Paul pays tribute to dedication of staff as he prepares to leave Moscow HSCT centre

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.

dedi.cation

Paul in Moscow during the early stages of HSCT.

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.”

dedication

Claire Morrison.

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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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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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.

Paul’s Moscow HSCT for MS journey begins

I had planned to take a break from writing this month, August being a slow news month that is well known among journalists as the silly season. That’s when minor stories are given major coverage, because of a shortage of stories of real substance.

Paul Morrison and his wife Claire.

However, I could not let Monday August 6 go unmarked.

Why? Because, after months of fundraising, it is the day when Paul Morrison flies to Moscow to undergo HSCT in his fight against MS. He goes with my best wishes for a great trip ad a successful outcome.

I first wrote about Paul’s story here, and since then, he told me last week, the income from his fundraising efforts had reached $45,000.

I plan to catch up with former Londoner Paul after his return to Spain, where he lives just a few miles from me. Watch this space for HSCT news from Moscow and future updates.

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Unless anything happens that I feel must be highlighted, I’ll be back in September.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

#paulsfighttowalk : Support sought for HSCT in Moscow

Former Londoner Paul Morrison is seeking support to travel to Moscow to receive hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in August.

These days Paul (46) and his family live a stone’s throw from my home in southern Spain. He shares my challenge of living with multiple sclerosis.

His dad, Phil, has set up a GoFundMe account, using the tag #paulsfighttowalk, with a target of raising £40,000 ($55,000). In just 19 days, more than £15,000 has been donated.

Phil said: “Paul has been tested positive for a virus that means he cannot receive second-stage medical treatment. Therefore, HSCT is his last chance. All the funds raised will be spent on Paul’s treatment.

The Spanish town of Vera’s Lions Club has got behind the appeal. Besides collecting money in local stores, it has named Paul’s cause as one of the recipients of cash raised at the large LionAid Party in the Park held on Sunday, April 15. According to the event’s Facebook page, it raised 5287.65€ (£4.630; $6,450).

Paul’s wife, Claire, said: “My husband Paul, dad to Charlotte, Ben and Alvaro, was diagnosed with MS last April.

“It’s a horrific disease and unfortunately Paul’s condition has progressed at a rapid rate. He now walks with crutches and his balance is kaput. My heart goes in my mouth every time he stands up.

“His speech has deteriorated and more frequently can’t get his words out and struggles to keep up with conversations. His memory has gone. PIN numbers and appointments, forget it.

“Spatial awareness has gone so simple tasks like cooking are a challenge. Some days are worse than others and these symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. For a man who worked six days a week, in a physical job, this is life crushing.

One heartbreaking moment after another

“The impact on our family is immense. From a stay-at-home mum, I now work full-time to keep the family afloat. Paul was our fixer, our tell-us-what-to-doer, our money earner, our organiser, our crutch.

#paulsfighttowalk

Paul and Claire Morrison,

“Now we have one heartbreaking moment after another and the final blow was when he realised he couldn’t even walk our little boy to the park.”

Having tried disease modifying therapies (DMTs) and experienced sid effects that Claire described as “horrific”, they are turning to HSCT

Claire said: “After intensive research, and the results of an international study recently published, it has been shown as the most effective way of treating MS. It can halt this disease and in many cases reverses disability.

“The treatment has been available to a small number of sufferers in London and Sheffield and it will soon be recognised as an established treatment in the UK but we cannot wait.

“Paul is progressing at a rapid rate and he will soon be in a wheelchair. This has forced us and many other MS sufferers to go abroad as time is of the essence. We have spoken to neurologists’ far and wide and this is our best and only chance to halt the disease.”

Dr Denis Fedorenko.

Paul applied to the Moscow clinic headed by Dr Denis Fedorenko, one of the world’s leading HSCT centres, and was accepted.

That good news came at a price, though.

“We need you to stand with us and #paulsfighttowalk. Help us raise £40,000,” said Claire.

Having visited the Moscow HSCT centre 18 months ago, I can confirm the facilities are fantastic, the staff are brilliant, and Dr Fedorenko´s team has a tremendous record. Paul will be in the best of hands.

If you’d like to help Paul on his way, you can do so here,

#paulsfighttowalk

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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 and 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.