Wednesday March 21st 2018

‘I’m doing marvelous’

It was six months ago this week Perry Goodyear travelled to the United States to undergo the liberation treatment for his multiple sclerosis.

“I’m doing marvelous.”

The Grand Bank resident was diagnosed with the disease, commonly referred to as MS, in 2003. He said his life has improved dramatically since the procedure.

“My biggest difference is the breathing. Well, I couldn’t hardly talk on the phone before I went, hey.”

Mr. Goodyear has the Primary Progressive form of MS, which affects between 10-15 per cent of people with the disease.

Last October he went to Albany, New York for the much-debated surgery. Like many, he experienced positive changes almost immediately.

The liberation treatment is based on a new theory by Italian researcher Dr. Paolo Zamboni, who believes MS is connected to a vascular disease called ‘chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency’, or CCSVI.

The procedure involves a relatively simple angioplasty-type surgery on veins in both sides of the neck.

Some patients, including Mr. Goodyear, require stents – small metal tubes – that prop the veins open, but 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.

Mr. Goodyear acknowledged his eating has vastly improved from the puerile diet he was placed on, just two weeks before the liberation treatment.

“My son, I could eat anything in the world. 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 by many to be an autoimmune disorder, up until research in recent years. The liberation treatment is not yet approved as an option for MS patients in Canada.

However, studies – including one in this province – are underway.

Mr. 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 months and spends an hour or day a more stretching his arms and legs.

He indicated his legs couldn’t be crossed when he started at first because there was too much pain.

“I must say, it’s all coming back pretty good now. They could stretch my legs or bend my legs and do almost anything with them now.”

His feet have also returned to a normal pinkish hue, from a discoloured shade of yellowish-purple-green.

Mr. Goodyear acknowledged other improvements include better hearing and eyesight as well as balance. He’s now able to sit up on a bed or 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 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.”

Mr. Goodyear suggested the $18,000 cost of the liberation treatment has been priceless to him and his family. 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 a year and a-half.

Throwing in a joke, he said “Now there’s no time on it – unless I keeps on eating. I suppose cholesterol will kill me.”

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