Temuka man's 'life-changing' treatment
Ray Brokenshire says he's a new man.
The 67-year-old Temuka retiree is the only South Islander taking part in a worldwide medical breakthrough treatment, which has dramatically lowered his blood pressure.
"I have my life back," he said grinning from ear to ear.
Brokenshire is among a small percentage of people with drug-resistant high blood pressure.
At the height of his health problems, he was on seven medicines to control his blood pressure, but he was still suffering terrible headaches and dizzy spells.
"It was spiralling out of control last year. I couldn't do anything ... It took over my whole life."
Brokenshire said the headaches were unbearable and he often collapsed.
"My blood pressure would reach 250/160, which is at the level when you start having strokes."
The seriousness of his condition put him in Timaru Hospital's intensive care unit and Christchurch Hospital's coronary care unit after he began passing out.
"My heart stopped once on the way to hospital."
Enter Dr Olatunji Odumosu, or Dr O as he's known, a visiting doctor working at the Timaru Hospital.
"He was the one who first told me about the non-invasive procedure and said he was going away to research it. He came back to see me the next day and looked terrible ... he had been up all night on the computer finding out about it," Brokenshire laughed.
Dr Odumosu then referred Brokenshire to Mercy Angiography cardiologist John Ormiston, who admitted him to the trial.
At no cost to him, Brokenshire received the life-altering treatment - ultrasound ablation using sound waves to permanently impair over-active nerves in the arteries supplying the kidneys.
Developed by American company Kona Medical, the ultrasound-based platform enables non-invasive imaging, targeting, tracking and treatment of soft-tissue structures throughout the body without radiation and without the cost or complexity of MR and other technologies.
Brokenshire and his wife, Colleen, travelled to Auckland for the first therapy session and the results were immediate.
"My wife summed it up when she walked in to see me ... she told me I had my colour back and the pain had gone from my face."
Taking part in the trial has been free. They have had everything paid for, including accommodation and meals in Auckland. He has to return to Auckland for regular check-ups, but that's nothing, according to the former fishing industry worker.
"Since I've had the procedure I have come off one tablet and I am coming off more. The way I'm going I will only have to remain on a couple of tablets."
Now Brokenshire wants others to benefit from the therapy.
"I want people out there who have high blood pressure to talk to their doctor and don't take no for an answer. If they get told there's nothing more that can be done ... don't give up ... ask about the therapy from Kona Medical - it's a life changer."
"I can't stop smiling, I have my life back."
Brokenshire said he was extremely grateful to so many people who treated him, including the local ambulance staff who would be first responders when he collapsed.
"I would like to thank Dr O, he helped save my life. If he hadn't come to Timaru I don't think I would be alive today."
The Timaru Herald