• #FestifyMS your desk Christmas appeal

    “If you’re in Ireland, text Festify to 50300 to donate €4 for Christmas. If you want to give a larger amount if you are living abroad, you can go to http://ms-society.ie/pages/donate to donate any amount you wish to the society. A lifetime membership costs €50 ($67 or £40), and ensures much-needed services to people with MS can be retained or improved.” Continue reading

  • Managing fatigue

    Dr Anita Rose is a Consultant Neuropsychologist who works across the globe. She created a list on how to manage MS fatigue and this is something to live by. Dr Rose is well-known for her clinical work, research and consultancy … Continue reading

  • My little secret, and how you can find out if you have OCD

    When I was growing up, I used to hear stories about my grandfather’s need of having things sorted in an often peculiar way. One example: items placed on the indoor fireplace mantel had to be lined up with the edge … Continue reading

  • Positive MS News: November 2014

    “Hoping for a cure? Of course. I am realistic though, as it might not happen in my lifetime. Simply being part of the solution, is all I wish for right now. Whichever comes first, the 8,000 people with MS in Ireland, 100,000 in the UK, 400,000 in the US and many other people around the world are looking forward, and simply… hope.” Continue reading

So… I want to marry Ireland!

45500_569789193038961_937932256_nImmensely overlooked in my blog this year has been one of the three biggest champions in my life. Some friends say ‘There’s definitely a book hiding in you, so it’s time to start writing that autobiography.’ The word ‘autobiography’ fills me with trepidation though, as I immediately think of the libraries I worked in, and I see long shelves packed with autobiographies of distinguished writers or obscure rock stars.

Perhaps we secretly all want to write a book, and if we dare being vain, write our own biography, with your good self as the protagonist, Hercules-style. The name of the main character in my autobiography might perhaps surprise you.

It’s not multiple sclerosis; any illness that tries taking my identity doesn’t deserve the main role in my book.

It’s not the hospital or my pharmacy, either.

Hell, it’s not even myself.

Continue reading

How to wrap friendship

Image of respect in friendshipFlirty Sprinklepants reporting for duty, sir!

Kind of.

With that name, and only two weeks away from Christmas Day, and I still haven’t had that sprinkly, Rudolph-like wintery feeling just yet.

Oh dear.

No presents yet. No Christmas Day clothes to wear yet on the very day itself. Even putting up my Christmas tree yesterday resulted in it looking rather… boudoir-like. Tacky even. Hell, it simply belongs in a red light district. Whoever said to try red berry fairy lights in my tree… You are a marked man. Continue reading

Lifetime membership

Silver imageRuth Humleker, a profoundly political, strongly opinionated and utterly fearless woman once said, “I can change only myself, but sometimes that is enough.” With her words often on replay in my head, I think back to that day.

Yes… t-h-a-t day in April 2005.

Diagnosed. Officially a lifetime carrier and member of a band called multiple sclerosis. Question is, what will you do with that membership? Use it? Abuse it? Throw it out?

As it turned out, soon after t-h-a-t day, I knew I would be using this broken vehicle as a tool of some sorts, perhaps to help others. And yes, yes… you can stop whispering “anyone but yourself!” Continue reading

Ireland Blog Awards 2014 finalist certificates

Happy days!

The certificates of the Ireland Blog Awards 2014 finalists arrived today so I can now frame them and give them a nice place on my walls.

I want to thank everyone once again for voting me in, and for the continuous support. Without sounding too cliché, I would not be able to keep on writing if it wasn’t for all the good intentions, friendship and love you’ve given me so far.

Image certificate Blog Awards Continue reading

Conversations with myself: 2005-2006

write-with-style

While doing a big administration clean up, I came across some old notebooks. The one that caught my eye started on June 5th 2005, and lists MS, professional, friendship and relationship woes as I was diagnosed just two months prior.

It’s very much an interior monologue trying to make sense out of nonsense. For example, I wrote about the last meeting with my dog Wolf right before he was put down.

Questions about certain relationships also feature heavily as a new me was now meeting new demands, wishes etc.

In the next few weeks, I will be publishing parts of my diagnosis diary, so keep an eye on my blog.

For more:

Dogs, miracles with paws

See you then!

© WVE and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Making Sense of MS

image patient speaking to doctor

One of the many things people newly diagnosed with MS (PwMS) look for is information on what their illness will have in store for them.

From thinking back to when I was discovering what MS might be like, I remember an overwhelming feeling of “where on earth do I even begin?” when I finally went online. I was numb and in denial but knew I had to find out more if I wanted to create a realistic idea of it.

Approximately 5,000 people are newly diagnosed with MS each year in the UK, and for this reason, the MS Trust commissioned the “Making Sense of MS” resource to highlight the need for more information at the time of diagnosis. Continue reading

12 years of chasing Irish poetry, books & dreams

12 years ago, on this very day, I moved to Ireland. Sometimes it still feels like a dream within a dream, of seeing, hearing and feeling new stories, of meeting wise and old, playful and young. Many stories have ended up here on my blog, so please do check the menu above.

Thinking back, I always have William Butler Yeats in the back of my mind. He is definitely my favourite Irish poet, although it would be an injustice not mentioning the fantastic work of Seamus Heaney, James Joyce’s Ulysses and many others blessed by the Irish gift of the gab. Below are just a few of my favourite poems by Yeats, so do enjoy!

A poem for Ireland:
If you want to vote for your favourite Irish poem of the last 100 years, you can do so here.
https://twitter.com/RTEPoetry
https://www.facebook.com/RTEAPoemForIreland

Continue reading

Resilience

I can be changed imageSince writing my article about depression five days ago, and my mum’s 7-day visit to Ireland, I feel a shift has taken place in my mind.

I am not 100% there yet, but I am well on my way to finding uncompromising resolve again. Many grand and tiny gestures have contributed over the last 4-5 weeks, and are still willing me forward today. Of course, the backing of friends and family, as well as my medical team definitely helped.

Most of all, though, I had once again come to the realisation that I unfortunately need more sleep than the average, healthy person. At this stage so, I must start considering my continuous fights against tiredness and “forgetfulness” about needing a lot of sleep, as a pure character flaw. Continue reading

Positive MS News: October 2014

Medicine DNA Drug

Once again, a lot of research news was published online, with the best headline saying “54 New MS Research Projects to Receive Millions of Dollars in Funding.” In my view, I can only jump up and down like a child at Christmas reading about new research and positive trial results. Even if or when we’re struggling with our illness, we know that lots is happening to help us forward in life.

So please, enjoy the list with research & clinical trial news, updates on current medication and business & general news. Continue reading

Depression?!

Crying eyes

Three weeks ago, Mental Health Awareness Week graced Ireland, hoping to shine a light on  the different kinds of mental illness some people live with. If you spent time on Facebook or other social media during that time, you probably saw pictures float by saying, “Depression isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign you’ve been trying to remain strong for too long.”

While everyone goes through a short time of feeling low at some stage in his or her life, feeling down can also be a symptom of an illness other than depression, like multiple sclerosis. Continue reading

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