Although I have taken a break from writing during August, I just had to catch up with Paul Morrison who, earlier this month, travelled to Moscow to undergo HSCT for multiple sclerosis. The exact type of the disease is a matter of opinion, his neurologist says Paul has SPMS, but tests in Moscow indicate a diagnosis of RRMS. I know who I’d believe.
He is now approaching the end of his treatment and is set to return home next Tuesday, September 4.
In the last three weeks, he has had his stem cells collected and stored, had chemotherapy to suppress his immune system, had his stem cells returned, and spent some days in isolation.
Of course, there’s more to it than that, they are just the high points. One vital part is the battery of tests carried out before the therapy can begin. And, in Paul’s case, thereby hangs a tale.
Paul explains: “They found 27 more brain lesions than my neurologist (at home), and a lesion blocking over 50% of my spinal cord.
“I have had a separate appointment with neurologist while in Moscow. And he said I am lucky that the nerve endings are not dead. This means I will have a very good chance of regaining my walking function.”
Tribute to dedication
That such a discovery, was made in Moscow is a great tribute to the professionalism and dedication of Dr Dennis Fedorenko and all his team.
And that’s a view shared by Paul. Summing up his time in Moscow, he said: “From the cleaners who keep our rooms spotless and our spirits high, the nurses who take the extra time to make all the procedures so painless, to the doctors who have more dedication than I have ever experienced. Not to forget Anastasia Panchenko. And to have a protocol that is absolutely amazing.”
Claire stayed at home with their three children and is looking to the future with hopeful anticipation. She said: “it has been a long hard road but we can finally start to see light at the end of the tunnel. It would not have been possible without the generous donations from family, friends, and strangers. Their kindness has overwhelmed us.
“Charlotte, Ben, and Alvaro are so excited to see their dad, and I am looking forward to Paul’s recovery, waving goodbye to the drugs and, most importantly, halting this dreadful disease.
“Fingers crossed, bye-bye MS. We are all feeling hopeful.”
Although not wanting to be a wet blanket, I felt the need to say a few words. I told Claire: “Recovery is like a roller coaster ride, Expect ups and downs. Don’t get dispirited.”
Claire replied: “Paul is in high spirits, so can’t wait for the next chapter. I will try to keep my spirits up during the recovery down times.”
Lisa and I will be meeting up with Claire and Paul once he gets back to Spain and is well enough to receive visitors. Watch this space!
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.