11 years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis better known as MS. This is a life debilitating disease. I currently use a cane/walker to be mobile, this includes a wheelchair at times. With the way the disease is progressing, at 34 years old, I will be in a wheelchair within a year fulltime.
This disease robs you of many things. Your sight, I see things through Vaseline smeared glasses. Your sense of feeling in your hands, it feels like I’m wearing extra thick gloves and trying desperately to pick up a pencil. Your balance/ability to walk, I walk like a drunk sailor on good days and would never pass a field sobriety test. Your ability to tolerate heat, I’ve had to take a cold shower every day for 11 years because a hot one really makes my life miserable. Your energy, you feel like this every day… you have has just hiked 20 miles up a steep hill after two days of no sleep while carrying a backpack loaded with rocks on the hottest day of the year. It’s that moment when your legs can no longer hold you up and every muscle, bone, and even eyelid hurts. Then as soon as you sit down (or more like fall down) you are asleep. A tornado could blow by and you would sleep right through it.
I can no longer be a bench warmer on my son’s team. It breaks my heart daily that I can’t spend time with him by myself, because I’m unable to move fast enough to keep up with him, I cannot go outside with him because of the heat this time of year and I spend the weekends sleeping instead of spending time watching him grow up.
What can help this disease you ask? There is no cure for MS. People must adapt to their disabilities and live with the disease as it comes. I don’t like the sound of that and have found that a form of stem cell treatment can reverse the damage that MS has done. Most stem cell treatment is done in Europe and Mexico but I found Dr. Burt out of Chicago through a friend. I had my initial evaluation with Dr. Burt at the beginning of May and I will never forget when he told me he could help me. The treatment is 10 days of a pill form of chemo (yes, I will lose my hair and experience chemo like anyone who has been on it). After this they will collect my stem cells from my blood. Next is 7-10 days off, and finally 2 weeks in the hospital. During the hospitalization, I will have 4 days of chemo to completely wipe out my immune system and then receive my stem cells back. I will essentially have the immune system of an infant at that point. The first 100 days after receiving my stem cells back are the most crucial. My body will need to rebuild its immune system all over. After the ups and downs of chemo I could be symptom free!
The funds raised will be used to:
· Pay for hotel stays in Chicago where the treatment will be done.
· Transportation from Milwaukee to Chicago and back, and cab rides to and from the hospital.
· Meals/food for the family while we are down there.
· Pay medical bills as they come in. This treatment is not cheap, on average it can cost $150,000 without insurance.
· While I will be out of full time work for a couple months, bills will continue to come in.
This will all be happening soon, within a month. Any form or shape of support is greatly appreciated. I will be updating my caring bridge page( https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kattierouselatos) so you are able to see my progress and come visit if you would like.