Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Can you die from myasthenia gravis? Part 4

The four ways MG can kill you are myasthenic crisis, choking, falls and medication side effects.

capsules,healthcare,medicine,medicine bottles,Photographs,pills,vitamin e,vitamins
Since myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease, slowing down the immune system attack helps. It gives our damaged muscles a chance to regenerate, and prevents the immune system from destroying receptor sites.

Having a slowed down immune system makes us vulnerable to infections. Some of these infections can be fatal. Some medications also can cause cancer as a side effect. Others can cause diabetes.

I don't know what medication you are taking, so I can't tell you specific things about it. Your medication will have some kind of warning label on it. Reading it is a good idea, even if it scares you silly. At least you'll know what the risks are.

MG is a powerful disease and it takes powerful medication to control it. If your medication makes you more susceptible to infection, use your common sense:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean the handle of the grocery cart
  • Use a paper towel to open a public restroom door
  • If the food in a restaurant warming tray looks like it's been there awhile, choose something else.
  • Flu shots if your doctor recommends one
  • Hand sanitizer is your friend

What about the other side effects? The scary side effects can wreck your life long before you are diagnosed with an illness. They can keep you up at night. What if I get cancer? What if the medicine gives me leukemia? What if the medicine gives me lymphoma? Am I going to get cancer from this? What will I do if I get cancer?

These thoughts can get stuck in your mind like a recording that never shuts off. Fear can take away your quality of life almost as fast as MG did.

It took me a while to find a way to shut down the voices and regain my equilibrium. I've been a continuous chemotherapy patient since 2005. Unless a cure is found, I will be taking chemotherapy to control my MG for the rest of my life. How I deal with the fear of side effects directly impacts my quality of life.

The medication I take causes leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer and liver failure as side effects. It can also cause a ruptured bowel and a host of other nightmare scenarios. Death from side effects is a shadow that follows me everywhere. Do I want to live in the shadow, or in the light?

For me, living in the light means acknowledging the shadow exists. The risks are real. But, so is today. Today I don't have to deal with leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, or liver failure. Today is a good day. Today the side effects remain a shadow and they are not my daily reality. Today is a good day. Today matters.

It isn't that I have learned to ignore the shadow. I just choose not to give it attention it doesn't deserve. I shut down the endless cycle of "what if" by changing my thinking to "when." I assume a nasty side effect is coming in the future. I assume that when it does come I will fight it with strength, dignity and honor.

Assuming my ability to deal with the worst case scenario fills my heart with courage instead of fear. Knowing that I don't have to deal with the shadow today makes the light shine brighter in my life. Today I choose to be fully alive. I choose to enjoy my life.

Today is a good day. Today matters.


  1. Myasthenia gravis is a serious disorder causing progressive muscle weakness. Patients having this problem can use Mestinon to manage it with good results.

    1. Mestinon treats the symptoms of MG, but does not modify the course of the disease. Prednisone and other immune suppressing medications are often required for people with MG when Mestinon is not helpful enough. Mestinon doesn't control my symptoms enough so I use chemotherapy medication. It sucks, but I'm doing OK.



I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

Search Joy Benchmarks

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP