Guest Post: ‘I Would Still Serve My Country’

By Russell Mikunda

Before being diagnosed with ALS, I had no idea that veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Even knowing what I know now, I would still serve my country.

I was in the Navy for eight years, reporting for duty on three different ships during my time in the service. During my second deployment, we were off the coast of Beirut when things started to heat up during the early 1980s.

I’m very proud to be a veteran. The VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) takes good care of me. But sometimes I worry that everybody with ALS doesn’t get that same high level of treatment I do.

My job now is to be an advocate and to teach people about ALS. This is a disease that is challenging every day. Every day I wake up not knowing what’s going to happen.

Imagine a jar of peanut butter that’s already been opened, but you can’t open it because you don’t have the strength. Imagine going to the pump, putting the credit card in, and you don’t have the strength to pull it back out, or picking up a fork and think you have a hold of it and you drop it. This is life for us daily.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having ALS is what I would call a roller coaster ride – because of the denial you sometimes feel and then trying to accept this is happening to me.

When we first started this journey, my wife and I felt lost. The ALS Association and the VA have helped us tremendously.

And special people like [the ALS community] make our lives better. We’re blessed to have you standing behind us.

Help to give hope to people like me, and people who aren’t as fortunate as I am to have the VA. These are their lives that we’re talking about, and every bit helps.

Make an Impact. Donate now.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: ‘I Would Still Serve My Country’”

  1. I too have ALS. I am a Vietnam veteran. It started in 2015 when I began choking when I swallowed. A year later my speech became. This year I lost speech altogether. I went to Texas in August of this year to see my son. I couldn’t eat any of the meals we shared. Now I am on a feeding tube. My hands are getting weaker and it is hard to set up the feeding machine. ALS slowly strips me of my independence and sense of self.


  2. Thank you for this message. This gentleman is the exact condition my brother is facing today. He called me yesterday and told me he had managed to made bread pudding with whiskey sauce. He was so excited, and then he told me how difficult it was to get out of his recliner where he spends most of his day.


  3. Thanks for your service and your story living with ALS. Sad to say when things hits home or close, we become more interested. I recently loss someone I grew very close to in short time who had ALS. It impacted my life so much, I decided to be a continuing donator. My heart and prayers go out to you and the many others living with ALS. In memory of Diana Brown (honey) May 26, 1955- October 13, 2018


  4. Are there different strains of ALS ?
    I know that it’s one of the diseases that fall under Muscular Dystrophy.
    I was believing that it is hereditary .
    Can you you shed any light on this for me ? & where can one read up on the rest of the story about Vet’s having better than a 50% chance of being diagnosed with/ALS?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s