Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic auto-immune disease which is characterized by fluctuating, muscle weakness, and excessive muscle fatigue.The body’s immune system, in the form of antibodies, attacks and damages the nerve signal reception areas on the muscles – causing a breakdown in communication between nerve and muscle; this results in a loss of effectiveness of the muscle. The disease can vary in severity and distribution of weakness between individuals, and symptoms fluctuate with relapses and remissions.
My twin sister was diagnosed with this over 12 years ago after a long and tedious journey to find out what was the matter with her.
One treatment for MG if drugs have not helped it is removal of the thymus gland. The thymus gland is located in the upper center of your chest, and removal of this gland (thymectomy) may reduce or eliminate symptoms of MG, which could mean over time, you can reduce or even stop taking medication. My sister had this major surgery done after drugs failed to help her.
She has also had an intravenous medication given to you through a drip called plasmaphersis which is a process which plasma is separated from the blood, cleaned of abnormal antibodies, and then replaced. This can also increase muscle strength for many people with MG.
She has been in remission for about 11 years since her surgery but unfortunately it appears to be raising its ugly head again at the moment. It’s a worrying time while we try different treatments and find out if it is indeed the MG that is making her feel so weak.
Between us we have both been quite unlucky in our health but we are very close and support each other as much as we can. The biggest hurdle being that we are so far apart, my sister in Spain and me in the UK.