The half year mark
Today is my 6 month anniversary since my CCSVI ‘Liberation’/angioplasty
So – what has changed?
There are some obvious things – my brain fog is less, the
pressure in my head is gone, the pain in my neck/shoulders is considerably
less, my nervous belly twitch is pretty much gone, and I seem to
have more bladder control – and these things I would attribute
directly to the CCSVI procedure.
At the same time some things have changed over the past 6 months
that are difficult to attribute to a specific source.
MS is a difficult disease to label – even to this day there
is great controversy over what Multiple Sclerosis really is. Yes,
the ‘sclerosis’ or ‘plaques’ can be identified
on the nervous system – but both the cause and the effects
of those plaques are very much in question. My personal view is
that the location and severity of the plaques cause certain symptoms
and when we have a certain collection of symptoms the doctors label
this collection ‘MS’.
However, the human body is a very complex organism and ‘symptoms’ don’t
always originate from the same source.
I have written earlier that I was disappointed that the CCSVI
procedure did not seem to have a dramatic improvement on my energy
levels. Because I still felt a lack of energy I continued my search
for answers. One piece that kept cropping up was thyroid – hypothyroid.
The problem here was that though I had many of the symptoms of
hypothyroid, my thyroid TSH tests came back ‘normal’.
Despite the ‘normal’ test results, I convinced my doctor,
based on my symptoms, to prescribe a low dosage thyroid medication
to see if it made any difference – and after two months of
adjustments and further testing the result is a dramatic increase
in energy levels, my low level depression is gone, and I just feel
better all over – still not as good as I’d like it – but
So now here’s where it gets a bit tricky when is comes to
CCSVI involvement: many say the results from the procedure can
take months or even a year to show up, and so, is the increased
energy a result of the thyroid medication or a delayed CCSVI treatment
effect? Well, the only thing I can say is that when I stop the
thyroid medication the symptoms return – do your own math…
Having said that – a number of CCSVI involved doctors have
noted how the reduction of blood flow can also affect the thyroid – and
the reduced blood flow could be responsible for subsequent thyroid
problems. I speculate that I have had both CCSVI (it happens in
vitro) and thyroid problems (not severe enough to be diagnosed)
most all my life. So it would seem to me that the CCSVI angioplasty
could have restored proper blood flow to the thyroid. At the same
time, it would take time for any thyroid problems to right themselves
and heal. Maybe the thyroid medications I’m taking are just
assisting the healing and maybe this might have happened with the
restored blood flow – I really don’t know – there
is not an easy answer here. What I do know is that I am feeling
slowly better – which I attribute to both the CCSVI procedure
and the thyroid medication.
As I mentioned, our bodies are complex organisms and MS is a complicated
disease/diagnosis. I find I have many health problems which may
or may not be related to MS and yet the medical profession has
no real answers on how to deal with some of these health problems
and often revert to saying it must be connected to MS somehow – thyroid
is one case in point and digestive issues are another. I have digestive
issues and I am overweight. A study of the body reveals a connection
between the endocrine system (hormones, thyroid, adrenals, etc,)
and the digestive system (hormones stimulate the production of
bile, enzymes and gastric juices, etc., to produce proper digestion
of food which in turn feed the endocrine system). One symptom of
hypothyroidism is weight gain. Another is digestive issues. Another
is low energy. So are these things ‘MS related’ or
a messed up endocrine system? I dunno – but it’s all
grist for the mill. I’d say it’s a synergistic relation
and everything needs to be looked at – including CCSVI and
diet and thyroid/adrenals, and, and….
Along with taking thyroid medication I have been experimenting
with different diets (raw live foods) and digestive enzymes and
probiotics. These things have a cleansing effect (and blood thinning
effect) on the body and the other day, while falling asleep for
an afternoon nap, I had a strange sensation happen in my head and
the next thing I knew my toes got really warm. This sensation is
often reported by CCSVI angioplasty patients, post treatment, right
on the operating table. So did something get ‘fixed’ in
my brain, a delayed ‘effect’ as a result of restored
blood flow, and this resulted in my toes getting more sensation,
or did the thyroid meds/diet/digestive supplements cause some sort
of cleansing effect which resulted in warm toes– I have no
idea – I just know my toes feel warmer.
A number of people have asked me about my procedure and the impression
I get is that most want some sort of miraculous result verified.
