2014 was the year that I got the headache from hell. It felt like my head was in an invisible vise and somebody was turning the screw. So off too A and E where I went through every type of scan – CAT scan, MRI scan, X ray, ink injected into mybloodstream. And finally, lumbarpuncture where my pressure reading was 70, a normal reading is five. I was then diagnosed with intracranial hypertension.

What is this disease? Internet was my friend. And so I researched, watched YouTube videos, finding that I am in for one hell of a journey. I discovered that my brain thinks it has a tumor, it doesn’t. It floods my skull with spinal fluid to try to flush out the tumor, but it just sits there and then it flushes, and sits and flushes, and sits and builds and builds, until it feels like my spine is going to explode. My head too.

And then I have to go for a lumbar puncture to drain off the fluid. I’ve had nine so far but my last one in Letterkenny was a disaster. I was taken up to the operating room, where they attempted 17 times to put the needle in through my spine, and failed. I now get my lumbar punctures done in Sligo, in a CAT scan, it’s called a fluoroscopy, where they put the needle in, while they are seeing my spine through a TV screen. It’s more accurate, and pretty cool.

My last one was in September 2020. It didn’t go too well. So now, I haven’t had another one and the pressure builds again so I’m being sent for Botox injections in my scalp to try to freeze the nerve endings in my head, 22 injections in total. And I have to have 10 sessions. Fun times.

But I don’t let it stop me. I never have in life. I’m still running my business. I’ve been to Auschwitz, twice, and Chernobyl, on my own against doctor’s orders, but I never follow the rules, really. I raise four children, with the help of my ex, Liam, who is a great guy and the best dad.

All in all, I think women are all warriors in life. And we do what we have to. Nobody else is going to do it for us. So I smile, and I take the lumbar punctures and the injections. And eventually, when I’m starting to go blind, I will have to have brain surgery and have a stint placed in my skull. Sounds scary but do you know what worries me the most? I have to have my head shaved for the surgery and I’m so upset about losing my hair! How sad is that?

I will face that obstacle when I come to it. But until then, I go and keep looking through my lens. I’m going to keep urban exploring. I’m going to keep enjoying my life. Because the world is so beautiful to look at. And the thought of losing last sight is devastating to me. So please appreciate it, look around you. Take it all in. The colours, the scenery. The faces of the people that you see, it’s all so amazing.