Tuesday 6 December 2016

TV3 star needs more brain surgery for chronic back pain

Sean O'Grady

Published 09/08/2016 | 08:19

Andrea Hayes. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Andrea Hayes. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Andrea Hayes on Ireland's Animal A&E/TV3
Me and my girl: Andrea Hayes and David Torpey have come through her journey with chronic pain together. Photo: Mark Condren.
Ailsing Holly and Andrea Hayes at The Cari Charity Summer lunch hosted by Miriam Ahern at The Shelbourne Hotel
Andrea Hayes at Strictly For Soccer

Andrea Hayes has revealed that she may need brain surgery to cope with her chronic back pain.

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The TV3 presenter suffers from Chiari malformation, a rare and incurable disorder that causes the brain to press downwards on the spinal cord.

Andrea uses certain tactics to help ease the pain caused by the affliction, but has admitted she may have to go under the knife to improve her condition.

"Ultimately, I probably will have to have brain surgery because of my Chiari malformation. Certainly I'll need to get three discs removed from the back of my neck because they're in a really bad way," she said.

Me and my girl: Andrea Hayes and David Torpey have come through her journey with chronic pain together. Photo: Mark Condren.
Me and my girl: Andrea Hayes and David Torpey have come through her journey with chronic pain together. Photo: Mark Condren.

"The brain is pressing down on the spine and there's a lot of degeneration there, and the worry is paralysis."

However, the 37-year-old said it's unlikely the surgery will put an end to her chronic pain.

The malformation means she is unsure of how long she will be able to continue working in television.

As a result, Andrea is already planning for another career.

Andrea Hayes on Ireland's Animal A&E/TV3
Andrea Hayes on Ireland's Animal A&E/TV3

"I love being busy, but the reality of knowing that your health is degenerating can be very tough to deal with," she said.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be able to keep working in television, which is why I've started writing.

"I'm currently working on a new book and doing other bits to give myself extra options."

She said writing allows her to work from home, while going out to work in front of the camera makes her more aware of her health.

Andrea Hayes at Strictly For Soccer
Andrea Hayes at Strictly For Soccer

"I can usually sit in my pyjamas at home doing all the stuff," she said.

"It's when I have to get dressed, go outside and see people that I realise that my health is not as good as maybe my voice might be."

Although she's a regular fill-in host on TV3's Midday, Andrea said she would have to cut back on her TV appearances while she promotes her book, Pain-Free Life: My Journey To Wellness.

"Obviously, I'd love to do something on pain and invisible illnesses," she told the RTE Guide.

"But right now I'm doing more writing so there might be another book tour at the end of the year."

Hayes has taken up self-hypnosis in an effort to relieve her chronic pain.

"I believe you can train to heal your pain," she said.

"I do self-hypnosis morning and night and that can calm the body and help calm the pain.

"If I don't do it, I find that my pain levels can rise."

Herald

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