200 days

“To many, life with MS can seem like a book where letters have been replaced by numbers or where the cover can be too hard or too soft for its content. Because of this, I don’t want them to see what MS can turn into. I refuse to show them that there is no cure, I refuse to give them a reason to give up on me. In my view, it is very much a case of the illness being mine, but the tragedy theirs if I let them.”

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13!

Thirteen years ago today I moved to Ireland. A teenage dream turned reality. Little did I know that 2,5 years later, my life would be transformed in a way I had never imagined. Still, there are no regrets, and where anger could have lived, none is left for two chronic illnesses that could easily have […]

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Kick-Ass Ireland

Some days I sit still and think about how my life became a dream full-circle. There’s William Butler Yeats, James Joyce and Brendan Behan. Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and George Bernard Shaw. The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Land of Heart’s Desire and Yeats’s grave. Dubliners, Ulysses and Bloomsday. The mountains, lakes, Dublin, Sligo and […]

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Conversations with myself: 2005-2006

While doing a big administration clean up, I came across some old notebooks. The one that caught my eye started on June 5th 2005, and lists MS, professional, friendship and relationship woes as I was diagnosed just two months prior. It’s very much an interior monologue trying to make sense out of nonsense. For example, […]

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Irish public transport: access all areas?

“At this stage, I thought “Do I really have to walk with my coffin under my arm to get a seat when I’m physically leaning on a walking stick while holding the handrail as if it was my best friend?””

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EMSP Spring Conference 2014, Dublin

“For those reasons, the European MS Platform will host its Spring Conference in Ireland on the 8th and the 9th of May in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. The theme of this year’s conference is “Care where it counts – in the journey with MS.””

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Caged

In a recent visit to Dublin Zoo, I sat next to a snow leopard who seemed to be contemplating life. It was still early morning, and nobody was around. I sat down right next to the snow leopard for about five minutes, although it could have been longer. We were taking in each other’s presence […]

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MS Ireland National Meeting Day 2013

Last September, I was invited by the Irish MS Society to take part in a panel discussion at their National Day in Galway. I happily accepted because we all know that I never say no to having a good chat. The topic of the National Day was ‘being active and interactive’, and the panel discussion […]

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Dublin Speaks No Language

Dublin speaks no language I cannot hear with my heart. Sings no song I cannot Feel by the touch on my lips. Hold no love, I cannot Embrace with my thoughts. Dublin listens quietly, Unconditionally. ©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte ©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material […]

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11 years!

There aren’t many things in my life that have outnumbered my years in Ireland as I celebrate my 11th anniversary of living in Ireland today. Once again I had to pinch my arm, making sure that I woke up in Clonsilla, Ireland instead of Belgium. Eleven years indeed. Dreams do come true if you want […]

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20 things you didn’t (necessarily) know yet

While browsing through the weekend newspapers yesterday, I came across a nice list of questions. I like lists. And I like questions. A female attribute? No doubt. Just for the fun of it, here we go! The book that changed my life: Ulysses by James Joyce, no doubt about it! The quote that keeps me […]

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Irish skies

WordPress Daily Prompt: Release Me Tell us about the blog post you were most nervous to publish — and what it was like to set it free. Photographers, artists, poets: show us FREE. For me, flying is being released from life, on earth and in my mind. Wonder about how people are able to create machines […]

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Dublin, my Dublin

Pictures of Dublin, my Dublin. Almost 11 years in Ireland, I still consider it a dream come true, a life less ordinary and simply… Ireland: the love of my life. (Apologies if images are grainy, some were taken with an old-fashioned camera)

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So many books, so little time!

Yesterday morning – rain, wind, a slight chill in the air – I walked totally wrecked and at snail pace towards the bookshop. Voucher in hand, lots of titles written down on paper just in case my memory checks out on me again. For a while now I had been looking at certain books, longing to buy […]

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Perfectionism

Banjaxed, tired high and wrecked. That’s how yesterday unfolded. After being up till 3.30am writing, I managed to sleep only 3h. I was unable to sleep, and as a result, I was going over the things I still needed to do before Saturday’s National MS Day in Galway. One of the topics of the day […]

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Dublin’s day once again

“What I love about GAA games is that kind of rebellion, and the hunger and passion children grow up with today for their native sports. Remember Winston Churchill once said that “We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.” A wonderful lack of respect for anything British almost. And whereas babies in Belgium are born with a bicycle between their legs, Irish babies enter this world with either a hurling stick or a ball in their hands.”

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From The Frontier Of Writing, by Seamus Heaney

The tightness and the nilness round that space when the car stops in the road, the troops inspect its make and number and, as one bends his face towards your window, you catch sight of more on a hill beyond, eyeing with intent down cradled guns that hold you under cover and everything is pure […]

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Every leaf speaks bliss to me

As the days grow shorter and temperatures colder, it is time to welcome autumn, and indeed, what should be a small new lease of life. There is nothing more comforting and relaxing than seeing daylight fade early in the evening. Darkness captures me, telling me that time has come to cuddle up on the couch, […]

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My precious boots!

WordPress Daily Prompt: These Boots Were Made for Walking Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you. Photographers, artists, poets: show us WALK. Already blogged about my favourite boots on April 1st, 2013, so for those who want to read it, here’s the link: Iconic and Princesses and Docs I’m one […]

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Ireland, a masterpiece

The Ireland I now inhabit is one that these Irish contemporaries have helped to imagine. (Seamus Heaney) Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible. (Charles Haughey)

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Famine

Ever since Dublin became my hometown, the Irish Famine sculptures by artist Rowan Gillespie on Custom House Quay haunt me. The statues are ‘walking’ on towards emigration ships like the Jeannie Johnston and they describe so well the hunger Irish people went through during the Great Famine, called Gorta Mór in Irish (Great Hunger), between 1845 and 1852, […]

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Back to Ireland

So many things represent us, shows our character, our inner feelings, our life. I chose this picture because the world through my eyes is always moving. Forward most of all, sometimes backwards. My world however also consists of simple, pure stillness. But even when the world is spinning quietly, stillness is waiting to explode into […]

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You never know how strong you are…

One of the most emotional journeys you could go on, is meeting yourself along the road of a diagnosis you never wanted to happen. It will make you, shape you and perhaps take you somewhere you don’t want to go, but for now, you have to. You lose a parent, a brother or sister, or […]

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An Irish General… and me

The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us. But so often when taking self-portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a softly blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces. […]

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