Topeka woman fights Guillain-Barre Syndrome

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Imagine a tingling sensation, abruptly travelling up your body, leaving you weak and in some cases paralyzed.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. According to the Mayo Clinic, it affects less than 20 thousand people in the U.S. every year.  Lynn Wells of Topeka is one of them.  She suddenly went from living a normal life – to being completely paralyzed.

“Life as I know it just stopped. The only thing that I could move was my eyes,” explains Lynn Wells.

“Our patient sustained acute neurological pain when she developed an onset of weakness affected both her upper extremities and lower extremities, after a medical illness to the extent that she wasn’t able to move or care for herself,” said Dr. Jay Jani, the Brain Injury Program Director at the Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital.

Lynn was life flighted to Wichita, staying in the hospital for 3 months.

Lynn said the doctors had told her three children their mom may not get better.

“This may be as good as she gets. When I was laying there I thought, no, you don’t know that I am not going to get wonderfully better.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no known cure for Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but treatment can ease symptoms, reduce the duration of the illness, and most people can recover. After returning to Topeka, the Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital gave Lynn hope.

“We did a lot of functional activities from standing to sitting, walking and stretching her muscles, because they were really tight.  Once we got the range of motion the strengthening aspect,” said Alex Edger, a senior physical therapist at Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital.

“I walked in between the parallel bars. I would get on a bicycle, (but) in the wheelchair still. My knees (and) my legs would just be more powerful. I got more strength in them. But I could feel getting more powerful in my arms and everywhere, every day,” said Lynn.

In a matter of months, Lynn’s quality of life slowly started to bounce back.

“When she left, she was able to feed herself, able to walk, able to transfer with minimal assist. She really made quite a recovery while at Kansas Rehab,” said Edger.

“You can do anything you want, just work at it. I feel very positive and the rest of my life is going to be great.  It’s going to be wonderful. I am going to come through this.” said Lynn.

Proving even in the toughest of times, with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Links to more information:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/guillain-barre-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20362793

https://www.stormontvail.org/kansas-rehabilitation-hospital

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