Like a lot of people, I watched the show The Search For A Miracle Cure on channel 4, Directed by David Modell. I was very excited after watching the advert for it and found myself watching with hope to see how Mesenchymale Stem Cell Therapy (MSCT) could help me.
When the clinic, in Israel, administering the trial mentioned how the process worked, simple extraction and re-administering of ones own stem cells, I will admit I had high hopes.
The thought of not having to have chemotherapy drugs pumped through me to wipe out my faulty immune system was rather appealing. And then my husband and I watched the show.
I was very disheartened when this amazing new treatment didn’t leave the subject “cured” as happens with haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), where MS patients are ‘cured’. But MSCT, while seemingly wonderful at first – placebo effect maybe, the subject (Mark Lewis) ended up the same or slightly worse off than when he started the trial. There is however a positive in that his MRI showed positive signs of re-myelination and less lesions.
What I have had a hard time processing though, was the fact that – according to the neurologist in charge of the study in Israel – the expected life span for someone with MS is 65. Sixty-five. I had a moment in the high street this morning, looking at all the elderly ladies out shopping and waiting at the bus stop and I couldn’t help thinking according to that neurologist I won’t even get to their age.
The sad state of affairs
Being that I do not have severely active MS or severe disability (I consider myself fortunate in both instances) I’m not in a position to benefit from any of these treatments. I fear there is some thing very wrong in society that you have to “cheat the system” to get treatment that could offer a better life expectancy, given ones auto-immune disease holding one of 65 years. How much more does Multiple Sclerosis have to take from us before every patient with MS can get a chance. I fear I will be a member of the last generation who will never see this help come. But what would be worse still is if this disease sees many generations hence in the same boat.
I live in hope that a cure or at least a really good treatment will become available soon and given the speed and quantity of research on this keeps me optimistic, because there is no other choice.