But last week he travelled to Poland to undergo a controversial new treatment which he hopes will give him some quality of life. BRIAN BEACOM travelled with the Radio Clyde legend.
It’s Tuesday, it’s 11pm at night and we’re on the 26th floor of a swish hotel in Katowice, Poland, an industrial town about 60 miles from the city of Krakow.
The Tiger is lying on his bed, bleary-eyed and exhausted, yet at the same time excited -- and desperate for the new day to begin.
His mixed emotions are entirely understandable. Since Sunday, 58-year-old Tim has either been travelling or undergoing the scans that he hopes will help alleviate the symptoms of his multiple sclerosis.
Just a few months ago, his wife Caroline heard of a new treatment -- still experimental -- which, it is claimed, has achieved some remarkable results in treating MS patients.
The procedure is based around the belief that MS is at least partly caused by Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency. (CCSVI).
Put simply, it means that narrowed veins in the neck prevent blood from the brain and spine getting back to the heart.
And blood that stays in the brain too long can result in iron deposits, which can damage the central nervous system.
Dr Tomasz Ludyga of the Euromedic Clinic in Katowice, who will carry out Tim’s procedure, says: “It’s basically a plumbing problem.
“What we are looking for is blocked veins to show up on the MRV scans or the ultrasounds.
“If they appear, we believe we can carry out the procedure and make an improvement to the patients’ lives.”
Meantime, Tim’s mind is racing with possibilities; what sort of improvement can he expect?
His MRV scan, said the Polish medical team, revealed a blockage in Tim’s left jugular vein. However, the doctors are in fact looking for extensive vein narrowing (stenosis) because the greater the blockages the more they can repair -- and allow the body to begin healing.
Initially, Tim feels encouraged. But he still has concerns.
He says: “In the morning I’m to have a Doppler ultrasound -- MRVs don’t always reveal a full picture.”
There are other concerns, calculated risks. The treatment, ‘the liberation procedure,’ isn’t hugely invasive and is similar to angioplasty, where a wire is passed up through the groin and into the veins, which are then unblocked either by inserting a small balloon or a metal stent.
Euromedic’s Polish MS clinic has been open for six months and during that time has treated 200 patients. Of that 200, they say 80% have had ‘some improvement’ to their condition.
But how do you quantify the phrase ‘some improvement’? And could Tim be one of the 20% who see no improvement?
Tim says: “I have to go through with this. I have to be positive.”
The procedure costs around £7000, but expenses, travel and hotel bills can take this up to £9000. Tim’s journey to Poland however was funded by a special benefit show at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre.
Caroline says: “This isn’t about money, it’s about a future for Tim. It’s about praying that he will be able to breathe better, that he’ll be able to concentrate better and continue to work.
“It’s about Tim’s quality of life. But there’s much more to it. Tim is an explorer for every one of the 10,500 MS sufferers in Scotland.
“His experience will indicate to others if there is a glimmer of light for them in what would otherwise be darkness.”
Tim nods in agreement.
“I’ve tried every possible cure imaginable,” adds the DJ legend, who only realised he had MS when his legs suddenly collapsed under him one day while he was running along Prestwick beach.
The realisation came as quite a shock to the fun-loving broadcaster.
“I’ve tried natural therapies, conventional drugs, spiritual healing, new diets, exercise, goats’ serum, everything, but I’m still in a wheelchair,” says Tim.
“And my breathing is becoming difficult -- and my eyesight is failing.
“I hope this treatment can make a difference.”
Tim adds, his voice full of emotion: “Even if the progress of the disease can be halted, then I’d be happy with that.”
Eight hours later Tim is waiting in the hotel lobby to taken by taxi to the clinic. Around him are people in wheelchairs, some on crutches, all set to be treated, including 28-year-old Barry from Shawlands, 29-year-old Mark from North London and 38-year-old Cecille from Colorado.
“It’s like a mini Lourdes,” says Tim, smiling. “But hopefully with better odds of success.”
Tim and the others are given early hope in the form of a 60-something lady from California.
“I had the treatment yesterday,” she says, her face beaming with delight.
“Before I couldn’t walk without crutches, my leg dragged behind me. But look at me now. Watch.”
And as we look on, she puts down her crutches and walks. Not an easy, flowing walk, but a walk nonetheless. And she smiles like an Olympic gold medallist.
Tim, Barry, Mark and Cecille’s eyes almost pop out of their sockets. But will the treatment give them such an immediate result? Or any result at all?
Only tomorrow will tell.
Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory condition of the central nervous system which affects the transfer of messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
Leading Italian vascular surgeon Dr Paolo Zamboni researched MS after his wife contracted the condition and discovered that the majority of the patients with the disease had distorted or blocked jugular and azygos veins -- which drain blood from the brain.
His preliminary study involved using ultrasound and MRV scans to examine the blood vessels leading in and out of the brain of hundreds of patients.
Dr Zamboni believes that Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) causes a build up of iron in the brain which causes damage to important blood vessels. The damage allows metals and other unwelcome cells such as immune cells, to cross the crucial blood brain barrier.
This important barrier keeps blood and cerebrospinal fluid separate.
Dr Zamboni considers that the damage caused by CCSVI allows immune cells to cross the blood brain barrier leading to destruction of myelin, the crucial sheathing which coats and protects human nerve cells.