Day 13- The Faces of Guillain Barre: Rachael's Story

Friday, May 13, 2016 0 Comments
I've been keeping this quiet because I decided not to feed the doubters with anymore reason to tell me yet again that I can't achieve my dreams however I also wanted to keep this a surprise for those who believe in me. I know a lot of people currently going through difficult times so I try not to talk about too much of my journey because mine is no more important than anyone else's. 

If I share something it's to try and help others or it's because I just feel like it. When you're a premmie and grow up with CP only to have to start from scratch again due to GBS, you learn pretty quickly that you really have to create your own trail and it's a path that won't be straightforward no matter how hard you try. A lot of it is out of your control because just when life is going pretty well, it throws a massive curveball that obliterates that path. 

This time two years ago I was still in hospital unable to hardly do anything for myself and was not even 6 months into this journey. GBS took away every bit of independence I had courtesy of years of surgeries and therapy due to CP and despite continued efforts my GBS recovery is taking longer than the apparent norm. Literally one year ago I started training with a coach and at that time I could barely make it to the other end of the pool but I've just begun racing!

Following discharge from hospital I spent many months relearning how to move my body in the water. I still actually feel rather unconnected and uncoordinated. I've always loved being in the water because it's provided me with pain relief and physiotherapy as well as teaching kids how to swim (unfortunately unable to return to work currently due to GBS). 

I've just been to my first nationals which was also the trials for the paralympics. I know I'm quite old for a rookie but if you understood just some of what I've been through lately, only then would you realise just how tough life has been and why I'm so proud of myself. My focus was to swim a good heat to try and make the final. Well, I certainly exceeded my expectations considering I only train a few days a week! I bawled my eyes out because I'M OFF TO THE 2016 RIO PARALYMPICS (pending international classification in Berlin in June) so I'll find out in 10 weeks! 

The classification is primarily based off the GBS. I was nationally classified as an S4 over a year ago. Apologies if I've forgotten anyone but huge thanks to everyone involved especially my parents, coach and club, my physio, exercise physiologists at Making Strides and staff at Swimming Australia. Congratulations to everyone who has already qualified also. Woah, I don't think any of this will sink in until I'm actually on the plane! Lots of logistics to sort out and some sleep to catch up on. I can't wait to see my puppy!

This is a link to a video she put together about her GBS journey.