A post that’s been in draft for about 2 months…

Yesterday, after I finished up at the brilliant (they’re reading my blog now) UCC Journo soc conference, I told my family what I’ve known since December 23rd but didn’t want to tell them until all the test results were back. (I got them just before the conference started) It seems the hiccups with my health, the numbness and pins and needles on my left side and headaches were as a result of a Multiple Sclerosis attack that I got in late November and which went rather crazy during the Paddy’s Valley tour. There’s a strong to good chance that I may not get another attack and the rest of my life will be fine and I can still cause as much trouble as I normally do. It’s a relief in a way to tell them as it was hard keeping something like this from them but I didn’t want to spoil their Christmas when they had about 85% confirmation and then have them pray for two months for that 15% to prove the world wrong and then have their hopes wrecked when the final confirmation came in. That would have meant twice the shock really.

I have a very good neurologist and the staff of the Mercy hospital have been nothing but fantastic. I’m fine, I just have to not do so much and watch out for wearing myself down.

Mmm. Tasty brains.
Photo owned by Shiny Things (cc)

I got advice from the specialist and some other friends who know MS first hand about considering avoiding telling people about it because the minute some people think of MS they picture you as ending up in a wheelchair or you are somehow less of a person. I’m not the expert in this but there are many variations of MS that go anywhere from nothing to a single attack ever, to it coming back again to the really strong one but as usual the wheelchair being the most dramatic is the one that sticks. Being honest if I was told someone got MS I’d have been ignorant and thought they’d be in a wheelchair within years. I do think it is a risk in telling people as people have their own ideas on things but I think I’ll wager that risk.

In an odd way I’d feel dishonest if I didn’t inform people via this blog since I already blogged about my health issues here, so I’ve started down the disclosure road, I won’t turn back and I’ve received so much private feedback from people that an update was required to let you all know. Now that’s just me and I over-share anyway, I certainly don’t think people should disclose whatever they have, be it MS to those rashes that that blonde girl gave you. It is still a private matter for most.

This is meandering. I don’t want to spend too much time going on about MS on this blog and I don’t see myself as now being an advocate for any group because of the test results. Any yes I’m fine. No need to email me. Or ring. Yes, I was a little scared and upset when I got the first wave of news but I’m fine now. Marking this post as personal too. February is afterall the month where I write that yearly personal post.

So, I did say Fuck You to 2007, I don’t think I’ll be saying the same to 2008. So far, even with this news, 2008 has been good.

So there, no sympathy or any of that fuss please. Although if you want to buy me a pony…

57 Responses to “A post that’s been in draft for about 2 months…”

  1. Michele says:


    Sorry to hear that.


  2. Paul Cunnane says:

    Damien – as someone with a brother, a sister, a mother and an uncle who all have or had MS, I can tell you your positive outlook is justified. It’s more than possible to lead a full and normal life.

    All the best.

  3. Paul Kelly says:

    Hi Damien,

    Pony in a lorry on it’s way to you! πŸ˜‰


  4. Twenty Major says:

    Stay well.

    Ponies are cunts though. They never fetch a newspaper or anything.

  5. Trinity says:

    One of my friends has MS and she leads a perfectly normal life. I hope you will be ‘grand’ as we say here in Limerick πŸ™‚

  6. David says:

    A pony? Think big – a buff centaur standing on the lawn might be nice.

    Keep well.

  7. Damien

    One of my best mates from college has had MS since he was 21 (what a crap birthday present). From day 1, like you, he’s had an extremely positive outlook – to the point of being down right annoying at times.

    His view is that he’s a cheap date when he’s having an attack – he’ll get blind, unable to walk on his own and start slurring his speech… and all that on 3 7Ups (before anyone takes offence – those are his words and I’ll willing defend his right to take the piss out of his MS, and for the past decade I’ve been joining in with him in doing so, at his request. So put your righteous indignation away and go throw eggs or Guiness cans at Mel Gibson for what he said at the IFTAs, or for just being Mel Gibson).

    It used to drive my friend nuts when people immediately assumed the worst case scenario for his MS and tried to tell him what his prognosis would be. Not his neurologist now, but old wimmin in the shops, maiden aunts, that kind of thing. There is a lack of awareness as to the scope and scale of MS.

