Neil broadcasts to the nation!
On 31 October 2001, UK JJ member Neil Bloom appeared live on BBC TV show 'Breakfast Time' to talk about his life with MS and how the drug beta interferon has helped him.
Neil tells us a little about himself:
"I'm a chartered accountant in my mid 50s and was diagnosed by Professor Marshall at Queen's Square in 1982. All the usual stuff over the years - fatigue, painful hands, numb bits, an aversion to heated swimming pools and hot baths and optical neuritis. I still work full time (50+ hours a week), married, had 2 gorgeous daughters and a fairly un-messy divorce. All still relatively pally and the girls, Caitlin 11 and Zoe 9 come and stay with me for 7 weekends out of 10 and we talk every day.
"What about me and our little friend (C&Z's term for MS). In the main it has no affect on my ability to work. I have had no more than four weeks off in total due to it in 20 years. It does slow me down in other ways though. As I cannot walk more than about a mile without becoming over-tired, golf and country walks (golf without the torture) have become a thing of the past. Cricket, Squash and tennis went about 15 years ago. Holidays in hot climates have also had to go now. I just grind to a complete halt and humidity is a no-no. However, Italy and Spain are remarkably pleasant when the tourists aren't there and lying around on a beach never appealed even when it wasn't a problem.
"My social life is restricted and has to be carefully paced - age is part of it - as tiredness can be very debilitating. Alcohol no longer brings much pleasure in anything more than a glass now and then. So trying the red wines of the world is no longer the passion it once was. I am glad to say that I can still behave disgracefully without the help of alcohol and have a thoroughly good time in the right company. I am also the one who does all the driving."
Neil's thoughts of the MS drug Beta Interferon and it's lack of availability in the UK:
"NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) have missed the point.
Beta Interferon works for some and not for others. I fall in amongst the some. I have now been on the drug for 30 months and the side effects are barely noticeable now. To begin with, after a Friday night injection, Saturday was a write off. Now I do the jab on Thursday night, just before bed-time and am at work the following morning.
"It certainly works for me and the relapses are less frequent and less severe although when they come they are lasting longer.
"I am still mobile, still working and still behaving badly! Neither age nor our disease has ever dimmed my love of life!"