Balancing life and a chronic illness

Oh, you can bet I am willing, I am usually more than willing. When physical restraints curb your potential, you realise that you want so more from your own life, and out of your own reality. Life is moving forward outside your medically induced world, and you feel annoyed when healthy people don’t realise the worth of their bodies, their unused potential. It simply reminds you that being chronically ill sucks.

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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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While I was sleeping…

“If asked if I want to feel and be the ‘me’ before my diagnosis, I would reply this, “Of course I wish to be that person again, only, I simply cannot remember what ‘normal’ feels like.” Fatigue significantly interfered with daily life very early on in my road to diagnosis and was one of the reasons why, eventually, I was forced to retire four and a half years later.”

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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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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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Ten happy MS years

A milestone like no other. A curious, strange one indeed. Ten years of living with MS. Ten. In fact, ten years and one week. Reality suddenly became a very different kind of living. As strange as it sounds, it became a more fulfilled life, a happier one also.

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Under-caffeinated writer. Please help.

“Ah ladies and lads, you know I can be a bit kooky at times; hell, I can even get a little annoyed as well when things don’t go my way. I therefore won’t do it on this page. At all.”

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Tiredness ≠ fatigue

“Yes, I do know how to read calendars and clocks. I even know how to reset the microwave clock when Ireland changes to a new daylight saving time. Please don’t compare your healthy tiredness to unhealthy fatigue, it’s like comparing microwaves to planet Mars.”

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10 bold myths about MS

Multiple sclerosis is an illness subject to many myths that turn out to be misconceptions believed by far too many. When you scratch the surface, you find stubborn tales that create unnecessary anxiety and sleepless nights for those living with the illness. So let’s just throw some of the many misconceptions out the door, shall […]

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Wonder Woman Syndrome

“Having dissenting views on the verb ‘to pace,’ it is one I need to add seriousness as well as a lot more thought into. Having a Wonder Woman Syndrome is a term I sometimes carry with pride.”

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Kids? Not right now, please…

Children and multiple sclerosis? Although life was good in my last relationship, I secretly decided that having children would probably not be on my list of things to do. Not because of the lack of love, but because I didn’t want to pass on my illness to my future son or daughter. When we eventually […]

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Game, set, relapse!

“In short, if I’d have to sell myself with these words, I still wouldn’t receive a Booker prize. I could post “Another MS Relapse” award on the fireplace mantel, but they’re just a waste of space. I thought of referring to a relapse as something you just have to get your teeth in, but I don’t want to steal Luis Suárez’s limelight.”

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Not my face!

In a world of selfies and size zero clothing, a negative body image can weigh heavily on healthy people, never mind disabled people. Being ill in itself often makes you feel less desirable. In the world of MS, where wheelchairs spread doom and gloom to those that get hit with that tag, body-image requires a whole new level of acceptance.
I firmly believe beauty is limited to time and space. In addition, it only runs skin deep and definitely doesn’t reveal true worth.

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Defined by myself

“As you can tell, I have lots that strengthens me and drives me forward. I also have (dis)abilities: severe bouts of pain and fatigue, which I bent into a positive writing tool for others to lean on. My limitations serve as other people’s motivation. Their motivation became my inspiration.”

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Giving up is not an option

“We are all different – but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it’s human nature that we adapt – and survive.” (Stephen Hawking) Just realised something startling. In three years of online writing, I’ve never as much written one blog post about the possibility of ending up in a wheelchair. Is it denial? Simply focusing on being […]

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Meet your new MS Ireland writer!

“It has been a bit of a hectic, but a great time to write lately. Two bits of fantastic news came my way in regards to my writing, and I’ve been over the moon since.”

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The first day

Change is good. So they say, anyway. I totally agree, in fact, I welcome change with open arms. Afraid of new challenges? No, not me. Because change is good.

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The Valuable Time of Maturity

Upon the approach of the New Year, I would like to share with you a poem from renowned Brazilian poet Mário De Andrade called The Valuable Time of Maturity. “I counted my years and discovered that I have fewer years left to live compared to the time I have lived until now. I feel like […]

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Christmas: The Paradox of Our Time

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but […]

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Evil resolutions

Ah, that dreaded question! That thing we all say we will do but never actually make it to the finish line! We’re all creators of almost-standard replies that sound like “This year is the year I will lose 50 pounds of weight!” Or “From January 1st I will stop smoking for good!”

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Raining roses

Back after a much-needed break from writing. There were doctors’ visits and hospital waiting rooms, a very slow stroll through Dublin Zoo as well as lots of sleep and trying to lose weight before the Christmas holidays arrive. Friends came and went, and books were tossed aside after reading half a page. On a more […]

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Playing God

We all have good friends and we all have fantastic friends. You know the type, the ones that will stick around for an hour when nobody else will. Every now and then, however, we realise we have insanely outstanding friends and feel how one simple sentence they say, can change days, if not weeks, of […]

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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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Contrary!

“You’re just being contrary!” my mum used to say. I think that from a young age, she must have found me indeed, a bit different than other kids my age. I wasn’t rebellious, in fact as a teen I was anything but rebellious, but you might say that I went through the usual girly teen […]

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Sunshine Award!

Sometimes surprises arrive when you least expect it. Just now I commented on dear Tink’s blog post on her receipt of the Sunshine Award, sending the comment and only then reading the entire blog post. That’s when I caught sight of my own nomination for the award (which is in fact the actual receipt if […]

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MS: lesson in minimalism

Can I let you in on a little secret? It’s something meaningful and I’d like to share it with you. Before getting all philanthropic and philosophical, having multiple sclerosis is not a nice thing. Or a happy thing. Not when you’ve just been diagnosed. It’s a long road to acceptance. In between hearing ‘You have […]

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My Mum

My mum is my best friend, my backbone and my reason d’être. She’s strong despite having lost her first-born, her second husband, her dogs and much more. She’s risen like a phoenix from her ashes and every day I am more proud of her. Every day she shows that life goes on, that there is […]

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MS: a social disconnect

Therein lies the disconnect: the way others want me to be, and me not being able to keep up. How many of us have pretended to be well enough to walk another 500 meters? How many say they are OK when they feel pain in their limbs, their eyes and in their soul? How many say they will be able to go to work when they were awake half the night because of pain?
Unwillingly we are put in a non-self-imposed isolation; we are put there by our illness, and quite often by the outside world. Our mental functioning is now processed differently because of our illness.

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Side effects?

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. 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 […]

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‘Nuff said!

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’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 Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & […]

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In the blink of an eye…

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2012. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’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 Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & […]

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My tired is tired

Yep… right now I am one hell of a great example of how MS can just snap you right back to when you were first diagnosed, hence the large picture stating that very fact. Remember the days where you were just bed-ridden with lots of symptoms not making sense, and pain that kept you up […]

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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking about what goes on mentally or physically. Not being able to sleep properly doesn’t do much good either, so writing about everything that has been ruling my day, was rather hard to do. Having MS is no mean feat… If your MS is anything like mine, then I’m […]

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What MS feels like in your mind

What multiple sclerosis feels like on a mental level? How does it affect your mind? These are questions many people wonder about: those with MS, wondering how others feel with the illness they share. Or people without MS, like your family, your friends, just curious how you are feeling. And then there are those that […]

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Why Ireland?

People often ask me: “Why Ireland?” And tongue-in-cheek, I think, “Do you have a day or two so I can explain?” It goes back years, if not decades. I remember as a kid in the library under our apartment, how I traveled through Ireland by sitting down and watching pictures in big books on Ireland. […]

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