Michelle Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nine years ago. The disease, which can progress at different rates in different people, ravaged her. She has a picture of hiking with her daughter when the girl was 4 years old. Now, her daughter is 10. And Jordan has been confined to a wheelchair when she ventured outside.
Until two weeks ago.
The Albany mother of two traveled to Baltimore to undergo angioplasty -- a common treatment for people at risk for cardiovascular disease but relatively new for MS patients.
"I wasn't expecting any kind of improvement, I was just hoping not to get any worse," Jordan said. "I immediately started to get better. I used to sleep two or three hours every afternoon. It wasn't an option, I would just collapse. I haven't done that in two weeks now. When I was walking, my foot would drag and turn sideways and make it really hard to move and now it doesn't. Before, I would look at my foot and say, 'Lift up and turn straight.' I couldn't do it."
Jordan, 45, was able to get up from her wheelchair and walk to her mailbox.
"A few days ago, I dusted off my walking sticks which I haven't used for months," she said. "Today I dusted off my cane. And I haven't touched that in I don't know how long."
Albany resident Carol Schumacher has also undergone the procedure. She was diagnosed eight years ago and remodeled her house in anticipation of her needing a wheelchair.
"I don't think I will ever need a wheelchair now," she said. "I feel a lot stronger. I just started physical therapy and I cried I did so well."
The procedure is officially known as Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) treatment. CCSVI refers to the blockage of veins that drain the brain and spinal cord common in many MS patients. The condition causes blood reflux and brain damage.
It is hoped that using angioplasty on the jugular and azygous veins might help relieve the symptoms of MS.