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Recovery Blog

+1 Years and Counting! (Month +12.6)

Well, the great news is that I made it past my One Year HSCT Stem Cell Transplant Anniversary. That’s right; my immune system is now one year old!

Today, I’ll give a summary of the first year of my recovery.

The trip home from Puebla, Mexico was difficult and awkward. I kept my face mask on the whole way, except to eat some pre-packaged food (totally sterile), drink some bottled water, and to wipe my face a couple of times with a sani-wipe. One advantage of wearing a face mask is that nobody talks to you; albeit, everybody looks at you as if they’re trying not to look at you. Oh well, with a covered face, they don’t know who I am.

During the first couple months, I had friends shop for me and drop the food on my porch. I kept things ultra clean. I went out once every couple of weeks to do my shopping, and I wore my face mask and thin, latex gloves. The thought of touching all those things at the grocery store made me nauseous. I became an “anal” clean-freak for a few months, always carrying hand sanitizer in my pocket and refusing to shake hands or hug anyone. Most of that OCD-ness has subsided.

Read more …+1 Years and Counting! (Month +12.6)

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Better & Better (Month +11.5)

Things have been going very well lately. I believe that my daily neurostimulation treatments are the main reason, but there are two other things going on, which I can't rule out entirely. I'm also right in the sweet spot from my HSCT recovery, and I have started taking a nerve growth supplement called Lion's Mane. I'm also doing 15-30 minute of daily yoga, and I've made a tremendous amount of progress in loosening up some muscle groups which have been tight for years.

I read about Lion's Mane in the Facebook post-HSCT support group. Lots of people are taking it and reporting good benefits. I know that's anecdotal, but who knows? It might be doing nothing, but I figure it can't hurt.

Read more …Better & Better (Month +11.5)

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Major Pain Improvements. Finally. (Month +10.6)

Sorry for the delay since the last post. It's not because nothing has been happing, rather, it's because so much has been going on.

First off, I had my last chemo treatment the week before last. Yay! That was number five of the post-treatment rituximab infusions as recommended by Dr. Ruiz.

Next, I did start a course of professional neuro-stimulatoin, employing both tDCS and pEMF. This is part of my "everything against the wall" technique. I've been using Dr. Tiff Thompson at Theramind in Santa Barbara. This company has several offices in the USA. After about three weeks of treatment, I'd estimate my average daily pain has been reduced to about a third of what it was prior. Likewise, I've also been able to begin my decrease of daily medication (so far, 1100 mg/day tegretol before treatment, down to 800 mg/day as of today).

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DIMS, SIMS and the Medicine Cabinet in the Brain (Month +9.6)

(or, Searching for SIMs)

I just watched a fabulous presentation, Treating Pain Using the Brain by David Butler, to whom you may remember me referring in a previous post about pain. Both he and his professional partner, Lorimer Moseley, are brilliant lecturers and mavens about how the body "creates" pain. I spoke previously about their book, Explain Pain. This lecture contains some new, useful information for me.

DIM and SIM stand for Danger In Me and Safety In Me, respectively. Watch the video to see how they work along with the magic medicine cabinet in the brain. Fascinating.

If you speak American English, you might find this presentation slightly difficult to follow as Butler is Australian, and he speaks in a strong vernacular. Furthermore, the presentation is aimed at medical professionals, so there is some lingo and medical references. (At this point in my life, I feel like I have an honorary degree in medicine after all I've been through.) Anyway, I feel like I learned a great deal, so I want to share it with you:

Read more …DIMS, SIMS and the Medicine Cabinet in the Brain (Month +9.6)

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Sliding Sideways ( Month +9.2)

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.

Read more …Sliding Sideways ( Month +9.2)

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