This is the beginnig, where it all started and how. The obstacles that I will face, the blessings that I will receive and the rewards I will reap. This, is how it began.
When I first heard about HSCT from my mother, I was skeptical, but after research and reading blogs like Carmel’s, George’s or Andrew’s I started becoming hopeful. The next question was ‘Where?’ USA was out due to their strict criteria, so was Germany. Australia was not an option as it is for citizens only… Some more research turned up Panama City, but I was not happy with their treatment plan.
Then we heard about Russia – not too strict, good success rate, ‘affordable’. I contacted them and got their requirements for the medical reports. At the hospital here in Saudi they told me that they are not ‘equipped’ to do an EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale is a method of quantifying disability in MS). Refer us then, we asked. After a lot of bureaucratic red tape, we received a ‘referral’ letter not worth the paper it was printed on.
As luck would have it, we came across The South African Stem Cell Transplantation Society’s website before returning to the hospital and raising our blood pressure again. Surely there would be no harm in finding out if they could help me? So I e-mailed the first name on their executive committee list, the chairman Professor Nicolas Novitzky. If anyone would be able to help me in South Africa, he would know.
Within 24 hours I received a reply and the first words that caught my eyes were “Yes, we can do the procedure”… Tears streamed down my face and my ears were the only thing that stopped my smile! My parents shared my joy and we realized that this is finally happening, there is finally a way out!
A lot of e-mails have passed between me and Prof Novitzky, and we are finally ready to make an appointment soon!