The Fredericton Junction man underwent liberation therapy in Albany, N.Y., in an attempt to alleviate health issues caused by multiple sclerosis. Donovan is coming to Woodstock on Saturday to speak with community members about his experiences with MS and liberation therapy.
He said that the two-hour surgery produced immediate, positive results.
"After the surgery I immediately had my balance and energy level back," he said. "My cognitive issues disappeared and I could walk fairly normally. I don't have to use a wheelchair anymore."
手術後我立刻可以平衡, 我覺得我的活力都回來了, 我可以像以前一樣走路,再也不用輪椅了!
Donovan suffers from relapsing-remitting MS, which means that his symptoms will worsen for a time and then seem to get better.
"When it comes, I am in a wheelchair for two to three months at a time, and when it gets better I have go to rehab," he said. "Then I can walk while holding onto furniture, but not for long distances because all of my right side is affected. I never have my balance and I walk with difficulty."
Before he had the liberation therapy procedure, Donovan was hospitalized for at least two months a year for the last four years.
"Now I go bowling every week and I can jump up and down with two feet. That is a big deal to someone with MS," Donovan explained. "People tell me they see the improvement every week when I bowl."
我現在每個星期都去打保齡球, 而且我可以跳2英呎高, 這對MS人而言幾乎是不可能的事情!大家都說我每星期都在進步!!
Liberation therapy is angioplasty of the jugular veins.
"Angioplasty has been around for 30 or 40 years, but it is new to people with MS," Donovan said.
"Last year W5 presented a program that told of this procedure that is having great results for people with MS," said Margaret Frenette, one of the co-ordinators of the Woodstock MS Self-Help Group.
"Italian doctor Paolo Zamboni believes there are abnormalities in the veins draining the brain and spinal cord in people with multiple sclerosis, and that these blocked veins are to blame for the debilitating disease. He suggests treatment for MS is to open the veins by inflating them with small balloons (angioplasty)."
The term used to describe this compromised blood flow in the veins is chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).
"CCSVI is the venous anomaly. Neurologists have been going on the belief that MS is an auto-immune disease, now people are saying maybe it's vascular; that's the debate that's going on right now in Canada," said Donovan.
Donovan had to travel to New York for his surgery, as the procedure isn't approved for use on MS patients in Canada. It is, however, approved in the United States, Italy, Poland, Mexico and other countries.
"We feel like we are drowning in a pool and the government is standing over us with a life jacket, saying 'We can't throw this to you until we've tested it for 10 years.' I am making a plea on behalf of all people who have MS to have this treatment made available for compassionate reasons," Donovan said.
"We hired a lawyer and will be taking legal action in Ontario against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a charter challenge. Section 15 of the charter states that everyone in Canada is equal, whether they are disabled or not. It goes to court in the next 30 days.
"I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a doctor, I'm just a guy that got better."
Donovan will be speaking about his experience Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Carleton Civic Centre community room in Woodstock.