The Value of a Good Sense of Humor When You Have Myasthenia Gravis

Editor’s Note: We believe that patients are a key part of developing and leading the conversation in disease communities. Patient Worthy sometimes partners with reputable agencies that wish to speak with patients about opportunities related to their diagnosed conditions. These opportunities can include activities such as sharing stories with other patients or health professionals about their diagnosis journey or recording video testimonials. To learn more about how to get involved with an opportunity for Myasthenia Gravis patients, click here.

Chronic illness is often associated with depression, and for good reason. WebMd reports that an estimated one-third of people with a chronic illness show symptoms of depression. This is especially true for women who face the possibility of congenital myasthenia gravis.

While medication is sometimes indicated for depression resulting from myasthenia gravis, one thing that can’t hurt is a good sense of humor.

One Man’s Story

C.D. “Denny” Fernald is a retired psychology professor who was diagnosed with MG at the age of 60. He has learned the value of humor during potentially depressive times. In an article on the Neurology Now website, he writes:

“Over the years, I have had to change drugs, dosages, and my diet, cutting out alcohol and high-fiber foods due to side effects from my medications, but I eventually adjusted to my disease… Now…  I try to have fun with it. Once, my wife was telling a neurology resident that one of my meds occasionally causes sudden emotional outbursts.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?” I screamed. “I NEVER GET UPSET!”

Shocked, the frightened young doctor started to call for emergency intervention. When my wife and I started laughing, the neurologist slowly recovered his wits and begrudgingly smiled at my sick sense of humor.”

People say stuff, don’t they?!

Most people are trying to be empathetic, but they can sure say some pretty dumb things. When they do, it’s probably a good idea to keep your first response to yourself. Unfortunately, I haven’t always held my tongue.

  1. Exactly what is myasthenia gravis? Isn’t it just  psychological? – Yea, and my eyelids aren’t drooping down to my lips either. You just think you see that.
  2. Have you heard about holistic therapies for myasthenia gravis ? – You mean like the one where you eat nothing but pureed mangos and don’t come out of the bathroom for a month?
  3. I heard on CNN there is a myasthenia gravis test to determine where you should live. – I know, I should be living on a mountain where it’s cool and moist and warm and hot, all at the same time.
  4. My uncle’s a fireman, and he said his job causes that kind of thing. Did you know myasthenia gravis causes stress? – Gee, I never realized that.
  5. My aunt’s cousin said there is a new miracle drug for the treatment of myasthenia gravis that you should be taking. – Oh, you mean the one where four people died during clinical trials and the FDA ordered it off the market three years ago?
  6. Has your doctor ever heard of these myasthenia gravis medications? – No, he never reads the medical journals.

So, are you feeling down after a recent flare? Try laughing a little.


Editor’s Note: We believe that patients are a key part of developing and leading the conversation in disease communities. Patient Worthy sometimes partners with reputable agencies that wish to speak with patients about opportunities related to their diagnosed conditions. These opportunities can include activities such as sharing stories with other patients or health professionals about their diagnosis journey or recording video testimonials. To learn more about how to get involved with an opportunity for Myasthenia Gravis patients, click here.

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