“In the depth of winter,
I finally learned that within me
lay an invincible summer.”
IMSM is an award-winning blog that recounts the journey of the quirky, tenacious and neurologically compromised life of Willeke-Maya on becoming normal when life with MS is a beautiful mess. Fifteen years post-diagnosis, her world turned more imaginative, engaging and determined. In short, “My lesions and I are one big happy, dysfunctional family.”
Living in Ireland since 2002 and diagnosed 2.5 years later, MS seemed awkward, puzzling, easier said than done at first. Any illness is unwelcome, and life with multiple sclerosis often resembles a war zone, especially when trigeminal neuralgia (excruciating eye and facial pain), joins fatigue that belongs in the narcolepsy category of life, including sound sensitivity that turn screaming children into auditory hell. Elsewhere, neuropathic pain, vertigo, ataxia and prospective memory issues are just a few things that occupy my day.
In short, MS is the type of illness that carries this tagline, “The illness is mine, but the tragedy theirs,” when asked how loved ones feel about your condition. Buzzwords that don’t exactly calm down an overactive mind. But, life goes on. Fifteen years with a progressive, neurodegenerative illness beg you to keep your chin up, for there is no other way to go through life. I hope you will find some solace in what I write, and do feel free to comment or send a private message in the Contact page.
Contributor to several MS organisations and blogs, here are just a few reviews that still make me blush and feel on top of the world to this day:
MyTherapy, Multiple Sclerosis Blogs: 10 of the Best: These Bloggers Living with MS Share Their Insight and Wisdom:
“We wrote of Willeke Van Eeckhoutte last year: “Willeke’s insightful writing and thoughtful sharing of information has earned her blog widespread recognition, and made it a fantastic destination for anyone seeking straight-forward answers to the many questions posed by MS.”
Those words ring still ring true today, as Willeke continues to combine musings about her own life with commentary on the wider world of multiple sclerosis.
In the 14 years since Willeke’s diagnosis, she has built a wealth of knowledge on many of the more complicated aspects of multiple sclerosis. Her seemingly effortless ability to use this knowledge to expand upon her own personal experiences is all the more impressive when you consider Willeke, originally from Belgium, is not writing in her native language.
Willeke comes across as a thoughtful individual, whose blog is as well-written as it is insightful and well-researched.””
“Referring to her symptoms as her “MS-sponsored pajama party,” Willeke-Maya often takes a jovial approach in her blog, Ireland, MS, and Me.
Once, when retrieving the results of an MRI scan, she was asked to present a photo ID, to which she wittily responded, “Isn’t an MRI, a picture of my brain, photo ID?” She also has her more serious moments — like when she questions whether to enjoy life or waste away — but her posts consistently end on a happy note.
PS: Make sure you check out her encouraging post about being single and chronically ill on Valentine’s Day, and why it really doesn’t matter!”
More on awards and nominations
◾ WEGO Health Patient Leader Award Nominee 2018
(Because above websites write new award-related content over already existing top pages, some are not easily found online anymore. I will do my best to find cached versions of them ASAP).
This website does not:
◾ Publish health claims that seem too good to be true
◾ Use deliberately obscure, “scientific” sounding language
◾ Promise quick, dramatic, miraculous results
Updated: September 15th, 2019
◾ MyTherapyApp: Multiple Sclerosis Blogs: 10 of the Best in 2019
◾ Ireland Blog Awards: Finalist 2014, 2015, 2017
◾ MyTherapyApp: Best MS Blog for Simplicity 2018
◾ Everyday Health: Top 10 MS Blog of 2018
◾ Feedspot: Top 50 MS Blog 2017, 2018, 2019
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2019.