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Finally, My MS Journey Includes Good News to Report

After a lengthy season of torment after torment, columnist John Connor finally has some good news to share about his treatment options.

Getting started on any career is fraught with difficulty, and the trail that got me to my base camp was truly meandering. It was nearly as convoluted as that sentence! At 23, without meaning to, I found myself being a putative theater critic. Within months, under the pressure of the economic survival experienced by any freelance journalist, I expanded to arts reporting.

By the end of my run, I’d become the first regular writer about the burgeoning stand-up comedy scene in the United Kingdom. I also covered aspects of opera, performance theater, visual art, dance, and myriad other things that I’ve now forgotten!

My personal highlight was championing the avant-garde ballet troupe La La La Human Steps in the 1980s. (A while later, my boyhood hero, David Bowie, would work with them. For a moment, I was a beat ahead of him — the only time in my life.) Mind you, my coverage nearly destroyed my future marriage!

It was my first date with Jane. We went to a trendy Covent Garden restaurantthat I frequented. As we strolled to our table, we passed maestro Édouard Lock of La La La Human Step. I’d recently spent a weekend with him and his troupe in Hamburg, and that very week, my article about it was the cover feature for the London listings magazine I worked for, City Limits. After settling in, I pardoned myself and went over for a brief chat with Lock. It turned out to be not so brief. He and I were hardly selling ourselves, as the article was already out. We got on.

Jane did consider leaving, and I’m sure she’s always regretted not doing so! But it’s not like I didn’t give her the chance!

All of that is a long preamble to announce the truism of anyone who’s been a critic: A bad review is much easier to write than a good one. The same is true of news. With bad news, there are oodles to gripe about. Good news? Not so much.

This week, I’ve actually had good news. The spinal fluid test for JC virus, which was something of a farrago, has cleared me to have an Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) infusion. In the end, I had to have an X-ray-guided lumbar puncture. The infusion starts at the beginning of December. It has been in use in the United States for a while, but in the U.K., it has only recently been cleared for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients. Also, there is a fight to get it approved for primary progressive MS patients. Having stopped Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), Ocrevus is my best bet for help with stalling my RRMS.

Read on: Finally, My MS Journey Includes Good News to Report

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