Author Archives for Billie

About Billie

Writing about life in Ireland, and with multiple sclerosis. Not always pretty as punch, but definitely brutally honest.

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

#FestifyMS your desk Christmas appeal

Image Festify MS Ireland

You might think, “Not another picture about MS!?”

You’re right. It is another picture about MS. This one however, is different.

I hope that after reading this article, you will have learned how the Irish MS society (also called MS Ireland), is able to provide hope where there’s none, not only through utter commitment and hard work, but also with quiet strength. 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 to different MS groups, i.e. the MS Society of South Africa (Western Cape) as well as in European groups. She travels the world speaking of patient, as well as health professional empowerment.

Fatigue is not only a debilitating symptom of MS; it also is the most common symptom. Those living with it speak of it in various strength and terms, and only have one hope: to one day be relieved of a symptom that upsets daily routines and causes people to retire from work.

Managing fatigue top tips, by doctor and author Anita Rose

Always remember you should never accept fatigue as an inevitable consequence of MS! Continue reading

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

Brain image

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 of the mantel. He would run his fingers along the edge and if the items were placed too far back, he would raise his eyebrows in jest at my grandmother. Other examples exist, and if the term OCD existed in his time, he might have been a possible candidate to earn that title.

My granddad’s legacy was that I inherited some of his peculiar ways. His fireplace mantel is one thing, my kitchen cupboards another. 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

Positive MS News: November 2014

Image of hopeAs an MSer, you always hope. Perhaps you dream big, and you wish for a cure. Or you pray for a new form of medication to tackle your most annoying symptoms. In my case, I literally ache for better trigeminal neuralgia treatment before having to resort to surgery to numb or destroy the trigeminal nerve in my face. I also hope that one day, my severe fatigue will be something of the past by having medication that will keep me alert, awake and active without having nasty side effects.

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

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

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