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New MS treatment changed Oshawa resident Courtney Lee’s life

Courtney Lee
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
OSHAWA -- Courtney Lee, pictured with her daughter Paytin Nesbitt, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and took a new drug being offered. She has since felt better and been able to function better physically. April 27, 2016

At age 20, Courtney Lee began experiencing pain and vision loss in her left eye.

Doctors told her it was pink eye, but Ms. Lee wasn’t satisfied. After months of tests and visits to different doctors, she was able to get a diagnosis in 2010 -- relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.

“At the time I was studying criminology at UOIT to be a police officer and that was what I had planned for years,” said Ms. Lee. “My career choice had gotten ripped away from me before it even started. I was devastated.”

After her diagnosis, Ms. Lee had a few minor episodes and was treated through daily injections until her pregnancy with her youngest daughter in 2012. Ms. Lee said pregnancy pushes MS into remission.

“Six months after she was born is when the relapses started coming really fast,” said Ms. Lee.

She began losing mobility in her legs and was unable to feel from her hips down. In 2014, Ms. Lee’s doctor recommended a new MS treatment called Lemtrada.

“If I had continued to go without getting treatment that was going to stop the progression of the disease then I would probably be in a wheelchair right now,” said Ms. Lee.

Ms. Lee was the first Canadian with MS officially on Lemtrada since its approval in February 2014. Though the drug wasn’t covered by insurance companies or OHIP, Ms. Lee said it was worth it. Since the treatment, Ms. Lee hasn’t experienced an MS flare-up and has noticed better cognitive function, memory and mobility, things that had previously deteriorated due to her MS. “The one time I remember the most is I was at a soccer game, running down the field and I sprinted three quarters across the field with the soccer ball. I hadn’t done that in years,” said Ms. Lee.

Ms. Lee said she hasn’t experienced any side effects of the treatment, other than the expected basic symptoms at the start of the treatment. The other symptoms, Ms. Lee said, are treatable.

“If the side affects are treatable then why not do it? If it’s going to give me more time with my kids, if I’m going to be able to walk down the aisle at my wedding one day, then the treatment has done what I want it to,” said Ms. Lee.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by DURHAMREGION
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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