News

Local mum in Russia for MS treatment

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Local mum in Russia for MS treatment thumbnail Lindsay Young-Rice dreams of finding relief from her debilitating symptoms and to enjoy life with her young family

THE husband of a Warrenpoint woman currently receiving groundbreaking treatment for MS in Russia says all his wife wants is "a better quality of life".

Lindsay Young-Rice made the 7,000 mile round-trip over two weeks ago to the A.A. Maximov Hematology and Cell Therapy Department of the National Pirogov Medical Surgical Centre in Moscow.

The 35-year-old hopes to find relief from the debilitating symptoms of rapidly evolving severe relapsing remitting MS that can temporarily paralyse and cause blindness.

Lindsay is currently receiving a Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) along with chemotherapy and faces up to 10 days in hospital isolation.

The Warrenpoint woman, wife to Liam and mum to Jamie (17) and Olivia (8), is hopeful the monthlong treatment will slow down the progression of her illness.

Lindsay was diagnosed with MS in her late 20s, however, from her teens she sought a diagnosis for what appeared to be bowel/digestive problems and chronic fatigue.

After the birth of her first child she experienced further deterioration in her health, but still no one could come up with a diagnosis.

It was only after the birth of her second child when her symptoms became much more pronounced, that she, herself, began to consider MS as a possible cause.

Eventually, at the age of 29, in December 2011, after brain scans and a lumbar puncture, a definitive diagnosis of MS was made.

Lindsay's husband Liam says she has always been very astute at knowing her own body and has exhausted all treatment options available on the NHS.

He said: "Lindsay immediately started disease modifying drugs in the form of self-administered injections.

These drugs were not expected to cure the disease, there is no cure, but it was hoped that they would reduce the frequency of the relapses. Unfortunately this was not the case and Lindsay continued to have frequent relapses all of which have left some lasting damage.

"Another treatment, Tysabri, only used for highly active MS was then prescribed but yet again, there was no significant improvement and the relapses continued. Lindsay then took a bad reaction to the Tysabri and was left with lung damage as a result.

"The next, and only option left, was to have Lemtrada, which is a form of chemotherapy, normally administered for blood cancers. She has had it twice, the first time in 2015 and then again in 2016. Yet again it failed to halt the relentless relapses and she, once again, ended up in hospital, this time having to use a walking aid as her mobility was severely affected."

Having exhausted all options for treatments available through the NHS in the UK, Lindsay applied, with the backing of her MS care team to go to Russia to receive the state-of-the-art treatment.

Expecting to wait up to two years for the treatment, Lindsay was allocated a last minute cancellation appointment at the end of last month.

The family immediately embarked upon a fundraising quest to help raise up to 50,000 for the treatment.

Through the kindness of family, friends and complete strangers, nearly 35,000 has been raised through Lindsay's Go Fund Me account which has allowed the treatment to go ahead.

Liam, who accompanied Lindsay for the first week of her treatment in Russia, says everything is currently going to plan.

He added: "The treatment is very aggressive and chemotherapy is part of it and Lindsay recently had her hair shaved in the hospital.

"She is under the care of the amazing Dr Fedorenko, however, while in Russia she also found out her condition is secondary progressive and has a very large active lesion on her spine which set her back.

"The treatment takes place when stem cells are extracted from Lindsay and then her body is blasted with chemotherapy to destroy her immune system.

"Stem cells are put back in and the hope is that they are free from the problems with the immune system in an attempt to completely reboot it.

"Lindsay knows that this treatment is the last hope for her and her neurologist could not have been more supportive and we are aware we have a long road ahead." Lindsay will have to wait up to a year after her return home to find out if the treatment has been successful or not.

However, Liam says due to the frequency of her relapses and the possibility she could eventually end up in a wheelchair, he is hopeful for a positive outcome.

He added: "All Lindsay wants is a normal life and a lot of the time she can be bed-bound. Recently she suffered a bad relapse and was in bed for 22 hours a day.

"We are very realistic, however, and know that this is not a cure and what we are doing is trying to put a stop to the progression of it." Although Lindsay and Liam face up to another two weeks apart while she undergoes isolation, the Warrenpoint man says modern technology helps their family stay connected.

Liam continued: "We speak with Lindsay through Facetime and Skype. It's not easy with her being away for the two kids and can be more added pressure at home.

"However, we are a very practical family and Lindsay has been unbelievably positive and she always has a smile on her face even while going through the treatment."

You can follow Lindsay's journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lindsayslasthope

or donate towards her treatment at
www.gofundme.com/lindsayslasthope.

Share

Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete