"I've got other things to do than be sick."
Diagnosis: Multiple Sclerosis
Treatment: Rehab therapy
Sue Willard has lived with multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years, but she hasn’t let that get in the way of the life she wants to lead.
She and her husband grow grapes and raise a specialized small breed of cattle on their 50-acre farm in Snohomish.
Sue credits the ongoing care she receives at EvergreenHealth’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center for keeping her going in spite of a disease that can challenge even the strongest soul.
“They are so supportive,” she says. “If I call with a problem, they bend over backwards to help me. And I’m so lucky to have Dr. Brown on my care team.”
Dr. Ted Brown is the MS Center’s director of neurorehabilitation, and one of the few MS-trained rehabilitation physicians in the country.
“Our center is able to provide patients with MS, like Sue, with comprehensive care – everything from diagnosis and ongoing treatment to participation in clinical trials and rehabilitation therapy,” he explains.
Dr. Brown is particularly excited about the center’s rehab department.
“Walking and balance are major issues for MS patients,” he says. “We have specialized equipment for gait analysis and balance assessment, as well as a computerized balance platform, to help improve a patient’s walking and balance. We even have a suspension harness to support patients during walking training so they don’t need to fear falling.”
The MS Center also provides a vocational counselor who can help with social and employment issues, and neuropsychologists who evaluate patients for cognitive capacity and high-level executive functioning, providing therapy as needed.
MS clinical trials
Part of EvergreenHealth Neurological Care, the MS Center is located in the institute’s state-of-the-art facility in the DeYoung Pavilion, adjacent to EvergreenHealth Medical Center.
The facility also features a cutting-edge research department, including dedicated lab and pharmacy personnel. The MS Center is currently running clinical trials of medications, along with studies involving symptom relief and the impact of stress management on the progression of MS.
Sue Willard is benefiting from a medication offered through one of the center’s clinical trials.
“The drug makes a difference in how well and how fast I’m able to walk,” she explains. Sue goes on to say that once the trial is over and the drug gets its FDA approval, she’d be open to another study.
“Sue has been participating in our studies for a number of years, and it makes a big difference, not just for us, but for MS patients across the country,” Dr. Brown notes. “New drugs and new therapies would never make it to the market if it weren’t for people like Sue.”
Keep moving forward
Sue Willard doesn’t let her challenges with balance, walking and endurance keep her from moving forward.
She uses a pair of Segway personal transporters to help her get around – one to get her around town, and an off-road model with large tires to travel her farm’s rough ground.
Dr. Brown says EvergreenHealth’s MS Center is the perfect environment to keep ALL its patients moving forward.
For more information on the MS Center, call us at (425) 899-5350 or visit our website.