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From: Dave Halkyard
I have just had a Stem cell transplant, I was in a hospital in Brugge Belgium as a private patient for 6 weeks. (Very Costly Procedure).
Unfortunately No Haematologist would carry out the stem cell transplant in the UK as only Phase II Trials have been completed, and of course it is not yet proven as a treatment for MS. This was also the reason why no neurologist would refer me for the treatment either. So before the Haematologist in the Brugge Hospital would carry out the procedure, I had to sign a disclaimer to cover him and the hospital. The reason for this was because of the known fatality rate of between 5 and 10% from the Phase I and II trials of just over 200 MS patients in Europe and the USA.
I arrived back in the UK on the 8th December. Although I become weak, the first 2 weeks in hospital were ok when I had the first lot of chemo and prep for the stem cell harvest. But after that, due to the heavy chemo wiping out my bone marrow prior to the transplant and the medication after, the remaining weeks were quite difficult due to sickness, weakness, etc. I lost 11 kilo, was 71 and now 60 (that's about a stone and a half) this was mainly due to the fact that I was fed through an IV for 2 weeks. My white cells came back quite quickly; this was due to a good stem cell harvest (I had plenty, the more you have the quicker your white cells come back). My white cells are almost back to normal but my red cells and platelets are very low (anaemic) and will take a while to recover, I also have no lymphocytes at the moment.
Now I have to wait until I regain some strength and energy, which will take about 3 to 6 months, then see if there is any benefit from an MS point of view, I am very optimistic.
Craig Garisson called me today from the U.S., he had a transplant 2 years ago come Jan 2004 as part of a trial, he has made positive progress over the 2 years, and still continues to improve although improvement is a lot slower now than the early days. I believe his improvement is over 35%, and I'm hoping to follow in his foot steps.
So I hope you are all remaining positive, please let me know if you wish to hear of my progress over the coming months, I would be more than pleased to keep you updated.
Take care, Merry Christmas and wishing you all the very best for the New Year
Reach Dave by email to comment: firstname.lastname@example.org