Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 20, 2010
Liberation therapy comes from the heart
Life, despite MS, can be rich, rewarding, full of faith and love
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
There is a controversial new therapy for the incurable and crippling disease of multiple sclerosis (MS). The treatment has the officious name of chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). As with many "cures" that have preceded it, the treatment has been oversold with the term "liberation therapy."
Whether the new treatment actually liberates and frees people from multiple sclerosis has yet to be determined. Its efficacy and long-term safety is still unknown. Many desperate sick people and their loved ones want desperately for this therapy to work. Multiple sclerosis can be a desperate disease.
My neurologist is a world-renowned MS researcher and is closely examining CCSVI; he will let me know if he thinks there's enough validity to the therapy for me to pursue it. It is important for me to know the therapy has had proper clinical study with the findings published in a reputable medical journal and subjected to rigorous scrutiny of a peer review process.
The jury is still out on the "liberation therapy" although anecdotal reports are quite promising for relief, but not liberation, from MS.
I must take a cautious route. So many "cures" have been presented to me in the past: mega-vitamin therapies, hyperbolic oxygen, bee venom, blue-green algae pills, magnetized bracelet to balance my internal energy, special shoes to improve circulation in my feet and legs, acupuncture the list goes on and on. They all promised to restore my health if I would open my wallet to the agents of the "cure."
The disappointments hurt almost as much as the disease. If the liberation therapy passes scientific analysis, you can bet I will be in line for CCSVI, but not before. I must protect my family's hearts from being broken yet again by hopes that prove to be false.
I was reading an account of a young woman with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis who travelled to Bulgaria for the liberation therapy. A Quebec news outlet interviewed her. She was quoted as saying, "When you get to the secondary progressive form of MS, you're just slowly dying, so why can't (Canadian doctors) help patients on a compassionate basis."
That's not true. I have secondary progressive MS. My life is not spent languishing in my wheelchair waiting for my last breath. Au contraire! There's a lot of living yet to do. I have the love of my family, my church, and five grandchildren who need their grandfather. And I need them.
I may be crippled but that has not taken away my joy for life. People in my community constantly see me gallivanting around town with grandchildren on my knee as my electric wheelchair whirs through the streets toward a playground or park.
Through my writing and speaking, I am able to make a contribution to my world and advocate for things like the right to life and disability inclusion, and warn society about the perils of euthanasia acceptance. I have been more use to God since becoming disabled than when I was healthy.
I have a hope that is true: the reality of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what happens here, I live with the knowledge that ultimately I will liberated from multiple sclerosis in eternity with my Lord.
My liberation has already begun. My greatest bondage (far greater than the bondage of crippling disease) has been the bondage of sin which is only broken by what Christ did at Calvary. Although my body is in a wheelchair, my spirit soars to be free in Christ.
I understand the fear people have of incurable disease and serious disability. I have had the same fear. As each new phase of disability drags my body further down, I am gripped by new bouts of fear.
Through prayer and the assurance of the Scriptures and Church teaching, Christ reminds me anew that real freedom, real security, real peace will not be found in this world but only in Christ. This world is merely an anteroom for the next; our time here is insignificant compared to eternity.
An old hymn carries the lines: "Be still my soul: the Lord is on thy side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain." Followers of Christ must understand and accept that "the cross of pain or grief" is often a tool God uses to teach, change or purify his children.
We have a loving Father who is concerned about the character and holiness of his children. He is not a benevolent grandfather who merely wants his grandchildren to be happy and enjoy themselves. Character and holiness are refined more by trials than good times.
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