Managing University Life with MG

Retha De Wet avatar

by Retha De Wet |

Share this article:

Share article via email
listen, university

Life with myasthenia gravis can be incredibly frustrating. At times, it feels like no one understands my battle and what I’m forced to go through just to lead a functional life. This frustration is especially emphasized when I attempt things that my peers do with a whole lot less effort, like attending a university.

I need to take several tablets, get some infusions, and rest properly to ensure I can participate in school. I have to see several doctors and constantly talk about my health and how I am feeling to comfort those around me. I often have to rely on disabled parking or walking aids to get from point A to point B, and that in itself can feel embarrassing on a campus filled with healthy peers. So much changes when I fall ill, and many things slip from my control. However, I decided after my diagnosis in my first year at university that despite the challenges my health presents, I will continue to pursue my degree.

Frankly, though, I didn’t understand the exact extent to which my diagnosis would affect my studies. Ignorance was bliss.

I have officially finished my third year of studies. It took more than three years to get here, despite never failing, but I am here. I have one year left before I get to call myself a speech and language therapist. I take more pride in my progress than most of my peers because I fought like hell to get here. I take no mark or submission for granted; academics always remain a challenge and keep me on my toes.

My studies allow me to serve a purpose. I chose a degree with which I can help others, just as I have been helped and supported in the past five years since my diagnosis.

Attempting university life with myasthenia gravis has been quite the humbling experience. It has forced me to learn how to swallow my pride and ask for help. It has also helped me to accept my diagnosis because I need to stand up for myself and the special needs I have as a differently abled student. This has resulted in classmates judging how sick I “supposedly” am when it was not their place, but it has also led to beautiful friendships that have become very real and very quick. For that, I will always be thankful.

An individualized and realistic approach to life with myasthenia gravis is best. For example, I completed one academic year over two years because I was receiving cyclophosphamide infusions and the side effects were too severe for me to keep up with. Regardless, I still completed the academic requirements while undergoing four weekly infusions of this chemo-like therapy.

Believing in yourself is key. Myasthenia gravis does not define us, but sometimes it does limit us. Be aware of your limits, but more importantly, be aware of your potential. Life is beautiful, keep fighting.


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.


Leave a comment

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

2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

BioNews Survey Infographic

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.