HSCT for Jodie! Farewell MS!

For: Jodie Bissig
Laton, CA
Organizer: The Stevens & Bissig Families
HSCT for Jodie! Farewell MS! (Jodie Bissig)
of $20,000 goal
56% Complete
Raised by 88 donors

The Story

Thank you for visiting my page! My name is Jodie and I live in Central California with my husband Russell and our two kids, Mia (12) and Matthew (8 1/2). We are fundraising for the costs we will incur as I particiapte in a clinical trial for MS. Here is my story:

My health problems started with vision loss, which to a mother, photographer, and artist, was terrifying enough. Then came the words “multiple sclerosis.” Multiple Sclerosis means “many scars.” For unknown reasons, my body attacks healthy nerves and tissues and leaves behind damage called lesions. My legs are incredibly weak, I feel off-balance, I am exhausted beyond words, and it’s a challenge just to get through the day.

And then things got worse: my medications weren’t working. I’ve had one relapse after another and my disease is aggressive. I’m now on the strongest drug available – one my neurologist calls “the big guns.” But big guns come with big risks and big side effects. Most patients can only safely be on this drug for a few years… and I’m only 37 years old!

Even with the medications, I am struggling. What do you do when you feel your life, your independence, and your movement, slowly being taken away?

Me? I am participating in a clinical trial. Clinics all over the world are pioneering a stem cell transplant (HSCT) that has the promise to stop MS. Essentially his treatment will reboot my faulty immune system using chemotherapy, and then rebuild it using my own stem cells. Patients who have had this treatment no longer require MS medication and the majority have NO NEW MS symptoms!

So here we go! I need strength and support and financial help to fight harder than ever to overcome this dreadful disease and be here for my daughter and son. Your donations will help with medical expenses, travel costs, and will help keep things running smoothly at home while mommy is away getting tests and treatment.

Thank you for reading my story and thank you for your donations. I am humbled and honored by the friends and family who are supporting me in this biggest challenge of my life.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 7, 2018

Posted on June 7, 2018

Chemo is complete and I received my stem cells back on Monday (it was actually 7.7 million stem cells, not the previously reported 7 million)! I am definitely feeling the side effects of the medications... lots of fatigue (even my tired is tired!) and some waves of nausea. Mostly I'm just missing my kiddos and I am still a lot more emotional than normal. I'm not sleeping well in the hospital and the ongoing addition of steroids wreaks havoc on me (i.e. basket case... just ask my husband!). I'm thankful for my army of supporters who are reaching out to me and praying for me. 

Posted on May 22, 2018

Posted on May 22, 2018

Yesterday I completed my stem cell collection! I needed a minimum of 5,000,000 stem cells. After a long and emotional day, I harvested 7,000,000 stem cells! Now they will be frozen for a couple of weeks until I get them back to speed my healing. I am so proud and grateful to be a part of this clinical trial. Today I am feeling pretty wiped out and definitely needing more rest and emotional support than usual. I am so thankful for the support of my husband who is taking such good care of me. On Thursday we will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We keep saying this is the strangest "second honeymoon!" He is definitely proving the "in sickness and in health" part of our vows and I am so grateful for him. 

Posted on May 14, 2018

Posted on May 14, 2018

We got the insurance approval (again!). In between the approval and getting things scheduled, we were able to sneak home for a long weekend - and Mother's Day - with our kids (I added a photo in the gallery - love those little faces sooooo much!). I begin treatments on Wednesday with a PICC line placement and then medication daily to prepare my stem cells! My official stem cell collection is scheduled for May 21st and my new stem cell birthday should be around June 4th! Thank you for the prayers and continued cheerleading. 

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