At his most recent check-up, former Limerick hurler Andrew O'Shaughnessy received some encouraging news. The 2007 All-Star was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009.
"My last MRI, it showed up the lesions that I had originally, instead of further developing, there was a dramatic decrease in the lesions," O'Shaughnessy said on his Laochra Gael episode which was broadcast on TG4 on Wednesday night.
"That's good, [Doctor] Peter Boers is delighted with that. He goes, 'I wouldn't know that you have MS other than the fact that I'm looking at an MRI of you.' How it hasn't escalated from my diagnosis, as you would normally see, that bodes well for the future, hopefully.
"People think of MS and they associate it with the worst case scenario before the medication developed and got better. Fortunately enough, I'm not in that case. I might be in the future but I cannot worry about that. If you're worrying about the future and what could affect you, you're going to miss a bus driving down the street and it could hit you.
"I did say I'd prefer that of anyone in my family, that I’d get it. I feel that I'm the one strongest enough to deal with it. That seems to be the case. I'm not letting it get to me. I only think about it once a day when I take my medication. That's it, sin é, get on with it. There's a lot of people in worse circumstances, a lot of people in better circumstances. If you start feeling self-pity, you're on the back foot straight away. "
O'Shaughnessy offered some advice to anyone living with the condition.
"It's not as dark as it seems; there's always light," said the 34-year-old.
You have to stay positive, as hard as it is. Talk to someone who you value. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your loved ones, if you don't want to upset them, talk to someone else removed from it who are just impartial and an ear. They're not going to give you any solutions, they're just someone to talk to.
In 2010, a year following his diagnosis, O'Shaughnessy won a Limerick SHC title with Kilmallock.
"People were saying, 'Jesus, you're moving well.' They thought I was messing but I said, 'I'm actually fitter this year than I was last year' because the club training was better which was stark and oddly weird.
"It went well. If you can get a group who all have the same focus, you can achieve wonderful things. We were similar to the Limerick U21s: we had all that underage promise but we never transferred it onto senior. We were getting to semi-finals and finals and losing to the winners - that's so hard to take. It was fantastic to win that year."
Last year, retired from playing the game, O'Shaughnessy started his coaching career with Tournafulla. They would go onto win the Limerick JHC.
"When Andrew retired from playing hurling, all his family would have told him that this wasn't the end for him," says O'Shaughnessy's wife Eimear in the show.
"We all told him that he still had a huge contribution to give to hurling in a different way."
Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE