High school English teacher Judi Bremer has spent the last 25 years of her life battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease which attacks one’s nervous system leading to a variety of debilitating symptoms.
It started in 1991 when she noticed a numbness in her right leg. A month later, she was diagnosed with MS. Fortunately, she recovered and spent the next 19 years relatively symptom free.
“Then in 2010, MS returned to my life with a vengeance and began to cause mobility issues, leading me to use a cane and then a rollator,” said Bremer. Things got worse, quickly. “My husband and I no longer danced. My teaching career was cut short because symptoms made teaching difficult. Our ability to travel was impeded. Many things I would enjoy doing with our grandchildren had become impossible.”
But then, Bremer found hope in the most unlikely of places-- Facebook. She heard about a new treatment called Hematopoeitic Stem Cell Transplants (HSCT). In this treatment, a patient is given injections to stimulate stem cells to go from their bone marrow into their bloodstream. Then, a machine extracts the blood and separates the stem cells. The T and B cells, which cause MS, are removed from the blood. The patient receives several days of chemotherapy, and then their stem cells are put back into their body.
At this point the patient’s symptoms typically worsen. And then, in some but not all cases, the patient gets better. Fortunately, this was the case for Bremer. She’s gone from a rollator back to a cane, and now she and her husband can dance once again.