One problem I find with this is that my results are all very subjective – how
do you objectively measure brain fog or neck pain or even improved
bladder control – you can’t. Plus these items are not
all that flashy – especially to someone who wants to walk
again or to someone who is healthy and cannot even imagine what ‘brain
Would I do it again – in a heartbeat.
Would I advise someone else to do it? Well, I don’t have
a solid answer for that. There are no guarantees with CCSVI angioplasty
and there are minimal risks involved and while I may think those
risks are worth it in the possibility to achieve an improved lifestyle – you
may not. The only thing I can say is that you have to do your own
homework and decide for yourself.
BTW - below are earlier reports and see the links page for more
disappointments, and it’s all about blood flow
It’s now 4 weeks since I had the procedure done, since I
was “Liberated”, and friends keep asking how I’m
doing and so here it is:
- right off the bat I noticed the brain fog was gone. It was like
I didn’t have to fight to focus and to think anymore. This
is huge – I don’t think you can understand this unless
you’ve had it.
- The pressure in my head went away – I always had this strange
sense my head was going to explode – that has gone away.
- For years I have had tension in the base of my neck and shoulders – and
that has mostly gone. My chiropractor said that she’d been
treating me for over 6 months and this was the first time those
muscles were not rock hard.
- I had a strange twitch in my stomach muscles – that is
- While my energy doesn’t seem to have improved greatly – it
has evened out somewhat – kinda strange to describe – but
it is different than before.
- My stereo is too loud and my bathroom stinks! (my hearing improved
and so did my sense of smell… :-) Eyesight and taste improved
a bit also – not dramatically, but noticeable.
I write these ‘improvements’ and in one way they seem
rather minor, mostly because they are all so subjective and there’s
no way any of these things can be objectively tested by a neurologist
or medical science. Plus, for me, and I imagine many others, these
conditions have been such a part of my life that I have gotten
used to them and they seem a normal part of life to me.
However, it’s only after they are gone that I begin to realize
what ‘normal’ really is. But to someone who is already ‘normal – they
probably don’t think it’s a big deal. And how do I
tell someone I’m ‘normal’ again and that that
is a big deal to me?
What I need to remember is that in the areas mentioned above, I
went from a serious problem to ‘normal’ – which
is a big leap for me. And, I’m still discovering ‘normal’.
And there is another area of great relief.
MS is a difficult disease to diagnose. The symptoms of neurological
damage are, especially in the beginning stages, very subtle and
elusive, and getting a ‘MS Diagnosis’ can take years.
Many have written about being told by the doctors that it’s “all
in your head” and being prescribed anti-depressants. With
MS, it is difficult not to question your own sanity. I cannot
begin to tell you the number of times I have gone to the doctor
with some strange symptom and to have him shrug his shoulders
and say “I have no idea – it must be the MS.” I
have had more tests where the results were in the ‘normal’ range
than I can remember. Yet I sure didn’t feel ‘normal’!
The hypochondriac’s headstone reads “I told you I was
sick!!!!”. And now – I too feel somewhat vindicated,
that it’s not just ‘all in my head’ – that
there is a physiological source to my neurological problems .
One of the biggest challenges in deciding to get treated was that
I was afraid to hope again. A big fear I, and many others, faced
was “Well what if I get there and they find nothing is wrong – then
what? I’m back to square one and feeling crazy again.” I
didn’t think I could face that disappointment.
Like many MSers, I have tried everything from diet to bee stings
to goats milk to try and deal with my MS symptoms (well, I didn’t
try the bee stings – but damn near everything else) – and
while sometimes there were small improvements, nothing seemed to
last and the trying just results in a growing frustration and feeling
of helplessness. I was afraid to hope again and try yet one more
round of ‘treatment/cure’, not sure I could face another
round of frustration and disappointment.
Now, having faced this fear, and on the other side of treatment,
while there are still disappointments and frustration, at least
I have something to point to and say, primarily to myself, “see – I
told you I was sick!” My own sense of sanity is somewhat
restored – and that’s also a big thing for me.
- I tried to go into the treatment with no expectations, but obviously
I did have some expectations – otherwise I wouldn’t
- I had hoped for more energy. Low energy has been my most significant
MS symptom and that was one of the big changes most Liberati talked
about – however, so far, that has not been the case for me.
- I also hoped the numbness in my hands would improve – so
far nothing much is happening there.
