Poppy's Russian MS Journey

My Silent Battle

I never thought that at the age of 33 I would be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 
I am a Young mother with 2 beautiful girls, Sammi & Rahnia (4 Yrs and 7 Yrs old) and have an amazing husband, Bill who has been so supportive during this challenging time.

I look normal….like nothing is wrong.This is all a façade.
People look at me but don’t see anything wrong. They can’t see that my immune system is attacking my nerves slowly and causing scar tissues on my brain and spine.

 This is called Multiple sclerosis.

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It can affect any part of the body and very simply, the brain cannot communicate to the body to do the things it wants to do.  They don’t know what causes MS, so there is no cure.
I am often tired, fatigued, my head feels strange all the time like I have goose bumps and often experience unusual burning sensations in my face, arms and head. I have issues with dizziness, balance and my cognitive function is starting to deteriorate. I can’t seem to handle Stressful situations as well as I used to.

In the last 3 months my Big toes have gone numb and have been experiencing pins and needles in my feet.

My body just isn’t the same.

In May 2013, I had dizziness, heart palpitations, sweats and shaking whilst driving on the Freeway. Something just took over my body. I went straight to hospital as I didn’t know what was happening to me and why my body was acting this way. They monitored my heart rate and everything seemed to be fine so they sent me home. The doctors advised me to cut down on coffee and that it was probably just related to stress & anxiety. An hour later I was in an ambulance and back at the hospital.

That day, my life changed and I have not felt the same since.

Two months later, in July, I had a severe vertigo attack. I could not walk straight in front of me and was walking sideways. With every step I took, I was nauseous and would vomit. My husband, who thankfully was home at the time, carried my down the stairs and took me straight to the hospital and wheeled me in to the emergency room.

I was in hospital for 2 days and the diagnosis at the time was Vertigo.

After being released I had some more tests to check my ears and balance, which were fine.  The doctors then suggested an MRI. I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) in October 2013.

My life was turned upside down.

I was an emotional mess just dealing with this horrible realisation. I didn’t even know  exactly what MS was.

What do I do now? What does this mean? How will it affect my life? My children? My husband? – My quality of life?  Will it ever go away?

I didn’t know what this all meant at the time and started researching it and found that there are different levels of MS.  It can attack you at any time and you have no idea what it will do.                                                                                              

So the doctors gave me tablets for anxiety and the MS. Still confused about all that, but I had to take the tablet which I didn’t really like. Since being on the recommended treatment by my Neurologist, my follow up MRI Scans have shown Progression, with New Legions on my brain & Spine. Things are not getting any better.

In March 2014, my husband asked me if I wouldn’t mind watching a segment on 60 minutes about MS. I watched it and could not believe how this woman, Kristy Cruise, had been to Russia and had a Haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) that stopped the MS in its tracks.

Nobody mentioned this treatment to me.  There is HOPE.

I immediately started investigating and researching and applied to Russia for this treatment and was lucky that I got accepted.

On May 27th, 2015, I will undergo Haematopoietic Stem Cell Treatment to stop this disease in its tracks. HSCT is the only treatment that has been scientifically shown to stop MS in its tracks, however the key to optimum success comes from intervention at the earliest possible time.

So now my silent battle is no longer silent.

I have realised that this journey will be one that is not something that I want to do, but have to do.

I want my life back……..I want to be able to see my children grow up and do the things that I used to before. Play with them and laugh with them and not be tired, dizzy and unwell all time and explain to them that mummy is always feeling sick.

I now have the journey of my life to get through – and I know I will get support from my family and friends to help me to get to Russia for Stem Cell Treatment.

Please follow my journey on my blog

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Poppy Siachos 
Clarinda VIC
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