The year is quickly coming to a close so I thought I’d better squeeze in one last blog. Wow the year went fast, always does but it seems to accelerate as I get older, just like my mother said. So I guess it’s now a time to reflect back on the year and there is a lot to look back on. I’ll begin with my health and where I’m at today compared with a year ago. Unfortunately I can’t say that I’m any better, an honest assessment would gauge my condition as a little worse. I say that in terms of my functional abilities, my mobility issues are a little more troublesome today. This is a very subjective conclusion but I feel a little slower and less sure on my feet. Not that I would classify this as significant progression, maybe more like slight progression but my life sure hasn’t gotten any easier which is a disappointment considering the elevated hopes I had with the Liberation procedure but I’ll get into that a little later. The fact is that I’m still doing alright when I look at my life as a whole rather than a specific problem I may have with my legs or my eyes. I am still mobile, I can still drive, I continue to feel and look strong and I’m still a very happy, optimistic and positive person. That’s more than I can say about many so called healthy people in the general population.
It was a very significant year in the world of multiple sclerosis, specifically in reference to CCSVI. One year ago there was a huge fervor being created over Dr. Zamboni’s theory, intense confrontation between the medical community and MS sufferers and very little action in terms of the demand for testing and treatment. At that time the thought of getting an ultrasound test in Canada was a pipe dream never mind the distant possibility of finding treatment anywhere! Today there are numerous facilities around the world offering treatment and the fact that I was able to go for an ultrasound test last month without a problem and Alberta Health paid for it is the complete opposite of how things were a year ago. Receiving the results of my ultrasound was a different story however. I told the clinic that I’d pick them up but when I called two days later to confirm that they were ready I was told that they had been mailed. So after giving it over a week and they still hadn’t come I called back to hear that there must have been some kind of mistake and they would put them in the mail that day. Well another ten days later they still weren’t here and I got the same response! So I finally picked them up this week, what a hassle. The results were just as I had explained them but now I have the actual report that I can send to Dr. Sanin. The important part of the report was the doctor’s impression which stated “the appearance of my right jugular vein suggests there was some type of injury at the time of catheterization which caused an occlusive change to occur in the right IJV throughout. There is no procedure that could be used to open the collapsed vein now. It was not a thrombosis but a traumatic injury to the vein that caused its total collapse”. Everything else appeared good but I would like Dr. Sinan’s opinion on this. Not that there is anything he can do about it now but he needs to know this information for his own study. The number of studies to investigate CCSVI around the world is huge and our understanding of Zamboni’s theory has grown immensely. Acceptance of the necessity to study CCSVI is now widespread even here in Alberta where as little as a few months ago the possibility of government funding was nonexistent. Just this month the Alberta government announced one million dollars for an observational study to understand the safety and patient reported benefits of CCSVI. In terms of how things typically move through our medical and scientific establishments, CCSVI is on a rocket ride! It was started in Canada by Premier Wall in Saskatchewan when he announced $5,000,000 to study CCSVI and Newfoundland is following suit with a similar study to Alberta. Actually I should correct that, it was all started by people living with MS and their loved ones. The government, medical establishment and yes even the MS Society could no longer ignore the vocal and persistent MS sufferers who insisted that they were being denied a legitimate treatment. I’m happy to say that I was involved in that process along with wonderful groups like CCSVIcalgary.org and similar organizations that popped up all over the country. My earlier concerns over coordination of all these various investigations has been alleviated somewhat. There is cooperation happening throughout the world now and I believe some answers are not far off. I was contacted by the Calgary MS clinic this week to ask if I would participate in a project to review an online questionnaire that will be part of the Alberta study. They are asking for help to determine if the questions being asked are clear and easy to understand. They are asking for input into the questions and for any additions that should be included as well as important information about CCSVI that have not been asked that I feel should be included in the survey. This was a real shocker coming from a department of neurologists but extremely welcome. They need this back by January 2nd which is kind of rushing me given the season but they are trying to start the study very quickly which almost seems counterintuitive considering they estimate the overall study to take 3 years to complete! That is the part that I’m not happy with but at least its positive progress.
Either way I still have to live day to day and carry on with my life as best I can. That means continuing to work out and take care of myself. One positive that I’m looking forward to is skiing and it starts again on January 7th, woohoo! My balance hasn’t been too good and my left eye is really giving me trouble but I’m eager to get out there regardless. I’ve got some nasty wipe outs that are still fresh in my mind that need to be improved upon. I suppose there’s always Christmas to look forward to as well, only two more sleeps! Today is also my daughters eighth birthday and tomorrow will be a big celebration with her and the rest of my family. Then after Christmas I’ll be packing my kids up to spend some time in Fairmount, lots of good things ahead including a new year and a new decade! I feel very positive about things to come, not only in my life but with advancements in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Last year definitely had its challenges and tough times but I got through it. My father passed away and that was very hard on me but the sun always comes up tomorrow. I had the aforementioned disappointment with my angioplasty results but my hope is not lost on that effort yet! On the flip side I had an awesome experience travelling Egypt and Germany. I also had the incredible blessing of meeting the love of my life and I now have an incredible and beautiful woman to share my future with. It was a long wait but I knew the good Lord had someone out there for me; it just took a lot of faith to be patient with His plan.
So there is a lot to reflect upon for 2010, there were some very bad occurrences but some very good things that happened as well. I guess that is what life is all about, but more importantly is how we respond to and use our experience to create positive outcomes in our life. This is not always easy but if we don’t focus on the positives, the negatives can burry us emotionally and physically. I’m taking a positive outlook for 2011, who knows what will come of this year but I must remain optimistic. I know that everything is in God’s hands and my hope and faith are securely anchored to the rock that Jesus laid down for us. It’s this time of year that we should acknowledge this and give praise and thanks to our saviour Jesus Christ, I know I do! Well that’s my year wrapped up and over all I feel it was a pretty good year and I joyfully anticipate 2011. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and of course a Happy and Healthy New Year.