Back soon!

Writing has been a bit slow lately.
New content will find its way to IMSM soon!

In the meantime, why not catch up with these posts…

A powerful letter to my MS
Balancing life and a chronic illness
Humans Multiple Sclerosis
Paper dreams
UNCRPD, Ireland’s ten-year moral outrage
UNCRPD in Ireland – begging for change

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2017. 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.


MS Treatments (July 2017)

 First-line treatment

  1. Interferon beta-1b
    Extavia (Novartis)
    Betaferon (Bayer)
    The first drug that was approved for treatment of MS, interferon beta-1b inflammation in the central nervous system.
    The most common side effects include injection site reactions and GI symptoms, such as stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhoea
  2. Interferon beta-1a
    Avonex (Biogen)
    Rebif (Serono)
    An injectable medication, interferon beta-1a reduces inflammation, possibly through the reduction of T cell production and also reduction of inflammatory cells in the CNS. Like interferon beta- 1b, it is believed to prevent the crossing of inflammatory cells through the blood-brain barrier
    The most common side effects include injection site reactions and fevers
  3. Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone by Teva)
    This immunomodulator is used to prevent relapses.
    Subcutaneous injectable
    The most common side effects include injection site reactions, fevers, double vision, weakness, and swelling of the hands or feet
  4. Dimethyl Fumarate (Tecfidera by Biogen)
    This works as an anti-inflammatory by blocking cytokine induction.
    Oral medication
    The most common side effects include flushing, rash, and GI symptoms
  5. Peginterferon beta-1a (Plegridy by Biogen)
    Similar to interferon is believed to have an extended duration.
    The most common side effects include injection site reactions, fevers. and joint pain
  6. Daclizumab (Zinbryta by Biogen)
    This medication is believed to reduce T cells. The suggested mechanism is through binding to the IL- 2 T cell receptors
    Subcutaneous injectable
    The most common side effects include upper respiratory tract infection and skin rash
  7. Teriflunomide (Aubagio by Sanofi Genzyme)
    This immunomodulatory drug is believed to work by inhibiting the proliferation of T cells and B cells.
    Oral medication
    It may cause abnormal liver tests, flu-like symptoms, and thinning hair

Continue reading MS Treatments (July 2017)

MS News: May 2017


2017 Meeting American Academy of Neurology (AAN)

Continue reading MS News: May 2017

Humans Multiple Sclerosis


When it comes down to awareness-raising and thought-provoking initiatives in the health charity sector, fresh ideas are often hard to find.

Not so for Joan, a dear friend of mine. After her original Selfie Book idea created by her regional MS branch for World MS Day in 2015, Joan wanted to expand this Facebook idea and create a book for newly diagnosed people. Her own diagnosis – raw, no counselling, no management plan or words of inspiration from others who already walked down the same path, was something she wished had gone differently. In short, Joan was looking for a sign of hope, and something “telling me how people can get on with living a good life and that it wasn’t the end.”

She introduced her Humans Multiple Sclerosis project to the Irish Minister of Health and received a small government grant to develop her original Selfie Book idea. Continue reading Humans Multiple Sclerosis

Oh my god, I am (so not) dying!

You know you’re on to something when you recognise your medical file from afar, even when it’s tucked between 15 other colourful medical records.

Sadly, this is a fact that even World MS Day on Wednesday, May 30th can’t heal. Nevertheless, as a global community of approximately 2.3 million people with MS, being part of the solution – a.k.a. spreading awareness and pushing for a cure – can be infinitely rewarding. On WMSD, I feel an even greater purpose to be part of that solution, whether it is by attending disability-related meetings and spreading the word afterwards, or simply by becoming more conscious of the problems people with MS and other disabilities are facing in the world today.

Continue reading Oh my god, I am (so not) dying!

Top 10 MS support pages on Facebook

MSI Logo

Multiple Sclerosis Ireland
Provides information, support and advocacy services to people with MS and their families. Learn more at Multiple Sclerosis Ireland website


OMS Logo

Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis
OMS supports an evidence-based, positive diet and lifestyle program. Learn more at Overcoming MS website

Continue reading Top 10 MS support pages on Facebook

Paper dreams

screenshot-www trendycovers com 2015-08-16 10-43-15

Have you ever wondered, “What exactly is my purpose on our little shining blue ball floating around in our vast universe?”

Have you?

Congratulations, so have I!

It took me the better part of my teenage years – if not very young adult life – to get to the stage where I thought, “Yes! Eureka! Yes, I found out what I am doing here!”

Translated, it sounded more like this, “I know where I am going to live!”

Part of the master plan that had been hiding in my unconscious mind had already been set in motion, albeit drifting rebelliously between my conscious and the harder to access unconscious level, before mischievously appearing again.

Continue reading Paper dreams

Injecting object

“The needle, so needed. The fluid, water of life. Not stopping my illness progressing, but slowing down relapses. MS, as always having more than one meaning, one more way of living it.”

Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me


Injection needle, fridge. Taking out another pre-filled syringe to ward of future multiple sclerosis relapses.

To others? A scary thing, a daily habit they could not fathom.

To me? Now, the fluid of my life. For my life.

View original post 261 more words

MS News: April 2017

Research Image


  1. Canadian Study of MS-Prone Family Proves that in Rare Cases, Multiple Sclerosis is Inherited
  2. Large Family Study Strengthens Case for Inherited Multiple Sclerosis
  3. New Survey Finds Multiple Sclerosis Patients Struggle with Misdiagnosis and Invisible Symptoms

Continue reading MS News: April 2017

Jammed filter!

Image memory thinking
For more on memory and thinking, click on the above image (©MS Ireland)

Every so often, people say things that shouldn’t be said.


Some things just shouldn’t.

Us humans – living, breathing, excessively addictive to social media – have to endure the result of a very selfishly applied verb.

We communicate. And not always very well.

In fact, I am sure your brain-to-mouth filter runs into trouble every so often, and you have suffered from that same technical glitch just as much as I have.

We just cannot take back our words.

Continue reading Jammed filter!