For those reading this in the U.S., part of what I’m going to write will likely be incomprehensible, as it involves the World Cup. That’s football, not soccer.
The rest of the world is in thrall to this sporting event. Even if your country doesn’t qualify, you grumpily watch at first. In 1994, England didn’t make it, so the country then found itself screaming for Cameroon and their 42-year-old striker Roger Milla.
Bill Shankly, former manager of Liverpool FC (currently owned by the American Fenway Sports Group), put it this way: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
On Monday night, England had their first match in Russia, against Tunisia. Eighteen million watched live on TV and 3 million more on computers. It’s the biggest audience of 2018, beating even the Royal Wedding. We won 2-1, so the upside is that I got a healthy boost to my testosterone levels.
Which was much-needed, as I’d seen my neurologist in the morning and the news wasn’t exactly enervating. There was an outside chance that I might be eligible for stem cell treatment. I’d had an MRI scan about a month ago to test this. Unfortunately, my MS had moved on. Though I still have a relapsing-remitting element, what was happening to me now was due to deterioration — an area that is at the moment little understood. The disease-modifying therapies that I’d been on (Gilenya and Lemtrada) have done something — no new lesions for three years. My well-being is really down to what the patient has to report. Three years ago, ballet was as beyond me as it ever was but I was taking myself off to wheelchair tennis on my own. Today my bedroom has for the moment become my cell. At least I don’t have to hide my mobile where the sun don’t shine!
There is a possibility that mitoxantrone might help in delaying this deterioration. I haven’t been offered it, as it has to be discussed by my team of doctors. It’s a chemotherapy medication. Possible side effects include heart problems and hair loss.
Hair loss is the upside: I’m 60 and consequently have the perfect monkish round, central-balding scalp. If I was able-bodied and strolling around at my full 6-foot height, I could still pull off the illusion of a full head of hair. In a wheelchair … no chance.
England is playing this Sunday. Hope they win again. I need all the testosterone I can get.
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