    It’s a pain in the arse to have, but there are worse things. You could have been diagnosed with a case of journalistic-eurovisionlyricistitis. That would have sucked. I would have had to demand that you leave my presence immediately. πŸ˜‰

    Oh yea… and for anyone reading who still thinks that MS is the end of the world for someone, since he was diagnosed my friend has gotten married, had 2 kids and become a stay at home dad to mind the childer (because commuting just buggered him up too much and left him open to attacks of the old MS).

    He’s basically living the dream… letting his missus work keep him in the style he has become accustomed to and spending time with his two kids during the fun years before they insist he just doesn’t understand and storm out of the room in a huff. Me – totally healthy (as far as I know), commuting like a total tit while I work for ‘the man’, struggling to get the sort of balance in my life that my friend now takes for granted.

    Turn the Mulley-matic dials down to 7 or 8 (from their present 11) and take care of that pony Paul Kelly is sending you. They’re more work than kids I’ve heard.

  8. John says:

    I think it’s all part of a really good conspiracy theory. Did anyone bump into you with a funny umbrella recently?

    I have a list of organisations that would fit the bill as well. πŸ™‚


  9. Elana says:

    I blame ComReg.

  10. cw says:

    Sorry to hear that, Damien.

    My sister has had MS since she was 21.

    I won’t sugar-coat it and patronise you by telling you what a wonderful life she’s had since then. It’s not easy and I’m sure you’re painfully aware of it.

    Look after yourself, and I hope it never gets beyond where it is already.

  11. Gordon says:

    President Bartlet ran the United States (Before Bush maybe ??)

    So if he can do that, then you can continue to run this country.


  12. Green Ink says:

    Keep well. And ponies will shit everywhere and eat your shirts.

  13. D says:

    Hope u stay healthy.
    Remember to always think positively.

  14. Ben says:

    onwards and upwards Damien. Best of health to ya!

    Heard you on Morning Ireland this AM – good piece , well done!

  15. Damien says:

    @elana If it was ComReg I’d have been tied to a table, whipped and given kinky sex. You know how wrong they get it.

  16. Evert Bopp says:

    @damien I dunno, that would be Comreg being put to some good use though. But then again I have seen some of the people that work there and that would make it really kinky sex. Kinda like midget porn…

  17. Kieran says:

    Brave post, and best of luck.

    I was wondering where that rash came from. Damn those blondes.

  18. @Damien – confused now. Do you want that instead of the Pony or at the same time as?

    About time something slowed you down – you make the rest of us look like we are moving in slo-mo and worst thing is you probably still will πŸ™‚


  19. Ciaran says:

    Don’t worry Comreg will never find you, their maps are all wrong. Pity though that would have made a good blog post. “Mulley in Midget Sex Romp with Comreg”

    Take it easy dude.

  20. Curly K says:


    Glad you did what you felt was right for you and wagered the risk re people thinking of worst case scenarios. Personally, when I was diagnosed with an inflammatory arthritis I decided pretty much the same, just spit it out and get on with it. For me, it would have taken more energy to hide the fact but then I tend to over-share too!

    Good luck with the feckin pony but how will you get the wheelchair onto him LOL!

  21. Sinead says:

    Damien, having been done a wobbly health path myself I can sympathise. I know you’re a “tons of balls in the air” kinda guy, but I would really urge you to listen to your body and slow down. You certainly don’t have to give up everything, but striking a work/rest balance is very important. Learn to listen when the overdoing-it-alarm-bells go off in your head. I’m only getting the hang of it now and am in the middle of dropping lots of work.

    As someone a lot smarter than me said: “If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything”.

    Stay well mister.

  22. Niall O'K says:

    Best wishes and the best of luck and health to you.

  23. ellen says:

    Hi Damien, It’s great to see that you have such a positive outlook as I’m sure that helps. Sorry to hear it though. Look after yourself;)

    regards, ellen

  24. red mum says:

    Did someone mention kinky sex? With a pony? Thats just sick!

    And as Sinead says stay well – your positivity will certainly help.

