columbus dispatch – 6/12/06 – Betty Montgomery

    • Anonymous
      June 12, 2006 at 7:46 am

      Auditor avoids ailment’s worst consequences
      Monday, June 12, 2006
      Misti Crane
      Ronald Fehring has limited mobility because of a rare nerve disorder closely related to Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
      Betty Montgomery is recovering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

      Ronald Fehring remembers carrying a 100-pound bag of flour the length of a football field. Now, a milk carton is a challenge. He used to plant flowers without a second thought. The impatiens now in front of his Pleasant Township house took him 2 1 /2 hours.

      Leekay Bennett has relied on a wheelchair for 27 years and sometimes finds himself short of breath. Bennett, of Delaware, had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, the same disorder that recently befell Betty Montgomery, state auditor and candidate for attorney general.

      Fehring, 72, has a closely related nerve disorder, called CIDP, for chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

      Both are rare and debilitating, at least temporarily. CIDP comes on slowly and lingers. Fehring first noticed tingling sensations. One day, when he was 50, he got out of bed and fell on the floor. In 1995, he had a relapse. He takes steroids and every three weeks undergoes intravenous therapy to boost his immune system.

      In contrast to CIPD, Guillain-Barre (ghee-YAN bah-RAY) comes on like a flash and the worst of it usually passes for good, although recovery time can vary widely.

      The cause is unknown, but the immune system appears to attack the nervous system. Many cases follow an infection. Montgomery had suffered a respiratory illness.

      “It’s just different for everybody,” said Barbara Katzman, associate director of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Foundation in Pennsylvania. “It takes a toll. It takes time, but most people recover from it.”

      Some people have almost no lasting problems. Others have paralysis, lingering fatigue and pain, and breathing problems.

      “What I’ve learned is the range of debilitation is remarkable and I have been very blessed,” Montgomery said Friday. “I’m up and walking and I’m out of the hospital after three weeks.

      “I have some pain; nothing that’s not manageable.”

      Montgomery said she’s trying to rest more to build her stamina and is working from home. She said she plans to return to the office soon, perhaps this week.

      On Friday, she saw her doctors and “I danced for them. I just do that to tease them.”

      When Guillain-Barre hit, it started with tingling in her fingers and toes. By the next day, her legs felt like noodles and she went to the hospital. Paralysis came on fast, and she needed a ventilator to help her breathe. Even when she was awake, listening to family and friends talk by her bedside, she could not open her eyes.

      “When this thing hits you, it hits you like a freight train.”

      She knows her recovery was fast. Paralysis faded after a week, and she was walking within two. She credits treatment to replace her plasma and good doctors and rehabilitation staff at Ohio State University Medical Center.

      Now, she undergoes physical therapy a couple of hours each week, principally for strength training.

      “Just because I’ve had a great recovery doesn’t mean everybody does,” said Montgomery, who has received letters from others about their experience with the syndrome.

      “It’s really sobering.”

      Bennett, the Delaware woman who had Guillain-Barre, spent months in the hospital followed by months in a nursing home.

      She worked hard to regain movement and strength.

      “I wanted to hold my kids,” said Bennett, who is 66 and paralyzed from the waist down.

      “I say more power to her,” she said of Montgomery. “Her feet, her body is not what we’re voting for. It’s her brain, and for some reason or another that ain’t a muscle and GB doesn’t care for it.”

      For more information on Guillain-Barre and CIDP, visit [url][/url]


    • Anonymous
      June 12, 2006 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks for posting that article, Kerbear. Interesting, but obviously only part of the story. I hope BM logs on to this site and reads your thread, it is more then sobering! Hugs to you and Kerri.

    • Anonymous
      June 12, 2006 at 11:58 pm

      I will be forever greatful to this article ; I’ve been post GBS since 1983 and had only heard of 4 others like me…. I’m was glad to hear of a website and a place to chat where I wasn’t called lazy !!! LOL Fatigue can be you know what……

    • Anonymous
      June 13, 2006 at 12:43 am

      Welcome Anita and glad you found us. We are one big happy dysfunctional family around here 🙂

      Take care,


    • Anonymous
      June 13, 2006 at 2:03 pm

      I also hope Ms. Montgomery will be part of our site. Anita, I am from Ohio so if you need someone to talk to send me a private message or an e-mail. I will be there for you:) We all need friends.

      take care
      sherry aka: stormy

    • Anonymous
      June 13, 2006 at 6:34 pm

      I too am from Ohio. I wonder if Ms. Montgomery’s swift diagnosis may have given her a quicker than usual recovery? Hearing of a recovery this quickly makes me wonder what the public will think of those who have yet to recover after months or years of being diagnosed? Does the publicity help or hurt those of us with residuals?

    • Anonymous
      June 14, 2006 at 7:47 am

      I think it did both, but only because of the little that people know about the illness it brought it to someones attention. I see it being more positive then negative It will help byt getting the name Guillain Barre Syndrome out into the publice and make the professionals more aware that it is not the first illness that they test for. They still find it by process of elimination. The fact that May was GBS Awareness Month I think the article did just that. The fact that someone that was in a public postion and how it effected her life gets the name into more households because of the human interest story.

      The fact that Betty did not hit bottom as hard as some of us. Also, just as a precaution, the fact that she was only, from what I read, put on assisted breathing will show that she had a milder case of GBS which is not the case of many others.

      In articles that I have read about Andy Griffith it took him 3 years to return to working in Hollywood. Locally we had a dentist that had to give up his practice and went into teaching the dental students. My friend’s Son only had GBS from the waist down. Another local girl got it the day before her wedding and was married in her hospital gown and that video was played at her wedding with the guests, groom and wedding attendants all there to celebrate their wedding. Reservations for everything could not be canceled and with the guests coming from all over the country they thought it was best. Two weeks later the Bride walked out of the hospital. She had a little church wedding and reception so she could wear her wedding dress! So the more cases you hear about will do only good to show this disorder is different for every person. Locally there has been several cases where complications from other things also made their recovery slower. Not to mention the families that have lost members to cases that were fatal.

      Being aware of GBS will help and maybe pick up some perks for more research. I don’t see it hurting those of us with residuals. We just have to talk about them to make sure that people hear about the severe cases and the possible variants of GBS like Miller Fisher and also CIDP which is the cronic form.

      I am going to think possitive on this publicity. She is not out of the woods yet and she has just begun to fell the fatigue. Wait till she finds she is not able to live life as she did before, that the residuals will be always there to remind her she had GBS.