Love Taught Me Strength Is More Than Suffering in Silence

Love Taught Me Strength is More Than Suffering In Silence

Retha De Wet avatar

by Retha De Wet |

Share this article:

Share article via email
personality type, love, awareness, treatment

I often write about the beauty of life by sharing lessons I’ve learned from living with myasthenia gravis (MG). I tend to be optimistic in my approach to the hand life dealt me. However, one other thing MG has taught me is that being strong by yourself isn’t sustainable.

I used to believe that independent, self-sustainable people who never spoke of their problems knew everything about how to handle life. Of course, I aspired to be them. As a result, I felt guilty whenever I spoke about my problems.

Thomas and Retha being in love at the harbor. (Photo by Retha de Wet)

Then one thing changed. I fell in love.

I met Thomas and life was suddenly different. Suddenly, those midnight treats I went to buy from McDonald’s involved another person; a guy stands in the queue for me while I sit down to spare my muscles. The same guy would accompany me on study dates and take me home when the ptosis and diplopia sat in. We would do things together and somehow they were better than when I did them alone before. We loved each other. We still love each other.

It’s been six years, officially, and we’re just as in love as the night we met seven years ago. Our relationship is perfect. By perfect, I mean we argue a fair amount, challenge each other’s views, and help each other grow into better human beings. We are also both incredibly stubborn and so this next lesson took a while for me to learn: Stop suffering in silence.

Suffering in silence means leaving it up to your partner to figure out if you’re being a little lazy sleeping in on a Saturday or if you’re heading toward another symptom flare-up. It may also result in the inevitable fight if they call you lazy when in reality you’ve known for a few weeks that your symptoms have been creeping in, making their dreaded return.

Thomas and Retha posing at a wedding. (Photo by Retha de Wet)

Although it may feel like our significant others know us better than everyone else, you are still the only person who knows how you really feel. We must voice our feelings to help them understand what we are going through instead of expecting them to intuitively know. Our illness can be invisible, and sometimes it presents like a hangover … until you realize it’s been three weeks and the “hangover” remains.

Thomas and I have recently moved back to the same city after more than a year of long-distance relationship trials. I have committed to being more honest about my health and how I feel, and it has worked wonders for our relationship.

I am happy to report that our most intense recent quarrel erupted when he woke me up an hour too early for work on a Sunday and I did not realize until I was on my way to work … an hour early.

Be honest with yourself and those around you about how you feel. We can’t always protect everyone around us from our reality. We can only hope they join us in our fight.

Never stop fighting. Life is beautiful.


Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


john koch avatar

john koch

Hi---I was diagnosed with MG in june 2019 I was 73 years old.I was eating a steak meal ---when suddenly I could not swallow.My wife LIZ said whats up --I could not answer--I was slurring my speech --LIZ rushed me to the local hospitalShe thought I was having a stroke. For the next six days I was constantly tested [ blood tests -- ct scans --X rays MRI tests ] nothing showed up. THIS was quite frightening. I am a CHRISTIAN and I was constantly praying. ON the sixth day I was sent to a specialist NEurologist.He checkedmy hospital test results and said I know what you have-- after a few simple tests he told me I had MG.-------John K.

Retha De Wet avatar

Retha De Wet

Wow, that is amazing! So happy you had an easy road to diagnosis.

Kay Connelly avatar

Kay Connelly

Hi Retha, what an inspiring story and even after 10 years of marriage to my husband, a physician I have to remind myself of what you write about so beautifully.

I was diagnosed with MG in 2003 and am receiving Rituxan every five months for both my MG and Sjogren's Syndrome.

Bette Sklack avatar

Bette Sklack

Nine years ago I had an attack of vertigo for four days. The Doctors thought it was MG but I tested negative so I was told I didn’t have MG. Thru the last years I have gotten worse. In the past nine years I have gone from a cane to a walker and am now in a wheelchair. When I am tired my speech is slurred and I have trouble moving around. Last summer I couldn’t get out of bed for two months. The doctors started me on a drug and now doubled it. I am back to living alone and able to wheel around and take care of myself. I have a fare up now and then but maybe that’s normal. I have double vision and will be 87 this summer. Everyday is a blessing.



I'm so sorry. MG is a horrible disease. It took 4 years to diagnose me.

Claudette Copeland avatar

Claudette Copeland

Thanks to all who post. It lets me know I’m not alone with this.

Retha De Wet avatar

Retha De Wet



Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.