The Faces of Guillain Barre 2017: Day 3- Samantha

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 0 Comments

The pins and needles started in my feet on Friday, February 4th, 2017. It grew stronger and my legs began to get weaker so I went to a doctor that Tuesday and he thought it might be my thyroid and ordered blood work but didn't do a neurological exam. By Wednesday afternoon I could barely get out of bed and breathing was becoming difficult so I called a friend to take me to the ER. 

3 Weeks before GBS

I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome on February 11th, 2017 after three days in the hospital where my condition continued to deteriorate. I could barely move my legs, could not sit up or move my body without assistance, the pins and needles were in my hands and my feet were numb. My breathing test results were so poor that the resident wanted to transfer me to ICU and discuss a ventilator but I fought like hell and promised that I would go if I dropped one more point. I was determined to stay off the ventilator. My breathing began to improve over the next couple of days.

After my last IVIG treatment, bells palsy set in. I could handle the paralysis in my body but as a former beauty queen, the bells palsy in my face was my biggest struggle mentally. I quickly learned that all I could do was joke and laugh about how ridiculous my face looked and the shape I was in.

 I was transferred to another hospital to spend a week and a half in intensive therapy to learn how to walk again. I was released on February 24th with a walker. I celebrated my 31st birthday the next week, March 1st and that was the only day that I cried. Paralysis and severe constipation had not been on my birthday wish list.

On March 4th my walker and I headed to Cuba to chaperone a college mission trip that had been planned for months. It was incredibly challenging but even more rewarding. I don't think I would be as far along in my recovery process if I hadn't gone to Cuba. 

Smiling while in Cuba

I plan on writing a book about my experience to raise more concern about GBS and inspire others not to let challenges stop you from living your life. It has been a little over a month since I got out of the hospital and my bells palsy is almost gone. I can walk (slowly) without any assistance, though I'm still a bit wobbly at times. The pins and needles are still strong in my hands and feet but I'm so thankful to be breathing easy and having regular bowel movements again. 

I appreciate you doing this! When I was combing the internet for more information about GBS it was hard not to get discouraged when I read other people's stories because so many of them were still struggling with it. I'd like to be a positive story to let people know that you will get better, it just takes time and a good attitude.

Warm Regards,
Samantha Holvey
Instagram: Sa1v1