Author Archives for Billie

About Billie

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

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

#BandAid30

Do you sometimes think, “Thank god we’re lucky we’re born on the right side of the world, and the right side of the equator”? People on the wrong side, in West Africa, right now, are dying a horrific death, sometimes all alone.

Some days you wish you had a lot of money in your wallet and bank account just so you can spread some peace around your neighbourhood, friends and family. As a lifelong supporter of the Irish MS Society, a few animal welfare organisations and giving the few Euros left of my meager invalidity pension to homeless people in town, I am all for charity.

My eyes did see my eyebrows frown however when I heard that our own Sir Bob Geldof, born and raised in Dublin, was waking Band Aid from the dead. Again. “How many times more?” was my first reaction, and “I’ll send my money straight to Africa, thank you very much.” 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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