Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Next Miracle

I'm still happy to be totally & completely free of MS disease progression. When not thinking about the scientific validity of HSCT to cure MS (especially considering that currently there is nothing other than HSCT that can cure MS), it is easy to consider it a medical miracle.

But of course there are a few downsides (I prefer to call them trade-offs) to stem cell transplantation to cure MS. One of them is that for myeloablative chemo conditioning protocols (same as I received), permanent sterility is generally the rule. But I knew this going into my treatment so I planned accordingly since my wife and I wanted to have a second child. Although I'm pretty sure that I am currently completely infertile (as a result of my treatment), using some of my previously-banked sperm my wife and I underwent an in-vitro fetilization (IVF) procedure which resulted in the next miracle to present in my life, as shown in the following sonogram image (click to enlarge):

Yup, you got it. This sonogram image captured during my wife's pregnancy exam shows her 12 weeks pregnant. It took an IVF procedure to make it happen but my banked sperm came out of their cold liquid Nitrogen sleep to successfully do the job. It's a wonderful feeling seeing the baby's beating heart. I'm amazed that the doctors can quite-accurately predict the most probable date of birth. In this case it's March 10, 2012. We don't yet know the gender of the baby, but we'll be happy either way.

Note added later. . . the 33 week 3D-rendered sonogram image shows our healthy baby boy still in the womb and everything on track for our March 10 expected delivery date. We're excited to give Riki a little brother.

The main reason I share this info is to let others know that infertility following HSCT is not a hopeless situation and it can be overcome. Planning ahead, together with the application of some medical science and a little luck can return the gift of life, as it has for my wife and I. So if you need the scientific proof that it is possible to once again become a father (or mother, since women can still have a normal pregnancy following HSCT if using the right starting materials) following the sterility conferred by HSCT, look no further than this sonogram image confirming it is possible.

Just a last note. . . . I'm pretty sure I'm the first person from North America to undergo HSCT treatment outside of a study to cure my MS. I wonder if I am also the first HSCT-treated MS patient to now be expecting a healthy baby? Perhaps. But anyway, if so I'm glad to prove it can be done. Booyah!

Meet Kai Takahashi Goss. Born a little ahead of schedule, but healthy to grateful parents on Feb 23, 2012 (click to enlarge):