AN ECCLESHALL mum suffering a debilitating brain condition is jetting out to the US for pioneering treatment.
Claire Hubbard, who suffers with intracranial hypotension which causes brain or spinal fluid to leak, flies out to North Carolina on Monday for treatment with world-leading radio-neurologist Dr Linda Gray.
The 47-year-old teacher and former marathon runner says she has seen a marked improvement in her condition since recent treatment at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, and is hoping her visit to America may finally mean a cure.
She previously had to use a wheelchair to get around, had a constant headache and suffered body jerks and spasms.
“Dr Gray was able to review all the scans done at UHNS and advise the doctors there on my treatment,” Claire explained.
She was given blood patching treatment, which involved having a series of injections in her spine, designed to close a number of leaks.
“It was quite a long process, because they use tiny needles and you have to keep absolutely still during the injections,” Claire said.
“But, with help and advice from Dr Gray, they were able to do 16 patches and it was a great success.
“I was sitting up in bed having my tea the same day, and I was well enough to go home the day after.
“I feel like a different person now, though I still have to rest and make sure I don’t do too much.
“It has been amazing to be able to stand upright and go out and about.”
Her family, friends and neighbours in Eccleshall, and in Stone, where she used to teach,shave been rallying round to raise more than £13,000 that was needed for further treatment in North Carolina. The treatment will use of a special fibrin glue to hopefully seal off the leaks permanently.
Claire will be accompanied by her twin sister Louise Walmsley on the trip, and is expecting to be away for about a week.
“It feels like it might finally be the end of a very long road for me, and the end of my troubles,” Claire said.
“Dr Gray will be able to take a good look and see what extra treatment I need.
“She has identified a series of cysts on my spine but she is confident she can deal with them.”
And she added that she was “overwhelmed” by the support of the local community in Eccleshall, and in Stone, where her sister lives.
“I would like to thank everyone so much,” she said.
“People are still fund-raising for my treatment and I have had so many kind messages of support from well-wishers.
“Everyone has been so kind and it really means so much to me.”