Why I need Stem Cell Treatment?
Hi, my name is Brynn Mclennan. When I was born, my right eye didn’t tear or close completely. This can be one of the first signs of the type of Muscular Dystrophy that I have. I was an active child; I played hockey and was a strong skater. One year, I noticed that I couldn’t skate as fast, no matter how much I pushed myself; I just physically couldn’t do it. I remember having to sit numerous games on the bench, because I wasn’t good enough anymore and I just didn’t understand why. I have a vivid memory of myself sitting on the bench, watching players skate by, and being completely boggled as to what was wrong with me.
That summer, while I was swimming, my mom noticed that my right shoulder blade was protruding more than before. The disease was starting to destroy the muscles that held my shoulder blade in place. As the summer continued, the disease moved to the left shoulder blade with the same effects. Noticing this progression, my mom took me to CHEO hospital to get answers. I have had so many hospital visits since the age of 11 that I have lost count but I definitely remember the visit when my mom told me that I have “Muscular Dystrophy.” My reaction was simply, “well at least I know what it is now.” This was a pretty brave comment for a 12 year old; completely unaware of the upcoming struggles I’d be faced with.
Effects of FSH
FSH affects the face (facio), shoulder blades (scapulo) and torso (Humeral). In my case, it sporadically affects my muscles; for example, I can raise the fingers on my left hand but not the right, my right bicep is very small and weak whereas my left is bigger and stronger. It is common for the disease to start deteriorating muscles on one side of the body and then move to the other side. For me, it started on the right side of my body.
MD has had a profound effect on my day-to-day life and every single thing I do. I have to continuously re-adjust to my body, as more and more muscles are destroyed, some of my muscles have become scar tissue and can’t be used again. Since I am unable to climb stairs, I have to either crawl or go up with one leg leading. Because of this, I can only live in a home with one floor, and as a result, my home has been modified to accommodate my disability. The counters in my kitchen have been lowered, allowing me to lean on them and taking pressure off my lower back. All dishes are kept in the bottom kitchen cabinets because I am unable to lift items off any top shelves. In addition, since my balance isn’t sturdy, my home has a garage so that in the winter I can park inside, to limit the amount of falls from ice and sometimes even snow. I have a cart that I use to carry food, because I cannot carry plates, bowls and cups.
My energy is fairly low on a day to day basis, so I have to be careful not to drain it throughout the day. For example, if I am not fully prepared or think three to five steps ahead at all times, this could cause me a great deal of stress and an added unnecessary depletion of energy. If I have forgotten an item in the house or back at my work desk, I can’t afford to go back in the house or back to my desk to grab the item I forgot. Even something as simple as spilling the milk in the morning, I will sometimes have to leave until after work, because the energy and amount of time it would take me to clean up is too much. Tasks get completed when I have the energy to do so. I cannot walk or stand for long periods of time. If I were to go to an airport, a strip mall, or into a drug mart, I would require a wheelchair.
My relationship with my family is great. They support and help me whenever it’s needed. The reason I am still able to walk is because of my mother, who has done everything in her power to slow down the progression of the disease. She is always making sure my quality of life is the best that it can be. I take many different types of vitamins, some made specifically for my body; I go to physio 1-2 times/week, acupuncture, as well as undergo injections every 4 months. All these measures have helped to slow the progression of the disease that is deteriorating my muscles, but it is still not enough, and this is where Stem Cells come in. Given the already positive reactions I’m getting from the above measures, my hope is that Stem Cells will have an even greater impact on the quality of my life.
While I was born with the disease, it didn’t appear until later in life. I had a normal childhood; I could walk and run like everyone else, and even played competitive hockey. Now at age 28, I can’t do any of them.