• Books, Ireland and a few blanks

    “To see the real Ireland, the sea, the ocean, the mountains, the patches of green under constantly changing shadows, is to know its people. Despite trying to give Ireland the best of both worlds, it ended up taking up part of me. Lex talionis not applied, I abide by its spirit and ever-welcoming mind.” Continue reading

  • I’m an ex and I’m lovin’ it!

    I used to be a lot of things. Busy. Book addict. Ireland lover. Passionate. College student… and perhaps a tad crazy also. But then friends started saying that I was “slowly turning into a blonde”. Physical discrimination on the basis … Continue reading

  • Branded

    Often, our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be? When some of my blogging friends urgently emailed me this question as part of a Daily Post, I didn’t need to think of answers … Continue reading

  • Book lovers, unite!

    “I love words, funky ones, cranky ones, utterly ridiculous ones as well as justified paragraphs, intense fonts and long sentences that shout for shortened versions. I’ve been living in Ireland for 12+ years now, and honey, we simply don’t do short sentences in Ireland. Ask Joyce, who once wrote something so flabbergastingly fantastic that he forgot to add punctuation, a sentence of 4,391 words, no less. Molly Bloom must’ve gasped for air once she finished dreaming or thinking it. I am still gasping for air after tackling Ulysses. Talk about kick ass literature.” Continue reading

The love revolution

hopeVox populi:
Turnout: 1,949,725
Yes: 1,201,607
No: 734,300
62.1% vs 37.9%

Today, Ireland turned a corner by becoming the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote. A corner a lot of people have been struggling with for decades. A fear that many were afraid of voicing, afraid of a Catholic Church still instilling that famous Irish guilt in many.

Religion has always been a tough subject in Ireland as  it continuously interfered in issues it had no clue about at all. Contraception was illegal until 1980, and it was illegal for single people to buy a condom until 1992. There was a constitutional ban on divorce until 1995 (and can still take +5 years to be finalised), and homosexuality was a criminal offense until the 1990s. While the Catholic Church itself harbours and moves around paedophile priests without punishing them, and nuns chastised pregnant girls and women in its Magdalen Laundries, it continued punishing its flock for having ‘impure thoughts’. Continue reading

Hope cures old wounds

10505565_271992656337777_3335423019850516985_n‘Hypochondria? It’s the only disease I haven’t met yet.’ One of the better jokes I can actually remember, as I simply don’t do long ones.

MS? Awkward, puzzling, easier said than done, and the type of illness that carries this tagline: “the illness is mine, but the tragedy theirs” when asked how the family feels about your condition. Buzzwords that don’t exactly calm down an overactive mind.

Any illness is unwelcome, that much we can agree on. MS can strike in so many different ways that your life at times resembles a war zone. When I entered the MS academy, I read the small print and knew it wouldn’t be a 365-day holiday. But, if one good thing has come from being diagnosed ten years ago, it’s the perception that no matter what happens, life goes on.

And boy, does it go on. Continue reading

Kick Ass Ireland

Sliabh Liag image

Sliabh Liag, County Donegal

Some days I sit still and think about how my life became a dream full-circle.

There’s William Butler Yeats, James Joyce and Brendan Behan.

Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift, Colm Tóibín and Samuel Beckett.

Patrick Kavanagh, George Bernard Shaw and Lady Augusta.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Land of Heart’s Desire and Yeats’s grave.

Dubliners, Ulysses and Bloomsday.

The mountains, lakes, Dublin, Sligo and the Shannon.

Brú na Boinne, Corcaigh, Beara, Daingean Uí Chúis, Zú Bhaile Átha Cliath, craic agus ceol.

Brian Ború, Michael Collins, Theobald Wolfe Tone and Daniel O’Connell.

Seven hundred years of cruelty, yet still able to endure hard times.

Writers, dancers, taps, tin whistles and uilleann pipes.

Books, almighty libraries and small bookshops selling secrets.

Friendships gained, lost and renewed.

New alliances forged in foothills and strengthened on mountain tops.

“You, the Irish” becoming “Us Irish”.

Utter dedication, loyalty, heartfelt passion and amazement.

Innate decency, long chats and fickle fiddlers, the smallest dance floors filled to the brim.

Haunting voices singing songs at night, softer voices talking about Irish history near the open fire.

Family falling for that Irish dream and character, its people and its truth.

Twelve and a half years of dreaming, believing, seeing and becoming.

Twelve and a half years and counting.

