Most definitely away with the faeries.
Never one to take myself too seriously unless needed, I am taking my new number in my stride. Having family and friends I love and who in return, seem to like me enough to give me a place in their own busy lives, is all I need to know.
Asked how I ended up in Dublin, celebrating my birthday in Ireland for a 13th consecutive year, is a recurring question. The answer? The bonkers idea since age 15ish, that life in Ireland was ‘it’, a dream so titanic in size I was afraid it might never work out.
So, am I where and what I wanted to be as a teen? I sure am.
Library assistant: check.
A vision of living life in a more relaxed, quieter, deeper and loving kind of way: check.
Taken literally, I am smack bang in the middle of where I wanted to be. Metaphorically, of course I would rather spend my birthday differently. Anywhere but a bedroom on a sunny afternoon.
Still… Ireland. Dublin. Clonsilla. Home. Bed. Sunglasses on while writing this. Painkillers à gogo. Toothpicks keeping my eyes open. Sort of.
The definition of my life is, ‘My body, my rules’, and as William Shakespeare once wrote, ‘This above all: to thine own self be true.’ Know yourself, be true to yourself, and know what you want to happen with your physical being. Although the latter seemed somewhat different lately with a marathon run of one medical appointment after another for about six weeks, I started to feel like a live donor, as if I was outsourcing my body to medical science.
Life’s good, but keeping brain atrophy, demyelination and neurodegernation at bay, is no mean feat. What makes it difficult is that, unless you have MRI scans of your brain and spinal cord every week, you don’t have a clear picture of what is happening.
I refuse to give in to my physical health’s constant demand for superiority, though, but that need seems insatiable. If my whole MS-tale can be one of caution so, I would like you reading this to start listening carefully to what your body is telling you. If it yells, ‘Stop!’ listen and take your foot off the pedal for a while, rest, relax and sleep whenever if need be. Don’t hit the breaks when it’s too late, in hospital, or faced with a chronic illness yourself.
Relationship dynamics are one thing, the dynamic between you and your chronic illness another thing altogether. It requires as much time and dedication caring about it. For that reason and for the first time in years, I had to decide to spend my birthday in bed, and under the duvet. There have been too many days and nights the last few months where illustrious physical aches and pains have kept me up all night; while steady energy levels have been missing from my physical being altogether.
As I enter a new year with hopefully less physical pain, more energy and with as much writing I can possibly fit into a year to keep me sane, it’s good to keep reminding myself that despite odd, nasty hiccups thrown my way, it’s really just all about carpe diem.
Neurologically challenged by MS and personally by her will to succeed, Willeke is a disability awareness advocate seeking to improve neurological services in Ireland. By highlighting difficult issues that come with a MS diagnosis, she hopes her words and tenacity can bring justice to people most in need of a modern, inclusive healthcare system that looks after every aspect of life.
©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte 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.