Sunday March 18th 2018

Trial treatment works wonders for MS sufferer

April Furlong has suffered with multiple sclerosis for about as long as she can remember.

She had trouble walking, speaking, going up and down stairs and even keeping her eyes straight for reading (she calls it “squirrelly eyes”).

Her mom was also afflicted with the disease, but April says that she’s always had a particularly aggressive form of it.

It all changed when, after a fundraising drive in Whitecourt and her home province of Newfoundland, she flew to Poland for a trial treatment.

“It really, really hurt. The most pain I’ve ever felt, but it was worth it,” said Furlong, after the treatment.

The treatment is called venous angioplasty and it involves inflating the veins in the neck to increase blood circulation. April heard about it from a friend in Newfoundland who had recently undergone the procedure and had returned with only good things to say.

Currently, Alberta Health Services is still waiting for more research to be done, before it recommends the procedure for MS sufferers.

“At this time, it is only a hypothesis that…venous angioplasty is clinically beneficial…

Therefore, unless part of an approved research protocol, these procedures will not be provided by AHS to persons with MS,” says the Health Services website.

For April, the proof is in her transformation since the surgery.

She doesn’t need a cane to walk anymore, she can stand on her tip toes, she can walk backwards, and her speech has even improved remarkably.

“I’m proof positive that this works,” she said.

April flew out to Poland on October 8 and undertook the procedure on October 14 and, since then, she has been noticing new improvements all the time. Like the most recent one: she has colour in her cheeks that she’s never seen before.

While Health Services waits for more research, April has devoted herself to being an angioplasty evangelist, and says she would recommend it to anyone suffering with multiple sclerosis.

“It’s amazing, the procedure hurt but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t think twice about it,” she says.

The procedure wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of her friends in Whitecourt and back in Newfoundland.

“I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get over there. Everyone who helped out, every single person.”

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