OT sessions today. Said goodbye to Dr. Ice - her acupuncture treatment was outstanding. ( & virtually pain free!) I will miss her chats, and humour. Said goodbye to Bow, who’s been with me for the OT sessions, since the very beginning. I will miss her laughs, and all around cheerfulness. And I hope for her sake she will manage to catch those darn Pokémons.

 

Did not have good night. Woke up at 2am with chest pains and lack of oxygen. The doctors and nursing staff came by, to check that I was okay.

 

I don’t want to seem shallow, but I have yet to experience a proper Thai massage. It’s one of THE things to do when you are in Thailand. Alas, I don’t think it is going to happen. The treatment was priority, and then the sightseeing. Still, there is a “happy ending” to all this; I got much, much better!!

 

Thu 18 Aug 2016: Day 24 – Today was a little nuts! Interviews, filming, therapy sessions - what a crazy event filled day! Made new friends, too. A lovely lady called Piper Hammock, who also suffers from Ataxia, and with whom I’ve been conversing via e-mail, has arrived for her treatment. She came to say hi. It was wonderful meeting her, and I wish her the best for the treatment.

 

The documentary crew followed me around all day, to film my improvements, and my experiences here at the hospital. It was very tiring, but ultimately great fun.

 

I also met a really nice guy, Caleb Shaffer, one of the documentary crew, who is a screenplay writer, like me, and a movie producer/director to boot. He had some fascinating screenplay ideas. He talked a great deal about that and his experiences as a filmmaker. I sat wide-eyed, listening to his fascinating stories, and ideas. It was very, very interesting. What a pity we met on the last day!

 

We said our goodbyes to Doctors’ Kusuma, Worawit, and Torsak, who are really terrific doctors. Drs’ Kusuma and Worawit came by to talk with me about my experience and improvements, and to provide some perspective on the treatment.

 

We leave them with a sad heart, but we leave with their love and compassion engraved on our hearts and minds. They had said that we are family, and that I am welcome back any time. It was a very kind and endearing thing to say. We’ve become attached to this place, and the wonderful people here. We will miss them.

 

I had my final Aqua Therapy session with Nook. It was a tough session – I’ve been running around all day – but great fun. Nook was with me from the beginning, at the PT sessions when I started to see my improvements. It was very fitting that I rounded my treatment off with a therapy session with her. She is a great therapist, and very dedicated to her work. (like all the other therapists here).

 

At the end of the session, I threw my hands in the air, and yelled at the video camera: “I am FINISHED!!!!!!!”. The treatment was over. Done. I took a dive into the water, away from Nook and the film crew, so they could not see my tears. I was very emotional. This has been the hardest thing I have had to do, ever. But I made it, and proved once more, that this treatment works, and gives me quality of life. Yes!!!

 

We fly back home tomorrow evening to Johannesburg, via Hong Kong.

 

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. Thank you for this, thank you EVERYONE. Thank you for making me better.

Thank you to all my supporters, friends and family. Thank you to Beike Biotech, for their kindness, professionalism, and MAGNIFICENT STEM CELLS!! Thank you to all the staff at the Better Being Hospital, for making me better!! I love you all.

 

And I’m saying a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight.

 

Thank you & goodbye Thailand!

 

Friday 19 Aug 2016 – Day 25: Going Home... 

 

   


Fri 19 Aug 2016: Day 25 -  On our final morning, we rode a Tuk-Tuk ride around our neighbourhood of Sukhimvit. It was great fun. The air was warm and sweet and smelled like Thai food.

 

Then, I left my wheelchair at the hospital and with relative ease, walked the 50 metres to a local food vendor, where we bought some snacks and iced coffee, which is very popular and most welcome in this heat. It was....heavenly and absolutely amazing to be able to walk by myself.

 

No words can describe the feeling of being able to put that wheelchair aside for a few minutes, and walk. Just walk and be free. A month ago this was not possible. I am very lucky, and extremely grateful.

 

We said our goodbyes to the staff at the hospital, who presented me with a photo frame, which included photos and memories of my stay at the BBH. I was deeply touched by their kind and wonderful gesture. It was emotionally overwhelming and I couldn’t stop the tears.

 

The BBH mini-van came to pick up us up at 13:30. There were big hugs all around, as the staff came to say goodbye, and waved us off. I was also presented with my medical reports, which I am proud to say, is filled to the brim with positive commentary.

 

We flew to JHB via Hong Kong, where I happily exchanged Thai Baht (Thai currency) for Hong Kong money. I collect coins, so this was great fun for me. By the way, don’t bother to exchange your Thai Baht for South African Rand when you return from Bangkok. The exchange rate is worth fuck-all. Rather take whatever Baht you have left and spend it all in Bangkok, where goods at the markets are dirt cheap.

 

Our flight from HK to JHB, courtesy of Cathay Pacific was virtually empty. We had the pleasure of being able to fly business class again, so that I could lie down for the duration of the flight. We wish to thank Cathay Pacific again for sponsoring our business class flights. You guys are the best!! We received only five-star service from the Cathay Pacific cabin crews, who were simply outstanding.

 

And so were the pilots! We had asked if we could possibly take some pictures with them, and the four pilots happily agreed. They were evidently knackered from the 13 hour flight, but still took some pictures with us, inside the cockpit!!! It was so cool!! The cockpit was unbelievably small; there was very little room to manoeuvre. The windows were also very small. It’s no wonder they looked so tired. What a tough and incredible job these guys do, to get us home safely. Thank you Cathay Pacific!!!

 

I want to thank Elsabé Pretorius, my friend who had accompanied me on this trip, for helping to make the whole experience so much easier. She helped wherever possible, and was a great companion. She had many great adventures while in Bangkok, and she will miss it, too. She had played a very big role, in making the journey to Thailand possible. She was the backbone of the fundraising efforts. I am deeply grateful to her, and will never ever forget what she has done for me. Thanks, Bolla!!!!

 

And that is it! We are home. A new life and new adventures await.

 

Thank you to everyone who has made this journey possible, and for being a part of it. It’s been tough. It’s been exciting and certainly very interesting. But best of all, it’s been totally worth it. All the money and hard work that has made this journey possible, has paid off.

 

I cannot express to you the JOY that is inside my heart. I am so happy and extremely grateful that my health has dramatically improved.

 

I believe in miracles. I am proof they exist. I truly hope and I pray that other sick people will also benefit from this treatment, and receive the quality life they – we all deserve.

 

 

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