But, until the gates are open, I just wanna feel this moment…
It’s that moment when the doctor comes in and tells you, that even though your “breathing” tests will have to be completed on Saturday, he would like to proceed with stimulation injections on Friday!!! I got my green light, people!!! Patience and prayers, patience and prayers!!!
I am currently on an antibiotic for the cough/cold/whatever it was. I have not had a fever the entire time and all of the achiness and pain are gone. I do still have congestion that mimics the ordinary cold…no problem.
I felt so much better this morning that I got up, got my shower and decided to take a stroll through the hallways. I paused for a moment to glance out the windows in the waiting room and who arrives, but Dr. Fedorenko. The man is everywhere!! He asked if he could speak to me in my room, and I’m thinking that it could be really good news or really bad news. He proceeded to summarize my tests and the indications with regard to my MRIs. He is very thorough in his explanations and by the time he was at the end of his summation, I was ready jump across the room and say “SPILL IT!!!” It was then that he said we could begin stimulation injections on Friday. I was a bit taken aback, as I thought that this cold/flu-type thing was going to shoot me in the foot, but it turns out that it doesn’t have any effect on the beginning of the treatment, at all. I will be finished with the antibiotic by the time of stem cell extraction and chemo and antibiotics are already administered during that phase as a matter of protocol…I’m covered. So, I sheepishly say, “Does that mean it’s a go?!”, and he answered, “Yes!” with those eyes that are so blue and filled with such individual care for each of his patients. He said that he specifically treats each patient differently, based upon the patient and their history. No cookie-cutters, here!! Of course, the cheerleader in me was doing a mental herkie. All that was missing was a set of pom poms and my saddle shoes. Yes, I’m that old!
Dr. Fedorenko explained that for five days, beginning with my stimulation injections, I would be receiving Solumedrol infusions. MS patients with non-active lesions or less of a lesion load normally get a 3-day dose. Since my brain looks like some kind of carnival freak show with all of its glowing speckles, I’m getting the 5-day treatment to reduce inflammation. I’m very familiar with this IV steroid. I have had it three times before in response to bouts of optic neuritis. Honestly, I’m not looking forward to it, but, I got over the side effects of it before, and I’ll get over it again. So what are these “stimulation shots”? In the past, when people had a bone marrow transplant, stem cells were extracted from the bone marrow in the hip area. There are very few stem cells flowing through your blood. The stimulation injections are given to induce stem cell growth over and above normal production which prompts them to enter (overflow) into the blood stream. After four days of these subcutaneous (under the skin) injections, at 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., the stem cells will be separated from my blood through a process called apheresis, frozen and returned back to my blood after I’ve received four days of chemo. Many more details on the apheresis when the day comes (should be next Tuesday). Things move quickly here…no pussyfooting around. They are my kind of people!!
Tomorrow will be another down day of nursing with antibiotics and rest. Oh, I almost forgot one of the most important parts of my conversation with Dr. Fedorenko. Even though I’ve promised myself that I would hope only for the halting of my MS, I was curious, based on the fact that I had so much enhancement in the lesions of my brain, if I could expect any kind of reversal/improvement in my symptoms. He said, without hesitation, “Yes!” He said that there is a potential for 50-60% reversal. Those numbers may seem small to you, but when I had 50-60% less symptoms in the past, no one even knew that I had MS. That’s how much of a difference that could make in my life. Ok, getting teary… I want to make it very clear that there is no guarantee what percentage of reversal I will see, or which of those symptoms may be positively affected, and I’m excited to see if/when which ones do. He also stated that you would see the majority of that reversal within the first two years, and possibly beyond that. He is adamant, when discussing the “during and after” of this treatment, that you will have better success if your heart and mind are involved in the process with a positive outlook. No problem Dr. F.! Bring on the pom poms!!!
I was able to make it out of the building today and had a chance to take some pics of the hospital (below). The grounds really are lovely. Take a look at my castle golden. But, until the gates are open, I just wanna feel this moment… Thanks, everyone.