Who am I?

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that
within me there lay an invincible summer.”
(Albert Camus)

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I can do.
(Edward Everett Hale)

I admit, I am the quirky one of the bunch. The more physical pains I have, the more I want to live. The more MS gets in my way, the more I want to feel, achieve and succeed.

Writing is constantly on my mind, as is reading. After all, I spent half my childhood in the company of books, and after doing library studies, worked in one before moving abroad.

Originally from Belgium and born with a Flemish dialect, I learned Dutch, French and English in that order. However, Ireland has been home since 2002, and yes, I’m still loving it. Big time. After all, living in Ireland was a teenage dream that turned into reality. Thirteen years later, Ireland is still the biggest love of my life.

Sadly, 2,5 years after moving over, I was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. Severe fatigue and trigeminal neuralgia were and still are disobedient at times, but no steep decline has emerged. Ten years post-diagnosis, life’s good despite chronic pain and having to live life the slow way. This is proof that retiring from work was the best thing I ever did.

Whenever I feel well enough to write, I turn my pen into a peaceful weapon of choice, and raise awareness about the difficulties of life with an invisible illness like MS. By doing so, I found that the pen can be mightier than a sword. I hope my writing will lead to more successful advocacy attempts, and a book with all those remarkable Irish moments that captured my heart, and those difficult moments coming to terms with an illness that cannot be cured.

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Ireland Blog Awards 2014 – finalist in the following categories: Best Health & Wellbeing Blog; Best Personal Blog; Best Blog Post; and in the Best Group Blog as part of the Irish MS Society’s blog team. Certificates here.

Ireland Blog Awards 2013 – shortlisted in the Best Personal Blog category

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Note: While I do read all comments personally, I can’t respond to all messages the same day due to fatigue and chronic pain issues. I will however do my best to respond as quickly as possible.

Comment policy: feel free to comment whenever, but spam, bullying and discrimination will not be tolerated.

©WVE and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2015. Unauthorized 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, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

52 thoughts on “Who am I?

    1. Sorry for not seeing your comment sooner Saverio, it ended up in my spam folder on here. Thank you so much for reading and for your well wishes!

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      1. There’s some truth in that, being free and completely honest is something people have to learn, they just don’t get to that stage without having crashed and burned before.

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  1. It’s interesting to see non-Irish people living in Ireland’s viewpoints on Irish society and culture..I am Irish living in Germany and of course I hear the stereotypical “rose-tinted” glasses view you mentioned in your latest post all of the time. Where are you from anyway? If you don’t mind me asking..

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    1. I’m originally from Belgium, but I find the country too crowded, too noisy and dirty for me. Flying back to Ireland is always followed by a sigh of relief so :) And yes, a whole lot of people have that rose-tinted view of Ireland, although the Ireland of old is hard to find in Dublin these days. Mind you, I still find the Irish as friendly as 10-11 years ago :)

      And if you don’t mind me asking, where in Ireland are you from?

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      1. Hey, I’ve been living in Belgium since 2004, in Antwerp since 2009. Judging from your blog’s name you must be from Flanders too? Great to see another exophonic writer—and one who can write well at that. :)

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  2. I greatly appreciate your attitude! I know it isn’t easy, some days are harder than others. I look forward to getting to know you!

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    1. Some days are indeed better than others, but you learn as you go along I suppose. And sincerest apologies Linda for the very late reply. It must have gotten stuck in between others.

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  3. Hello and thanks for visiting and liking my blog. I hope the heat isn’t too bad for you. I’ll be checking on your posts and hope you’ll come back again and visit me soon. Take care of yourself.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      At this stage I’ve been praying for rain and it’s on the way, at least parts of Ireland have had minor flash flooding but not where I live.

      You’ve a wonderful blog and I look forward to reading more!

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  4. Thank you for nominating The Gad About Town (http://thegadabouttown.wordpress.com/) for the Liebster Award … I promise to do my best to maintain standards of excellence. Your blog and your work as an advocate are inspiring me to do more about ataxia and neuromuscular disease awareness issues with my blog. I love the connections I have made in only a couple months as a blogger.

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  5. hey from ecuador
    thanks for the pingback (smiles) and i am glad to see your blog and read about your life. a very long time ago i had a ‘possible’ diagnosis of MS so i have special empathy for anyone who has made life changes becasue of MS. i think/hope that aspartame was the trigger in my own body, and aside from fatigue, i have had no more symptoms. yes, i fall asleep anytime anywhere and sometimes wonder if it’s narcolepsy…

    anyway, i am delighted to find your blog and will be following. my internet is very very slow, so many times i might be able to read but not comment or like, but i’ll be there when possible to follow your progress.

    thanks again,
    lisa

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  6. I’m glad that I have found your blog. My father has MS, and I have done some fundraising with him.

    I’m also living in Ireland and like you, I couldn’t attend the Blog Awards (for a different reason: I’m epileptic).

    Your blog looks amazing! You have put so much work into it, it’s a pity you didn’t win but wasn’t it just wonderful to be a finalist?

    I’m looking forward to reading more!

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  7. hello, i’m loving your blog, thank you for sharing. Both my dad and I have MS, i think that puts me in an extremely small minority so I am looking for others in the same situation! :)

    Liked by 1 person

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