My name is Martin Legault. I am 43 years old and I have been affected by multiple sclerosis since I was 28. There are 20,000 people with this disease in Quebec (100,000 in Canada) – each with a different story to tell.
I would like to tell you mine.
First, a little information to understand the disease. Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease that affects people in the prime of their life. Some common symptoms are extreme fatigue, weakness, impaired sensation, vision problems and cognitive impairment. At a more advanced stage, some people with MS need a wheelchair to get around. There are two forms of MS: Relapsing Remitting MS and Progressive MS. With Relapsing Remitting MS there are attacks followed by recovery. With Progressive MS there are no remissions and the degree of disability increases slowly and continually.
For me, it all started in 2003. I was a young, 28-year-old man, athletic, with clear and specific life plans, both professionally and personally. I had a loving wife and a stable job. I played hockey, badminton, tennis and softball and went hiking in the mountains. I really loved sports!
The first symptoms appeared during a game of golf. One day I was playing with friends, and my drive landed in the middle of the fairway (as usual!). I went looking for my ball and couldn't find it, until one of my game partners pointed it out - about 10 feet away from me!
I then decided to go see an optometrist, who seemed very worried that my visual acuity had dropped so much. I was then sent to see an ophthalmologist and several other specialists. In the meantime, nothing improved. Through the different sports that I played, I realized that my sight was not getting better.. Weeks, months and visits to the neurologist passed and finally the diagnosis came—it was multiple sclerosis.