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Why Me?

Editor's Note: Sidney Morris wrote this article two years ago. He has since had two strokes and now lives in a nursing home, but he is still involved with local blindness-related organizations. He and his wife have five grandchildren.

How many of us have asked ourselves after being confronted by a difficult situation or problem, "Why Me"? What is the answer? Is there an answer? Obviously, the "Why Me?" pertains to a personal problem, most likely our health, but of course it could also be our work, family relationships, or just about anything else. In looking for an answer, I try to find a comfortable and quiet place, put on my "thinking cap", and explore the situation that led to the "Why Me?"

Fifty-three years ago, at age 26, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It was a bit of a shock, as diabetes was not as well known then as it is today. "Why Me"? After due investigation, I discovered that although my parents were not diabetic, many of their siblings were. Diabetes being a familial disease, I found the answer to this "Why Me?"

To help relieve the stress and possible depression caused by a medical "Why Me?" take the time to investigate the situation; this could easily provide an understanding as to a possible cause, and also what treatments are available. This knowledge, although it might be disturbing, would provide the tools to answer your "Why Me?" I have used this strategy in facing medical problems--both large and small. For the most part, it has worked.

I am now working on a "Why Me?" for which I cannot find an answer. I have recently been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is cancer of the blood, bones and bone marrow. This was in January 2007. The first thing my oncologist told me was that it was not curable but was controllable, and some measure of control has been achieved. It involves the classic cancer drugs, radiation therapy, a heavy pain control program, and much physiotherapy to regain the use of my legs and strengthen the bone structure and body frame. I have a walker with a seat, as I can walk for 10 or 15 minutes before my energy is gone. I sit for five minutes or so and then continue my walking for another 10 to 15 minutes, and rest again.

All this has necessitated a complete change in my lifestyle. Gone are my days of stone sculpturing, working out at the gym five hours a week, and attending meetings at the various organizations to which I belong, such as the Montreal Chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Quebec Federation for the Blind, and the American Legion (Veteran WW II). I've also had to cut back drastically on my time at the day centre and as a volunteer at the Montreal Association for the Blind. But this is not an appeal for donations for cancer research! It is an accepted fact that the cause of cancer is unknown. All my enquiries about multiple myeloma have led to dead ends. My "thinking cap" is not working for me this time, but I still think I have an answer for this "Why Me?" I tell myself, "Why Not Me?" After all, I am not dying of cancer--I am living with cancer.