A transplant is not an option
As a teenager I went to boarding school in Switzerland. I was there for about eight months and then I decided I wanted to wakeboard. Orlando is the capital of wakeboarding and I went to a camp there. I got hooked again. I used to eat, sleep and breathe wakeboarding. Everybody there was passionate about it. I stayed for a year.
In summer 2009 I was training in Orlando when I started to cough. I had a really heavy wheeze and I was coughing so much that I vomited. I had come first in the national wakeboard championships that June – I was doing my Leaving Cert and had a chest infection at the time.
I came sixth in the European championship in France and then I got really ill as I was preparing for the world championships in Korea. I decided to push it as far as I could. I am really glad I did it. I came ninth and it is really important for me that I got to do that.
My lung function had dropped to 70 per cent and at this stage I had MRSA and other bugs.
I lived in Holland for a while but when I felt really sick the penny dropped that I wanted to come home.
This is the best place to be treated even though I have seen conditions here which would be illegal in other places but the staff here are so sensitive and know so much. My consultant in Dublin has 200 patients. My consultant in Switzerland had seven. But I learn more from my consultant here in the few minutes I see him than I did from consultants anywhere else and I have had medical treatment in many countries at this stage.
It is such a relief to be in the Nutley wing and I am feeling a lot better. But I learn something every day and it is never anything good.
I am non-compliant as far as medication is concerned. I do whatever they want when I am in hospital but I have made a decision about how I want to live my life at home. Many people with CF spend two or three hours a day taking their medications, being nebulised, taking the inhaler. I know it is controversial but I would rather go home and live normally. I fought very hard for two years and I still lost 70 per cent of my lung function.
I take off my hat to all the people with CF who fight and do all the treatments but my attitude is that it might give me an extra year but I would prefer to go home and live normally. A transplant is not an option for me because of my bugs. That’s a difficult issue but I know it is not going to happen. If I had that option I might do things different. Maybe I will change my mind.