The original chemo room. We’re actually in the new one, which is a little smaller.
Published 24 July 2016

Starting chemo now!

II met with the head hematologist, and he gave me the go-ahead to start high-dose cyclophosphamide, which is the two primary chemotherapy agent They’ll be using. We went over the results from the battery of tests I went through, and he said I’m definitely strong enough for the treatment.I met with the head hematologist, and he gave me the go-ahead to start high-dose cyclophosphamide, which is the two primary chemotherapy agent They’ll be using. We went over the results from the battery of tests I went through, and he said I’m definitely strong enough for the treatment.

Cyclophosphamide is a pretty harsh chemo agent. They’ll be administering four doses, which is apparently much less than used to treat cancer. The drug is diluted in a saline solution and dripped into my bloodstream through an I.V. It will begin to kill off my immune system. There are a few other medications included in the drip to help with side effects. I’ll do the same treatment again tomorrow, then in nine days, I’ll do two more again after they harvest my stem cells.

I’m sharing a room with four other people in my subgroup, we are from all over the U.K. and USA. Each of us is hooked up to a drip machine and each has a caregiver seated next to them. I’m the only male in the total 15 people here during this four-week treatment period. The women are of varying ages, none younger than 30 years, and they have varying levels of disability.

Ten minutes into the drip, I was very uncomfortable, but it got better soon afterward. I’m about a half-hour into the several hour process. No photos are allowed in the chemo room.

I’ve had dozens of I.V.s inserted over the last few years, and I must say that the nurse who inserted this one did a fantastic job.

Earlier today, we learned a lot more about Clínica Ruiz. To date, they have done 99 HSCTs for MS. (I think the clinic in Moscow has done around 550.) Every one of them has made it through the treatment, and only three people had to be admitted to the hospital, primarily for dehydration. There are 300 people working in the entire clinic, and they see 1,000 people per day. The staff is very friendly and professional.

I’m not sure yet when they shave my head. This is done so that when I start losing my hair due to the cyclophosphamide, it doesn’t start falling out and making a mess.

By the way, I found this amazing presentation from one of the foremost experts in HSCT for autoimmune disease. It pretty well sums up everything, and had I found it sooner, I would have omitted some of background posts.

Important Timeframes

  • My Stem Cell Transplant Date: June 5th, 2016
  • Treatment duration: 4 weeks
  • Typical onset of disability reversal: +9 months
  • Typical complete recovery from procedure: +1 to +2 years
  • Typical maximum reversal of disability: +2 years

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I am a scientist (engineer) who has had MS since March 2013.

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