My Story

Submitted by: Deborah Kulmer

Alleen's Success Story

In early January 2010 I went to the emergency room due to numbness and tingling in my extremities. Paralysis set in overnight, and after multiple tests I was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is rare and has an incidence of 1 or 2 people per 100,000. It is frequently severe and usually exhibits as an ascending paralysis noted by weakness in the legs that spreads to the upper limbs and the face along with complete loss of deep tendon reflexes. Within days I was completely paralyzed and remained that way for several months.
I was hospitalized for four months then moved to an assisted living facility. While in the hospital, I was gradually able to move my limbs a little bit, but had no strength due to significant atrophy of my muscles. My daily routine included the use of a Hoyer lift to move me from my bed to a wheelchair to attend physical therapy. Therapy focused on moving my limbs plus learning to do daily activities like sitting up in bed, brushing my teeth and buttoning clothing.
In April 2010 I was still wheelchair bound, but able to walk an amazing 10 feet with a walker!!! Soon I was using the walker to go 50 then 100 feet. I regained control of bowels and bladder as well. I soon moved to an assisted living facility for a couple of months and continued physical therapy. Most of my time was spent in a wheelchair but I was able to walk 1/2 mile with a walker. By the time I left I was able to walk a mile with a cane, but still had very little muscular strength and very poor balance.
I was able to return home on May 20th 2010. I was walking unsteadily without a cane and still extremely weak. If I fell, I was not able to get myself up, nor could I climb stairs or drive a car. I had come a long way physically, but still had much further to go. Through a mutual friend I was put in touch with Debbie, and she designed a training program taking into account where I was and where I wanted to go. (She actually took me much further than that). After a few months training with Debbie, I had a follow-up appointment with my neurologist. He saw a different person standing before him, and was in awe at the spreadsheet Debbie prepared listing my physical accomplishments and capabilities. He said I got my life back, and he was right!!!