Running and Multiple Sclerosis

A potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, ie:central nervous system. Disrupting  the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Yes ladies and gentlemen what is the basis of the bane of my existance. Now I could get into the whole spiel of how hard it is to live with MS, but that has never been how I deal with this addition to my life. 


Did I ever imagine myself running and making it to the end without dying mid route lol. NO, I did not. Running has never been my thing. In all honestly until then I couldln't run the length of myself. And truth be told I am not sure I will ever do this again. It hurt! A lot! Yet, I miss it. Strange huh. My right hip hated me from mile 3, to the extent I was dragging my leg over the finish line. But, the point is - I dragged it!.


Over the years I have read and watched so many videos of fellow MS warriors running, pushing the boundaries of the bodies they have been given, and all I could think was, “Someday, I’m going to do that too.” .” Months of training every day, diet changes, an emotional battle with oneself, yet in the back of your mind you can see the end result. You see those who can no longer partake, the ones who lived for the sport who now sit on the sidelines tears in their eyes just longing for the chance to run yet again. To walk. To stand. 

By mile 4 I could no longer feel my right foot, and all I could think of was what it would be like to sit in a wheelchair and watch from the sidelines.

By mile 5 tears streaked my face and I had no choice but to stop, but to continue walking if only to keep the motion of my legs going one foot after another. And then it happened. A man, someone I didn’t know stopped running and asked if I was okay. It was then my anger grew within and while smiling and thanking him for his concern on the inside I was fuming. Not because he asked, but because it was obvious my weakness was showing. Walking turned to running, and I didn’t stop until I passed him on the track, the pain now unbearable as it made its way into my lower back, my shoulders already numb. Yes, I am okay, because, in that moment I choose to be. 

The final mile brought with it both horror and ecstasy. Horror at the idea of how my body would punish me for the next week, and ecstasy because I had the drive to punish my body.


We do not sit, we walk. We do not walk, we run. We do not cry, we fight. 




What is it to be Irish?


More Importantly what is it to be Wexfordian?

What it is to be Irish.
If like me, the people of Ireland love to travel the globe. To meet exciting new people and leave a lasting memory for those we leave behind, and in most cases never to see again, but we love coming home, too – to our native cities, countryside and our mothers cooking. Because let's face facts, there is no cooking better than your mother's cooking, especially when it concerns an Irish mammy who knows just how you like your stew.

We love spending time with our families, enjoying a gossip with our friends, but mostly having a chat with anyone who'll listen to us. The fact the Titanic set out on her first ocean venture from Belfast (as unfortunate as her ending was) the fact is, she was grand when she left Ireland, now that is something you must never forget.

To be Irish can mean a great many things to the outside world.

1. We can Drink

2. We have castles

3. Only two religions matter- Catholic and Protestant

4. Oh yeah...Did I mention we can drink?

Being Irish to an Irish person means.

1. Being proud to say it aloud no matter where you live in the World that you are Irish.

2. We love the Hurling, Rugby.

3. We cringe at the mention of the Banshee.

4. The wooden spoon is our childhood nemesis.

5. We can "Legally" drink at 18.

6. Seeing cattle on the road side is normal.

7. We grew up playing on the grounds of castles and ruins where in place of swords, planks of wood won our battles.

8. Nickey Rackard is a hero of Wexford. - Hurling genius.

9. Loftus Hall seen the Devil play poker - Hence, poker is the Devil's Game.

10.Darby O' Gill and the Little People is the truth, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

But, what does it really mean to be Irish, more importantly, what does it mean to be from Wexford - Where Johnstown Castle still draws gasps from the mouths of visitors from all over the world. Where Knights Templar ruins litter the roadsides of green, while the Round Tower of Ferrycarrig shows itself in all it's wonder no matter the weather.

The fact is Ireland's first people arrived 10,500BC. It has survived through the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Mesolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and while Europe was invaded by Roman's, Ireland remained as one until the age of Christianity. This is where many think of St. Patrick, which wouldn't be 100% wrong, but for the South of Ireland, Wexford and the other Counties, it was likely that Palladius' had a hand at breaking the traditions of the "Barbaric Pagan People" even before St. Patrick made his way down from County Armagh in 432. The Viking Raids from 795-836 which brought with them historical tales unlike any other, and great town walls still standing today. The Easter Rising, the Battle of Clontarf, the Irish Constitution. There is so much but that is enough of that heavy history stuff, as interesting as it is.

