Life is beginning to return to normal for Whanganui woman Briar Novis as she gets back to work following a trip across the globe for stem-cell treatment.

It was late last year that Briar, along with mum Cherry Novis, left for a month long stay in Russia, where she received treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) she was suffering from.

Briar's partner and two sisters rounded out the support team that stayed with her at the Moscow hospital where she had treatment.

About $80,000, mostly from Whanganui, was fundraised in order to pay for the treatment and plane tickets.


The procedure which Briar describes as a reboot, where stem cells are removed, followed by chemotherapy, and then put back, went down without a hitch.

Three months' isolation was one of the first steps in recovery following the procedure, which Briar entered when she returned home in November last year.

Only select family and friends were allowed to visit, however, that was slowly relaxed as Briar's health improved.

"It was difficult because I'm so used to being around lots of people, but over time I was getting better, less tired and didn't fall asleep every five minutes" she said.

"I just kept doing little exercises to get me back to work."

Although Briar Novis can only manage working two hours a day, four days a week at Countdown right now, she said she's grateful to be back, and has been told she can take on more hours when ready.

"My workmates have been really good and customers are really happy to see me back, everyone is just so friendly," she said.

Mum Cherry Novis said it's been a rollercoaster ride of emotion from learning about her daughter's diagnosis five years ago, to Briar being able to return to work.


"As a parent, it was really hard to watch her go downhill but to watch her comeback is amazing," she said.

"It's just lovely to see her progressing so well and looking so healthy."

Briar Novis said she's thankful to everyone who donated money and helped with fundraising for the treatment.

"For all they did for me and to help me, it actually worked… I feel like I'm getting my life back."