Grand Bank — Perry Goodyear travelled to the United States to undergo the liberation treatment for his multiple sclerosis six months ago this week and says he’s “doing marvelous.”
The Grand Bank resident was diagnosed with MS in 2003 and says his life has improved dramatically since he had the procedure, particularly the ease with which he can now breathe.
“Well, I couldn’t hardly talk on the phone before I went,” he said.
Goodyear has the primary progressive form of MS, which affects between 10 and 15 per cent of people with the disease.
In October, he went to Albany, N.Y., for the controversial surgery. He says he experienced positive changes almost immediately.
The liberation treatment is based on a theory by Italian Dr. Paolo Zamboni, who believes MS is connected to a vascular disease called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency.
The procedure involves a relatively simple angioplasty-type surgery on veins in the neck.
Some patients, including Goodyear, require stents — small metal tubes that prop the veins open — which are thought to raise the risk of complications. But so far, so good for the husband and father of one, who said he has been placed on a blood thinner for nine months.
Goodyear said his appetite has vastly improved.
“My son, I could eat anything in the world,” he said. “I’m eating three or four good meals a day now. I say I got 12 or 15 pounds on.”
MS had been generally thought to be an autoimmune disorder. The liberation treatment has not yet been approved as an option for MS in Canada although studies — including one in this province — are underway.
Goodyear was enrolled in the Newfoundland study and had completed several tests, but wasn’t able to schedule a required MRI before having the procedure.
He said he’s now involved in a physiotherapy study at the Miller Centre in St. John’s, where he spent two weeks in December. He was given a home program for the winter and spends an hour or more a day stretching his arms and legs.
He said first when he started he couldn’t cross his legs because there was too much pain.
“I must say, it’s all coming back pretty good now.”
His feet have also returned to a normal pinkish hue from a discoloured shade of yellowish-purple-green.
Goodyear’s other improvements include better hearing, eyesight and balance. He’s able to sit up in bed or in a chair unattended, which was something he couldn’t do before.
After almost a decade of gradual deterioration, he said he doesn’t expect overnight miracles, but is hopeful he will be able to stand again.
“I don’t know about walking, but it’s looking good and the therapist in St. John’s figures that I will.”
Goodyear said the $18,000 cost of the liberation treatment was worth every cent. The money was collected through a fundraising effort spearheaded by a committee in Grand Bank.
Prior to undergoing the procedure, he said doctors in New York put his life expectancy at 18 months.
“Now there’s no time on it,” he jokes, “unless I keeps on eating. I suppose cholesterol will kill me.”
The Southern Gazette