Guillain-Barre, prononounced: /GEE-yan BAH-rei. “It’s a syndrome, not a disease. It’s curable,” explains Meghan Lung Lim, 15 years old. She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome earlier this year.
Meghan was at home recovering from a cold when she first experienced a numbing sensation in her legs. She began walking funny and the numbing started to travel up her body towards her hands. Her fingers felt weak and then she had trouble using her computer. Meghan’s mom, Margie, called the doctor who thought it might be dehydration.
When Meghan awoke the next morning, she couldn’t move at all and was rushed to the emergency room. Luckily, the ER physician immediately recognized her symptoms as Guillain-Barre; a disorder where the body’s immune system attacks itself. The paralysis usually starts on both sides of the body in the legs then works its way up to the arms, giving people the feeling of “rubbery legs.” After a brief stint at the acute hospital, Meghan was referred to REHAB. Her neurologist told her that she would get better, but it would take time - at least six months to a year.
She was admitted to REHAB in a wheelchair, barely able to move her muscles to give even a handshake. Meghan began to see improvement every day she was at REHAB. The therapists found ways to make therapy fun whether it was playing the Nintendo Wii or taking Meghan out to the mall as a form of recreational therapy. The staff did everything they could to get Meghan ready to get back to her “normal” life as a teenager. And after just two weeks she was out of her wheelchair and walking with only the minimal assistance of crutches.
Her recovery was nothing short of miraculous. She stunned everyone at how quickly she bounced back, especially her doctors. This fall, Meghan started her sophmore year of high school. “Be thankful for everything that you have. It’s the little things that make a big difference.” She is one of the few people at her age who really grasps exactly what that means.
Meghan’s first big goal was to reenter high school. Next on her list: walk in high heels and run again. Because of the syndrome, her ankles still don’t allow her to lift her heels properly. But Meghan is hopeful, back at home and still coming to outpatient therapy. Just taking it one day at a time…