30 Days of MD: Mito Has Brought About New Passions

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Cynthia Mayeshiro

Day 29 of 30

This is Cynthia Mayeshiro’s story:

As a young woman, my passion was mountaineering. I felt at home in the backcountry. My outdoor skills became refined with every hike. I learned to stay safe, to reach my destination, and to know how to avert a bear attack.

In 1994, I accepted the task of helping a friend summit Mt. Whitney in California. This adventure was 12 hours up and six hours down, with no breaks. And yet, I loved every moment of it. The sense of accomplishment was surreal.

With absolute clarity, I remember the day mitochondrial myopathy took over my body. It was Thanksgiving 2014 and I had hosted a gathering of family and friends. All went well until the evening when I felt an unusual sense of weakness.

The events of the next two hours are crystal clear. My daughter was feeling the beginning of a sinus infection, and so off I went to Walgreens in my pajamas, hardly lifting my feet and legs as I shuffled to the aisle with saline solutions. I began grabbing items, some falling to the floor because standing upright was incomprehensible. The task became too difficult and laying down was my only option. I said a prayer at that moment, “Lord, please don’t have the employees call for an ambulance.” Eventually, I did get up and made my way home.

Mitochondrial myopathy has brought several new passions that I wouldn’t have otherwise. The last few years I have taken to crocheting and knitting. Most days I get little done because I am too exhausted. That’s the nature of having “Mito,” but I love completing projects.

I have had those moments of detesting my disease because it stripped me of the activities I so dearly loved. Somewhere along the way, I knew I couldn’t live my life being angry.

Mito is now a part of who I am. I move forward, creating a new me with every new symptom. I find having passions has been a game-changer for me. And I predict this is how it will continue to be in the future.

Note: Cynthia Mayeshiro’s daughter is Leah Leilani, who wrote the “You, Me and MD” column for Muscular Dystrophy News.

Muscular Dystrophy News’ 30 Days of MD campaign will publish one story per day for MD Awareness Month in September. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofMD, or read the full series.