klwilliams: (Default)
[personal profile] klwilliams
I've been accepted by Clinica Ruiz in Puebla, Mexico, to enter their program to receive what's called autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant. What that means is that the treatment I'll be undergoing is the chemotherapy used for leukemia patients. What happens is that the doctors will give me something to stimulate stem cell growth, then will harvest some of my stem cells. That will be followed by ten days of chemo, which will target my blood cells, essentially killing off my immune system. Immediately following chemo my harvest stem cells will be reintroduced, thus giving me a rebooted immune system.

What this means in practice is that in three weeks I stop taking Tecfidera, my main MS drug, which has been keeping me relapse-free for four years. This drug inhibits white blood cell growth, so I need those healthy when I get my stem cells harvested. Not taking the medicine will affect my ability to walk even more, and I may even have a new relapse. I hope not. I'll be trying to stay relaxed, eat right, and exercise before I go. It also means I'll be stepping down from my board position at the American Bookbinders Museum, though I'll still be going to jury duty every Thursday.

Oh, and I'm raising money, because just the treatment alone will cost almost $60,000. My friends started a fundraiser for me, if you're interested: https://www.youcaring.com/karenwilliamsbrenchley-847292.

One thing I've learned over the years is just how awesome my friends are.
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