Stem Cell Treatment “Best Thing I Ever Did”

September 14th, 2017

Source:   www.times.co.nz

Faye Braddock is a very different woman to the one she was two months ago.

When the Times last spoke to her in late March, she was battling extreme fatigue and struggling with her cognitive function and mobility.

She struggled finding the right word in sentences, couldn’t walk far and was far from operating at full capacity.

Desperate to recover and improve her quality of life for her young family, she was busy fundraising for the only known treatment to stop Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in its tracks — Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHSCT).

MS is a long-lasting autoimmune disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system. It causes the immune system to attack the myelin which wraps around nerve fibers to protect them. Without this outer shell, nerves become damaged which in turn prevents the brain from sending signals through the body correctly. The longer MS is left without treatment, the more damage that is caused.

AHSCT is still seen by some medical professionals as an experimental treatment. It is a type of transplantation that uses the person’s own stem cells which are collected, stored in sub-zero temperatures and then replanted at a later date after a high dose of chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy. The immune system then begins to rebuild itself, theoretically with no memory of the MS disease.

Faye traveled to Moscow where she spent 32 days — 29 of which were grueling treatment days — before arriving home on June 25.
The standard time frame to know whether or not the treatment has worked is generally three years — but for Faye, the change was near instant.

“They call it the HSCT roller coaster — you come up and down and it could be three years before you reach your full capacity, but crikey it was instant for me,” she said.

“The scary thing about MS is you just don’t know what lies ahead. I didn’t want anything else to lie ahead, I just wanted it to get no worse. But the fact I’ve just had this massive U-turn and things are just incredible functional, way better than even before.

“I haven’t felt this good since before I had children.”

It wasn’t until feeling better that Faye realized just how sick she had been before.

“Now I’m back at work I’m realizing what a poor job I was doing before I went away. Now I’m doing the same thing and I’m thinking ‘crikey’. Before it would take me a whole day to do something and I don’t even know if I was doing it properly.

“It’s just having that comparison — it’s only going to a place when you went to before and you think ‘wow I couldn’t do that, but now I can’”.

In the first Times story, Faye spoke of her two young children and how they needed her to be fully functioning as a parent. Now, she’s able to chase them around the park.

“We went out for a walk around Cornwall Park and took the kids to the playground and to the observatory. We parked further out and walked, had a little run, played with scooters — there’s just no way I could have done that before.

There’s no way I could have spent a day at the park with the children and go out and have fun together like we did that day.

It’s just incredible.”

She says she enjoyed the long flight home because “this is where it all ends, but this is where it all starts as well.”

Previously, Faye had said she was inspired by the story of Australian woman and previous MS sufferer, Kristi Cruise. Before the AHSCT treatment, she’d been confined to a wheelchair. Three years after receiving the treatment, she ran a marathon.
“I’d love to be able to do something like that,” she says now. “I don’t know how to train but I’d love to learn how to train just because I could.

“I’ve never felt better in my life.”

Church Minister Speaks About Husband’s Amazing Recovery From Cancer

September 3rd, 2017

Source: DailyRecord

 

Lesley-Ann Craddock’s husband Ashley was diagnosed with plasmablastic lymphoma last August.

After receiving the news, the family moved ahead with their daughter’s wedding, to ensure that Ashley would see it. Lesley-Ann added: “Obviously I could get a church sorted and we went straight to the King’s Park Hotel and explained that we needed to get it done.”

However, despite the diagnosis, Ashley never lost his good spirits or his positive energy, and was determined to keep going.

“I remember the doctor saying to Ashley that they could make him comfortable or they could fight it, and he replied that he would fight it all the way.”

“They used DA-Epoch to treat him, but the cancer is so rare that no trials exist, so the treatment was set by clinical dialogue and constant thorough assessment of Ashley.”

Lesley-Ann also had to perform several injections herself to help her husband, including one earlier this year when she had to inject him to help mobilize his stem cells ahead of a stem cell transplant. The injection was hugely important, and had several possible outcomes.

She explained: “It had to be done at 10pm. I didn’t realize how nervous it would make me, but I had to do it knowing that if it didn’t work that could mean the end of everything – he wouldn’t be able to take the next stage of treatment. Thankfully it was fine.”

Ashley was then taken into hospital and given a high dose of chemotherapy. He spent five weeks in isolation in hospital, but eventually the news came through that he was in remission.

Lesley-Ann said she could not praise the three hospitals that cared for her husband enough – the Queen Elizabeth, the Beatson and the Victoria, as well as the Maggie’s Cancer Centre.

She said: “They were all so helpful. There was a day when I was so low, so down, and when I walked into Maggie’s centre they didn’t look at me as a victim but just listened to what I had to say. They gave me information about support, told me I’d made some good decisions, things like that. That was so important, and everyone at every hospital or centre had a part in it.”

“The cancer care was outstanding, and I thank God we were here in King’s Park and able to have that.”

Despite such a life altering situation, Lesley-Ann says her religious faith was never shaken and added: “It never wavered, and that surprised me as I thought it might be. But it never shook at all.”

Although Ashley is now in full remission, it will take years for him to regain his strength. However Lesley-Ann is content with being able to look towards the future and added: “He’s lost a lot of muscle but we’re getting on with life again. We can enjoy things again.”