social issues

Revealing Your Multiple Sclerosis to a Friend

Gina Gunkel Health Guide July 28, 2008

  • This past week was tough for me.  I had to reveal my MS to a friend.  I’ve known this person for about a year, have been over her house, shared meals, and laughed many times together.  I just never mentioned that I had a chronic illness.  I don’t exactly know why.  Maybe I feel like, when people know, they know. I can’t take it back.  They could then tell others.  I don’t want to be looked at differently. Who knows?  I just get very uncomfortable telling people. At the same time I feel equally uncomfortable NOT telling people, like I’m hiding a BIG secret of who I am.  (And this is still my feeling after over a decade past my diagnosis)

    This morning everything changed.  I learned of the death of Randy Pausch and of the Life Lessons that he taught during his famous “Last Lecture” speech.  It is fascinating stuff.  When he spoke of the “brick walls” that we must climb in life, the ones that make us “prove how badly we want things”. Hello, MS.

    He also talks about achieving your childhood dreams.  He says, ”It's not about how to achieve your dreams; it's all about leading your life. If you lead your life in a right way, karma will take care of itself. And dreams will come to you."  Well, that one hit home.  It wasn’t my dream to have MS.  Not at all, and it is a conflict when I identify my diagnosis as a description of me when opening up to someone new in my life.  I do feel that a big part of me did stop “leading my life” and shifted into neutral.  Enough!!!  Yesterday was my last day of that.  This is my jug-handle. My course has changed, not necessarily back to my childhood dreams (to be one of Charlie’s Angels) but to LEAD MY LIFE, take my foot off the break, accelerate and go…