  25. McAWilliams says:

    My only encounter with MS is with my Mother, she is very close to getting that wheelchair but like you she aint gonna let it win, your positive outlook is to be commended although as Sinead says listen to yourself and take it easy, it just aint worth the risk.

    Keep the outlook though and as everyone else here says stay well mate.

  26. Dermot says:


    Right attitude, right approach. A cousins husband has had this for more than 10 years. Since diagnosis they got engaged, married, had two kids and a pretty normal life. No ponies involved as far as I know. Biggest thing is that he has a tendency to do too much (as in way too much). Think you know thats the biggest issue yourself. So look after yourself.


  27. @Damien – what Keith bohanna said – slow the fuck down. You’re making the rest of us look like lagtards.

  28. John says:

    Dunno about a pony – how about a horse’s head ?

    You do realise someone is going to come to the Blog Awards on a horse now…

  29. danger says:

    Hope you are all right + keep on rocking.

  30. Sending you a sulky to go with that pony.

  31. Le Catch says:


    Sad to hear the news, but happy your approach is so positive. All the best man!

  32. Brian says:

    Good work on having the positive outlook – I can imagine it’s only too easy to slip into a negative frame of mind. Keep it up, and you know you have the support of the entire Irish interweb should ever you need it! πŸ™‚

  33. Rick says:

    Sympathy? Bollox to that. Welcome to the bloggers neurological disease community. It’s a badge we wear with pride…

    Along with our fluffy, of course πŸ˜‰

  34. SinΓ©ad says:

    “the minute some people think of MS they picture you as ending up in a wheelchair” – I don’t know about others, but personally, I’d never immediately think that. There are very many people (some mentioned above) who live perfectly normal lives and having MS is only a small part of that life. You’ll definitely be one of those people.

    At least now you have a fairly good excuse to slow down. You can use it like a get-out-of-jail-free card.

  35. Damien says:

    Will it work for the ironing?

  36. Twenty Major says:

    No, you need a slave for that.

  37. manuel says:

    Stay well fella…….if you don’t want a pony will you but me one?

  38. SinΓ©ad says:

    If you have a Mammy (or any kind of older lady type) around, then yes, it SHOULD work for the ironing.

  39. aphrodite says:

    Damien – all the best people have MS

  40. Mr T says:

    I thought you knew already, it was on DIGG a few days ago;)

  41. donna m says:

    sympathy comes between shit and syphillis in the dictionary, so my ex-boss and friend of 14 yrs tells me. besides… as you say MS doesnt always mean a wheelchair. Montel williams (usa talk show host) and Michael J Fox both have it… Montel’s is less severe than Fox’s but he’s been living with it for just as long. H’es still on tv doing the crazy talk show host thing.

    i think a good mental outlook works wonders too. a pity party for one isnt a good thing, sounds like you have a good handle on that already. best wishes.

  42. Hi Damien,

    Respect, support, manly clap on the back


  43. Anthony says:

    Hey Damien,
    Just wanted to say all the best!
    Pony though? Really?

  44. Dermot says:

    With apologies to the latest XKCD cartoon http://xkcd.com/386/ Micheal J Fox has Parkinsons disease not MS. WTF time to go home

  45. Johnny says:

    Glad to hear you are fine.

  46. Tom says:

    Damien, just read your post. Your positive outlook is brilliant, it will get you through this.

  47. annette says:

    Damien – am thinking of you and like many others here would suggest that you start slowing down and taking a bit more time for yourself!

  48. Why is Parkinson’s better than Alzheimer’s?

  49. Sharon . says:

    Hi Damien !

    It will stand you in good stead if you can maintain the attitude with which you wrote that post – that of a positive outlook : the realisation that although all may not be well – at present – dwelling on that fact too much to the point where you ‘let the black dog in’ will make things worse.
    I agree with the other posters on the point they made : cut-back on your workload , if at all possible or , at the very least , turn down some of the ‘gigs’ that involve long hours of travel. And , with the time you gain – SPARE time , Damien , not time to do other work in – just unwind , mentally . Relax , take a breather – watch an hour or two of mindless television or just go for a walk . But – whatever way you do it – clear your head for those precious few hours every week .
    Hope you’ll keep us all up-dated.