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Multiple sclerosis isn’t interfering with Leonard’s life

Leonard doesn’t need to look at the weather report to know if it’s going to be a nice day. It could be 35 and rainy or sunny and 75. He says it doesn’t really matter. After living with multiple sclerosis for nearly 15 years, he’s learned that every new day is a great one.

Thanks to his physicians at the Harper University Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, the disease hasn’t interfered with his life as much as he feared when first diagnosed. “Here it is almost 15 years later and I’m doing very well. My career continues, my marriage is good and my daughter is grown, married and successful,” Leonard said. “I think having the backing and support of a world-class hospital like Harper has enabled me to continue on with my life.”

Leonard was referred to Harper University Hospital by the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“Right away I felt comfortable at Harper,” Leonard said. “It was amazing to me. I could tell that the people there were very concerned about me. They were concerned with more than just the management of the disease and my symptoms; they expressed genuine concern for how I felt and how I was doing emotionally.”

And because Harper University Hospital’s Department of Neurology is a national leader in research – the MS Clinic at Harper is the third largest in the nation – Leonard knew the Harper MS specialists would be able to offer a wide range of treatment options based on the latest knowledge.

“When I came to Harper, I got increased attention and symptomatic relief from the medication I was prescribed here. It wasn’t prescribed elsewhere and I think that’s because the doctors here just know so much about the treatment options available. At Harper, you’re not limited to a specific course of treatment that a single doctor is familiar with. The treatment options are greater here; the doctors have a greater sense of what works for one person and what’s not working for another.”

Leonard has been a patient of Robert Lisak, M.D., since 1990. “Coming into the Clinic now is not like going to the doctor’s office,” Leonard said. “I feel like I have a friend who listens to what I have to say. There’s a level of comfort here that I’ve never experienced in any other healthcare setting.”

While Dr. Lisak is Leonard’s physician, the multiple sclerosis specialists at Harper work closely together to collaborate in research and patient care. “They bounce ideas off each other and participate in research. It makes a big difference. There’s a wealth of knowledge and an exponential benefit that comes from their collaboration.”

“The physicians who see patients in the MS Clinic at Harper are not only neurologists, they are neurologists who specialize in clinical and research aspects of MS,” Dr. Lisak said. “It makes a big difference in our ability to coordinate care for our patients.”

Today, Leonard gets involved in healthcare advocacy efforts and is active in the Multiple Sclerosis Society on national and local levels. Over the years, he has referred more than a dozen people to the MS Clinic at Harper University Hospital. He has even bumped into people he knows at the Clinic. “If they’re newly diagnosed and at the Clinic for the first time, I make sure to tell them they are in the right place.”

And, on a cold and rainy day, he might even tell them to enjoy the weather. “The weather’s the weather. It doesn’t really matter. It’s another day and every one you have is great.”

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