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Freedom right to 'liberation' for woman 0

MARG. BRUINEMAN

Diana Gordon is approaching her coming trip with "reserved optimism".

But, like a rash of other people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, what she's hoping for is a dramatic change she expects to be life-altering. And life-saving.

On Tuesday, she'll have angioplasty -- a procedure typically done on heart patients. For her, it will open a vein, which right now prevents proper blood flow from her brain. The procedure has been dubbed "liberation surgery."

And because it's not available for MS patients in Canada, she's travelling to the United States to get it done.

The cost? $2,000.

It could cost more for those requiring the diagnostic test, but she's already had that done in Barrie.

She's hoping the 'cognition fog', which clouds her thinking and is one of the major impacts MS has on her, will go away.

Hopefully, the numbness in her hands and feet will stop and her fine motor skills will return. Typing, a skill she would clock at 100 words per minute, has slowed to 30 because of a numbness in her arms she says is similar to the sensation of sleeping on them.

Her speech, which she considers impaired, may well see improvement as well. And then there's the fatigue, further limiting her physical abilities.

"It's exciting, because I see all the videos and testimonies and they've all had positive results," she said.

Gordon's been doing her homework. Despite all the treatment and medication available for those with MS, many have been diagnosed with a recently-identified condition: chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency or CCSVI. That is a blockage in one of two major veins which prevents proper blood flow to the brain.

The procedure opens up the vein and proper blood flow resumes.

Those with MS who have undergone this procedure have reported progression of the disease halted and some of the lost faculties returned.

Gordon has been networking with MS patients worldwide and hearing, first hand, the accounts of those who have undergone the procedure. She finally decided that she could wait no longer for the Canadian medical system to catch up and access the help she figures she needs, even if it means travelling to get it.

In the interim, she decided to create a Facebook page, calledpost-liberation,chronicling the stories of those who have gone before her. It contains testimonials, blogs as well as before and after videos. In the first two days, there were 391 members and more than a dozen accounts.

Gordon's efforts don't end with simply accessing the procedure. She wants to send a message to the Canadian health systems and she's laying the groundwork.

She's applied under OHIP's out-of-country reimbursement program to have the procedure paid for.

She received a letter of denial this week. She now expects to file an appeal based on discrimination. If she hadn't previously been diagnosed with MS, she would have had access to the treatment, she argues.

"When I come back, I'll have guns ablazing," she declares.


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