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Beyond the Limits of Myasthenia Gravis

Page 2 of 63 Beyond the Limit
Copyright 1994 by Clete Gress Revised January 2000 & Reform atted December, 2005
I was sent to New York to work in the finance office of our m ission agency. I contacted a private
physician there who had 35 years experience in M alaria work, hoping that he would have a
form ula for freeing m e of what seem ed to be post-m alaria complications. He tested and
observed me for several months with a final dism issal of not providing clearance to even leave
the States. Supposedly there was a heart m urmur or som e sim ilar m inor reason he provided.
In order to return to frontline m issions work, I took an assignm ent in New Mexico with a K-12
school. That position provided schooling benefits for m y adopted children who were still in
Africa. I had m anaged to accumulate enough vacation and sick tim e to stop over in West Texas
for Ordination and gall bladder surgery. Both program s were successfully accom plished. I
returned for the post-op check up to report the instantaneous relief from the gall stone surgery
but I continued with this dreadful sensation of fatigue, particularly in m y back m uscles. I then
asked, "would there be any chance of this problem being linked to M yasthenia Gravis since I
had had a thym ectom y in 1978 --- as a result of chest pain? An appointm ent was set with the
neurologist and eight days into m y new assignment (and new insurance plan) I was given the
diagnosis of M G.
Starting a new medication called Mestinon, I continued to work long hours, thinking the
m edication would m ake the difference. As with m any new assignm ents in the world of finances
I had com e upon an interesting challenge of budget problem s that no one wanted to claim ---
m eaning longer hours and m ore stress. It took eight m onths of stress over the scale before m y
body said enough and shut down right into a M G crisis.
M ost folks would have been willing to stop back up the road several years but I was one of
those die-hards that kept going. I had cut m y teeth on M anagement by Objective, setting all
sorts of records for resolving m anagem ent problem s and m ade lots of money for ownership as
results. Why was I so driven? Wh y did I have to prove to fam ily, co-workers, and to m e that m y
strength was equal to m y size – extra large?
I did not know. I just knew it m ust be done.
After the M G crisis I began recuperation slowly. Som e days I seem ed to go backwards then to
regain a little only to loose ground again. I had decided that m ay be buried in all this was a
point or two of anger that had not been processed. I sought out our pastoral counselor for our
church. When we inventoried after not three or four sessions that I thought would be sufficient,
but 18 m onths' worth, we were able to identify thirteen points of grieving. Still, a lot of questions
remained in m y m ind about the personality and the disease and how could they work together
to benefit som eone – how could I use those two factors to re-enter m ission work.
One of the great blessings of illness is that you can be recipient to m any cards, letters, phone
calls, visits and e-mails. Som ewhere along that part of m y journey I cam e in contact with a
childhood friend. She brought her husband along and they cam e to visit m e after forty- two
years of not seeing one another. What a wonderful visit! We have continued to stay in close
contact through the wonderful advances of technology called e-m ail. They sent a m agnet belt
to tr y on the m uscle fatigue. Then she found a book about M yasthenia Gravis and asked if I
had read it.
That little book has been a m issing link in understanding M yasthenia Gravis and the
personality involvem ent. When I began reading Clete Gress’, ÐBeyond the Limits“, I began