This month is an important one to me, as I always try to bring awareness to the disease that nearly took my life 6 years ago after the birth of my daughter. Guillain Barre syndrome is a rare disease that affects about 1 out of every 100,000 people. When I was diagnosed with GBS, many of the doctors and nurses I had had never seen a case of GBS before.
So what is GBS? It is an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system attacks your nervous system, quickly paralyzing you (usually from the limbs inward). About 30% of patients will require mechanical ventilation to help them breathe (myself included) and majority of patients will need physiotherapy to teach them how to do day to day tasks again. About 5% die from complications. GBS is an acute illness, meaning that once the acute phase is over, you start to recover, but this can take months to years. Some patients don’t ever fully recover and are left using walkers or wheelchairs. So why is this month important? Because rare diseases like GBS and CIDP just don’t get the same amount of media coverage or fundraising that other diseases, like Cancer, get. It may be rare, but people still need resources and support, and there’s not much out there when a disease is rare. Also, early detection is key and getting treatment started can make all the difference in the world. It’s important to listen to your body and go to a doctor if something doesn’t feel right. I went in with a tingly finger and weak legs and was told I had a pinched nerve…72 hours later I was paralyzed in ICU where I spent three months. I was completely healthy before this, and was just 26 years old.
I’m grateful to have recovered completely but not everyone is that fortunate. In honor of GBS awareness month I ask that you please watch my video and see what GBS does to a person. And SHARE it for further GBS awareness!!! If my story inspires you to live your life to the fullest, or motivates you to donate to the GBS foundation, or helps someone else with GBS not feel so alone, then it makes what I went through all worth it.