Tag Archives: Hematopoietic stem cell transplant

100% Progression Free


That’s right! Last week, I had a triple MRI. All scans are and have been 100% stable since my HSCT in 2013. The last brain MRI I had was 2.5 years ago and the last MRI of my spine was over 7 years ago, just after transplant. I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous about the spine. Any symptoms of mine that have ebbed and flowed over the years have typically been rooted in my cervical or thoracic spinal lesions. Since my cranial surgery in January for trigeminal neuralgia, a bout of shingles and the flu that followed soon after, then COVID lockdown, I’ve been physically weaker than I’ve ever been. My core, my legs, my feet…all shot to hell! Who knew all the walking while shopping I do (DID pre-COVID) helped to maintain a much stronger me. Yes, I could be exercising more at home. Yes, I could be walking more…in my yard, but I haven’t. Now that I know my weakness isn’t from MS progression, I’ve got to get off my lazy ass and get to work! And binge-watching Netflix doesn’t count (bummer).ūüôĄ

I realize HSCT is not for everyone. But, it’s currently the most durable treatment to HALT (not just slow) the progression of MS (and other AID).

If you’re interested in more info, I’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction. If not, I wish you all the best in your MS journey. I’ll still be here cheering you on.

Much love and a happy dance,


PHOTO CREDIT: Amy Hedges Photography

And the Beat Goes on…


7 Years Post-Transplant!

Do you believe it?!  Last month was my 7-year stem cell birthday and still no progression!

So much has happened this past year. I was able to travel to New York City two times (see pics below), become the host of a podcast, and was recently asked to be the host of a virtual summit for The MS Gym, but I’m just as excited to share with you this YouTube video, where I talk with my HSCT comrades, Jeff and Tammy, who were treated in Moscow when I was in 2013. We each had different types of MS, different outcomes, and varying recovery trajectories. We share where we’re at now, what our current EDSS is compared to pre-transplant, our thoughts on re-vaccination and lots other insider info. It’s an honest look at what you can expect during treatment, and the often bumpy road that follows post-transplant.

So, whether you’re researching HSCT, scheduled for HSCT or post-HSCT, here’s your chance to hear what recovery looks like at 7 years out!

I Love New York!

From conferences to book launches, South Street Seaport to Midtown, this city I love is like an obstacle course if you have mobility challenges. Slow and easy wins the race was my mantra and by slowing down you notice all the little nuances this city has always served up but were always too busy to savor.

There are gifts in every setback. You can either let your MS be the ruining of you or the reinvention of you. I’ve chosen the latter…trekking poles included.

I’ll be taking this summer off to chill and work on some exciting new ventures. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram or my post-transplant website www.brookeslick.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love and peace.


Photo credits: Amy Hedges Photography

Let’s Give ’em Something to Talk About

Let’s Give ’em Something to Talk About

Well guys, it’s coming up on my 6th stem cell transplant anniversary and I’m STILL talking about HSCT whenever I get the chance.

I’ve had more than a few opportunities over the years, and most recently, I was the first Moscow veteran to be interviewed on the HSCT Warriors Podcast. It was an honor to share my Moscow experience with host, “zen” Jen, who had her transplant done in Chicago.

Whether you’re researching HSCT in Moscow, a veteran or currently receiving treatment, I encourage you to give it a listen.¬† There are lots of little details about the treatment, the staff, recovery, Dr. Fedorenko, and two of my “superpowers” that were invaluable during treatment and recovery. Click on the image below for direct access.

While I’ve got you here, keep an eye out for an upcoming announcement about an incredible opportunity I’ve been given to continue advocating for MSrs on a much larger scale, and directly to my target market.¬† It’s an unprecedented chance to share updates on the book I’m working on, speaking gigs, collaborations, and the patented mobility device I created.





The Best is Yet to Come…

The Best is Yet to Come…

Happy New Year!!

