Despite controversies, MS patients continue to seek experimental treatment雖然仍有爭論，但是MS患者仍繼續尋求實驗性的手術治療
Karen Cyopik 凱倫想要跳出無時無刻的疲憊感，噁心嘔吐的感覺以及一星期必須注射一次藥物的生活。她想要徹底的脫離這樣的生活。
Karen has lived with multiple sclerosis for 19 months, and before the disease progresses any further she hopes to travel to Costa Rica for a new and controversial treatment, the Liberation treatment.
The treatment, developed by Italian doctor Paolo Zamboni, is a form of angioplasty performed on neck veins to widen them. While some disagree, Zamboni’s research states that MS is a result of narrowing in the neck veins. While the treatment is not a cure many believe it can dramatically halt the progression of the disease that eventually leaves sufferers physically disabled and with neurological damage.
“It’s not a cure, I know that, but it is the only chance of slowing the disease down,” said Karen, who pans to travel to Costa Rica for the procedure in late February. She hopes to slow or stop the disease before her symptoms get any worse. There has been some controversy surrounding the treatment which is not recognized by the Ministry of Health or MS Society of Canada. The treatment flies in the face of traditional beliefs surrounding MS as a immuno-deficiency disease and recently one Niagara Falls man who travelled to Costa Rica for the procedure died after returning home.
Karen and her husband Randy admit they are aware any procedure has risks. According to their research however all cases of death related to the procedure have involved the use of stents. Traditionally angioplasty uses balloons to widen viens which are removed after the procedure. In some cases when the balloons are removed the vein shrinks again and a small sheath, or stent, is inserted to keep it open. Karen said if it comes down to it she would refuse the stent, but she understands why someone with advanced symptoms would take such a risk.
Karen, who suffers from fatigue, pain and vertigo as a result of her condition, pointed out that the traditional approach to treatment is a drug regimen that combats the progress of the disease. At a cost of $450 each, Karen’s weekly shots don’t come cheap and what makes it worse is the drugs themselves often bring severe side effects such as nauseau and headaches for Karen.
“The standard treatment is to give you drugs, and they are only 30 per cent effective,” said Karen, who has high hopes and great faith placed in the Liberation treatment. While many countries have adopted the procedure Karen and Randy believe that the interests of large pharmaceutical firms has something to do with resistance to the treatment in Canada.
“I feel like I am drowning and everyone is arguing trying to decide what type of flotation device to throw me,” she said.
“I think in 10 years it will be an acceptable procedure ... but most of us don’t have 10 years to wait,” Karen said, 他說：也許10年後這會是一個可被接受的治療方式，但是絕大部分的人並沒有10年來等待。（如果你曾經經歷過，感受過，那你就能夠深刻的理解了）adding that she had coffee last week with a fellow sufferer who received the treatment and has had relief from symptoms.
Karen admits she is a little worried about the procedure just as she would be about any surgery but she thinks the treatment is her only chance to halt the disease before it cripples her or worse.
“Her one goal is to go into the back yard, tip her head back, and look at the stars,” said Randy choking back tears. Currently Karen’s vertigo would bring her to the ground if she attempted this simple pleasure.
Karen has booked her surgery and she is hopeful, the only hard part now she explained will be coming up with the $13,900 for the treatment and related physio-therapy.
“I can’t wait to go, if it wasn’t for the cost I would have gone already,” said Karen, who is already surprised by the outpouring of support by strangers as her two daughters, 27-year-old Lindsey Ciupa and 31-year-old Erin Cyopik, already put together a bowling fundraiser. They have also planned a jack-and-jill-type event for Feb. 26 at the Stamford Lion’s Club in Niagara Falls. For more information her daughters have put together a web site at www.karensjourney.com.