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About Willeke

Neurologically challenged by MS and personally by her will to succeed, Willeke is a disability awareness advocate seeking to improve neurological/MS services in Ireland. By highlighting difficult issues that come with such a diagnosis, she hopes her tenacity can bring some dignity to people most in need of a modern, inclusive healthcare system that looks after every aspect of life.

©WVE and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2015. 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.

MRI scans, hope or defeat

MS images

A war zone. It sounded like a war zone. Sound effects of an AK47 gun amid MRI vibrations and banging noises usually taking place on construction sites. Tinnitus adding an overlay I can miss like never before.

Magnetic resonance imaging is a godsend to ill people. In regards to MS, it gives a clear view on what is physically going wrong inside the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Add some contrast fluid, and yours can lit up like a Christmas tree, just like mine did this morning. Or so I was told.

Sudden, loud sounds twitches my head involuntarily. The upstairs part of my body locked in a mask, I now realise how Leo felt when he played The Man in the Iron Mask. Continue reading

World MS Day 2015

WMSD2015

For more on World MS Day 2015, check these links:

Twitter – Tweet @WorldMSDay and/or use #strongerthanMS

Facebook – World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day

Instagram – worldmsday

YouTube – World MS Day

Pinterest – World MS Day

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

About Willeke

Neurologically challenged by MS and personally by her will to succeed, Willeke is a disability awareness advocate seeking to improve neurological/MS services in Ireland. By highlighting difficult issues that come with such a diagnosis, she hopes her tenacity can bring some dignity to people most in need of a modern, inclusive healthcare system that looks after every aspect of life.

©WVE and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2015. 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.

Positive MS News: April 2015

kinex-clinical-trialsResearch news

  1. Miconazole and clobetasol may be effective as multiple sclerosis therapies
  2. Drug Derived From Sea Anemone Shows Promise Against Psoriasis, MS
  3. Novel Drug From Nature Shows Early Promise
  4. ‘Brainbow’ illuminates cellular connections
  5. MS Association of America releases 2015 multiple sclerosis research update
  6. B Vitamin Promising in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
  7. Phenytoin protects against optical damage in multiple sclerosis
  8. Could Eczema Cream Be Used for Treating Multiple Sclerosis?
  9. URMC Start-up Takes Aim at Memory and Cognitive Problems
  10. Controversial stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis
  11. Key Cytokine Discovery May Shape Future MS Treatment
  12. The UpBeat: One of the ‘super heroes’ encouraged by promising MS research
  13. Drugs that activate brain stem cells may reverse multiple sclerosis
  14. Novel Mechanism May Prevent Onset of MS in Immune Cells
  15. French firm announces multiple sclerosis drug breakthrough
  16. A Missing Subset in ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Revealed? Take the Disease Course Survey
  17. Stem Cell Transplant Reduces Multiple Sclerosis Disease Activity
  18. Seizure Medication Reduced Optic Neuritis In Multiple Sclerosis
  19. Tisch MS Research Center Of New York Reports Early Improvement In Stem Cell Trial
  20. Public Release: 22-Apr-2015 Researchers discover new drugs to combat the root cause of multiple …
  21. Progressive MS Pipeline Slowly Filling With New, Experimental Therapies
  22. Important Multiple Sclerosis Research Grants Announced
  23. Promising New Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis Based on Placenta Cells

Continue reading

The difference between ALS and MS

 ALS

AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS)

ALS is a form of motor neuron disease. It involves the loss of the actual motor nerve cells. The nerves affected are in the spinal cord and those that travel to the voluntary muscles, so there are symptoms of both central and peripheral involvement, with weakness and wasting in arms, legs, and mouth/throat (bulbar). ALS is a rapidly progressive and fatal neuromuscular disease.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable – at times disabling – disease of the central nervous system: which consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The disease attacks the protective myelin covering of the central nervous system, causing inflammation and often destroying the myelin in patches. The severity of MS, rate of progression, and specific symptoms cannot be predicted at the time of diagnosis. Continue reading

10 years: a lot to be thankful for

Inspirational Quotes 4

Ten years ago today, and 2.5 years after moving to Ireland, I was diagnosed with MS, an incurable, neurodegenerative illness that would change my life in ways I never imagined. Needless to say, it was an unwelcome event. Little did I know, however, that it would eventually lead to a life well lived.

There was no manual that showed me how to adapt, accept and live with a chronic illness. MS, associated with 50+ different symptoms, impacts each patient differently. There are numerous symptoms I might never have at all, and that in itself gives hope. Continue reading

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