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Canadian Rancher Wrote a Book about MS to Give Others Hope

June 23, 2017

Heidi Redl, a Canadian rancher, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2004. Reluctant to give up her physical capabilities without a fight, the horseback rider and runner from Williams Lake, Canada, searched for unconventional as well as conventional MS treatments. In her book, “A Quiet Roar-Living with Multiple Sclerosis,” she writes about the changes MS brought to her life and her experience with a treatment called Liberation therapy. “I was diagnosed by a neurologist in 2004, although I had symptoms of something wrong for many years before that,” she said. “Being diagnosed with MS changed the focus of my world, or my life, from a physical one to an emotional or mental one. I used to run long distances, I was a horseback rider and a rancher, a mother. In other words, I was always physically busy and moving. After the diagnosis I had to turn to mental pursuits: writing and painting as my body slowly gave out.”

Redl did everything she could to prevent the disease from progressing, from exercising more to cutting out junk food. When Liberation therapy became a household name among MS patients, after promising results, she decided to try it. Liberation therapy is an angioplasty procedure to widen narrow blood vessels. It involves using a guide wire to insert a balloon into a vessel, then pumping up the balloon to widen it. However, recent studies have found no evidence that Liberation therapy can improve MS symptoms. Canadian doctors have even refused to perform the surgery, calling to too dangerous. Although the treatment did not help Redl, she still wanted to share her experience with other MS patients in her book.

“Although Liberation Therapy turned out not to be ‘the Cure,’ it has had some lasting psychological benefits,” she said. “Never, Never, Never Give Up is my motto, and I want people to know that there is always hope. The Cure is out there somewhere, and we’ll see it in our lifetimes. Specifically, I wrote the book for my children because I don’t want them to ever be afraid if they are ever stricken with a disease like MS. There’s always hope.” Although she doesn’t recommend Liberation therapy as a cure, she does believe that it has some small and lasting benefits. She also thinks that MS patients can benefit from her book in another way “by realizing that their lives still have a purpose, and they are still useful, and they should never feel like this disease has made them worthless.”