Life After Guillain-Barré Syndrome
By Corey | @life_after_gbs | April 16, 2019
A life with chronic illness. How do I even begin to describe it? 2015 was the year that changed my entire life. I was 25 years old, healthy, seemingly I had no care in the world and suddenly everything changed.
This disease is almost too unbelievable to actually be true. After a long, intense fight with a never-ending flu I woke up early one morning completely paralyzed from the neck down. Within three or four days I met with a handful of ER doctors who told me they would not feed my "addiction" (I am not, nor have I ever been an addict) and they informed me I needed to see a mental health professional to help me through whatever personal struggle I had going on.
I was slowly dying and these people were telling me that a quick trip to the psych ward would resolve everything. I thank God for my former care doctor, he made the phone call to a hospital better equipped to handle my situation. One day later at Maine Medical a team of angels saved me.
The hospital became my home for about 40 days and I would later move on to a rehabilitation hospital for 5 months. I didn't realize it at the time but my diagnosis was lifelong and in order to keep living I would have fight against my toughest opponent: my own body.
GBS gifted me a never ending list of health issues. So far it's taken my immune system and continues to try and ruin my central nervous system. GBS turned into CIDP which I must admit was a total game-changer. However, a handy little port has been put into my chest, which allows me to receive immune system antibodies and blood plasma on a weekly basis. I suffered from some severe nerve damage, a touch of hearing loss in my left ear, and some odd issues with my vision ( I later learned Sjogren's was to blame). During the battle I lost my gallbladder and probably the most physically and emotionally damaging, I lost the ability to ever have my own children.
I went through the grieving process and mourned the loss of my former self. It took a lot of time and reflection but I made it out on the other side and I can honestly say that I have such a new, deep appreciation for life and all that it has to offer. Sure things are incredibly different now but I feel lucky. I'm lucky to be alive.
Hidden deeply in this terrible disease was a small blessing that I have come to cherish. My diagnosis has given me the chance to meet and interact with the amazing people within the chronic illness community. I do my best every day to advocate as much as I can and I always try to those in need.
Prior to my illness I had no idea who I really was or what I was meant to do in this life. Believe it or not my diagnosis brought out the best in me and I now understand what I'm meant to do. I'm meant to help others, that's what makes me feel good. Now more than ever I believe that this has been the plan for me all along and honestly? I've never been happier.
(If you are ever in need of a listening ear or just some support, never hesitate to reach out to me. Seriously. I'm always around.)
Bio: Corey is a 30 year old woman living in New Hampshire. She laughs her way through life while dealing with Guillain-Barre Syndrome & CIDP. She enjoys writing, stand up comedy, listening to Dave Matthews on repeat, and catching the occasional nap. Track her down on Instagram or check out her blog.