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

I’m only human

images6“I’m only human.”

It’s a phrase we all use sometimes to explain unwanted behaviours and/or consequences. Friedrich Nietzsche would say, ‘Human, all too human’, while I wonder why we simply do the things we do without some foresight, afterthought, or a memory spark that could have shown us how to avoid running into trouble.

My failures or dodgy flaws?

I can be as silly as a young pup, crashing into you or the furniture as I go, have a memory the size of an ant, or simply be as tired as old, worn wallpaper. More than once I ran into myself at lightning speed like atom particles do in the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, and as a result, ended up in hospital in need of IV steroid treatment to get me up and running again. Because of this, my body itself reached the expiry date on steroid use, and it refuses to let it benefit me. In other words, steroids are now a waste of time.

I’m only human. Continue reading

Eyes: pure vision


We use them to learn, navigate, assess and appreciate. They help our brain understand our environment and sometimes, as peculiar as it sounds, we use them to listen.

Louis Braille, Stevie Wonder, John Milton, Jorge Louis Borges, Galileo Galilei, Eamon de Valera, Johann Sebastian Bach and many others had eyesight issues. Some managed to produce works of pure genius like John Milton did when he wrote his epic Paradise Lost after he became blind at the age of 43 in 1651. He bent a negative event into a positive one, something that many since Milton have done, and done well.

When one or both start being a nuisance, you certainly feel apprehensive. I’ve been wearing glasses since age 6, and contact lenses since age 20. I should be well-used to handling them so, but I am acutely aware of the tricks eyes can, and in fact, do play.

Continue reading

Medical Apps for Clinicians

285x285_Best_MS_Apps_2014_12MS @Point of Care
MS @Point of Care presents valuable information in an easy-to-digest format. MS @Point of Care is a series of chapters and other tools that aid in making informed decisions regarding diagnosis, treatment, and symptom management.
Available on iPhone


MS Diagnosis and Management
The Multiple Sclerosis – Clinical Care app is designed to be a handy tool for neurologists, resident physicians, and other healthcare providers to aid in the diagnosis and management of MS. Continue reading

10 Useful MS Apps

285x285_Best_MS_Apps_2014_12EDSS Calculator
The Toronto EDSS Calculator helps healthcare professionals and researchers compute the Expanded Disability Severity Score (EDSS) for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. The application facilitates the rapid and accurate calculation of the EDSS using Kurtzke’s algorithm.
Available on Android, iPhone and iPad Continue reading

MS Treatment Apps

SymTrac-free-iPhone-app-helps-sufferers-of-MS-Android-soonAs we become more mobile as  time goes on, we also want more access and availability of our medical history and treatment plans wherever we travel. Pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of money making such apps as inclusive as possible, with some true digital gems.

This post is about MS treatment/wellness apps, whereas part two will be about medical apps in the broader sense of the word. If you find your treatment or country isn’t up-to-date in the list, bear with me/big pharma please, as apps might be in the early stages of development. I will keep on checking for updates though, or if you know when/where I can find links, do give me a shout! Continue reading

MS Quiz

3Feel like a little quiz on MS?

Go here to test your knowledge on what MS is, what it does, and what symptoms can be part of MS.

The quiz is short, so in just 10 questions you can find out if you need to brush up your knowledge somewhat or if you are on top of your game.

Good luck, and don’t forget to share your results!

©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.

Life’s meant to be…

a4006188cbe835b3047be497c9442726What’s life if it’s not meant to be beautiful, or happy?

It’s not about scraping through, it’s not about being just half of who or what you ever thought you’d be as a person. Nonetheless, it’s about rising above pessimism, difficult situations and learning how to be happy in a world full of new normals.

When I was diagnosed in 2005, I felt a burning need to help others in the same kind of situation I found myself in by informing them what MS is, what it feels like and how others can help.

Living in a different country, having to learn about the often difficult Irish healthcare system, creating and sticking to medication schedules and trying to remember hospital appointments, all happened in a blur at times. Looking back now, I wonder how I ever managed. To my surprise I learned in no time, simply because there was no other way I could accomplish what I set out to do before my diagnosis: rise the corporate ladder and enjoy life while doing it.

True, I was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS, the second less evil brother of the four types of MS, which means that attacks or exacerbations would come and go in a wave of strong or new symptoms, before returning with new or worsened symptoms. At this stage in my life, it’s hard to see any remission on the horizon, but it could have been much worse, like being diagnosed with progressive MS or ALS as part of Motor Neurone Disease. It could have been a brain tumour, damage in the brain or spinal cord, or even a genetic disorder. Subsequently, yes… it could have been much worse. Continue reading

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