Diane and I have been home for one week now and so many of you have asked John to let them know about the results of her CCSVI procedure in Costa Rica, I thought it would be better to send the update by email, and I promise not to make it too long! I also know that many of you were asking because you have friends or family with MS and have heard about the Liberation Treatment, so we’re included some websites that will direct you to the company that we went with, and we can’t praise their services enough. It’s sad and very frustrating that we can’t get this very simple angioplasty treatment here in Canada, but since we can’t we’re thankful we could get it for Diane at a very reputable and caring hospital in Costa Rica.

What are the Results?

Wonderful! Within an hour after coming out of the anesthesia, Diane was speaking properly again (her speech had gone downhill over the last year), and within a few days her walking was vastly improved! MS’ers from almost every province in Canada were there, many in wheelchairs, and we think everyone found it amazing how their bodies responded when their blood was finally flowing properly! Diane had been pre-tested in Vancouver for the iron blockages that cause the symptoms, and her procedure in Costa Rica confirmed the results. One in the Azygous vein behind the breast bone, one in the left vertebral vein, and the other in her right jugular vein.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel on the outskirts of San Jose – next to a coffee finca, but were transported into the hospital for the pre-op exams, the procedure, and the post op with the surgeon. The patients had incredible Rehab at the hotel given by two highly qualified physio’s, both in the hotel gym and in the pool – which was kept at a temperature perfect for the needs of the people with MS. The goal of the physio workout was to make the brain and body work together again, something that had become impossible for many of the patients.

At the post-op appointment Diane’s surgeon told us that when he went to his first conference with Dr. Zamboni (Italy), Dr. Simpkin (Poland) and Dr. Haake (McMaster Univ), he was skeptical, but he is no longer skeptical. Going to his hospital office for the post-op was quite a learning curve for us. He put his laptop on his desk and slipped in a disc that walked us through her procedure, pointing out where the blockages were and what balloons were used. He then did another Doppler on her and found her blood flowing beautifully, and he also told her that she should see other changes over the next 2 or 3 months. This treatment isn’t considered a ‘cure’ for MS, but it does relieve symptoms, and right now who would want more than that! (tonight Diane actually showed off a little, jogging through the house and slipping in a few dance steps – very exciting stuff for us I must say).

The patients were treated at Hospital Clinica Biblica in San Jose, and we discovered quickly that, with all due respect to some Canadian hospitals, we may be the ones with third world hospitals. It’s supposedly a private hospital, but many ordinary Costa Rican’s were being treated there. We were told by the neurologist who did Diane’s assessment when we arrived that Costa Rica is a socialist country, hasn’t had a military since 1948, and hence has money for education and health. (would someone please tell that to Mr. Harper!!).

The place was antiseptically clean… sterilization stations between every 2 hospital rooms, and I watched as everyone, cleaners, nurses, doctors used them before visiting the next room. The medical staff was very warm and caring and we put it down to the fact that they are Latin’s who are noted for their friendliness. Their warm hugs and head rubs which were so appreciated by people who were in a different country for the first time and without too many familiars around.

Diane continues to improve, she’s on blood thinners for a month, and is back to her daily walking routines, and will start at the pool and gym in September to work on the pool exercises she learned in Costa Rica.

Canadian researchers are busy reinventing the wheel right now and promise to have the procedure ready in the next 2/3 years…but that could be too late for many Canadians with MS. And we want everyone to know that yes, it is relatively expensive, but that probably well over 50% of the patients from Canada were there because friends and family helped them financially or their communities put on fundraisers for them. If you know someone who wants to have the Liberation treatment, be sure to reassure them that it’s quite alright to ask for financial help… in fact some of the community fundraiser parties we heard about sounded like great fun! One couple told us that their friends and family always had a very difficult time talking about their MS, but helping to raise money was something they could do – and did!

Please email us if you have more questions, and feel free to send this to anyone with MS who is thinking about having the CCSVI Liberation treatment and tell them they can contact us with their questions.

Love to you all, Rosemary, John and Diane