Battling Keith's fears ahead of wedding
Published 14/04/2015 | 00:00
a County Wexford man suffering from cystic fibrosis, who is planning to marry his childhood sweetheart, fears that he may pass on his genetically-inherited illness to his children.
Keith Murphy, formerly from Oylegate and who now lives in Rosslare, said his bride-to-be Rosie Morrissey hadn't been tested to see if she is a CF carrier, but it's something the couple would look into before deciding to have children.
'If Rosie was a carrier and we had a child there would be a 75 per cent that our child would have CF,' said Keith, aged 25, who met Rosie, when she was 15 and he was 17 at a rock concert at the Dun Mhuire Theatre.
'We started dating then,' said Keith, who proposed to Rosie 18 months ago.
While living with CF was difficult, it was 'not all doom and gloom,' Keith told this newspaper.
'I'm just trying to live a normal life and yes sometimes it is difficult because I take a lot of medication and some days I would not be able to do what I did before... there are some when I'm just too tired to leave the house.'
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. An inherited condition, it affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices.
The fear of infection is every present.
Keith, who was diagnosed with CF when he was only six months old, said he was in and out of hospital as a youngster, but when he was an adolescent he had seven good years without chest infections.
However, once he reached his 20s, he tended to get infections every three or four months that might need intravenous anti biotics either administered in hospital or by himself at home 'after learning proper practice'.
'It's just a case of administering your own through a needle that's in your arm,' he said.
A former student of Enniscorthy Vocational College, Keith studied software engineering at Carlow IT, although he had to extend his 'very stressful' third year when he became ill.
'I become sick and the road was a little bit longer, but I got there,' he said.
As a youngster his ambition was to be a pilot, and then a carpenter. Now he's working as a software engineer with big ambitions, either to work for Google or another Fortune 500 company.
'I couldn't join the air corps because they don't take anyone with a long-term illness and carpentry wouldn't work because of all the workshop dust, so I needed a 9-5 job in an office or that I could do on a laptop if I were ill, so I came up with the idea of software development, and the playing field tends to be level in the bigger companies.'
After graduating, Keith got an internship with Eureka Software in Rosslare Harbour, which led to a fulltime position with the company. He is about to start a new job in Dublin when he and Rosie move to the capital.
Despite his CF, Keith successfully took part in the 2014 Tough Mudder Challenge - a 12-mile mud run with 20 obstacles - with fellow CF sufferer Joseph Lawlor to raise funds for the Tracie Lawlor Trust for Cystic Fibrosis.
Gluttons for punishment and bit of glory, they are planning to do it all again this year.
'It was a personal challenge to prove to myself that I could do it - and I want the green headband for running the challenge for a second year,' he said.