Maarten Bakker (41) falls four metres off quay

" My wife and children watched me go downhill, from bad to worse"

More than twenty years ago, fisherman Maarten Bakker fell off the quay in Harlingen harbour. He landed on his side on a fishing boat more than four meters below. Even worse, he struck his right eye socket on a metal bracket. Maarten ended up in coma in hospital, only waking up a day later. The fractures and bruises healed during the course of the following weeks. His double vision, though, did not and he suffered regular headaches as well. Two eye surgeries were to no avail. Maarten learnt to deal with this impairment as best he could. 

Extremely tired

“Up until about six months ago, I suffered a lot of headaches, dizziness and extreme fatigue," says Maarten. "In retrospect, I had already had these complaints a year before the accident, but to a lesser extent." After New Year's Eve, Maarten's condition went even further downhill. He was extremely tired, which, because he could not sleep, only got worse. "I lay on the couch or in bed for more than twenty hours and couldn't even lift a spoon to my mouth. Putting on my socks was a tremendous effort. I invariably got dizzy when I tried to do something and then my vision would go black." 

White spots show up on brain scan

At one point, Maarten's situation was so bad that he could hardly tolerate any noise. "My wife and children watched me deteriorate. At one point, my wife even feared I wouldn't survive." Maarten's GP attributed the symptoms to burnout. "But I was sure burnout was not the cause," says Maarten. At the urging of a psychologist, Maarten underwent a brain scan at the end of May. Meanwhile, the GP referred Maarten to an optician. "He in turn referred me to an ophthalmologist for an eye examination. I would be prescribed glasses and my headaches would disappear. However, I had no confidence in that." When Maarten’s GP telephoned to report that some white spots had shown up on the brain scan, a visit to the neurologist followed. "He said that everything was fine and referred me to Mensendieck therapy to exercise my muscles, saying that it would help to get rid of my headaches." On the way home from the hospital, Maarten's wife decided enough was enough. 

Deviation to the left

On the advice of her two sisters, she made an appointment for Maarten at the Functional Neurology Institute in Lisse. "They had had good experiences there themselves." The professional specialist’s diagnosis during Maarten’s first consultation was that the blow to the right side of his cerebrum 20 years earlier, had left the left hemisphere of the brain lagging. Maarten's balance organ did not function properly either as a result of the accident. "That explained why I always tended to veer to the left. If I had to walk in a straight line with my eyes closed, I would end up at a completely different end point, much more to the left. I even always drove remarkably close to the lane markings to the left of the car." 

Back to mending nets

Maarten already noticed improvement after his first GyroStim treatment. The GyroStim is a high-tech computer-controlled chair that can rotate around its axes in different directions, helping clinicians to cure patients of their neurological complaints. "I made far fewer reading mistakes, for instance. That’s something I struggled with prior to the treatment." Besides the GyroStim, the treatment plan included various eye training exercises and the use of supplements in the form of XO7 salmon oil and Gabax, a soothing agent. After three treatment sessions, the world is a very different place for Maarten. "It is truly incredible. My double vision is almost gone, my headaches and dizzy spells have reduced and I can run like the wind again. I have regained so much energy that I can spend about five hours a day now working on the nets in the shed. But if my condition continues to improve, I am sure that I will soon be able to venture out to sea again. 

Doing things

Maarten's wife and six children are glad to have their 'old' father and partner back. "It is so good to be able to engage in activities with my children again. At my lowest point, I didn’t even have the energy to ask my children how their day in school was. I am so grateful that I went to Lisse. I am sure that otherwise I would have slipped away from society." Besides being pleased with his amazing results, Maarten has only very complimentary things to say about the professional specialist at the Functional Neurology Institute. "He is very competent. He explains things well and gives honest answers. I can wholeheartedly recommend this institute to everyone."  

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