Friday, March 18, 2011

Sanoviv Weekend Getaway...for a great price!

Every time I’ve been to the Sanoviv Medical Institute I have been touched by the experience. Not just my own experience but even more due to the people that I’ve met there and the stories I heard. Sanoviv is like the place that we all dream exists (especially when we or a loved one is sick) but most people have no idea that it does exist. I think everyone would benefit from going to the Sanoviv Medical Clinic. Unfortunately, too many people don’t know it exists or what Sanoviv can do for them.

Sanoviv is currently running a special for the month of March. They are calling this special the Sanoviv Weekend Getaway. (This is their promo) Normally priced at $1500 per person and $2500 per couple, is now priced at $999/$1500. You and a loved one (who are willing to share a bed), can enjoy 3 nights at Sanoviv, plus basic diagnostic tests and spa treatments. This weekend getaway can be used anytime in 2011 but must be paid for in full by March 31 to take advantage of the special pricing. 1-800-SANOVIV US and Canada or 1-801-954-7600 Worldwide. Sanoviv Website

I’d like to share just 3 experiences that I had a Sanoviv just last week when I was there.

It began when our Sanoviv van picked up one of the other guests from their hotel in San Diego. This woman, Stephanie, looked like the picture of health. She looked fit and strong. Her skin seemed to glow and her smile was beaming. She had a scarf around her head that looked stylish enough that if we were not all traveling to a medical clinic, I would not have suspected cancer. As we all chatted in the van on our way to the Sanoviv Medical Institute, Stephanie shared that she first went to Sanoviv back last August (2010). 3 days prior to her first visit, she had been told she had stage 4 lung cancer. Stephanie was in the hospital fighting pneumonia when the lung cancer was found. Needless to say, the doctors redirected their focus from the pneumonia and on to the cancer. Stephanie’s situation was not looking good when she arrived last August. She was on oxygen, could hardly walk and had to stay in her room as her immune system was so weak. Stephanie stayed at Sanoviv for 1 month. The doctors at Sanoviv explained that it was critical that they deal with the pneumonia first as it would kill her if it was not dealt with. Stephanie’s cancer was too far advanced and she was told she needed to go home and do the chemotherapy and radiation. The doctors at Sanoviv don’t believe there is only one right way to address a medical condition. Sanoviv supports integrative medicine including both allopathic and alternative medical treatments. They gave Stephanie a detailed home program (nutrition, supplements, medication, emotion/energetic practises) and continued to work with her doctors in Virginia. After 4 intense months (January 2011) of dedication to her health, Stephanie was Cancer free! Her trip to Sanoviv, this time, was for her follow up program. Stephanie is confident that she will do everything she needs to do to ensure the cancer never returns.
To read Stephanie’s full story, check out her blog.

At meal time everyone sits at tables that face the Thalasso pools. We eat a healthy meal that is organic, gluten free, low glycemic and about 70% raw. The dinning room is where I met Collette and her 32 year old daughter, Sharlie. I mention Sharlie’s age because Sharlie has Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Sharlie and her parents were told she wouldn’t make it past age 10, but she did. Sharlie has been going to Sanoviv since the place opened in 2000. Sharlie has only 17% of one lung working and yet she is not on oxygen. Not only that, Sharlie has a 4 year old son at home. Sharlie and her husband were told she should not try to get pregnant as it would be too much for her body to handle. Needless to say, all went very well and they have a healthy little boy. I have no doubt Sharlie will continue to prove the odds wrong.

The next day, I met a man named James, who was there for the Sanoviv’s Integrative Physical. He was just your average health guy without any critical health concerns but believed that Sanoviv was the best place to keep his health in check. James shared that his son is Autistic and that he and his wife first went to Sanoviv initially to see what they could do for him. After Sanoviv worked with them on his diet, chelating and several other practices, he continued to see huge improvements. His son is now 11 years old and attends regular classes at a public school. James said his son is now just like every other kid with just has a few odd tendencies (but what pre-teen doesn’t).