It’s been a little over 1.5 years since my stem cell transplant and about four months since my last blog update, so, I thought it was time to pop in with a status update from one of the earlier groups of international patients to have been treated in Moscow. ¬† I’m happy to say¬†that there are now 100s of patients currently scheduled to receive HSCT in Moscow. ¬†In large part, the increase in numbers can be attributed to a 60 Minutes story that aired in March, 2014, in Australia, as well as the many veterans since who have blogged their HSCT experiences to the world. ¬†If you think that it would be difficult for one person to make a difference, imagine my surprise when I received my 2014 blog stats from WordPress. ¬†The graphic below indicates that in 2014 my blog was viewed by people from 97 different countries. ¬†The U.S. was #1 on the list with Australia and Norway following the lead.

blog stats map 2014


My 2014 Checklist – In Pictures

Below is a pictorial of tasks that I was able to accomplish during 2014, many of which I would not have been able to complete pre-transplant, or, if I could have, it would not have been without a struggle.

My Recovery Status

Р Still walking without a trekking pole 98% of the time.  Only required for rugged terrain or longer walks.

– ¬†Still walking without a foot brace since July, 2014. ¬†I do not foresee having to wear one again…ever.

Р By the grace of God, I have never suffered from MS-related cognitive issues.  My cerebral clarity remains untouched!!

РI do retain a degree of spasticity in my right arm, hand, fingers and foot.  See pic of right-handed spasticity below. My right hand no longer naturally extends.

hand spasticity


Р I still retain lack of sensation in my fingers (one thumb still intact), toes, right ear and portions of my midriff.

– ¬†Intermittently, I will experience the MS Hug (rib cage spasticity). ¬†I may have it for an entire week and, then, not for two months. ¬†I may have it for a day, then, not for a week. ¬†It’s important not to wear a tight bra or clingy shirt, as it can trigger my¬†Hug.

Р I continue to experience a degree of imbalance that also varies, however, nothing as bad as it was pre-transplant.  I attribute a large part of my ability to walk without assistance to the improvement in balance.

Р I do continue to suffer from coldness in my right arm/hand/fingers.  It is not a 24/7 situation, but, once it gets cold, it takes hours to get warm again.

– I no longer have shooting electrical shocks running through my eyes.

РMy most nagging remaining symptom is foot drop, which has decreased significantly, but worsens as they day goes on or the longer I walk.  I do my best to rest in between walking to reserve my foot strength and function.

РMy three MRIs that I have had since I returned from Moscow have all been completely stable.  No MS progression (Thank you, Dr. Fedorenko).

My Outlook

My outlook and attitude will always remain positive. ¬†That’s just my style! ¬†On average, an HSCT patient will realize the majority of their improvements within the first 2 years following transplant, however, improvement has also been evidenced at 3-5 years. ¬†My case was thrown a bit of a twist when it was recommended (immediately prior to beginning my HSCT) that, based on my history of failing to respond to every MS drug/treatment that I tried (Betaseron, Copaxone, Gilenya, Tysabri, Solumedrol, Ampyra), I have one year of followup chemo after my transplant. ¬†Given that, I’m kind of the “odd man out” in that I have no other Moscow HSCT patients, nor patients from other HSCT facilities who have been pre-emptively prescribed followup chemo.

So, what’s a girl to do? ¬†I’ll tell you. ¬†Recovery is hard work. ¬†I plan to continue stretching and strengthening every single day and will most likely have to do that for the rest of my life. ¬†Fair enough. ¬†I will continue to move…no excuses. ¬†I will accept whatever neurologic shortcomings I have been dealt, knowing the symptoms that remain will be all I will ever have (no more guessing what MS will take next…party over, MS!). ¬†I will continue to update via this blog as I progress with my recovery and life. ¬†I will gently step away from the HSCT spotlight to relentlessly pursue my dreams in whatever form they may come. I will remain forever grateful for the gift of HSCT.

As always, peace and love from the Pennsylvania countryside.