On Friday, Linda and I returned from a six day trip to southern California where she received the CCSVI treatment that I have written of in previous posts. Note that the Wikipedia article linked above is not very favorable to the topic and is probably not the best source of information. If you want more I’ll put you in touch with Linda if you don’t know her already. I wanted to post something before we left, but I didn’t want to tell the whole world that our house would be empty for several days.
To put it very simply for those who haven’t heard of it, CCSVI refers to a condition of narrowed jugular or azygos veins. The theory is that the slight backup of blood resulting from the narrowed veins causes iron deposits in the brain. This damages cells and triggers the autoimmune disease we call Multiple Sclerosis. There may be other veins involved as well, illustrated by what was found in Linda’s case. I’ll get to that. The treatment involves widening the veins, either through angioplasty or the use of stents where appropriate.
This is the second time Linda has been treated. The first was back in March of this year by a local interventional radiologist. That’s a whole other story. She did get some relief from that. Her eyeglass prescription had to be altered because her eyesight got better. She had better balance and clarity of thought. However, the effects were short lived. In the last couple of months she began to decline again. Two weeks before we left she began experiencing severe vertigo, which went beyond anything she had in the past.
We had a decision to make. The individual she saw here would not work with her any further. She has been trying to get physicians in this area to offer the treatment so that those who do not have the means to travel might have hope of getting it. She has not given up this mission, but she was failing fast and we needed to take action. It is our hope that the positive results from the second treatment will help to open local doors. Thus we headed out to Synergy Health Concepts in Costa Mesa to see doctors who have experience and believe in the efficacy of the procedure.
Things got off to a rough start, but everything was made right and I consider the trip a success. The support staff at Synergy could be a little better at organizing the details of the trip, but the doctors inspired confidence and everyone was friendly and helpful. On Monday we had the testing and consultation. Dr. Hewett showed us the pictures and explained what was being shown. We left on Monday feeling more comfortable about what we were doing. The driver for the medical transportation service that is contracted to handle getting people between the hotel and various facilities then took us to a peer on the beach where we looked out on the ocean and took a few pictures. Watch Facebook for those. We don’t have them up yet. There was an extra cost for the side trips, but it made the whole experience more pleasant.
Tuesday was the big day. It was Dr. Arata who performed the actual procedure at Linda’s request, as she had been conversing with him on Facebook. It was in the post-op consultation that we learned they had found something unique in their experience. She did need angioplasty in the expected places, but also had a closed renal vein that required a stent to insure that it would stay open. Blood was backing up along her spine, possibly explaining the MS lesions we knew were there from a previous MRI. The stent has been causing her some pain, but we understand that to be normal and temporary. We went back to the hotel and sat on the patio for a light lunch before retiring to the room for her to lie down. Even with the discomfort from the stent, she felt better. The vertigo was gone. Her extremities were not as prone to be cold.
On Wednesday we went back to Synergy to go over what was done, again with Dr. Hewett. We would have preferred to talk more with the doctor who performed the procedure, but we have no complaints. Dr. Hewett was very thorough in showing us what was done, explaining what we should do next, and explaining what we could reasonably expect. He showed us an example of the stent that was used and assured us that because of its placement it wasn’t going to go anywhere. Afterwards we were taken to a good seafood restaurant on the beachfront along with the other couple who had come from Canada for treatment.
Thanksgiving day was pleasant. I missed being with family, but we sure didn’t miss a good meal. The hotel put on quite a buffet. I joked that I would come back again just to get the pecan pie that night with the room service guy, and he brought us some. No doubt the fact that Linda and I had been double-tipping him inadvertently for the past couple of days helped. The day was clear and sunny in contrast to what it was like when we arrived. We walked around the grounds for a while before settling in for the evening.
We were both ready to come home when the day came. The trip home was a little better than the trip in, but not by much. The hotel couldn’t get our bill right. The airport curbside checker for American Airlines was rude. I could devote a whole post to what happened in the security line and I just might. I don’t fault the agents as much as I do the government that mandates such an unconstitutional invasion of privacy that has not stopped one terrorist.
So ended our latest mad dash in the pursuit of hope for Linda’s recovery. The dramatic results we dreamed of have not yet shown themselves. In fact she was dismayed to find she had more trouble walking after we got back than she did before we left. Yet I hold onto hope. She didn’t walk at all during the time we were there except to get to and from her seat on the airplane. That in combination with irritation from the procedure may well account for her present difficulty. I expect that she will now begin to improve, knowing that she will not give up.
I suppose we all chase hope of some kind or other. When we lose hope we lose the will to live. That is why I thank Jesus that we have a hope that goes beyond anything we face in this life. We may lose hope of healing, but we will not lose hope in Yahweh. We cannot know what this life will bring, but we can know what will happen when our lives on earth are complete. We have life in Him. Our hope does not rest on these temporal supports, but on the Rock of ages. That hope we do not have to chase. It is with us always whatever happens next. If that’s the kind of hope you are looking for, please contact me. I’d love to share it with you.