It’s about the blood flow:
As elated as I am with the positive changes, I really did expect
more and for the past 4 weeks I kept looking for this ‘more’ to
happen – instead, it almost seemed like I had less energy
than before. But it’s not less – just seems that
way. I’ve been high on hype and adrenalin for the past
4 weeks and that has kinda burned me out a bit - and, after some
serious rest, and coming to terms with what is important, I’m
feeling somewhat better the past few days.
What is important is IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW!!!
With CCSVI treatment I think we have a tendency to focus on MS
symptoms and what will be improved and what’s better in terms
of MS symptoms, and we forget that something very important has
happened in the body: our blood flow just got better – got
normalized. A very significant physical problem, CCSVI, has been
fixed in the body.
A problem that some researchers say has been with us since we
Think of it – a lifetime of having a problem in our bodies
that we were not even aware of.
The day after my procedure I got a chance to see the doctor’s
report and see the x-ray images of the stenosis and the ballooning
and, frankly, I was shocked.
Sure, I’d read all the reports that 95% of people with MS
had CCSVI and I had an ultrasound that showed ‘some indications’ of
a problem – but I couldn’t really know for sure until
the venogram – and there they were – 3 little malformed
valves blocking my blood flow. I was relieved, shocked, and emotionally
strung out for the next few weeks. A week after the treatment,
I was mulling all this over and it hit me like a ton of bricks:
this is something that has been operating in me all my life and
it very possibly explained some previous behaviours (from long
before I was diagnosed with MS). For instance, when I was young
I was often told I was ‘lazy’ – could it be that
even back then I simply didn’t have proper blood flow and
simply didn’t have the physical energy? “Lazy” has
a psychological inference and implies some sort of character flaw
- stinging indictments for a child. Could it have been an unseen
physical issue instead? I also noted a number of opportunities
or directions not taken in my life – because at some level
I knew I just didn’t have the energy to take advantage of
an opportunity that required a lot of physical effort. Where would
I be today if I had had proper blood flow and regular energy… who
knows… but at this point I can see where a lack of energy
affected some important decisions and opportunities not taken.
And there is a sort of grieving involved in that realization. Along
with anger that one of my most desired improvements, improved energy,
As part of dealing with that disappointment and moving forward,
I realized that the most important part to this treatment was the
restored blood flow and that life can now go forward with a more
even chance of physical normalcy.
Imagine that all your life you have had this stick that has been
hitting you. And yes, you could put Band-Aids on the bruises and
take pills and vitamins to help heal the damage – but none
of that is really all that effective as long as that stick keeps
hitting you. CCSVI is that stick. Once you get rid of the stick,
then you have a chance to heal and the Band-Aids and pills and
vitamins have a chance to work to heal the body.
When you take away the CCSVI stick, some of the body heals very
quickly and some of the body damage takes longer to heal. And that’s
where I am right now – watching my body heal.
I have developed a different sense of my body – it’s
like my body is coming alive in ways I didn’t realize it
wasn’t alive before. Sensations returning to my legs and
arms – physical sensations that were never there before.
Some of the new body sensations are kinda scary, because I don’t
know if they’re good or bad – I trust it’s all
good – what other choice do I have, because I really don’t
know at this point – but it’s kinda weird to go through.
The journey continues. I think the journey after treatment is
perhaps as challenging as the one before – it’s beginning
and learning to live a new life. I’m certainly not anywhere
close to my ‘pre-diagnosis’ physical condition – but
I am feeling better than I did a few months ago. So it’s
all good – so far…
Let’s see where I’m at in a few more months… I’ll
let you know.
Braden Corby (Liberati)
For those interested - here's what
I said 5 days post treatment:
This is one of the first things everyone
wants to know – what have I noticed since my treatment.
And I am reluctant to say much at this point, however:
- I was treated on April 11 and today, as I write this it’s
less than 5 days later, 5 days spent in intense focus, excitement,
tiring travel, and the emotions of finally having this done.
So talk to me in a few weeks and we’ll
- Having said that – the pressure in my head seems less,
the cog-fog seems improved a bit.
- My energy seems better but I’m still running on excitement
and adrenaline so that will take some time to verify.
- I have noticed from time to time that my eyesight seems better – clearer – and
colors seem brighter and have more depth.
So that's it as of April 16, 2011. As I notice stuff I will
continue to add to this page