quick recovery from GBS (a little long)
AnonymousJune 21, 2006 at 6:06 pm
Hi, I’m new to the forum, and this is my first post. Maybe my story will be of help to somebody here. At age 31, I was diagnosed with GBS on the day after Labor Day in 2004. I had never been in the hospital and was rarely sick at all, and usually worked 50+ hrs/week in my job as an aircraft mechanic with few health problems.
In the previous few weeks, I had been feeling very tired and had no appetite, and the developed a nagging sore throat. After finally going to a clinic (I didn’t have a doctor) the Thursday before Labor Day, I was told I had severe tonsilitis and was given antibiotics. That evening, I noticed a tingling in both my feet and dismissed it. Friday, I went to work, and was sent home early at lunch, because I “looked sick”. The tingling in my feet moved upward and became worse, and by Saturday morning I couldn’t stand. My worried parents loaded me into the car (I’m 6’1″ & 205 lb) and took me to the ER. I tested positive for mononucleosis, but they were at a loss as to why I couldn’t walk, saying it was probably a side effect of the antibiotics. I was sent home, with sweating, severe cramping, and increasing muscular discomfort and the only thing I could hold down was a little water. No doctors were open for the long weekend, and the ER seemed clueless, so we waited until Tuesday and just prayed.
To make a long story short, it was my sister who searched the web over the weekend and made the connection between the sore throat, mononucleosis, and GBS, which we’d never heard of. A neurologist confirmed it as GBS on Tuesday, and I was in the ICU 2 hours later. IVIG was started that night, for 4 straight nights. The paralysis continued up to my mouth within the next 2 or 3 days, and began to steadily recede. I could not eat or sleep at all until Sat. (7 straight days), and went from 205 to 172 lbs. in that time. At this time, I also had the severe tonsilitis, a bulging disc in my back (from trying to pull myself up while paralyzed), an inflamed gall bladder, and possibly Lyme disease. Having played HS football and worked in a steel plant, I thought I had a high pain threshold, but this pain was very intense and continuous. I compare it to a bad foot cramp, but in every muscle from the lower back down. Lots of morphine, demerol, you name it, I had it. Thankfully, my breathing was not affected at all, and the Lyme disease test came back negative.
After 2 weeks in ICU, I was transferred to Spain Rehab Center at UAB for 2 weeks of inpatient therapy, and then home, where I had 3 more IVIG treatments. By Thanksgiving, outpatient therapy was over and my doctors had cleared me for return to work (light duty only), but my employer had me wait until December 22. The only residual effect of the GBS is moderate numbness in the bottom of both feet, from the ball forward.
I believe the keys to my quick recovery were the experience of my neurologist (immediate IVIG) and therapists, my family, and my faith. I consider myself very fortunate to have come through as I have, and I know that anyone going through GBS can feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Don’t give up, the recovery is as much in the mind as it is in the body. Just be willing to push yourself a little more every day, and ALWAYS be optimistic. I am glad that this forum exists for people going through this now. Even with my family around, at times I felt somewhat isolated and alone during the course of my illness. If I can help in any way, just contact me via email. Thanks, and God bless.
AnonymousJune 22, 2006 at 5:34 pm
That is so awesome to hear. I was treated quickly with plasmapheresis, and I am feeling a bit better every week. I am also back to work Part time (I was in hosp. in February.) I believe the quick treatment and physical therapy has done wonders. It’s always good to hear a happy story!!!
AnonymousJune 22, 2006 at 11:10 pm
Cara922, it’s good to get out of the house for a change, isn’t it? I know that when I first went back to work, I had very little stamina and needed lots of rest. Just be patient and don’t overexert yourself, the strength and stamina may take a few months to return. After a year and a half, I still don’t quite have the strength or flexibility that I used to, but it’s probably more due to me being too lazy to stretch and exercise like I should. You sound like you’re doing OK to have been out the hospital since February. Hope the recovery goes quickly for you.
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