And the Good News Is …

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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Genentech Ocrevus

john connor

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 restaurant that 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.

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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.

So, my good news is somewhat tempered. For the moment, I think it’s my last hope. It should reduce relapses and maybe even restore some of my mojo.

Now that would be a very timely Christmas present.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


R avatar


Interesting that you had to have a JCV test as that was done on this side of the pond to have Ocrevus. No MS patients have gotten PML, yet. Did they explain why you had to have it?

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Yes - if had JC Virus in spinal fluid would have been turned down. There is an increased risk of brain damage.

Melissa avatar


I have had my first two 1/2 doses of ocrevus and haven’t felt anything different than when I was taking aubagio. After the second IV I felt a bit less energetic for a few days. Yet, its not uncommitted to experience more or less fatigue on any given day. I’m continuing my PT and OT exercises. And, I’m hoping that ocrevus may improve my MS in some way.

Michael avatar


CBD OIL HAS DONE WONDERS FOR MY MS JUST can't afford it all the time?


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