After 14 months of fighting Myasthenia Gravis with all sorts of treatments and medications and after watching the rapid progression of this disease, Lewis is undergoing a thymectomy on Wednesday morning in the hopes the operation will force his brand of MG into remission.
MG is a debilitating neuromuscular autoimmune disease that affects voluntary muscles. MG strikes people of all ages, races, and genders. Symptoms include weakness in vision, movement, breathing, chewing and swallowing. In Lewis’ case, he has suffered all of these and to extremes having been hospitalized a number of times in the past 14 months.
Approximately 20 out of 100,000 individuals in the U.S. have been diagnosed with MG. However, only 1 child in 500,000 is diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis.
Oddly enough, Lewis who also has Asperger Syndrome (a form of Autism) was diagnosed in April of 2008 during Autism Awareness Month and now, 14 months later, he is undergoing a thymectomy during Myasthenia Awareness Month. June has been Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month for 9 years now as MG Associations around the world work to raise awareness of the often misunderstood and under-diagnosed disease.
This year’s theme is: “Uniting For a Cure… Together We Are Stronger.”
The thymectomy won’t cure Lewis’ MG but it might buy him some time if the operation forces his MG into remission. And if it goes into remission, how long will it stay there? No one knows for sure. It could be a few days; it could be a few decades. We don’t want to think of the other possibilities.
Never one to let something outrageous take him down, Lewis has spent a great deal of his time raising awareness of Myasthenia Gravis along with his efforts raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Medical research has revealed that in families where there is a child diagnosed with Autism, there is an autoimmune disorder diagnosed in the immediate family 46% of the time. In contrast, in families where there is no diagnosis of Autism, there is an autoimmune disorder diagnosed in extended family 26% of the time.
Christopher Robin Milne, the son of author A.A. Milne who wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories, was diagnosed with, and died from, Myasthenia Gravis.
In other universes, one of Spiderman’s nemesis, Madame Web, has Myasthenia Gravis. In fact, Marvel Comics has written in her biography that she has suffered a lifetime of blindness and neurological deterioration due to the disease. And it’s been said that Sleepy, the dwarf from Snow White, was modeled after a friend of Walt Disney’s who was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis.
Back in the real world, few people realize that Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O’s second husband, died in 1975 due to MG. Jamaican roots reggae and dub record producer and keyboardist, Augustus Pablo, died in 1999 due to MG.
Vijay Tendulkar, a renowned Indian playwright, died in 2008 due to complications arising out of Myasthenia gravis. Hip hop and R&B songwriter, Stephen Garrett, who wrote hits for well known hip hop artists Ginuwine, Pretty Ricky, Aaliyah, and Lil Wayne died in 2008 due to complications arising out of Myasthenia Gravis.
Yes, unfortunately, Myasthenia Gravis can and does kill people with the diagnosis. This is why it’s so important to support MG research in order to find a cure.
Before going in for his thymectomy, Lewis decided to create a special video to thank his real life and online supporters who have helped Lewis battle Myasthenia Gravis in whatever way they could. He joked around on the weekend that if he had been able to put everyone into the video, it would have been a 2 hour extravaganza to rival the Grammy and Juno Awards Shows.
A very special thank you goes to Andrew Gold who granted Lewis permission to use his song “Thank You For Being A Friend” in the creation of this very important video. No other song expresses so many of Lewis’ feelings towards his friends.
To watch the video, click HERE.