Tag Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

The difference between ALS and MS



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) 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

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

Blurred notes to self

10446626_493205107477168_3492364098128049118_nSunday evening, as always a short look forward to the coming week, and a long goodbye to the past three weeks. There’s the usual MS fatigue and some added black-and-white-being-fed-up always having to repeat myself. In other words, today has been, and still is, all about ‘out with the old, in with the new’ but not before letting off some steam.

In a recent post for the blog of the Irish MS society, I used one of my favourite quotes by Lewis Carroll, “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

I wrote about being a different person pre- and post-diagnosis. Being diagnosed was a super-charged emotional rollercoaster ride, the ride hurdled forward by the passing away of six family members (including my only sibling, Nana and stepdad) the following 3.5 years and by turning single again. Let’s just say that before being able to get up and crawl on my hands and knees, I was knocked sideways again, six times over. 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 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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