'Death doesn't scare me, I just don't want to die': Gareth O'Callaghan talks about MSA diagnosis

Radio presenter Gareth O'Callaghan joined Ryan Tubridy this morning on RTÉ Radio 1 where he spoke of his diagnosis of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).

Gareth announced earlier in the month that he would be stepping down from his broadcasting job with 4FM.


He spoke with Ryan this morning about his symptoms, diagnosis and what it means for his future.

He said: "A year ago I began to feel really unwell and I just thought, well I'm 57 now, you're very stressed...you're getting a bit run down."

Gareth spoke of losing feeling in his left hand, how his left foot began to drag and that he thought maybe he had had a stroke.

He said: "Strange things would happen; I would notice in the morning that if I was having mushrooms for my breakfast I couldn't get the fork into the mushroom, I would have to use my right hand.

"When I was cutting my toenails on my left foot, I had to use my right hand because my left hand wouldn't hold the scissors correctly.

"So then I thought...maybe I've had a little bit of a stroke...so I thought I better go see this through.

He spoke about going to his GP to get his condition checked out.

"All of this time in the back of my head I thought this isn't a stroke, I think it's Parkinson...I had the tremor and the yes the left hand was a bit strange and yes I was getting these twitches, this myoclonic jerk, that would wake you in the middle of the night...

"He (GP) did a lot of tests and he said to me 'I don't think it's Parkinson's I think it's a Parkinsonism" and this was the first time ever heard of this."

After a spell in hospital for tests, Garth was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).

"What it does is it targets three very important areas of your brain and central nervous system and over a period of time, it begins to progress more rapidly.

"It targets your movement in the same way Parkinson's would, but it also targets the autoimmune system which looks after your breathing, your swallow, you perspiration, blood pressure, bladder, digestive system and over a period of time it impairs them to a point that they no longer work and basically you become immobile."

Speaking of having MSA, he spoke of there being some very dark moments, saying that the happy Gareth is battling the sick Gareth.

He is keeping a positive attitude and is hopeful that he'll keep going for some time.

"I'm not afraid to die. Death doesn't scare me, I just don't want to die."

Listen to the full interview here

More in this Section

Emilia Clarke opens up about backlash over Game Of Thrones endingEmilia Clarke opens up about backlash over Game Of Thrones ending

Kylie Minogue shares childhood family photos on sister Dannii’s birthdayKylie Minogue shares childhood family photos on sister Dannii’s birthday

David Attenborough: Greta Thunberg’s rise due to passion and concern for futureDavid Attenborough: Greta Thunberg’s rise due to passion and concern for future

Paddy McGuinness reveals secret about his Take Me Out catchphrasesPaddy McGuinness reveals secret about his Take Me Out catchphrases


Lifestyle

Ovarian cancer has been dubbed ‘the silent killer’. Christina Henry tells Rowena Walsh why she is one of the lucky onesAgeing with attitude: Life after ovarian cancer

As almost a father of two, Donal Skehan has realised that in order to survive with young children, quick and easy meals are key, writes Ciara McDonnell.Donal Skehan's newest recipes are quick and easy

Jamie Oliver is on a mission to get everyone eating more vegetables with the release of his new book, Veg.A selection of recipes from Jamie Oliver's new book Veg

More From The Irish Examiner