Paula McNichol says the change has been nothing short of miraculous.
The Sarnia woman, who was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis 14 years ago, is basking in the benefits of the so-called "liberation treatment" which she had performed at the Hubbard Institute in San Diego in late August
‘It’s been a real life-saver to me," said McNichol during an appearance this week on "Wright to the Point" on TVCOGECO.
Before the surgery, she was confined to a wheelchair full-time, but now her energy level has increased dramatically.
"I can stand and walk a few steps with my walker," she continued, noting that while that may not seem like a great leap forward for many people, she hasn’t been able to do that for the past two years.
She also commented that her voice is much stronger and clearer and she can accomplish many more household tasks than she could prior to the surgery which involves angioplasty to open up blocked veins to improve blood flow from the brain.
"It’s been wonderful," McNichol said.
Prior to the chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) treatment her veins were 60 per cent blocked, she said.
She is not worried about media reports of health problems resurfacing a short time after the surgery for some patients or in some cases even death.
"If within a year I started going downhill I would consider having it (the procedure) done again," she added.
McNichol says the procedure cost her $10,000, plus travel and accomodation.
Meantime, the coordinator of client services for the Sarnia-Lambton chapter of the MS Society is thrilled with the benefits being experienced by McNichol. However, Joanne Trenton cautions that the treatment is not a cure.
"It’s very interesting information," she said. "But, we have to remember that it is new."
Trenton says some proponents of the MS Society have been upset at a perceived lack of support for the surgery. But, she says the society’s mandate is to fund services and equipment not research.
Trenton says the MS Society will continue to advocate on behalf of its clients to have clinical trials funded in Ontario in order to bring clarity to the debate about the effectiveness of the treatment.
But, Paula McNichol says the effectiveness of the treatment is no longer up for debate with her.
"I really recommend it," she concluded.
The full interview with Paula McNichol and Joanne Trenton can be seen on TVCOGECO, Sarnia (Channel 6) on Sunday, November 28 at 12 noon.