Hartlepool dad Eric Thomson says pioneering MS stem cell treatment he received in Mexico seven months ago has continued to be a success.
The 50-year-old, from Jowitt Road, made the journey to the Riaz Clinic with wife Joanne last June to receive a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantations (HSCT).
He hoped the surgery would slow, if not stop, the progression of his Primary Progressive MS and improve his mobility.
Now months after the treatment, the former Camerons Brewery worker said he is still feeling the benefits in his day-to-day life, despite not experiencing major improvements in his mobility.
“There has been quite a few improvements, but my mobility is still not good,” he said. “But I am still improving in the way I can do things like getting in the bath on my own.
“And since coming back from Mexico I have not fallen once, whereas I would have fallen at least twice a week before.
“I am also not in as much pain as before, I do feel good. “I would still recommend the treatment, but I wish that when I was diagnosed in 2011 I was told that I could have had this treatment, as people benefit from it more when they are lower on the scale. “I am still on the scale at six, but that doesn’t mean that I will stay at a six in six months time, as it can take up to two years to improve.”
When Eric, was given the devastating diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS four years ago, he was told there was no treatment in this country and was forced to watch his whole life change as symptoms progressed.
But friends and family rallied around Eric to raise the £38,650 needed for his surgery.
Returning home in July, Eric noticed minor improvements and even managed to dance with his wife when they renewed their vows last year.
But it hasn’t been an easy journey for Eric since the treatment, as he was dealt a two further health blows.
A drug called Ampyra, which he was recommended to continue using throughout the two years following treatment, has become too expensive for him to continue taking - causing him to suffer with his mobility.
“The drug does work, but it costs £197 a month, so I have had to come off it as I can’t afford it,” Eric said. “As a result I am not making improvements with mobility and I can’t walk as well.
“I have also been diagnosed with something called Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is problems with a nerve in the brain affecting the face, gums, teeth and jaw, which is painful.
“But I am on a drug called Pregabalin to help manage it.”
Despite this, Eric remains positive: “Just things I can now do on my own like eating food, getting in the bath, and getting dressed - all small steps but means that the stem cells have worked.
“The biggest difference is sleep, I can go to bed and sleep right through without any pain.
“To me the treatment has been a success.”