Although harsh drugs and strict diet were successfully supressing my devestating MS relapses, disease progression was quickly deteriorating my ability to walk and slowly deteriorating my ability to think. The logical solution for me was to try HSCT, which is not FDA approved, so I left the country to do it. This website documents my research and journey to effect a cure.
As they have been throughout the last couple of years, things are remain complicated.
Since my last post, I've had a friend whose ongoing pain issues may become an MS diagnosis. And there's two dear family members with serious cancer diagnosis. After some deep soul searching, I've been able to consider my own illness with a bit more perspective. I have to learn to be more humble about my own problems.
My leading, ongoing issue is still pain. According to Dr. Ruiz, the window of opportunity for the maximum amount of healing (or symptom reversal) after HSCT for MS, is months 9-12. Today, I'm at month +9.2, which puts me squarely into month 10, about halfway through this window. I fear it will pass me by while I'm stuck on the couch minimizing my pain.
Updated July 24, 2016.
MS stands for Multiple Sclerosis, which basically means "many scars." The scars develop in the central nervous system (CNS), composed of the brain and spinal cord, as the result of an attack of the body's own immune system. I've heard MS referred to, loosely as "cancer of the CNS."
In a normal body, an attack of the CNS would still be a pretty awful thing, but the body would fight the attacking agents, clear away the resulting plaque, then begin to repair the damage. Sclerosis is a type of scar tissue which is atypical of a cleanly healed injury.
In people with MS, the immune system is stuck in fighting mode, commonly thought to be the result of high levels of inflammation in the body. This keeps the CNS stuck in defense mode, preventing normal healing of the damage. The attack is not the result of a typical virus or bacterial infection, it's actually the body's own immune system doing the damage. This process is referred to as "autoimmune" (immune system attacking the self). There are a hundred or more different autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common ones are Graves' Disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, Chron's Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Analogous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant, sometimes abbreviated as ASCT or HSCT, is a process by which your own (analogous) hematopoietic stem cells (i.e. immune system stem cells), grown in your own bone marrow, are harvested from your body (usually through your blood), then given back to you after chemotherapy (which wipes out your existing immune system) to rebuild a new immune system (without memory of your autoimmune disease) from scratch.
This is in effect a reboot of the immune system.
There are many types of stem cells in the body, each which can grow in to particular types of new cells. Hematopoietic stem cells grow into new immune cells, and they are abundant and easy to capture. Furthermore, a mobilizing drug (i.e. filgrastim) can be used to encourage the bone marrow to generate HSCs by the millions.