I wish to respond to the editorial and prior stories on Briar Williams (nee Novis) and her treatment for MS.
I am very happy to hear her stem cell treatment has been a success. I too have RRMS, and it's good to see she's winning her fight.
However, a note of caution: I understand there are drawbacks from such a treatment, and many possible side-effects such as infection, serious illness and worse.
From my research, women of child-bearing age will probably become infertile as a result of this treatment, as I understand it involves chemotherapy — therefore this would need to be a consideration and considerable research and dialogue with doctors and treatment providers would need to be undertaken.
I would advise other people with MS who are considering this to consider their options (which I am sure Ms Novis did) and not to discount the treatments on offer in New Zealand, which can have great success, as I myself know — I use Gilenya, which in itself has possible side-effects, like many medications. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones, but just offering my perspective — after all, I am a member of the public and not a doctor or a nurse.
Do check with the MS Society for an up-to-date take on their position on stem cell treatment and maybe consider using this as an addendum to future publications.
There would be many hoops for future treatments to go through before they are on offer in New Zealand — it's not as easy as someone just deciding that it should be offered — funding, research etc are all factors.
ANNE-MARIE DE BRUIN
Do we have the will?
In just one section of news earlier this month the following portentous events, the kind contributing to the very possible demise of humankind and the planet, were items of news one after the other:
The Australian fires, brinkmanship between the US and Iran, the senseless beating to death of a great white shark and the leaching of toxic waste from an old landfill into Wellington harbour with many more throughout the country doing, or set to do the same.
I believe we all need to feel more uncomfortable than we already are by acknowledging the inevitable and that systems of votes and monetary considerations will, by their very nature, never deliver the all-out prioritised measures necessary to reverse present and ever-increasing trends set to destroy us.
Our planet is in our hands. We have the will or not. It will require sacrifices. Are we prepared to make those, as individuals, communities and nations? Firstly, we need to find a united voice then, rationally, practically, urgently and with a will, deal effectively with the issues.
If this all sounds unpalatable then, because it is, that's how it needs to sound.
Head of state
Suggesting New Zealanders elect our own Head of State to replace the English monarch didn't seem such an outlandish idea to me, but I seem to have upset a certain Chronicle correspondent from Bastia Hill (letters, January 14).
I won't respond to his insults, but to advance the argument I would ask that he checks the reserve powers of the Governor-General to whom the Queen has delegated authority. His idea that the Queen might interfere in the formation or dissolution of our government is a misconception.
The Governor-General can do those things but must follow the advice of the leader who can demonstrate they have the votes in Parliament, which is how the "will of the people" is manifested.
One day we will, I hope, elect the equivalent of the Governor-General. I don't think we want them to do much more than the present job entails, as an American-type presidency is not our style.
Then, surely, MPs will pledge their allegiance to the New Zealand people and not the monarch of the UK.
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