I saw this beautiful photograph of Moscow today, which is where I’ll be in a very few weeks now. So, to capture where I am with the organisation and planning required …

Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral skyline

Application for treatment; I applied for this treatment early June, or maybe end of May, after a very bad weekend. That weekend, my walking had been really bad, and I struggled with a few hundreds of metres. When I came to walk from my car to the train, I  was swinging my leg really badly, and spilled beer & cider down me when walking back from the bar at the Dockers game. Combine that with a weak arm, and some other issues (TMI for here, ask me in person and I’ll share), and it was time to apply. The application process was reasonable, not short but not overly onerous, and I was accepted in June, based on a detailed application form and my medical records.

Flights & dates; booked. I fly to Moscow on the 6th, landing late morning on 7th September. I have the weekend in Moscow, then admitted to the hospital 10th September. The weather will be cold ! Inside the hospital will be warm, but outside 5-15C so it’ll be Perth winter weather at best. I fly back, all going well, early October and for a bit of comfort, that flight is business class.

Preparation for treatment; not much really, I have come off my medication but other than eating well there isn’t a lot of health stuff to do. There’s various stuff to buy, such as head coverings (I’ll go bald with the chemo), face masks for the journey back, some essentials like coffee, but really I can get everything in Moscow if needed.

First weekend in Moscow; I have a very cool hotel right in the centre of Moscow for the first weekend. I’ve booked the taxi driver everyone uses, for the first day, to get a modem sorted out and to ask him to take me to a typical Russian cafe. That weekend I’ll visit the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, and maybe take a river tour. Maybe, if the tickets aren’t too crazy, I’ll go to the Bolshoi and see some ballet there. When in Russia …

Image result for images bolshoi balletImage result for images bolshoi ballet

Visa; my passport is off at the Russian consulate, getting the visa granted.

Stuff to take; a few outdoors changes, lots of pyjamas. Coffee, ginger tea and miso soup for during chemo. IPad and phone and bluetooth speaker, with music,films and books although with the modem I’ll have full Internet access to download anything needed. My crochet stuff. A couple of paper books, I still prefer them to electronic books.

Why Moscow; a lot of people have asked me about Moscow , and why there rather than anywhere else. There are various places I could go, but most places only take people far more badly impacted than me. See the link here for a description of the Expanded Disability Status Scale, and the picture below captured this in a pictorial way.  I am self-assessed as 3.0  on a hot day,probably 2.0 on a cool day when well rested, most of the facilities I looked at accept people 5.5 and above. Interesting, as the evidence I have reviewed shows the highest likelihood of success the lower the EDSS of the patient . Mexico was the other option, but it’s much further and outpatient not in-patient treatment.

Image result


Do ask any questions, here or in person or by email. I’ll add later posts as the organisation progresses, so far it’s been steady and not overwhelming.


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