My Experience With Acupuncture and MG
Last updated: November 2021
I had a relatively healthy life before my diagnosis. Other than a few bouts of pneumonia when I was young, I never experienced any major illnesses or even broken any bones. When I was suddenly diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG) 2 years ago, my world was shaken.
In my upbringing, my family rarely took medicine. We tried to treat everything holistically for the most part. For example, chicken broth, orange juice, and congee were the best treatments for a cold.
Since we tried to avoid any unnecessary drugs growing up, when my neurologist told me to start taking prednisone, I was honestly frightened.
My symptoms were worsening
The first few months, I did not want to take any prednisone. One - I did not like swallowing pills, and two - I was afraid of the side effects. My health was dwindling as the symptoms started to come in full swing.
I had ptosis, double vision, weakness throughout my body, and was having trouble breathing. I had remembered hearing about a friend going to acupuncture and started looking into it.
I was desperate to find something that could help me that didn't involve medication. I believed that my body was capable and able of healing, but needed some help. I got the information of an acupuncture doctor and made an appointment.
Exploring holistic healing
By this point, I was about 4 months pregnant and was not doing well. She started by putting some needles in my head and I remember feeling a release. I lay in her office afterward and it felt like the tension was leaving my body.
My second experience with acupuncture came when this doctor referred me to her teacher. I remember sitting down. He asked me to lift my arms as high as I could.
He put some needles in, and afterward, surprisingly my arms could go higher. Though it helped temporarily with my breathing and strength, the symptoms continued to rage on.
Needing an intervention
I ended up going to the doctor and was referred to the ICU for acute respiratory failure. When I was finally released, I was put on 60 mg of prednisone. At this point, I started going to an acupuncture doctor twice a week.
Though plasmapheresis helped immensely, it was temporary. I could feel that its effects waning after 3 weeks. After 6 weeks of acupuncture treatment, I started to feel a difference.
At the 6-week point, my body started feeling stronger. My acupuncture doctor explained how my circulation needed support, and triggering acupuncture points stimulated the nervous system.
Double vision was usually a constant problem, but some days my vision would get better. She would put needles on my eyebrows and around my eyes, and immediately afterward my vision was clear.
Though my neurologist did not believe in the benefits of acupuncture, he saw my desire to pursue holistic healing. Eventually, he seemed to lighten up seeing how I was doing better.
Navigating the ups and downs
I continued with acupuncture for about a year and a half. I went twice a week, dropped down to once a week, and sometimes would go every other week.
During this process, I was continually tapering down my prednisone dosage with the consent of my neurologist. I remember there was 1 month where my vision cleared and I could even drive again. Though I could feel the benefits the few days following, it was not enough to put me in full remission.
After a year and a half, I could not live with the ups and downs anymore. I still had double vision most days and was struggling to chew and swallow.
I decided to move forward with an infusion treatment, which ended up being very successful. Though I don't go to acupuncture anymore, I still believe in the benefits that it can have. Though I would not rely on acupuncture alone as a treatment for MG, I think it is an amazing supportive treatment.
My most frustrating MG symptom is _____.