Growing up with haemophilia in the 1950s and 1960s was very different to having haemophilia today.
Mike was born in the early 1950s and was diagnosed at 5 days old with severe haemophilia A following circumcision.
A long history of haemophilia is in Mike’s family. Both his mother and his grandmother carried the gene for haemophilia. Three of his uncles had haemophilia, but this was in the 1930s before effective treatments, and they died in their 20s. Haemophilia has occurred in the current generations as well, and Mike has nephews and cousins with haemophilia and it continues to be passed down.
Mike went to school “like a normal kid”, but he had bleeding issues from the time he was 8 years old and onwards. He had his first treatment when he was 10 years old. He remembers being in hospital at around that age for 18 months recovering from a joint bleed in his knee. “I remember Grandma used to come over and rub my sore knee & elbow with metho – it used to make me feel so much better. Back then we didn’t even think of ice”.
“New treatments today are far better than back in the days when treatment first came out. When I received my first treatment, it was a blessing.”
The bleeds into his joints left Mike with permanent joint damage in his ankles and elbows. He had a knee replacement nearly 30 years ago and that has helped. Mike said, “I am aware of my limitations and know what I can and can’t do”.
Having haemophilia hasn’t stopped him from having a family, Mike is married to Robyn and they have 1 son and 2 grandchildren.
Keeping up with his local bleeding disorders community is also an important way to stay connected and active. ‘I am very involved with our local haemophilia foundation. When I first moved to Brisbane in the 1980s I attended a foundation meeting and joined the committee. I regularly catch up with other members of our community going out to lunch or a café and keep in regular contact with them. We have a very tight knit supportive community.”
“I know the older you get, things happen, but I like to keep as active as I can. In the future I would like to still be independent and get around. I know not to push myself but to be positive and resilient.”