Guillain-Barr syndrome - Symptoms

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What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.

Return to Guillain-Barre Syndrome

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Comment from: Jane Doe, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I had a terrible flu that I caught from my husband. It took me about two weeks to get better. I had one day of feeling normal. The next day I woke up and there was a feeling of pins and needles in my finger tips and the tops of my feet. It spread up my fingers and feet during the day and I noticed it was harder to climb the stairs. I was very tired. I knew about Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) and googled the symptoms and disease. It scared me as I had all the symptoms. By the end of the day I was having trouble standing up. I called Accident and Emergency and was told it was probably flu residuals. I went to bed. The next day, I woke up and could not stand up or move my legs. I went to the hospital in an ambulance. I got really lucky and the first doctor to treat me diagnosed me with GBS. I found out later they had 3 other cases of GBS currently in the hospital. They started me on IVIG right away. It progressed up my arms and legs until I was fully paralyzed. I could not urinate or defecate. A catheter was inserted, and was not removed for about a 3.5 weeks. It hit my breathing and my autonomic nervous system. I had to be put on a ventilator. My blood pressure sky rocketed, and my heart began to fail. I experienced extreme hallucinations when I closed my eyes. My feet and lower legs felt like they were in a vice. After about 5 days of pure agony, I began to be able to move my feet again and my right arm. Slowly, movement came back. I was taken off the ventilator after 9 days on it. I was sent down to a ward, where strength slowly returned to my arms, hand, and legs. Eventually I was able to move myself around the bed with my arms, I could text on my cell phone. Then I got a urinary tract infection from the catheter. It was removed, and I was put on IV antibiotics. Either I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics or my GBS flared up again, but my hands got weaker again. After a few horrifying days in which they thought my GBS was returning, it reversed again. I was eventually discharged to physiotherapy two days after I did my first wobbly tottering stroll with a Zimmer frame around the ward. In physiotherapy, I was able to walk with a cane, climb stairs, stand up from a chair, and on my last day there I walked 3 unassisted steps. On the three month anniversary of my GBS, I saw my neurologist. My reflexes have fully returned. I can walk normally, do squats, jump, and run. There is still some numbness in my ankles and shins, and intermittent numbness in my skin. I also fatigue easily.

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