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‘Why not me?’ Accepting life with an MND diagnosis

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Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is in the spotlight for the month of June as people are asked to host virtual fundraisers for vital services. Here, Andy Minogue from Ardnacrusha shares his experience of the disease.

IS OUR fate or destiny decided when we are born or does it evolve over the years? I had my palm read by a lady when I was in my late teens. I didn’t pay for it and I can’t remember where it was, except I think it was in a fair or something like that.
She told me that there was a definite break in my lifeline that indicated a very dramatic or life-changing event. I didn’t think too much about it but it didn’t sound good to me.
After that, if anyone ever told me that they were going to a fortune teller, I would advise against it, as a bad forecast would have you worrying and if something bad is going to happen you are better off not knowing as you can’t change it anyway. Whether it was coincidence or not, what I was told turned out to be true. Why me? Is an often-asked question by many people for many different reasons. Why is my arse the perfect height for kicking?!
It might be heartbreak or misfortune and in many cases illness. I certainly used it sometimes as I tried to get my head around my brutal diagnosis of MND which I got in October 2015.
It was certainly understandable, as there was no answers when I asked how I got MND. This is reflective of the fact that there still is no proper treatment for the disease in 2021.
I knew that it was a futile question so I stopped asking it and tried to instead ask ‘Why not me? Why somebody else?’ I might think that I do not deserve it, but that is irrelevant when it comes to any aspect of life.
Life can be cruel and bad things happen to the very best of people and indeed far better human beings than me. I don’t hear people asking, ‘Why me?’ when it comes to the good things in our lives and any good fortune that we might encounter.
Of course, many of us are guilty of taking the most important things such as our health and our families for granted.
We tend to ask the question ‘Why me?’ when we think we are hard done by, while overlooking our privileges. This is human nature and I was the same as everyone else until I was faced with such a massive challenge.
Suddenly, I could now clearly see what to cherish in life. It also changed my mindset to a view that you have to be philosophical, as your fate is your fate, and you have no choice but to accept it and make the best of it. After I told a friend about the diagnosis, he made a very good point. He said, ‘Isn’t it better that it is you instead of something serious happening to Clare or the boys?’.
I said, ‘Of course it is,’ as I would prefer to suck it up and take it rather than watch them suffer. Acceptance is very difficult but crucial, and once you accept your fate you will rarely if ever ask, ‘Why me?’ Instead ask, ‘Why not me?’.
Before I suffer vertigo from my perch up on the high moral ground, I must concede that I have not fully bought into this state of mind, rather I am aspiring to do so.
In other words, I often do not feel like being philosophical, so I just try to struggle through the day the best that I can.”

MND is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. It can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. There is currently no cure for MND, but symptoms can be managed to help achieve the best possible quality of life.
The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMDA) provides specialised services for people affected by this debilitating disease such as equipment on loan, financial assistance towards home help, advice and home visits by MND Nurse.
In order to provide these vital services the IMNDA depends heavily on the generosity of the public and supporters of the association who generate over 80% of its income.
To help people like Andy, and more than 400 families affected across Ireland, the IMDA is asking people to hold a virtual Drink Tea for MND event in or around June 21. Full details of how to do this are available on Imnda.ie, where you can register your virtual tea event. More information is also available by emailing fundraising@imnda.ie.
Donations can also be made on Imnda.ie to, or by texting MND to 50300 to donate €2.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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