To me, Sanoviv is a place of miracles, if you or someone you know could benefit from this, please call and see what they can do for you. I’d also be happy to talk to anyone about my personal experience with Sanoviv.

This video gives a really great look at Sanoviv and their approach to health. Video

In health,
Holly Veillard

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Go with the flow

I'm back from my 6 month follow up appointment at the Sanoviv Medical Institute in Rosarito Mexico. My regular doctor, Dr. Mercado, was out of town at a conference. I was a little disappointed to hear this until I found out that I would be seeing Dr. Meza. Dr. Meza was the Sanoviv doctor that had gone to Italy to work with Dr. Zamboni on the CCSVI procedure and protocol.

Dr. Meza stressed the importance of flow in the veins. He explained that when he looks at ultra sound results, he doesn't focus as much on the narrowing of the veins as much as he looks for a good flow through the veins. The narrowing, he explained, is more a result of poor or inconsistent flow. The question then becomes what would cause there to be poor or inconsistent flow (turbulence or reflux)?

In my case, there has been a good improvement to the flow through the veins, however, it is not always consistent and shows some turbulence still in the left jugular. This makes sense to me as I've seen some amazing improvements but still have some tone or resistance in my muscles (although not at all to the degree it was prior to Liberation), I still have very cold extremities (left arm and leg) and some heat sensitivity (although I recover more quickly now). It seems it is quite common for people to have varying levels of recovery strictly from the liberation procedure. That being said, the doctors are very happy with my progress and encouraged me to continue on my current program (Nutrition, supplements, exercise, monitoring vitamin D levels etc).

When you hear the phrase “go with the flow”, what do think? I don’t normally think blood flow but more temperament. Could the two be connected? I think they are. The one major area where I have really not put much or really any attention is in relaxation, breathing exercises and meditation. Why is it always seemingly more important to focus on the tangible "to do" list where you see and feel more immediate results. In some way it almost feels lazy or “woo woo” crazy to meditate instead of doing physical therapy and yet I know both are equally important.

If someone was to ask me to describe my personality, I would say; I’m positive, pretty laid back; nothing much bothers me (if I have a plan for how things will go…red flag). I take life as it comes and I don’t worry about the little things. I like to feel in control especially over things I can’t control. Humm… This means on the surface, I’m pretty calm, cool and collected. In my head however, my brain is usually on overdrive.

You know how we all have that little voice of evaluation and reason. I don’t just have that one little voice in my head evaluating everything, I think I have a whole village of supposed experts offering the next plan of action. So if things don’t go as planned, my village of experts have a new idea. This is great if you’re not my husband, mother or sister that might make a decision or offers a suggestion without consulting me (aka, the village). Suddenly, I’m frustrated with them and they don’t have a clue as to why! See…crazy! :O)

I know I would find huge benefit in being more grounded and not as rigid in my ways. I think there is no coincidence that the blood in my body is not flowing with ease and my way of thinking is not operating with ease. Isn’t it interesting that when I am stressed (physically, mentally or emotionally) my physical body doesn’t move with as much ease.

In this next phase of my MS recovery, I am going to put more importance on the energetic connection. After all, at the smallest level, that is what we are is energy. So, I’ll start “small”. I’m going to start by journaling and doing breathing exercises (not at the same time). I’ll move on to meditation a little later.

On the physical side, I have attached my latest video. I noticed when I watched the video how little I use my left arm. I have the ability to move it and yet, I don’t. I have not done any physiotherapy on my arm yet but I think that is my next big body part to address with my Physio. Time to strengthen and build full range of motion.

6 Month video

Now, let’s all take a deep breath and Go With The Flow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Plugging Along - 5 month update

Have you ever taken golf lessons? A number of years ago, I took some private golf lessons. I'd golfed occasionally in the past but obviously had had no real training. I'd line up, hit the ball and it would travel surprisingly straight landing about 100 feet away. This made for a very LONG round of golf! When I took my lessons, the instructor told me about body positioning, hand placement and various techniques that I needed to learn. I positioned myself took a swing and missed...completely. I was so focused on everything I was suppose to think about, I forgot to keep my eye on the ball. After a number of attempts, my drives got a bit longer but now veered way off to the right...every time! Was this a lesson in frustration? Apparently learning a new skill takes time.

