My Favorite Activities: Trying Not to Let MG Hold Me Back

Last updated: November 2023

So many times, we have to give up some things we love or love to do when we are diagnosed with a life-altering disease like myasthenia gravis (MG). Well, I’m here to tell you, we don’t have to give up as much as we may think.

I’ve always loved gardening, cooking, preserving food, arts and crafts, building things, and walking my dog. Though I can’t walk and need to use a power chair, I’ve adapted so I can do most things.

Building and using tools

One of the activities I want to talk about is building things. Yes, I use a saw, hammer, nails, power tools, and more. When I helped my husband build a fence around our garden 3 years ago, I did about as much as he did to build it. We needed a fence to keep the rabbits out and discourage the deer.

We made 8-foot sections using 1-inch x 4-inch x 8-foot boards. To do this, we only had to cut the 2 upright pieces in half and a cross-piece for added strength. We have a table saw, so we measured the length we needed and placed the board on the table. Since we used a table saw, I could have cut them, but my husband did. Once it was cut, we used a power stapler to attach chicken wire to the boards. We erected the fence by putting steel posts in the ground and fastening the sections to them.

When you’re in a power chair or wheelchair, you follow the same safety precautions as anyone else. The biggest difference is when using a power tool, such as a jigsaw, where you are cutting above your lap. You don’t want to be cutting something over your lap or reaching with a saw. That could cause a serious injury. I haven’t figured out a modification for this one yet, but I will.

Extra help with some activities

Doing my crafts hasn’t changed much since my diagnosis. I can still make my jewelry, put things together, paint, and more. However, when it came to gardening, I need a little help. We hired someone to turn the soil. Once that was done, my husband and I raked the dirt and broke up the clods. Although I can do it, I prefer not to plant directly in the ground since it bothers my back and sciatic nerve. But the MG hasn’t been a problem here.

I usually do the watering, especially by hand. I love to do that. For me, it helps my disposition and makes me feel better. It sure builds upper body strength pulling a hose all over the yard. I also enjoy watching my plants grow, so I’m out there all the time whenever I can be. I do most of the weeding. Where I can, I use a double action hoe with a long handle. I also utilize hand tools and my hands. My garden rows are wide enough to accommodate my power chair.

I'm careful when it comes to certain hobbies

With a garden comes food preservation. It’s a lot of work, but not only do I enjoy doing it, I like knowing what’s in my food. I do almost all the prep work, but I need help with the pot. The canner is too tall for me to be able to see into it and load or unload the hot jars. I can put the lid on and lock it, but I just have to be extra careful so I don’t get burned. I cannot and will not lift it when hot.

I still walk my dog from my power chair, I just have to be careful when he’s near so I don’t run over him. For exercise, I have taught him on command to run and stop on leash. I also taught him how to untangle himself when he goes on the other side of a post or pole. In fact, many times he untangles himself without my commands. There are other safety activities I’ve taught him and am still teaching him. I started his training the day we brought him home.

Not giving up my favorite things

So, while I still need help to do some of my beloved activities, I can still do a lot on my own. I try not to let MG or my nerve damage hold me back any more than it has to. I don’t see why we should have to give up some of our favorite things. We may just need a little help and a little ingenuity.

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