HSCT México

TWO YEARS ago Sarah Waters was planning the end of her life at the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland.

Now – despite the sudden death of her husband – the Poole mother-of-five is planning what to do with the rest of her life – following a ground-breaking procedure for the neurological condition Multiple Sclerosis, at a clinic in Mexico.

Following her 28-day treatment Sarah, 49, of Longfleet Road, says she now has feeling in her legs, something she hasn’t experienced for nearly two years, and hopes to soon be standing with the help of a frame.

There have been other bonuses, too. “I used to suffer with urinary tract infections but that’s stopped and I was in constant pain before but now I’m not on painkillers,” she says. “The first thing I noticed was the lack of pain – and the fact that my legs were pinker in colour where before they’d been blue, because the circulation was so bad.”

Whilst the procedure, known as HSCT, is now available in the UK, the criteria for NHS patients is very narrow. After raising around £40,000 for the treatment – the same one at the same clinic publicised recently by BBC correspondent and MS sufferer Caroline Wyatt – Sarah and her daughter, Holly, flew to Mexico on December 3. After a series of tests she was pronounced fit to receive the procedure which involves taking stem cells from the patient before injecting powerful chemotherapy drugs to destroy their faulty immune system.

The stem cells were then transplanted back into her to generate a new, functional immune system. “We arrived home on New Year’s Eve,” says Sarah.

She followed the rules – wearing a mask to keep away infections and keeping up with physiotherapy – but was ‘knocked for six’ when her husband, Rusty, suffered cardiac failure last month.

However, his loss has strengthened her resolve. “I am determined to be able to get up, do my own hair, shower, and look after myself, even if I have to spend some of the rest of the time in a wheelchair,” she says. “I want to do this for him, for all the plans we shared, for my children and for all the other people in this situation.

“People are told this treatment will kill them and it is very hard and there is a risk, but I want them to look at me and think – if she can do it, so can I.”

Read the Full Article Here