On the 9th of February this year, my incredible mother was admitted to Salisbury Hospital having begun to lose sensation in her feet. Later that day she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).
It is a terrifying condition, involving progressive paralysis of the body until treatment hopefully prevents further deterioration and the patient begins to steadily regain movement and feeling (see below to read more).
After being moved to Southampton Hospital's specialist Neuro ward, Mum began to receive treatment. It was successful and the paralysis plateaued before it was able to reach her chest and respiratory system. She spent just under two weeks there before returning to Salisbury Hospital to continue her recovery.
At first her recovery was focused on rest, allowing her immune system to recover, anyone who knows my mother will realise this was the toughest time for her as she hates to sit still! Soon, with the incredible support of medical staff at the hospital, she was able to start physio. Mum threw herself into every challenge she faced from improving her dexterity to her first steps, every time I visited she couldn't wait to show me what she could now do. Her attitude was incredible to see and has been and fantastic inspiration for me, not just for this marathon.
After just under 2 months in Salisbury Mum moved to a carehome in Bramshott for 2 weeks before finally getting back home, 3 months after leaving. At home she kept on breaking down the barriers facing her, constantly pushing herself to get better and not settling one bit. She's now cycling to the shops on her own!!
On the 6th of October it is Mum's birthday and we are all going up to Scotland to celebrate this, along with her incredible recovery from GBS and me successfully completing the Loch Ness marathon that day. She still a way to go in her recovery before she's back doing park runs but there is no doubt she'll get there soon. Anyone who knows my mother, knows she is incredibly determined in everything she does and brave beyond belief, the past months have shown that to be more than true.
Mum and I chose GAIN as the charity to support as due to the rarity of the disease there is relatively little out there in the way of understanding and support. Our hope is that through this tough time for Mum and the family we might be able to bring some good out of it.
More about GBS: Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare autoimmune condition affecting the peripheral nervous system, usually leading to temporary or long-term paralysis. Around 80% of those with GBS will make a good recovery, but between 5-10% of people will not survive and the other 10-15% may be left with severe mobility or dexterity issues. GAIN helps people understand and manage both acute and chronic variants of the syndrome, raises awareness, and promotes clinical and non-clinical research into these conditions. For more info visit www.gaincharity.org.uk