A MAN who almost died from swine flu has spoken about his difficult recovery.
Padraig Gregan (33) thought he was "a goner" as he spent much of last year fighting for his life.
He was at a huge risk of brain damage or possible death after being struck down with the deadly H1N1 virus in late 2010.
His condition worsened so much that he was airlifted to Sweden for specialist treatment last February.
Padraig, from Tinahely, Co Wicklow, suffered major deterioration to his lungs and began extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (Ecmo) treatment in Sweden.
But after a long and painful road to recovery he was eventually discharged from Cork hospital on his birthday on July 10 last.
He has now told the Herald: "I'm feeling fantastic. I'm still not able to do anything physical because it's my energy that's affected now but I'm in great form.
"I was nearly a goner. It's frightening when I think about it.
"Brain damage was a big risk but I didn't have that, thankfully. I did get seizures but they were able to treat that quickly.
"My lungs are never going to be the same, they'll never be 100pc after the damage."
He added: "I've come on a lot and my family has been great. They wouldn't leave my side and if I'm going anywhere they'll make sure that I'm not on my own.
"I'll be thinking about it. I do think about it a lot but I just want to get on with my life as well," he said.
"I don't think my family thought I'd be celebrating Christmas. They had some tough times. I'm very lucky that I don't remember it.
"The only thing from it that I remember is waking up and seeing my brothers there and coming home from Sweden. They had a big party for me as well when I came home from hospital on July 10 and you could hardly get standing room in my sister's house."
Padraig will still need to attend Cork University Hospital for check-ups in the coming months, and though he's not making any new year's resolutions, he hopes to move on from his swine flu ordeal.
"I'll take each day as it comes now and we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I won't see anymore hospitals though I'll be back in Cork for X-rays and check-ups."
He added: "I can't explain how happy I am to be home."