It was quite a productive, sunshiney day in Moscow, today. I knew that I would be getting the “swabbing” tests done, so I got up at 6:00 a.m., jumped in the shower, and they were here before 7:00 a.m. No need to get your panties in a bunch (like I did)…all three swabs (sinuses, mouth, tush) took 1 minute (yes, I was counting the seconds!). A couple of hours later, I hear a knock at the door, and it opens to a nurse with a wheelchair for me. We take the underground tunnel to the other side of the hospital where I have an MRI of the brain and cervical, a cardiac ultrasound, and a pelvic ultrasound. During all of this testing, I haven’t eaten, because I had to fast for the abdominal ultrasound. It’s closing in on 11:30 and I’m ready to eat my arm off. We finally head back to my room and I’m assuming we’re done. I chow down on a piece of bread that was left from breakfast, sit down for two seconds, and another knock at the door with the nurse and a wheelchair. Time for opthalmic testing!! I finally make it back and another knock at the door. It’s Dr. Fedorenko, saying that he has arranged for me, Tammy and Jeff to have our pics taken with my HALT MS shirts on, and that after our photo op, he wanted to meet with me to discuss the results of my tests thus far. The photo gathering was bittersweet, yet fantastic. Fantastic because it was the first time that we were all able to meet face to face (at one point or another, one of them was in isolation, so, meeting wasn’t a possibility, except for Skype). Bittersweet, because we had to say our goodbyes and watch Jeff and his wife, Johanna, ride off into the sunset, me, knowing fully well, that would be Tammy leaving at the end of the week and I would be the one standing there with misty eyes, and my lower lip sticking out and quivering. Three Americans came together from different corners of our country (Hawaii, Washington, and Pennsylvania) for a common cause…to HALT our MS and to restore our futures without it! Cue the Star-Spangled Banner!!! 🙂
I head back to my room, chow down on some delish beef stew and wait for Dr. Fedorenko to arrive. Upon his arrival, we discussed the results from all of the tests that I’ve had since Friday which included ultrasound of the legs; cardiac ultrasound; abdominal ultrasound; opthalmic testing; MRIs and bloodwork. So far, EVERYTHING is within normal range, EXCEPT for my brain. He said that there are 10 enhancing lesions visible on my MRI, one of those sits on the rim of my cerebellum which controls balance…REEEEAAAALLLY?!! Was that a surprise? No! He said that there could be a couple of lesions that are actually two lesions combining or one lesion that looks like two, but, for the most part (I saw the MRI images), my brain is lit up like a Christmas tree. Just put an angel on my head and start singing “Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree”. ha ha He confirmed that it didn’t matter how many lesions there were, that the efficacy of the treatment would remain the same. Based on the volume of the inflammatory activity, he also reiterated his recommendation for me to have the prophylactic (preventive) treatment of Rituximab when I return. Fair enough. I saw his point on the images in black and white…well, a whole lot of white! All of my other test results, including bloodwork, were all within the normal range. Before he left, Dr. Fedorenko asked me if he could purchase one of my HALT MS t-shirts. He was very intrigued and pleased when we told him the story behind them, and when he came to my room, I showed him the photo gallery on my blog of the traveling t-shirts and he was delighted. I had one for him in my suitcase that I had planned on giving him at the end of the treatment, but, I couldn’t resist and had to give it to him immediately. He loved it!!
Tomorrow, I will have a CT of the chest (I think) and maybe one other test (can’t remember…two hours of sleep last night). He said that things are looking very good and that, when I am given the green light, he would like to start treatment as soon as possible. I would begin with stem cell stimulation shots. More on that when we get to that crossroad.
I will leave you with a couple of pics from today, right before Jeff departed (they are clickable to view a larger image). Aloha!!!