Last day in Mexico!

Last day in Mexico!

Woke up at 4 AM with a vision:

“There was a man building a Sandcastle right by the waves during low tide. Even though the castle was beautiful, every time the tide started shifting  it would destroy the castle.”

The same way was with my body. My body was trying to build Myelin sheath around the nerves every day, but the MS would come and destroy it. This is why I was not recovering. Now the MS is gone, my body will now have the chance to finally recover!

I wasn’t sure how the day was going to start because last time I saw the doctor my white blood count was at 3700. Got to see Dr. Ruiz himself today, and he told me that my count was up to 40000! He proceeded to tell me that I could get the Rituximap infusion, and after that I could be dismissed.

Dr. Ruiz, creator of the HSCT program in Puebla, Mexico.

I got the infusion for 3 hours, and then we all proceeded to celebrate the end of our month-long treatment, and the beginning of our new
life. Even though I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I decided to mark the map on Cali, Colombia, my hometown. I felt like putting the first pin in Colombia.

Next week begins the recovery journey. I will be starting physical therapy and Pilates to recover my walk!

I want to thank with lots of love in my heart my girlfriend, Catalina, my mom, Myriam, and my stepdad Michael, for coming with me on this journey, and being the rocks on which I stand. Thank you to the three of you from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you, my faithful followers for coming with me on this journey. I will keep updating the blog with progress reports frequently.

Day +6

Day +6

Since my last post, I have been in neutropenia. Neutropenia starts when the white blood count is below 4000. During neutropenia I have to stay locked up in the apartment, being very careful what I am exposed to. My body’s defenses are extremely low. The only time I get to leave the apartment, is when I go to the doctor’s appointments. When I leave my apartment I have to wear a mask, and as soon as I get back home I have to throw it in the trash.

Here is the white blood count for this past week:

Monday. Day+2: 3400

Wednesday. Day+ +4: 2500

Friday. Day+6: 600

Yesterday I was feeling very weak, so the doctor concluded that my count yesterday was probably lower than today. He said that the count should never reach 0; it would be extremely dangerous. Starting now, my count should be going up. By Tuesday the count should be over 4000, and my immune system restored.

Now that I am in Day +6, I can tell you some of the improvements I have noticed:

  • ability to walk is starting to come back.
  • general mobility in my legs has greatly increased.
  • mobility in my arms has gotten a lot better.
  • ability to type on the computer has improved.
  • circulation in my body is much better.
  • ability to swallow normally has been restored.
  • ability to enunciate properly feels normal.
  • numbness in my feet has lessen.
  • spasticity in my legs has been improved 80%.

The best part of all this improvement is that the doctor told me that only 10% of the patients see improvements during the procedure.

The best is yet to come!

Transplant and Neutropenia

Transplant and Neutropenia

Yesterday was transplant day. I woke up extremely excited. It was like when I was a little boy and I would wake up on Christmas morning and the tree was full of presents.

Life is bringing me a new gift. The gift of a brand-new immune system, and newly born stem cells from my bone marrow that are going to restore my health.

The emotion is huge, the anticipation also, and the hope of once again having my body functioning perfectly.

Everything in the transplant went great. This is my new birthday: April 8th, 2017. Afterwards we celebrated our new birthdays.

Today, Day +1, I have entered the Neutropenic period. This is a period where my immune system is at 0. I have to stay in the apartment for eight days, because I have to stay away from any bacteria and/or virus.

I will be leaving to medical appointments, but when I do I have to leave with a mask on.

Netflix here we come!

Day -2. Cell Extraction

Day -2. Cell Extraction

Today was the longest day of the treatment.

The day started going to the hospital for a 3 hour session of extracting stem cells from my body. 90 million stem cells were the required amount to not have to repeat the process. Thankfully they extracted 360 million stem cells. The stem cells were extracted from the catheter on my upper left chest area. You can see the stem cells on the picture on the left. The stem cell’s are in the bag above my head.

The shots I’ve have been receiving on a daily basis promote the bone marrow to release stem cells into the blood. The machine to my right extracts the stem cells out of the blood that is being pumped out through the catheter.

The doctor told me, the stem cells in that bag are baby stem cells. They were born within the last seven days. They have no memory. They do not know what multiple sclerosis is! They are the ones that are going to reset my immune system.

Once this process was done, we had a one hour lunch break.

After the lunch break we proceeded to have 5 hours of chemotherapy! I felt the effects of the chemo, but not as strong as I thought I would have.

The chemotherapy kills the T-cells in my body, which are the ones responsible for attacking the Myelin-sheath around my nerves, and causing inflammation in my body. Tomorrow I have another 5 hours of chemo. That is the last round.

It was a great day for my health!

Day -3

Day -3

Today was the beginning of four intense days that are going to bring me back my health. Today I had surgery at the hospital to insert a catheter in my chest. They gave me something to get sleepy and fall asleep while they did the procedure. Through this catheter they are going to extract the stem cells, give me chemotherapy, and put the stem cells back in my body.

Tomorrow will be a very intense day. It is going to be a 12 hour day at the hospital. Even though it is rough, and long, I am very positive and excited about the outcome.

I will keep you posted.