Every Season with Myasthenia Gravis
Last updated: August 2023
Where I live there are 4 very distinct seasons! I truly do like all 4 seasons. Each has their own uniqueness about them. But for me, each one also creates its own problems for myasthenia gravis (MG).
Spring is wet, damp, cool, and windy as the warm air tries to come in from the cold winter. There is forever turbulence in the air. The temperature can range anywhere from slightly below freezing to around 60 degrees. For the most part, I do fairly well during this time of year. But believe it or not, the challenge is trying to stay warm enough, but not too hot.
Oh, the sunshine ... and the heat. The thunderstorms ... and humidity! While I like all of these things, I can no longer tolerate any of them with MG. My body goes totally haywire.
When it's too hot, even just stepping outside to get into a car causes my eyelids to start sagging within about 30 seconds of being in the heat - even if I've had my Mestinon. The sun is so bright it hurts my eyes. Even with my eyelids closed it feels like it's burning around my eye sockets. I don't go out without sunglasses.
Muscle weakness kicks in
During that same 30 seconds, I can already feel the muscle weakness in my arms, legs, and neck. For me, there's no other way to describe it besides a melting or dissolving feeling, kind of like the movie The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy pours the water over the wicked witch. My muscles actually get a tingly hot feeling - like I can literally feel them breaking down.
It is also so hard to breathe. It feels like squeezing a band around my rib cage - those muscles just immediately tighten. My single breath count drops, even if right before that it had been normal. But once I am back in air conditioning everything returns to normal sooner or later.
Fall is much like spring - with the exception that the weather starts out on a warmer side and gets cooler. Where I live, I do better towards the middle to end of fall.
It's normally very cold where I live. But if it gets too cold (1 to 15 degrees below 0, not including wind chill) I do about as well as I do in the summer ... Um ... not good! During the winter I basically stay inside all of the time.
Pressure changes and humidity
There are a couple of other things that I have found happen in all 4 seasons that cause my symptoms to flare. The first is change is air pressure.
I have just been aware of this the last couple of years, but my husband and I have both noticed it. We have found that high pressure or extremely low air pressure causes my MG symptoms to get worse. My symptoms are all over the place during times of unsteady pressure.
The other is humidity. Just the other day the temperature was 60 degrees outside, but the humidity level was 100 percent. I was not fit for anything! And these humidity changes can happen in any season, but for some reason most of us only pay attention to it during the summer.
How does each season impact your MG symptoms? Share in the comments below!
My most frustrating MG symptom is _____.