Checking for MG Symptoms Is Part of My Daily Routine
I consider myself incredibly lucky. While I’ve had a couple small flare-ups from myasthenia gravis (MG), I’ve been mostly symptom-free for the past five years.
It’s a weird feeling — the transition from total weakness to no weakness took years, but it feels like I have lived two different lives in a very short period.
Although I’m not dealing with any symptoms at the moment, MG has completely changed my day-to-day life and routine. Part of that routine is my morning checklist.
First on the checklist are my eyelids and eyesight. Am I seeing double? Does my left eyelid feel significantly heavier than my right one?
It’s an easy first symptom to check off my list — I can instantly tell if there’s a problem the second I wake up. To fully test my eye strength, I stare at a fixed point with unblinking eyes for about 10 seconds. Yes, I look very creepy doing this, but it gets the job done.
Next are my arms and legs. To check my arm strength, I raise them up in front of me like an old-school mummy and hold them there for 10 seconds. If I have no problem with my arms, I move on to my legs. My expert-level test is to move them as if I were pedaling the world’s slowest bicycle. Don’t worry, the slowness isn’t due to MG, it’s due to how out of shape I am. I can’t blame myasthenia gravis for everything!
The last part of my body that goes through the rounds is my mouth. Mouth weakness was my first sign of MG, and I always come back to it as the first step in the slippery slope of my MG journey. To check its strength, I puff up my cheeks like a chipmunk and poke at them to see if my lips give out. It looks much more dignified when my neurologist does this test. If my mouth stays shut and the air stays where it’s supposed to stay, I’m good to go.
I know what some of my fellow MG people may be thinking: Aren’t the symptoms better in the morning since your body has been resting all night? If you’re asking that, you are correct. But in my experience with MG, the time of day had minimal influence on my symptoms. Whether it was early in the morning or late at night, my weakness was consistently bad. Because of this, I make the effort to check my body before I even get out of bed.
So far, I’ve been lucky. But I know there’s a strong possibility I may feel off one of these mornings. My mummy arms may fall or the air from my mouth may make an inappropriate noise, but I won’t be afraid. It wouldn’t be the first time.
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