Healing Plateaux

July 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Harry, it’s been 6 months for you and you say you seem to have reached a healing plateau. I can tell you that after 2 3/4 years of GBS, there are more healing plateaux to come. I think the body heals to its capacity and then there seems to be no perceptable progress, but it’s still taking place. All of the damaged fibers, and neurons are actually still healing, but will take more time to connect so that improvements are noticed.

I’ve had at least 5 plateaus since this happened to me in Nov.2007 following my flu shot. The onset symptoms were slow but terrible, but then I “stabilized” after about 6 weeks of the worst ones. That just means I wasn’t getting any worse; I was crippled, couldn’t walk without aid, in constant pain, and dealing with stroke symptoms. But the GBS hadn’t killed me. Plateau #1.
After that point, it seemed like no healing was happening, and I was always struggling with constant pain, spasms, contractions, crippled body and stroke symptoms. That went on for about 6-8 more months, then subsided somewhat, so that was Plateau #2.
Then the constant headache and dizziness and muscle weakness in my face began to subside too, and I gained back some muscle control. That took about another 6 – 12 months. Plateau #3.
Then the arm co-ordination gradually improved, though I still have tingling, spasms and painful contractions to this day, some insensitivity to hot or cold, dropping things. But I can function better picking up things, writing, holding things, etc. Plateau #4.
Some of the foot-drop is lessening, though I still can’t trust my balance, and my strength and endurance in my back and legs is minimal, and I need to walk with a rollator or cane.
But it’s improving, as long as I don’t over-do. I can walk in the house without touching walls for support, and can stand or move around a little indoors and outdoors without my cane. Plateau #5.

Lately, I haven’t been on the internet much. For the first 2 1/2 years of this, I was on the internet a lot, re-programming my brain with reading, typing, spelling, interacting with others, etc. It was a tremendous help to re-connect some of the mess of the neuron damage in my brain. But for the past few months, I’ve had more of a sense of wanting to do things again. Motivation is coming back to do my housework, gardening, household projects, stuff that has piled up throught this long illness. Up to this point, my mind was too foggy and exhausted most of the time to do anything but force my body to accomplish the most essential tasks of daily living and working. I lost a lot of ground in the past 2 3/4 yrs. And I couldn’t force my brain to do more than that. But nowadays, I sense another portion of healing is happening to me–the ability to recover my will, motivation and determination to do things that I fell behind on. I’ve been simplifying and down-sizing this summer, so I can handle my ‘new normal’. And some of the ‘old me’ is starting to come back again to enable the ‘new me’. A slow process.

I write all this to encourage you that there is still more healing to come, and I believe it will come for you too. Just keep on taking good care of yourself, and be patient with the time-frame of your own healing process. I guess the healing process of GBS could be compared to mountain-climbing. A grim struggle to reach each goal, then it seems like we’re not progressing, but actually we are until we reach another level, and in time another one. And as time goes by, we can look back and chart the progress of our journey.
So there’s hope; and I thank God for programming the human body with its tremendous capacity to survive and recover from illness and damage, and to heal.

All the best on your vacation, and when you’re resting on the beach in the sun, watch out for sunburn. 🙂