I’ve battled multiple sclerosis for more years than I care to count. It takes a lot of imagination for me to recall a time that I didn’t battle relentless fatigue, pain, weakness and cognitive dysfunction. There were many other skirmishes along the way—loss of vision, loss of hearing, optic neurtitis, double vision, and that bout of crazy speechlessness when the doctor thought I’d had a stroke. I could tell that I was “progressing” bit by bit, but my loved ones never want to admit this, and to my neurologist I was mostly doing fine.(comparatively speaking)
Enter the theory known as CCSVI. I first became aware of it just about a year ago (blog entry Jan 11 2009) and during the past 12 months it has generated controversy, debates, discussions, covert operations, and what seems to be a cloak-and-dagger chaotic mess. The theory and diagnosis of CCSVI led to venoplasties of the internal jugular veins and azygous veins of people with MS; this treatment of CCSVI was first called “Liberation Procedure”, but that moniker seems to have fallen out of favor recently. Now treatments are being done across the world and patients have flocked to the few places in the few countries doing them. That is what made me aware of the phenomenon of “Medical Tourism”. Patients set up appointments in Bulgaria, Poland, Mexico, or Costa Rica (etc) and pay for package deals that include the medical tests, procedures and room/board. I’m lucky enough to live in New York (sort of oxymoronic) so I had my venoplasties done a couple of hours away in Albany.
I say all that–well, mostly because I suffer from a digressive mind–to say, that 2010 is the year I regained HOPE! When I had my veins untwisted or opened so that the venous blood in my brain could flow back to my heart in a more normal way, I had such a lightening of “MS” symptoms!! To have energy again, to speak with a normal cadence, to move about without falling—these were and are priceless gifts that I received from what I will always call my Liberation Treatments! There is HOPE that I can be better!! The fact that I have had some restenosis of the vein(s) doesn’t negate my hope or deter me from a better life. No, it assures me that by restoring an open route for my blood to flow there are multitudinous positive benefits! I’m waiting to experience all of them. That’s what 2011 is for.