Looking at 15 year old Sinead Kearney, doing her best to put the bright side out, you could be forgiven for thinking that she is fine, that there is nothing wrong with her. The reality, however, is very different.
Since contracting Lyme Disease four years ago she has felt almost constantly weak and exhausted. Sometimes she is unable even to lift a spoon, other times her legs are so weak she needs to use a wheel chair. She has had chronic pain in every part of her body. Months have gone by that she was too sick to even remember.
She has missed many weeks at school and in recent months, while recovering from the second operation in less than a year on her skull and spine, has only been able to attend for a couple of hours one or two days a week. The effort of concentrating and taking in information completely wipes her out.
Her biggest heartache, however, is not being able to play sport. She loves football, camogie, horse riding and being outdoors. Her illness has been isolating as well as debilitating. It just takes more energy than she now has to do the things she used to love to do.
Her symptoms can change rapidly within the day, even within an hour. There is always the fear that her limited energy reserve will run dry or that the pain in muscles, joints or head will become too much and she will just fall down. She also dreads how long it may take to recover after any activity.
Having recently had tests done in Germany it is now hoped that she will get her life back to normal with the help of treatment available in America.