Showing Promise

Meet Patients of the Maharaj Institute

While everyone at The Institute desires to have a positive and profound impact on the lives of the people they serve, nothing expresses the true value of those efforts as well as the words of patients themselves. Here are some of the people who have turned to the Maharaj Institute of Immune Regenerative Medicine.

Patient Success Story

Gale Sylvester-DeMello

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic connective tissue disease involving the hardening of the skin resulting from the body’s immune system attacking healthy tissue. In the more severe form, it also affects internal organs. The cause is unknown. Scleroderma is generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

For Gale Sylvester-DeMello, scleroderma combined with Raynaud’s, a disabling circulatory illness that is often a secondary condition of scleroderma, and Madelungs, a disorder of fat metabolism that results in an unusual accumulation of fat deposits around the neck and shoulders area, left Gale in a condition of deteriorating health and diminishing quality of life. A former law enforcement officer (including as a child abuse investigator, undercover narcotics agent, and victim advocate) who loved her job, Gale had to give up her career at 32 due to the effects of the disease had on her body.

As her condition continued to deteriorate, Gale saw no fewer than seven doctors who either misdiagnosed her or told her they couldn’t help her until she met Dr. Karen Herbst in San Diego. Gale credits Dr. Herbst with being the first physician to provide the proper diagnosis. As Gale tells it, “Imagine being diagnosed with multiple rare conditions. Dr. Herbst was the first doctor to properly diagnose the Madelungs, which was an important step in the right direction. Unfortunately, I had to face the fact that there is no cure for any of the conditions from which I suffer, so my only option was conventional medication to treat the symptoms.” In addition to the fatty tumors the Madelungs produced, Gale suffered with severe acid reflux, tight and hardened fingers, and difficulty swallowing. At one point after her scleroderma diagnosis, doctors gave her eight years to live.

While trying to manage her complex condition with conventional treatment that involved Gale taking up to 82 pills a day, she was introduced to Dr. Maharaj when he was scheduled to speak during a meeting of a scleroderma support group. Gales says, “My quality of life was terrible. I was very close to needing a feeding tube, and I had to sleep propped up, among other things from which scleroderma patients suffer. I was dying.”

Fortunately, Gale wasn’t ready to give up. She says, “My husband, Tony, and I were determined to battle the disease to the end. When Dr. Maharaj told me he thought he could help me, I knew I had to give him a chance.”

As Dr. Maharaj explained, “One last option for Gale was high dose chemotherapy followed by an autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant. However, the toxicity of the high dose chemotherapy could have been fatal, and Gale did not want this option. Instead, we used a novel approach with few side effects to improve her immune function which resulted in her improvement which continues.”

Today, Gale is thankful to Dr. Maharaj for not only saving her life, but also for helping her get much of her quality of life back. According to Gale, "It's been something that Tony and I could not even have imagined. And, many times it’s the little things, like being able to sleep lying down again and enjoying my favorite foods, that remind me just how lucky I was to find Dr. Maharaj.”

Linda Stafford

After being diagnosed with a fatal disease, Linda Stafford was faced with a dire situation. Thankfully, a friend of the family suggested she contact Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj at the Maharaj Institute in South Florida.

Linda was diagnosed with Corticobasal Degeneration in 2013 at the age of 66 after suffering with the symptoms for many years while a series of doctors struggled to determine their cause. Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease classified as one of the “Parkinson’s plus” syndromes. The condition is characterized by marked changes in movement and cognitive function due to shrinkage in certain areas of the brain and degeneration in nerve cell tissue. Linda experienced several of the classic CBD symptoms, including alien limb syndrome in her left arm, difficulty with language, and short-term memory problems.

There is no cure for CBD. Physicians can prescribe medication and physical therapy to alleviate some of the symptoms, but patients can expect their conditions to progressively deteriorate for an average of six years after diagnosis until they ultimately succumb to the disease. As Linda’s husband Jerry tells it, “We were devastated when we got the diagnosis. We were basically told that there was no hope.”

With no other options after she was diagnosed at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, Linda and Jerry traveled from Las Vegas to Boynton Beach, Florida, to meet Dr. Maharaj. Using a novel approach to improve her immune system, Dr. Maharaj has managed to alter the progression of the disease, which is visible through brain scans, and restore a significant amount of Linda’s cognitive and motor function. According to Dr. Maharaj, “Linda is a wonderful patient. Her persistence, focus and determination, along with Jerry’s commitment to restoring health, have been instrumental in her recovery and success story.

Jerry doesn’t know if Linda would be with us today had it not been for the treatment she received from Dr. Maharaj. He says, “You can look at photos from a few years back and see how the life had been drained out of her physically and mentally. She was very close to becoming an invalid. Even worse her personality disappeared. She was walking around in a bubble. The treatment Dr. Maharaj administered brought her back to life. I see her motor skills and her ability to think and communicate clearly improving every day.”

We’d like to help you tell your own healthy recovery story. Contact The Institute to schedule your personal consultation. We welcome patients from overseas and from all over the country, including Boston, Texas, Florida, California and New York City.