Living a full life with multiple sclerosis

An avid skier, Pierre Lachance doesn’t let multiple sclerosis stop him from hitting the slopes higher, faster and harder

In 1989, Pierre Lachance was on a run when he felt the first effects of multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune disease that targets the central nervous system. “I was on my usual daily run, and I just tripped. It felt like my left foot just couldn’t keep up,” says Pierre from his home in Mont-Tremblant, where he now lives. After the same thing kept happening, Pierre, who is very athletic, went to see his doctor, who referred him to a neurologist. His diagnosis: multiple sclerosis.

This disease affects nearly 3 million people globally, including over 90,000 Canadians. In fact, Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world.

Unfortunately for Pierre, his first neurologist’s bedside manner left something to be desired. “I felt like I was just another name. My family and friends helped me look for a new specialist. One thing led to another, and I ended up at The Neuro. Dr. Jack Antel became my neurologist, and he immediately made me feel at ease,” says Pierre.

With the oldest multiple sclerosis clinic in Canada, The Neuro and its team have decades of experience treating multiple sclerosis and following patients with this disease. About 50 employees carry out basic and clinical research in this field using cutting-edge brain imaging techniques and the most advanced cellular biology tools to study all facets and stages of the disease.

Dr. Jack Antel is trying to understand the impact of nerve and immune cell interactions on the development of multiple sclerosis. He and his team members are the main people who oversee Pierre’s case.

“My care team is well orchestrated. I always feel like they listen to me. That makes a big difference,” says Pierre, who also considers Dr. Antel a friend and appreciates his connection with “Jack” as part of his care. “Our relationship got off to a good start and continued from there. The care I get is of superior quality. And I think their expertise really is the best.”

At The Neuro, Pierre is also followed by a physiatrist who helps him manage his multiple sclerosis. “The Neuro has teams of specialists who provide a full range of medical expertise that is more extensive than what a single doctor can provide. This makes a difference, because once I started seeing my physiatrist, that triggered a whole host of new experts and considerations.”

“I have an action plan to improve my health,” says Pierre. “I ski a lot. I can never get enough skiing, and my ability to do this sport is like a ‘barometer’ for my health. There are some exercises I like to do, especially to improve balance, and downhill and cross-country skiing are excellent ways to train. So the faster you can get back on your feet and move forward, the higher your chances of feeling better.” 

Pierre is a true dynamo who doesn’t define himself by his multiple sclerosis and instead spends his time hitting the snowy slopes of Mont-Tremblant. For him, the only drawback is that the ski season doesn’t last longer.

“Getting outside for some fresh air every day always does you good.” 

The Neuro and multiple sclerosis

The Neuro’s Multiple Sclerosis Programme sees close to 4,000 patients a year. A multidisciplinary team manages the many facets of the disease.

The Programme provides patients with multidisciplinary services, including consultations with a respirologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, specialized nurse, social worker, pastoral care professional, speech therapist and nutritionist.

Click here to learn more about The Neuro and its patient services.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.

 

 

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