A view out a car windshield showing a distorted view and blurry lines.

My Earliest MG Symptoms

I often hear people say their myasthenia gravis (MG) symptoms started manifesting long before they realized what was going on. I find this to be true for me. I’ve been thinking back many years to try and pinpoint when I first started having MG symptoms and I think mine began about 22 years before my diagnosis. I suppose I could be wrong, or it could have started even before then, but that is when I remember some very strange things happening to me.

The first time I experienced blurred vision

I was a surgical nurse helping in the sterilization department during a slow afternoon. I had dropped something on the floor and reached down to pick it up when my vision became very blurred. It was so bad it actually started making me quite nauseous. Though it improved a little, my vision remained blurred.

At first, I thought it was because of my contacts. I have astigmatism and the lenses I wore were weighted a little at the bottom so they wouldn’t turn much while in my eyes. When I would tip my head down, they would turn and my vision would be blurred for a little while, but when I raised back up, the lenses would return to their correct position and my vision would clear. This time, that did not occur.

I was so ill and tired

I was feeling so ill and decided to go home from work a little early. I was concerned it wasn’t safe for me to stop at daycare and pick up our 2 youngest children, so I went home. We were new to the area and I knew few people, especially someone I could trust or depend on to help. I’m not even sure I could have walked into the building to get them. Yet, I was driving myself home. It was not my smartest move, but I didn’t have much choice. When I arrived home, I went straight to bed. Still, my vision was a mess and it made me so ill I emptied my stomach.

My supervisor knew I wasn’t feeling well when I left, so she stopped by our home to check on me. Thankfully, she offered to pick up our children and I remained in bed the rest of the evening. The next day, it was like all that never happened. I felt great and had no issues with my eyes or my vision.

Then I had difficulty breathing

Several years later, another strange illness hit. We were living in Colorado at the time. We had a huge blizzard that snowed us in for a few days and even closed the interstates. It took a couple days, but the roads were finally cleared enough to get out and head to Tennessee and visit our children for Christmas.

Everything was going well on our visit, when all of a sudden, I became ill. First, with an upper respiratory infection, then later it started affecting my breathing. I was so sick I couldn’t drive back to Colorado. In fact, I slept most of the way and my husband drove. I even slept in the vehicle while he cleared snow from our driveway so we could get into the house. There was no way could I walk from the street through the heavy snow.

When we returned home, I was seen in the emergency room and diagnosed with pneumonia. I’ve had pneumonia before, but this one was very different. I never had issues with breathing before, but this time it was really difficult. I was put on antibiotics, an inhaler, and other medication to help. After a few months, I had finally recovered.

Vision issues while driving

Though I had recovered, I still had questions as to why this illness was so different and so serious. I eventually shrugged it off and all but forgot about it. But within a few months, I had yet another strange symptom.

This time, I was driving down the highway taking my granddaughter to gymnastics. All of a sudden, my vision became extremely blurred and I was having a great deal of difficulty even seeing the highway. I started pulling off the road when it went away just as quickly as it came. This, I couldn’t figure out at all! Still, I never connected the other symptoms I had in the years before. So again, I just went about my business and forgot about the incident. I had no other issues until Thanksgiving that year.

Finally diagnosed with MG

Thanksgiving is when everything finally went south! I started having blurred vision, double vision, ptosis, difficulty breathing, and extreme anxiety brought on by the symptoms. It was a process, but I was finally diagnosed with MG a couple weeks later.

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever suspect I had MG, but since I started thinking back at unexplained illnesses and crazy symptoms, I realize I may have been in the early stages. Maybe if something of the sort had “clicked” in my brain, I might have avoided the serious symptoms that lead me to the emergency room on Thanksgiving Day.

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