Mary is on her way to being MS free
IT'S BEEN three years in the making, but Mary Cullinane has finally landed in Russia to begin her multiple sclerosis treatment.
The month-long trip to recovery was made possible after more than 20 months and a total of 81 fundraisers - enabling Mrs Cullinane to reach her treatment target of $80,000 on new year's eve.
"I'm really excited, I've been looking forward to this for ages and it's finally here," Mrs Cullinane said before boarding the plane.
"After the treatment I'm hoping to get the feeling back in my forearms and legs, which are all tingly, and to feel less fatigued."
Mrs Cullinane said she would undergo treatment that has a 80-90% success rate of all patients.
"They've treated more MS patients than any other facility in the world, which is really comforting," she said.
"I can't wait to be MS free."
After landing in Moscow on Monday, Mrs Cullinane was taken to Pirogov Hospital to begin her 25-30 day Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant treatment to stop symptoms of her MS condition, conducted by Dr Denis Fedorenko.
"Once cleared medically, I will be given injections for five to six days to stimulate the stem cells to come out of my bone marrow and into the bloodstream," she said.
"Then they put me on something like kidney dialysis to extract the stem cells from my bloodstream.
"They have to get over two million stem cells per kilo of body weight - which is another reason why I've been keeping fit - because I figure the less I weigh the less they've got to collect."
Once enough stem cells have been harvested and frozen, Mrs Cullinane will have a day of rest and then begin five days of chemotherapy. Then her stem cells will be transplanted into her bloodstream.
"Then we will have a stem cell birthday party.
"After that I will be in isolation for 10-12 days - until my blood gets to a level that the treatment is working."
After her treatment, Mrs Cullinane said she would put herself in quarantine for the best chance of a full recovery.
"It will be long and tough road and I will have to be very careful when I get back," she said.
"I've decided to stay with my father because my house has a dirt road and animals, and his doesn't."
Mrs Cullinane hopes her recovery will correspond with finishing her Bachelor of Bushiness and Commerce degree at the end of 2017.
"I hope to look for work after that," she said.