You retired at age what?

Old clock

So, yes, I retired at age 36,5 and it will never be what I envisioned when I moved to Ireland. I ‘ve crashed and burned, stumbled and found hope in tiny triumphs and friendships larger than life that will stand the test of time.

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Why I love advocacy!

No talking girl

No matter when you were diagnosed, there might be moments when you feel like screaming at the top of your lungs when symptoms take a little too long to disappear, or because people are just getting on your nerves.

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MS News: January 2018

MRI brain scan

Your monthly MS news is back after spending a few months in the cooler. It will continue as before, with highlights, news on research and clinical trials as well as lifestyle, diet and mental and emotional health. If you found an article you want to add to this post, please let me know. Highlight! 5 […]

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The paradox of our time

Is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers. Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but we have less. We buy more but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses, but smaller families. More conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense. More knowledge, but less judgement. More experts, yet […]

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UNCRPD, Ireland’s ten-year moral outrage

Having a neurodegenerative illness that cannot be cured has given me the best gift I could ever ask for, strength and meeting the most inspirational and brightest people with disabilities in Ireland and abroad. Yes, they might “be different” in the eyes of many, but they showed me that not everything in life has a price or a tag. They taught me that disability is about misinterpreted ability because they help other people with or without disabilities within their communities in a time when their government shows signs of deliberate discrimination.

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Books? Great medicine!

Black and white book and milk

All joking aside, I cannot even begin to count the number of books I have read since childhood or how many I handled while working in a library. Books become part of life, a friend I will remember forever, a gateway or hiding place where distraction reigns. Just holding them, turning page after page, waiting to be explored, conquered, talked about and put on a shelf waiting to be taken out again. And so the cycle begins again.

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Man up!

“The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure… you are above everything distressing.” (Baruch Spinoza)

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Health Organisations – Ireland (2018)

Overview of health organisations for people with disabilities Health Service Executive (HSE) Department of Social Protection Press Office of the Department of Health, Ireland Disability Federation of Ireland National Disability Authority Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) Irish Medicines Board (IMB) Revenue Commissioners Information on Rights and Entitlements Medical Cards […]

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Ireland Speaks No Language

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Ireland speaks no language I cannot hear with my heart. Sings no songs I cannot feel by their touch on my lips. Holds no love I cannot embrace with my thoughts. Ireland listens quietly, Unconditionally. ©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte, 2013, 2016 #1916 #Ireland1916 #EasterMonday #RTE1916 #Easter1916 #1916Rising #EasterRising © Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & […]

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Disable Inequality

It’s been rather quiet down here. The past four to five months, I’ve been involved in disability rights campaigns and had a long much-needed Christmas and New Year’s break. I’m now back to passive campaigning in some form or another while having the flu… it’s never boring in MS-land. With the Irish election campaign in […]

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Whát?! 2015 in review!

The WordPress.com statistics monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. With a total of 22,599 views from 13,765 visitors in 137 countries in 2015 and with 1,857 followers so far, I cannot be any happier. Writing and posting have been slow the last few months, but I will be back soon enough with […]

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Balancing life and a chronic illness

Reality. It’s what’s for breakfast. After some feeble attempts trying to write a few paragraphs the past few weeks, it was back to the drawing board each time. Not good enough. Already done this. Needs more research. Too tired. Not fit enough. You know moments like these, you sit down, determination almost physically squeezing ink […]

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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 resided, none is left for two chronic illnesses that could easily have […]

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I don’t miss myself

So… Rugby world cup. At last. England in a fashion faux-pas. Coin toss aside, they resembled players of Wales, China, Japan or Kyrgyzstan (Fijian, red is Fijian). Mum’s nine-day visit to Ireland now over. Visited Dublin Zoo once again. New camera making me rather shutter-slow, hence prevalent photographic bonding with rear ends of several animals. […]

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PLEASE VOTE! MS Ireland company blog shortlisted!

MS & Me, the group blog of MS Ireland for which I also write, has been shortlisted for the Blog Awards 2015 edition in the company Best Health and Wellbeing category! We need YOUR vote though to become a finalist. *** The PUBLIC VOTE is now open for the 2015 Blog Awards Ireland! *** Voting will be […]

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Time to go our separate ways

We are having a divorce of sorts. Because of the ever-growing volume of my blog, and WordPress slower as time goes on, I’ve finally decided it’s time to move blog posts about Ireland, books, writing etc to a new blog called Kick-Ass Ireland! After all, this is a blog about multiple sclerosis with facts, figures, […]

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MS, 50 shady ways of being sick

“I decided to call it, “MS, 50 shady ways of being sick.” It sounded good in that moment. Hell, it almost sounded sexy.

I’ve yet to find 49 other ways of being ill though. When my friend therefore asked what I was (relapsing/remitting; primary progressive etc.), I simply said, “What I am? Tired, just endearingly tired, so much so I’m ready for my nappy.””

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Use it or lose it!

“I much prefer a writer’s slow process from that one, flickering half a sentence in my head to it eventually making it into my handbag’s notebook or onto the internet. After all, writing in Ireland is a national illness, or a survival instinct of sorts. A lot of ideas come to me by my own form of public crowdsourcing; listening to people and picking up a few words here or there, thinking those words could eventually become a new piece.”

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Older, and dafter too!

Another year older today, and another year dafter too. Kookier. 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 […]

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William Butler Yeats @150

William Butler Yeats: Irish prose writer, dramatist and poet; Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. 1865-1939; compiled the Oxford Book of Modern Verse. My favourite Irish author would have been 150 years today. Ireland, myself included, celebrates a man so talented, his words still touches people today. Two years ago, and on my birthday, I […]

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Healthy eating

Eating a balanced diet can be a tricky thing sometimes, especially when temptation is everywhere. I often tell myself, ‘Ah but I’m already doing so much for my health by using my own ‘everything-in-moderation’ diet. Since I don’t consume alcohol or other legal and illegal highs, I something think I am allowed at least a […]

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Some oomph along the way!

Many women will agree, and perhaps a few men also, those great shoes have a way of lifting your mood. My left foot, in fact, stopped yelping shortly after I was told that Dr Martens boots would substantially improve my old and new Achilles tendon injuries as well as my gait. Well… Who can deny, […]

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#strongerthanms with MS Ireland

“So, how’s the book,” friends often ask me. “Oh, it’s getting there,” I joke. “I’ve finished one page, the one with the title and my name!” I don’t lack the ambition to keep on writing, but I have an overabundance of low energy levels, so I must ask people to use their patience… patiently when […]

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The love revolution

Vox populi: Turnout: 1,949,725 Yes: 1,201,607 No: 734,300 62.1% vs 37.9% Today, Ireland turned a corner by becoming the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote. A corner a lot of people have been struggling with for decades. A fear that many were afraid of voicing, afraid of a Catholic Church still […]

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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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Books, Ireland and a few blanks

“To see the real Ireland, the sea, the ocean, the mountains, the patches of green under constantly changing shadows, is to know its people. Despite trying to give Ireland the best of both worlds, it ended up taking up part of me. Lex talionis not applied, I abide by its spirit and ever-welcoming mind.”

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I’m only human

“I’m only human.” It’s a phrase we all use sometimes to explain unwanted behaviours and/or consequences. Friedrich Nietzsche would say, ‘Human, all too human’, while I wonder why we simply do the things we do without some foresight, afterthought, or a memory spark that could have shown us how to avoid running into trouble. My […]

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Identity crisis

WordPress Daily Prompt: Say your name Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself? Photographers, show us YOU.” My name is a story of yes versus no, of not liking it, to being […]

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