It’s 1 1/2 weeks until liftoff and time truly is flying by. On the other hand, I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. A large part of that is the fact that I am constantly in touch with Jeff and Tammy, my two American friends, who are currently in Russia and are about a week apart in the timeline of their treatment. I finally got to meet them via Skype last week. They are both as comical and friendly as I had imagined. I’m so blessed! So, every day, I see them each progress from landmark to landmark of the transplant process, while I quietly cheer from the sidelines an ocean away…and wait for my turn at bat. The upside to the ability to communicate with them (thank you, internet, Facebook & Skype), is that I become privy to all of the tips and tricks of traveling to Moscow, in general, as well as residing at the Pirogov Hospital for a large majority of my stay. Even they are learning new things every day and coming up with “If only I had brought X with me” observations. Little things like knowing that there’s an ATM in the hotel lobby, that the breakfast buffet is approximately $18.00, that the cab ride to the hospital is $20 each way, that, if there is more than one person in the hospital room with you when it’s time for a meal, they will actually bring a meal for your visitor, too. Today, they suggested bringing packets of soup mix, oatmeal, drink packets, and even microwave popcorn from the States. Brilliant!! I’ve also become enlightened about the medical/hospital protocol with regard to personal privacy and physical boundaries. Basically, there are none, and it’s my understanding that the first week of testing will put this prude to the test. You know the old phrase “Let it ALL hang out!”? Well, apparently, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. I am so honored to have my brave comrades share their experience with me, and I plan to do the same for those to follow, just as Amy Peterson did for Jeff, Tammy and me. Watching every step of this treatment over the last two weeks, I can tell you that there is no question that it will be the most difficult task, both physically and mentally, that I’ve ever confronted. It is uncomfortable, sometimes painful, exhausting, invasive, unpredictable and awe-inspiring, all at the same time. Tomorrow, Tammy begins her first of four days of chemo and Jeff, who has completed his chemo, and received his stem cells yesterday, will be going into isolation. Very soon, I will be joining them in my attempt to fly like an eagle, till I’m free…from MS.