My mom asked me last week how I liked using my WalkAide. To which I answered "I HATE IT". If she was to ask me this week, she would have heard the complete opposite. I really like the WalkAide and I'm starting to see how it will work for me but it's taking practice. It's also not really something I can wear around the house as any slight bend of my knee will cause my foot to flex. So bending to empty the dishwasher or pick something off the floor or pick up my son are not made easier using the WalkAide. Where is does help is in walks from point A to point grocery shopping or going for a walk outside. These are all getting much much easier and efficient using the WakAide. I also notice that my gait when I'm not wearing my brace or WalkAide has improved. According to my physiotherapist, my walking has improved HUGE in the past few weeks...maybe I just don't notice the difference myself as easily. Or maybe I just have higher expectations for myself.

I saw a woman walking the other day at an office. She had a fast pace and walked with purpose. She was carring some papers and obviously had a purpose to where she was going. She wasn't thinking about her steps or concentrating on landing heal first, it was just very natural. She reminded me of me, 10 years ago. Seeing her walk made me a little sad and yet I couldn't not watch her walk. I told my Orthotist, Carla, about my frustration in using the WalkAide. Carla explained that I'm doing really well but that I need to SLOW DOWN my pace. She said that she had worked successfully with a lot of people who previously relied on using scooters or walkers to get around. They were use to moving at a slower pace when they started to use the WalkAide. Carla said my challenge is that I'm use to getting where I need to go as quick as possible and not necessarily using proper technique. She understood that since I have a 1 year old, this is often required but this will impact how quickly I pick up the correct gait for walking. The key for me is to take time each day to practice walking slowly and deliberately and soon my pace will increase.

I went to see my Neurologist for my annual check up today. Until today, I had not told Dr. Patry that I had had the Liberation procedure done. I was both excited to show him my improvements and really nervous about his response. To my surprise he was very interested in all my detailed documentation from Sanoviv. He was also quite impressed that they prepare a follow up program as well as complete follow up visits at 2 and 6 months. He said that it is the only place he has heard that is doing such and inclusive program. He suggested we do another MRI but that it's unlikely we will be able to have it done before my follow up visit to Sanoviv in March. I have to say, I was very impressed with Dr. Patry's response as it really showed his commitment to his patients health and choices.

That's it for now. All in all, things continue to improve. I am extremely grateful for the amazing people I have working with me and to all my family and friends who continue to be supportive of all my efforts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A series of unpredictable events...

Although I shouldn't be, I still seem to be surprised that things always work out. Not necessarily the way I thought they would but the way they are meant to. Higher power, Spirit, God...whatever you want to call it. It comes down to faith. Faith that things will work out, that I will learn the lessons I need to learn and that I don't have to control everything. Or more accurately...that I can't control everything.

1. The weekend before last, our defrosting Christmas tree, all bundled up tight, fell on top of my brace (AFO - Ankle Foot Orthotic) which was laying in the entrance of our house. Humm...this is going to be a bit of a challenge. A big chunk had busted out of the entire side that allows the brace to bend. My Orthotist took what remained of the brace and would create a new one, however, I would need to live without it for the next week.

2. The hard work is starting to pay off. My last visit to the physiotherapist was AMAZING! I know...who talks about going to a physiotherapist as amazing. hahaha...
After going through some exercises, we did some Dry Needling (IMS - Inter-muscular Stimulation) on my calf muscles. He then attached electrodes to the muscles in my leg to stimulate my dorsiflexor muscle to lift my foot.

Since doing this treatment, I've been able to tap my left foot when my knee is bent. Not a full range of motion but lift my toe/foot unassisted.

3. I met with my Orthotist today to pick up my new brace (AFO). He then talked to me about a relatively new technology called a WalkAide.

