Kate Cardinall suffered with multiple sclerosis (MS) for 20 years until a 40-minute procedure completely cured her and gave her back her life.
Now she wants others to benefit from the surgery she received in Poland..
"We want chronic cerebro spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) to be recognized by the health minister. It's not just about MS, although the condition affects people with MS, it also affects those who don't," said Cardinall. "All of us should have the right to at least have the initial test done to see if we are affected by CCSVI."
CCSVI is a condition that causes obstructed blood flow in the veins that drain the central nervous system. If these veins cannot drain, iron and other toxins are held in the body and cause damage to the central nervous system.
Many people with MS are suspected to have CCSVI as the root cause of their illness, and a simple blood flow check can confirm or deny the presence of CCSVI, Cardinall noted.
She found out about the procedure while watching an episode of W5. Shortly after the program ended, Cardinall went on-line doing her own research and looking for a place to have the test done locally.
She found one private clinic in False Creek willing to do the test, and once it was completed, she found out she was positive for CCSVI.
Next came the search for a clinic that would do the procedure to cure the CCSVI. That procedure includes using angioplasty to open the vein that is obstructed.
Cardinall had her name on several waiting lists in Scotland, Poland, Bulgaria and India - all countries that have been offering the procedure for some time with great success.
Poland was the first country to call Cardinall back.
The surgery was set for Sept. 1 and Cardinall arrived optimistic but unprepared for the complete change she would see just minutes after the surgery.
"It was like being reborn," she said.
For years Cardinall suffered with symptoms like extreme fatigue, ongoing chills, loss of appetite, confusion, leg cramps, dizziness, eye problems and an inability to walk because her legs were numb from the hips down. Immediately after the CCSVI surgery, colour came back to Cardinall's face and her eyes, and her appetite came back.
"Apparently my body was being starved of oxygen all those years. Every symptom of my MS was reversed within hours of having the procedure done," Cardinall said.
The quick and painless surgery in Poland cost Cardinall about $11,000, but she said the cost was well worth the freedom it bought.
"We would do it every day if we had to," she said.
But Cardinall knows paying for the CCSVI surgery is not an option for many, and that's why she wants to see the Health Ministry recognize CCSVI and offer treatment in Canada through our health care program.
She and her husband manned a booth at Sunnycrest Mall last Saturday trying to spread the word and encourage others to contact MP John Weston, the health minister and the premier to ask them for testing and treatment of CCSVI in Canada.
"So many countries hear about this and put it in place. Even Kuwait is doing this. And the procedure is nothing new. It is already being done here to treat other conditions," Cardinall said.
For more information about CCSVI and where treatment is currently available, see www.multiplesclerosissurgery.com/where-tested-ccsvi.html.