Yassine Sekkat was in Morocco for a cousin’s wedding when he experienced his first multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms.
After the uncontrollable shaking and difficulty walking, he went to see his family doctor who referred him to a neurologist. A magnetic resonance imaging scan confirmed that he had lesions in his brain – a telltale sign of MS.
Sekkat saw several doctors and he eventually came under the care of Dr. Alex Saveriano at The Neuro, who prescribed him Copaxone. He also recommended Sekkat join a clinical trial for ocrelizumab, or Ocrevus, being run by The Neuro’s Clinical Research Unit, one of about five patients in Montreal to join the trial.
Previous studies have shown Ocrevus reduces new attacks in patients with relapsing-remitting MS patients like Sekkat. Sekkat’s clinical trial was to test its effects on MS patients who had been newly diagnosed.
So far, Sekkat has had no relapses, and while it’s impossible to say whether that’s because of the drug, Sekkat says his experience in a clinical trial has been a good one.
“The staff is beyond excellent,” he says. “I could never have expected to get that much from The Neuro and the staff here. They continuously take the word 'care' to heart. They really try to do everything possible to accommodate you and assist you as much as possible regardless of what the situation is. I can honestly say that I've made friends at The Neuro. The staff, we know each other quite well at this point and it's only been a year and a half.”
Sekkat is working with staff at The Neuro’s MS Clinic to adapt to his new life. He meets with Dr. Saveriano regularly to monitor his condition, and he sees a physiotherapist to help him with his balance problems.
“At 27 years old you're walking and all of a sudden you can't walk anymore,” he says. “You're having an incredible amount of trouble. So that’s the whole learning process, getting your balance, getting the physiotherapy and everything is really quite difficult. It changed my life immensely.”
Sekkat has also switched to a healthier diet, avoiding almost all sugar, and cutting back on meat. Despite the MS, Sekkat says he’s living healthier than he ever did before.
While adapting to MS has been hard, Sekkat says The Neuro staff have given him the best help possible.
“The Neuro has been absolutely incredible,” he says. “The staff has been incredible and the medication itself so far has been incredible. I mean I haven't relapsed, I've been doing nothing but improving and I couldn't be more grateful.”