MS patients hope controversial surgery will be approved in the US

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Multiple Sclerosis patients across the country are hoping hospitals will approve a controversial operation aimed at stopping the disease from progressing. Many of those MS warriors live on the Western Slope.

One Grand Junction woman says she's won her fight against MS with the “Liberation Procedure.” However, some doctors are discounting it, leaving many MS sufferers searching for any way to have the surgery.

“I'm walking. My balance is incredible. There's no brain fog,” says MS patient Cynthia Kohls.

Those are words Kohls thought she'd never say after MS debilitated her ability to move several years ago.

“To see her everyday get a little worse, with no hope… The medications weren't working, and then the glimmer of hope was surgery,” says Cynthia’s husband, Jeff.

The surgery has been fronted by a doctor from Italy who deemed it the “Liberation Procedure.” It's basically a common angioplasty to unclog restricted veins, often found in MS patients.

“It's that blockage and that restriction that's causing the blood to not leave the brain,” says Cynthia. Cynthia and nine other patients had the controversial operation done in Mexico two weeks ago, hoping to get their blood flowing again. “There’s people that came in with canes and were walking when they left,” she says.

But the surgery isn't yet approved in America, for MS patients, that is.

“It's been done for years and years and years. If a normal person was to walk in, they would take them immediately. But with my diagnosis of MS, they won't give me the opportunity to see if I even do have blocked arteries,” says patient Cindy Hill, who lives in Clifton.

Cindy has fought MS for 11 years and is angered that some doctors are resisting the radical idea that MS could be a vascular problem (Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency, C.C.S.V.I.), and not caused by a malfunctioning immune system.

“They wanna have their own research, a 10-year study. She didn't have 10 years to wait. She was getting worse every day,” says Jeff of his wife.

But Cynthia says her costly operation literally drained the disease from her body. “I have my mobility back which is wonderful. But I have my hope back which is amazing,” she says.

“They are almost back to the way they used to be. I honestly can't remember what it used to be like...and I want that back,” says Cindy.

Some 400,000 other US Multiple Sclerosis patients share the same dream. Some are now traveling to other countries with thousands of dollars, hoping to make it a reality.

Cynthia is hosting a meet-andgreet Wednesday, July 7 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (790 26 1/2 Road, Grand Junction) to share her experience with anyone interested. The event begins at 7 p.m.

To contact Cynthia, or to send a donation to her cause of raising money to fund her surgery and treatment for other MS patients, check out her blog by clicking on the link below under 'Related Links.'

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