Why This Year’s Birthday Is Extra Special

Megan Hunter avatar

by Megan Hunter |

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celebrating a birthday

It is my birthday this month, and I could not be more excited. I am one of those people who cannot sleep the night before their birthday and will wake up excitedly at 4 a.m. I do dread the thought of being sung to — because I never quite know where to look, what to do with my hands, or whether my blushing face has reached tomato-level red.

This year is extra special, though. It isn’t a big birthday, and I don’t have specific plans. But this year, I can actually fully celebrate being alive for the first time in 15 years. It is the first birthday I won’t be in the hospital or having a nap to make it through a family dinner. We weren’t sure I would make it to this birthday due to all my health complications last year and the fact that my myasthenia gravis had progressed to the refractory form. This year I am feeling strong, energetic, and appreciative of my life.

Last weekend, I spent time reflecting on just how far I have come. At this time last year, I had to use a walking stick to get around, and I could not get up off the floor without crawling to a piece of furniture to pull myself up. I cut my hair short because I didn’t have the energy to brush or wash it, let alone blow dry and style it. I would hardly ever eat dinner, as I would choke on food after about 4 p.m., and I could not miss a single dose of medication (taken at very specific times) without feeling the consequences.

I couldn’t carry grocery packets, as my hands would simply open, spilling the contents everywhere. I could not hold a conversation or get through an entire interview regarding rare diseases without slurring or battling to enunciate my words. I felt constantly exhausted, as if every moment of every day required enormous effort.

And now? Now I go to the gym every single day. I am slowly building up my strength once again. I can get up off the floor by pushing up on my legs and wash my (still short) hair with the greatest of ease. I have been eating everything I possibly can (another great reason to start at the gym!) and have lowered my dosage of medication.

I am able to speak and laugh with friends, and constantly am being told by others that they didn’t know I had so much energy. I no longer fall asleep at friends’ houses during visits, and I can make it through an entire day without needing a nap. I am running two businesses of my own. But best of all? I am happy — right from my toes.

So again, I remember why I am celebrating this birthday, and I am more excited than ever to see what the future holds for me.

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2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

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Myasthenia Gravis News conducted a survey from Feb. 11-March 28 to gain greater insight into the characteristics of the MG community and disease management. Results of the survey have now been published. Click on the image to view the infographic, and click here to read the story.