AS A mother of two young children in Gladstone I was absolutely petrified to leave my family and friends on the 24 March to travel 13000kms to Puebla, Mexico for HSCT (Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) in attempt to halt a disease which had taken so much from me in such a short time.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on the 21 January 2015 and as I was deteriorating quickly. I decided to go overseas and have treatment which was not available to me in Australia.
I am now back home in Gladstone and I have successfully completed the 28-day procedure.
There is currently no known cause or cure for Multiple Sclerosis however HSCT has proven to halt the disease for 75% of patients.
I was fortunate to be one of fourteen International patients in the 28 March group. I was also the first patient from Gladstone, Australia to have the treatment there.
Although I had some very sickly days my entire experience exceeded my expectations and I have no regrets at all.
The aim of the procedure is to use high dose chemotherapy (four days at five hours each) to wipe out the T and B cells in our bodies that carry MS memory.
Patients have their own stem cells extracted from their bone marrow which are then reinserted after the final chemotherapy.
These cells give the patient "new life" as are unprogrammed and hopefully have no MS memory. The cells automatically start to clone as soon as they are infused back into the patient.
This resets the immune system. I did have some severe side effects from the chemotherapy as the dose given is extensive.
I experienced head swelling, severe vomiting, bone pain and exhaustion. I also had shortness of breath for a few hours when my body was neutropenic.
This is when the white blood cell counts are at their lowest.There were some days when I didn't think I could go on but I reminded myself I was there for my children.
I am now back home and am so proud. I believe that trying is half the battle won. My disease didn't happen overnight and therefore I need to have patience to stop it.
It may take up to two years to see the final result. My immunity is very low and I do have exhaustion which is expected after the treatment but overall I feel great.
Many of my MS symptoms have already improved and one has completely disappeared.
I will forever be thankful to all the wonderful Doctors and medical staff at Clinica Ruiz, Puebla for giving me a chance to have my life back!
I will also never take for granted how blessed I was to have this opportunity. View the Facebook page Warrior Princess: My MS Journey if you wish to read my full story.