10 years: a lot to be thankful for


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.

MS also gave me a hospital-acquired superbug and some pretty nasty chest infections. It tackled my eyes, my limbs and my energy levels. Have the past ten years been plain sailing? No, but it wasn’t the worst thing in life either. It tries to destroy, but it gets nowhere at all.

Ten years later, a lot of progress has been made on the pharmaceutical front. There are now 11 first-line and second-line disease-modifying treatments for relapsing/remitting MS; there are now oral as well as IV treatments, and 1 specifically for secondary-progressive MS. When I was diagnosed, there were only 5 in total, all of which injectables for relapsing/remitting MS.

Today? Ongoing research into what else can deliver positive outcomes, keeps me believing in life. I wholeheartedly remain optimistic for those reasons only. I still keep standing tall, and I’m still in love with life. The more pain or illnesses I have, the more I want to live.

I got MS, yet I won. I won fantastic friends and a totally new philosophy on life. I won love where I thought there was none. In need, you truly learn who your real friends are. I found trust in those that stuck around. I found new ones that are like close family, and they’re the best people to have in life.

MS itself? It took my job, but it doesn’t own me. MS doesn’t get praise for having me. No matter how bad MS treats me in the future, I am its CEO instead. ‘I will never lose’ is the knowledge that I conquer MS every single day of the year. Perhaps not physically, but mentally I am stronger than MS.

It wasn’t what I had dreamed of when I moved to Ireland, but it’s here to stay.

I have MS.

So what?


Manufacturer/Distributor Year of FDA Approval & Adminstration

Aubagio® – Genzyme, a Sanofi company – 2012 – oral tablets

Avonex® – Biogen Idec – 1996 – intramuscular injection

Betaseron® – Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – 1993 – subcutaneous injection

Copaxone® – Teva Neuroscience – 1996 – subcutaneous injection

Extavia® – Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. – 2009 – subcutaneous injection

Gilenya® – Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. – 2010 – oral tablets

Lemtrada – Genzyme, a Sanofi company – 2014 – intravenous infusion

Novantrone® – EMD Serono, Inc./Immunex Corporation – 2000 – intravenous infusion

Plegridy – Biogen Idec – 2014 – subcutaneous injection

Rebif® – EMD Serono, Inc./Pfizer, Inc. — 2002 – subcutaneous injection

Tecfidera® – Biogen Idec — 2013 – oral tablets

Tysabri® – Biogen Idec — 2006 – intravenous infusion

To follow my journey, please visit irelandms.com

#tenyears #10years #MS #MultipleSclerosis #LoveLife

©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are 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.

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