Winner Best Blog Post 2018 in the Ireland Blog Awards!

Best Blog Post Award 2018


In a world where neurodegenerative illnesses roam freely, the above expression takes on different meanings as you go along.

Badabingbadaboom, because you jumped out of the shower happy because this time, you didn’t forget to shave your other leg.

Badabingbadaboom when tremor-filled days turn into steady steps forward, and painful eyes see what the future can still be like.

But, if a paradoxically sounding word like bada-whatever can still convey messages like these, you probably also agree that tiny miracles can happen no matter how bad MS has you in its grip.

You see, some things in life are not supposed to make sense, especially when you write about MS turning your life into so many splintered fragments it might seem you will never be able to put it back together again.

However, life is rarely hopeless. It might at times feel dramatically laborious, miserable or even incredulously insane, but this is a temporary state of mind.

If you‘ve been visiting Ireland,  Multiple Sclerosis & Me the last few weeks, you might have seen the arrival of a few new, shiny objects floating around the site. The brightest one, “3443 NEEDLES’ VOTED BEST BLOG POST 2018“ has caused a best-selfie-feeling-ev-er that is still ongoing, and as such, “badabingbadaboom“ is just about the only word I’ve been able to say when being congratulated on that very deed.

The way to the top of the Best Blog Post category in the Blog Award Ireland competition organized by Ashville Media Group in Dublin, started shortly after the announcement of the finalists in September. This year, my entire blog was shortlisted but didn’t make it to the final like it has in 2014, 2016 and 2017, but ‘3443 Needles‘ was.  As such, my Mum and I had been contemplating the possibility of either winning or losing a best blog post award, with, of course, our usual panache for sarcasm.

Me: “Fourth time in five years I am in the final, Mum.”
Mum: “If you don’t win this time it means something’s wrong.”
Me: “There sure is something wrong with me! Maybe I’m writing in some gibberish icon-filled Wingdings language instead of words.”

And so I tried to forget about it.

When the countdown to the ceremony began in earnest a week before the event itself, anxiety kicked in when the organisers began to email and call to check if I would attend the event.

My first thought was, “English isn’t even my first language. And I don’t have anything to wear!”

(Never mind I had been learning English in school since I was 12 and I speak, dream and think in English. Fluently.)

(And, nevermind I have a double wardrobe filled with dresses!)

A much more rational way of describing how I felt was “pretty darn ironic” as once again, I might not be able to attend an award show because of the illness that put me in the final in the first place.

“Irony is wasted on the stupid,” Oscar Wilde once said.

Oscar and I must be related.

When an email arrived saying “Congratulations!” on the night of the awards show, I was afraid of opening it on account of being half asleep. My subconscious mind combined with any form of communication that happens during hibernation are words best left unsaid. A few friends who had been following the event on Twitter, however, texted to congratulate me, and curious about what they were talking about, I opened the email.

Just as quickly, however, I closed the email.

Opened the email again. Still afraid to read anything below the subject line. And closed it again.

Twitter online. Closed Chrome. Twitter app.

I need my GP. My heart tablets are not really helping here.

Turned on the laptop again.

3443 Needles DID WHAT?!

Despite the quietness of my bedroom, my mind felt as if its own house band turned into a surround-sound cacophony, with my neurons as primary target practice. I had tremors in places I didn’t know people can have tremors and I needed my tall Dr Martens boots to stop me from going through my knees while lying alone under the duvet in a kingsize bed.

That just did not happen.

But, all kidding aside, I am still incredibly shocked by it. How can I, me, this woman from Belgium just win this award 16 years after my arrival in Ireland? Badabi… will continue to rock on.

Either way, I have an awful lot of people to thank, for this wouldn’t have happened in the time and space continuum it did had they, had you, not been around to make it happen. Each time you call, text, show support, come up with constructive criticism and say you have my back, I heal a little faster despite MS having no cure.

And, therein lies its beauty.

Sometimes life doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfect. In those quiet moments, I find your unwavering friendship and love inspiring and because of this, this award is yours as well.

However, I do have one request.

Consider each day the first draft of your life. The great thing is, you get to write your life’s story again and again if you don’t like where it’s going.

In doing so, others will be able to learn from your inspiration just like I do from yours.

So, what was ‘3443 Needles’ about?

Like Roy Keane’s dog Triggs, I also ponder the undeniable finiteness of life and how best to get through it unscathed. Earlier this year trigeminal neuralgia had been increasingly taunting in nature and I felt depleted and defeated. After I requested to venture away from daily Copaxone injections – a disease-modifying treatment that slows down disease progression but does not cure MS – I began a weekly Avonex injections schedule. The idea that after 11 years of daily injections, I would now be on a much lighter DMT regime was cause for a lot of optimism.

Hence, in true optimism-Willeke-style, I quickly made the calculus between both in the slapstick view I tend to see life. ‘3443 Needles’ was born.

Receiving a Best Blog Post award by the BAI was something I never thought possible. It reaffirmed my view that sometimes bad things need to happen for good things to subconsciously and/or physically replace them. Numbed and hurt when relapses occur or when friends and family walk out, you will eventually become that fierce, mentally strong person you were meant to be.

Just Smile like Charlie Chaplin wants you to.

For Mum, Joke, Mimi, aunties, Gratiane, Christina, Karen, Joan, Lisa, Sam, Ava, Mary, Nate, Jay, Thomas, Chris and everyone else not mentioned. You know who you are. Just help me remember in case my memory goes on the run.

Many thanks to Rebbeca, Ashville Media Group, @BlogAwardsIE  and – @creators_ie

#Bloggies18 #EDHbestblogs #MultipleSclerosis #MS #LifeWithMS #MSLiving #MSIreland #LivingLikeYou


image◾ 2018 Winner Best Blog Post, Blog Awards Ireland, Ashville Media Group, Ireland
◾ Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blogs to Follow in 2020
◾ Feedspot: Top 50 MS Blogs to follow in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
 MyTherapy: Multiple Sclerosis Blogs: 10 of the Best in 2019
◾ Expertido: Top Multiple Sclerosis Blogs 2019
◾ Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blog of 2018
 MyTherapy: Best MS Blog for Simplicity 2018
◾ Ireland Blog Awards: Finalist 2014, 2015, 2017

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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