In November I interviewed Sarah as she was traveling to Chicago from Australia to undergo Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). HSCT involves the intravenous infusion of autologous or allogeneic stem cells to reestablish hematopoietic function in patients whose bone marrow or immune system is damaged or defective.
Since then Sarah is back in Australia with her husband and beautiful baby boy and enjoying the little moments in life. I have been sending good vibes to Sarah and am thrilled to have the chance to talk to her again.
How long has it been since your Stem Cell Transfer?
“Today marks six months since my stem cell transplant.”
Congratulations! How are you feeling today?
“I am feeling so well. I appreciate every moment I get to run and play with my darling son Oliver. I have more energy than I have in years. Day to day I have no MS symptoms. I still need to look after my body and make sure I give these stems cells the best chance to create a strong and healthy immune system. I am back living in our home on the coast in rural South Australia. I walk the beach nearly every day. I am back to a normal Mum, and able to do simple things like cooking and cleaning but without the horrendous fatigue.”
Do you have any follow up appointments scheduled?
“Unfortunately it is not viable for us to return to Chicago for the usual follow up appointments. However I am lucky to have an incredible team here in Australia who have been looking after me since I returned in December. I will have an MRI and some blood tests done at the start of July which we will send on to Dr. Burt and his team at Northwestern. I will continue to catch up with my haematologist and neurologist every six months for the next few years. This catch up will also include an MRI to check on the lesions.”
Are you happy you went through with HSCT?
“Yes! I am so HAPPY I went through with it. I am so blessed to have been treated with HSCT by Dr. Burt and his team. This treatment has changed my life and I would encourage anyone suffering from multiple sclerosis or an autoimmune disease to research it.”
I sincerely am so happy for you. I have to ask what you thought about my hometown, Chicago?
“I miss our beautiful Chicago family and friends who I fell in love with whilst undergoing treatment. They were so incredible generous and caring. I can’t wait to get back to Chicago and introduce them to Oliver. This may seem a bit unusual but I really miss Dr. Burt and the wonderful nurses at Northwestern. They took such wonderful care of me and changed my life! The people of Chicago are beautiful. It didn’t matter where Tom and I went people where caring and loving. From the cabbies to the person serving us our daily caffeine fix.”
Thank you, Sarah for sharing your story with us. You provide hope for the future of multiple sclerosis.