Let me tell you what it means to be Irish - It means you grew up respecting your elders. You said yes please and no thank you, and you never called an older woman or man by his/her first name - It was Mr. and Mrs unless you had a death wish by the time you got inside your house had your parents heard you assuming you could be on first name basis. Church on Sunday's hail or shine, your First Holy Communion was your first ever wedding dress and by God you had only ever wear one more in your lifetime (I guess I'm screwed - two times a charm - or something like that) Lent meant giving up something you loved (no excuses), when the All Ireland Hurling was taking place you DID NOT miss the excitement, you had every Holy Day off School so you loved them for that reason alone, and most importantly - YOU NEVER ACTED THE MAGGOT IN CHURCH. The echo of a child being slapped for such behaviour never failed to amuse the smarter kids sitting beside their father's (their mothers having used the excuse of having to make the Sunday Dinner to escape the hours of trying to look interested and not fall asleep by the time the first hour had come and gone - or maybe that was just mine :) ) The beach is the place to be on any day over 19 degree Celsius, the rest of the time you are recovering for the sunburn you acquired while assuming baby oil was the way to get that fabulous tan, now covered with fake tan so you can go out on the town without looking like an eegit.

Always remember - An Irish woman is always cold even though she has lived in Ireland her whole life, the Immersion Heater could blow up the house if left on, and tea cures anything.

Irish Slang words that you may come across on your travels throughout Ireland.

Yoke - object or person. - "You're some yoke."

Cat - A way to say something is bad - "That's cat!"

Shift - French Kiss - "Will ye shift that fella?"

Manky - Disgusting/Vile - "Lort Jasus, that was manky."

Jasus - Jesus

Gimp - Fool/Idiot - "You're some gimp."

Gobshite - Someone who gets on your nerves - "Shut up ye gobshite."

Knackered - Tired - "Sure I'm knackered."


Da head on ye. - You look like a fool

The Guards wouldn't ask me that. - You're asking a lot of quesitons

I didn't do nutin. - I didn't do anything.

Sup san? - How are you doing? Usually between male friends.

The smell of rag of ye. - Someone who is disgusted by an outcome.

The cup of tay will crown ye. - A cup of tea will do you the world of good.

Being a Step-parent

From the Beginning

There are many terms used for Step-Mothers, and while in society the use of the word STEP is normal, I for one hate it. Now I will explain why.

For me, as I am sure it is the same for many women who find themselves in the role of Step-Mom to your husband’s child/children, it can be daunting, strange and a little scary. What if the child hates you? What if you can't get past the fact your husbands ex will always have input in your life? What, what, what? The fact of the matter is, when you marry a man/woman who has a child you are marrying a package, not just the man/ woman of your dreams, but a child who will look at you for guidance and understanding, but most of all love.

The word STEP to me gives the impression that you are something you dislike, or that the child in question is not someone you want in your life. When there are so many likeable words for a child you will love as your own, STEP isn't one I would call affectionate. While some may find it perfectly appropriate. Like everything else in this world, a difference of opinion is what makes life interesting.

I first met my bonus son when he had just turned three, and by then he had already gotten used to having his daddy all to himself. We had gone out of our way to make sure we had Karen and Finn days, time to bond, to get to know one another. Then the day came when I tried to explain that I would be marrying his daddy. He cried and said he didn't want me to marry his dad. I was devastated, but had to ask why through the lump in my throat. His response, "Because you're my friend, and if you get married you won't be." If that doesn't break your heart like it did mine, you are made of stone. He was then five years old and had grown used to having not only daddy time but Karen time. It was the perfect balance, and with never knowing anything but myself and his dad, this was upsetting for him, until he got to pick out a suit lol and learn what it all meant for us as a family.

But is this completely different than what a biological child would feel? Or is it worse for a child who knows who his/her mother is? Or for an adopted Step-Child? After all the child still knows who their biological parent is. Especially when that biological mother is not you, regardless of how much you love them? For so many, being a parent is the hardest job of them all. Being a step-parent is harder. You love, do what a biological parent does, care, respect, wipe the tears, kiss the bumps and scratches, tell the bedtime stories yet you will never be MOM. I wonder if that is what lays heavy on the hearts of Step-Moms?

Would you not die for your child even though your love begins in your heart, and not your womb? Does it matter that as a step-parent you didn't give birth to this child who fills the empty space you never thought you had until he/she filled it?

Has anyone ever paid attention to how people see you as a step-parent? The "Ohhh, I thought you were his/her mother," or the "Ah, that must be difficult," but my favourite is, "I could never love a child that wasn't my own, I don't know how you do it." Let me address these comments without offending the biological parents out there who have kids that have step-parents.

1.    Not biological, but I see myself as a mother, my husband sees me as a mother and most importantly my bonus son sees me as such.

2.    Yes, it is difficult but so is going to work when you would love to stay in bed. It is called prioritizing.

3.    I'm sorry you feel that way, and I hope you have ten children that you gave birth too and that you can love unconditionally, because you gave birth to them.

No one tells you that being a Step-Parent will put your self-esteem to the ultimate test in so many ways. But is it worth it? Of course it is :) Just remember, being a step-parent doesn't mean the child needs another parent, what it means is that you have a chance to be a friend for life. That you will always wipe the tears, kiss the bumps and tells stories of years past even when they are in college and the latest girlfriend/boyfriend wants to know the most embarrassing tales. And like his/her parents, you tell them. Why? Because you were there too.