This is a small transmitter-like thing that is strapped to my leg and delivers electrical stimulation to the nerves that tell my muscles to lift my toe/foot. It works in a similar manor that a wii gaming system (bluetooth technology) to read where my leg is positioned in time and space. When I lift my leg and bend my knee, an impulse triggers my foot to flex. When my leg straightens, the foot relaxes. This system normally costs about $5000.00, however, there is currently a clinical trial taking place in Alberta. This trial requires the client to pay only $500.

What does this mean for me? It means the real possibility of wearing pretty shoes again!!! (yes, like in the picture...hahaha) Okay, it means a bit more than that. :O)

Because the muscles will be doing active work again, the WalkAide will allow the muscles in my leg to start rebuilding. It also is consistently stimulating the nerves that talk to the required muscles. These nerves haven't necessary been used in a while and some are hanging out in hibernation. Once these nerves start to get triggered on a regular basis, they are finding that other nerves (the hibernating ones) start to get recruited to help out.

There will be a few challenges and not everyone is a candidate for the WalkAide. It's going to require learning a new method of walking. This will take some practice and it's a bit of an uncomfortable feeling as a current moves the muscles without me doing anything.

Although I will be trained in how to use the WalkAide and proper walking technique by the Orthotist, the real work and practice will come in the real world...uneven surfaces, no one at my side coaching every step.

Sounds like FUN!!!
Wonder how it will work chasing a 1 yr old? :O)

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Mental Game

Sorry for the long delay in my update. I've been back from my follow up appointment in Mexico for 3 weeks now. Everything went very well and the doctors were very happy with my progress. So why the delay in writing an update??? Well, what I've realized is that rehabilitation is truly a physical, mental and emotional process. I expected the physical challenges in rebuilding my health but I didn't anticipate the mental and emotional aspects that could potentially make or break a full recovery.

I'm not sure it's a human tenancy or a woman thing or just my crazy mind that chats incessantly. This mental chatter has the ability to lead me down all sorts of crazy thought paths. Some empowering, some not so much. The key is to hold on tight to my empowering context.

In the past month I have found the mental effort to stay dedicated to my plan the most challenging. What is it that has top athletes get up a 5am and train for hours before starting their work or school day. What has them "stick to it", day after day after day? I'm not an athlete, I don't have the drive and dedication to accomplish amazing feats. It's only certain people that have that. Right? I guess the truth is... nobody is...until they are. In other words, nobody knows what they are capable of doing until they do it. Nobody is a top athlete until they are and nobody retrains muscles and nerves to react normally, until they do.

There was also the conversation in my head that maybe this, how much I've already recovered, is good enough. Not in a "I give up" sorta way but more in an "I've come a long way and I can do more that I have in years so I'll just appreciate where I'm at". Yeah, nice excuse. The truth is, this was really just my way of finding a back door to give up on what I truly believe is possible....because I just might fail. The thing is, if I don't give up on my plan, I just might succeed. :O)

The great thing is that these were just thoughts. Thoughts that came into my head and left just as quickly. The work with my physiotherapist is going extremely well. My gait (ability to walk evenly) is more balance and the dry needling is allowing my muscles to relax enough that I can do exercises to raise my left toe and foot without the use of my brace (short amounts of time). My strength training is also starting to make a noticeable difference in balancing my left and right side.

On the emotional side, I was competing with doubters. Not necessarily real people that have spoken to me personally but doubt in the general public. Like it should make any difference to me and what I believe and yet in some way, it bothered me.

When I returned from my follow up in Mexico, the big story on the news was about "the so called liberation treatment" and the death of one person who had had the treatment. The media loves drama and unfortunately they are not always completely unbiased in telling their story. Referring to it as "The so called liberation treatment" the way you might refer to the "so called Loch Ness Monster".

They began by saying that a number of bad side affects are beginning to show up. Valid statement. A man died. Valid statement. Unfortunately there was also a lot of very important information missing. What was the man's condition going into the surgical procedure? Was the correct protocol followed including blood thinners for a period of time as per Dr. Zamboni? Was he following any rehabilitative processes including supplementation? There was also no information given on how many people have bad side affects and/or died from approved MS medications. In my opinion, these dramatic stories serve only to raise fear and don't provide all the facts that would allow the public to make informed decisions on their health.

