I recognized the existence of autoimmune disease when I was diagnosed of Myasthenia gravis in year 2010. I was devastated because I had been managing a deformity from Poliomyelitis since I was eleven (11) months old. Prior to the diagnosis, I lived a very active life and exercise was one thing that made me happy apart from reading novels.
The problem all started in my university days; I experienced ptosis that lasted for three months, I prayed and bravo! I had the victory. After graduation, lifting heavy things became a problem. My legs went weak and gave way anytime I walked, I couldn’t swallow and taking food to my mouth required support using the other hand. Also, I couldn’t stand from a sitting position, I had blurred vision and I would say “Hi Sarah” when I was really seeing Victoria or a total stranger.
I went from one hospital to another in search of a better understanding of what was wrong with me, but I gave up on hospitals because they couldn’t give me answers. I found some relief in treating malaria and typhoid, so I always spent a week in the hospital and two weeks out which became a routine for me for about fourteen years. Many people gave names to the constantly depreciating health.
There was this fateful day I went to the hospital because I wanted to get married, instead of attending to the case at hand, my doctor looked closely and said, “Hey Zenny! have you ever thought of seeing a neurologist”. The search for a solution started all over again; I went to a specialist hospital and they suspected Muscular dystrophy. I was then referred to the university teaching hospital in Benin city here in Nigeria where I underwent a series of tests which yielded the diagnosis of Myasthenia gravis.
I have now been on treatment, a drug known as mestinon, for the past seven years. There has been some improvement; I have some good days (or just hours) when I can smile and some bad days when I get weak. I couldn’t get the job of my dreams but I still do what I love – I am a teacher.
Myasthenia gravis took a lot of things from me. I look at the beautiful future I planned for myself but the Lord frustrated my plans and shattered my purposes. He wrecked all my hopes, broke the beautiful structure I thought I was building, then caught me up in his arms and whispered to me “it is not your work I wanted, but you”.
Story by Zenny Mommoh.
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