Why Me? Coping with a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Gina Gunkel Health Guide
  • It is easy to ask the question, why me? The percentages are strong that it wouldn't happen. Yet you have the tests, and the diagnosis. What now?


    When I was hospitalized about ten years ago, I reached my breaking point. I had just given birth to a perfect baby girl and had an energetic two year old son to care for. It was seven years after my initial diagnosis. Then BOOM, I woke up on a Saturday morning and was having trouble seeing out of my right eye. I ignored it. It got worse. On Monday morning while at work, I called my neurologist. She had me go for an exam, followed by a five day stay at the hospital. I was so depressed. I wanted to be home with my family. But here I was, in the same hospital that I had given birth in, miserable and lactating. It was terrible. I was both sad and angry. I asked the question, "why me?"

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    When I had finally had enough of the self pity, it dawned on me... Why not me? How can I help this situation? What can I do to make a difference? Personally, as a photographer, I thought that it would be a wonderful idea to meet and photograph others in the same medical situation. Hmm... my mind started racing. Was it possible? Could I do it? The answer ended up being yes! Within a year of my hospital stay, and with the help of many volunteers, I held my portrait book in my hands. I called it Incidental Heroes: Disabling the Myths of Multiple Sclerosis. It was such a gratifying achievement. I was able to travel the country and meet 31 inspirational people with 31 points of views of ways to live well with MS.


    The rock band Van Halen has appropriate lyrics that say, "I woke up in life to find I almost missed it." That hospital stay taught me to look at my life from a different perspective. My whole outlook changed. We all have special talents to tap into. For example, my sister has a wide social circle. When it's time for an MS fundraiser, I know that my sister will come through with a crowd. It is her specialty. She is doing what she is good at and it's helping MS. I truly feel that there are so many ways to be involved and make a difference.


    So I ask the question, "Why not you?"


Published On: December 07, 2007