'Maybe one day I'll feel human again' - Mum fighting Lyme disease
A young mum-of-one who is suffering from Lyme disease, a life-altering condition, is hoping that one day she will be able to "feel human again".
Susan O'Brien (33), from Rathcoffey, Co Kildare, never thought her son would have to see his mum need a walking stick and wheelchair at such a young age.
"My 13-year-old son, Scott, sees my pain every day and it's so hard for us because we can't do all the things we used to do together," said Susan.
"I'd love to be able to stand at one of his football games without him being worried about me."
Susan first became ill three years ago. She was out biking with Scott in a forest park and began to feel unwell.
"The whole left side of my body didn't feel right, it felt strange, a feeling of pins and needles all up my left side," she said.
"When I returned home, I called my mum and we thought maybe I had done too much, so I went off to bed.
"By the morning I was crying, still feeling odd all down my left side, so I called my GP, as I was getting really scared. The feeling was now on the left side of my face. My GP thought I was after having a stroke."
What followed was hospitalisation and months of tests and treatment.
"I developed no bull's eye rash, which is a common symptom, and doctors didn't know what was wrong with me," said Susan, who worked as a beautician and spa therapist prior to becoming ill.
"I've had so many scans, blood tests, MRIs and two spinal taps for doctors to find out what was wrong.
"Then I was given the news a year and a half later that I have Lyme disease.
"I attended St James's Hospital and was put on a four-week treatment but it didn't work and on my last visit I was told nothing more could be done for me and that I was just going to have to live with it."
However, Susan does not want to give up on fighting this debilitating disease.
The determined mum took part in the Women's Mini Marathon with the help of her son three weeks ago to raise funds for treatment in Germany.
Due to the disease, Susan's everyday life has been affected beyond recognition and she has a never-ending list of associated ailments.
The treatment in Germany is her last hope. Getting to the clinic would give her a chance, and give Scott and her family hope - but it will cost €20,000.
"If I manage to raise this amount, I will be kept in hospital for two weeks," she said.
"If the treatment goes well and my body responds well, I will not need to go back. Getting into remission is the main goal and hopefully I wont relapse."
The brave mum is not giving up hope.
"Maybe one day I will wake up and be 'normal' again," she said.
"Maybe one day I'll feel human again. Maybe one day, a miracle will happen."
Information can be accessed on the Sue's Lyme Disease Fight Facebook page or at: gofundme.com/Sueslymediseasefight.