I encourage individuals to get informed of both the risks and benefits of any health procedure. I have found that it is imperative that I take on being an advocate for my own health and not rely solely on the decisions of the government or medical profession. In that, I not only take complete responsibility for my health I also take some power over my health.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2 Months After Liberation Video

Well, it's about time for a new updated video. Check it out here.

I'll be leaving for Mexico in a week to go back to Sanoviv for my 2 month follow up appointment. This will mean getting new doppler scans of my veins to check that they are still open and have correct flow. I will meet with a Neurologist and the rest of my medical team as well.

I'll share more when I return.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Slow and steady, it isn't a race.

It feels like a slow process but I think it's just a matter of continuing to manage my own expectations. I was very eager after the CCSVI procedure to take on my health from every direction I could. My plan was to do physiotherapy and daily stretches and active release therapy and Pilates to build my strength and take my supplements and eat gluten free and look after my son and have a great relationship with my husband and bake my own bread and make my own nut butter and almond milk. Unrealistic expectations...hahahaha, probably.

Well, my body slowed me down. After a few days of "light stretching", I pulled the muscles in my butt. I could hardly sit up straight and putting on my socks was NOT fun. So, I re-looked at my game plan and scaled back on what I was taking on and the expectation I had for my progress. Not that I don't have the same end goals, I'm just giving myself a little more time and grace to get there.

So what is my end goal? My ultimate goals are to wear dress shoes (in other words, no brace) and to ride a bike (balance and coordination). Unlikely? Maybe, but if I don't put it out there, I definitely won't reach it. Don't worry, I know there are many other goals to get to before these ones will be reached.

Ok, so what's the update?
It's funny, a lot of what people can see, like my ability to walk with ease or use my left hand, improved within a few hours or days after the procedure. Not completely healed, obviously, but it blows me away that any physical limitations could be impacted without any physical therapy. Now, it's taking physical therapy and work on my part to continue to see improvement on the physical side of things. So the things that I notice improving physically are not as noticeable for others to see. For me, it's not so much about what specific muscles work, but what that muscle working allows me to do. For example before the CCSVI procedure, I could not raise my left arm above my shoulder. Now, not only can I raise my arm over my head but I can hold a bath towel in my left arm and dry off my right shoulder. I can brush my hair with my left hand and wipe my mouth with a napkin without having to set down the dinner fork in my right hand.

The "not so obvious" things that have continued to improve is my energy. I have way more energy than I had prior to the procedure and yet I still get tired. The thing is, it's a different kind of tired. This is the kind of tired you get from being out of shape. I need to slowly build my cardiovascular and muscular abilities. I don't find I get fatigued in the way that has my muscles just stop firing and no longer function. I can go for a walk, clean the house, cook dinner over a hot stove and still feel fine...which is really great. I have also noticed improvements around heat sensitivity. I don't get impacted by the heat as much as I did before. I can have a hot shower and blow dry my hair and not be wiped out. I can sit in a hot bath for 20 or 30 minutes and notice my leg not functioning as well when I get out but it then recovers within 10 or 15 minutes.

Back in May of this year (before the liberation procedure), I made a list of symptoms that were impacting me and things that I couldn't do because of my limitations. There were 38 symptoms listed. When I checked them today (1 month after the procedure), 16 of the 38 symptoms have been positively affected. Not all completely relieved but positively impacted.

Some of the latest things I've noticed...

I can throw a ball with left hand
I can put both hands behind my neck (as in doing a sit up)
I can raise both arms straight up above my head.
I can use a towel with my left arm to dry myself off (except my head…not enough strength yet)
Both my legs seem to be working more equally. After walking several flights of stairs both hamstring muscles were burning. I have not experienced this with left leg for years
I can stand on my tip toes (mostly using right leg)

I go for my 2 month follow-up appointment at Sanoviv in November. It will be interesting to see the positive impacts that can be noticed over the next month.

Here is to a continued slow and steady recovery.