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Posted on 27. September 2012

The Journey of a Single Step

By Andrea Davis

The last time I did something for the first time, I ended one journey and began another.

I have been blessed to have Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) since December 2011. For much of the first month when I became ill, I was at home, bedridden (except to use the bathroom) and largely unaware of what was happening. At first, we thought my symptoms were residual weakness from a severe bout of the flu I had a couple of weeks prior. Eventually, we realized it was something more serious. My physical therapist (who I had been seeing for back problems) mentioned the possibility of GBS.

On March 19, 2012, I had my long-awaited consultation with a neurologist who confirmed that it was, in fact, GBS. It was a relief to finally have an official diagnosis. By this time, I had recovered enough to be able to dress myself, go to the bathroom on my own and do many of the little things I once was unable to do. However, there was one really big monkey on my back, or should I say, under me. I still had to use a wheelchair to get around.

This wheelchair gave me a lot of freedom. I could roll into the kitchen to make a sandwich, to the living room to watch TV or even into the bathroom to take a shower (accomplished by sitting on the edge of the tub). And with the assistance of my unbelievable husband, I was able to go grocery shopping again and even return to church.

But as much as I treasured my wheelchair and spending time with my husband, I had this overriding sense of wanting to finish regaining my independence by learning to walk again. My neurologist referred me to a local rehabilitation provider with extensive experience in dealing with neurological issues. I was placed a therapist who is the manager of one of the provider’s outpatient clinic locations. This therapist is a board-certified orthopedic specialist who refers to back and neck issues as “his world.” With my history of back problems, this couldn’t have been a better fit.

From the beginning, our goal was to stretch and lengthen the leg muscles that had been unused for several months. We hoped to progress to the point that I would be able to stand and support my own weight and, then, hopefully walk again. On May 3, 2012, I made my way across the therapy room to the parallel bars, intending only to work on standing and sitting. With assistance, I was able to stand quite easily, and I thought: “Oh, what the heck, let’s see if I can make my foot move.” Once that happened, all bets were off. I was able to make it to the end of the bars, sit for a couple of minutes, and then get up and walk back to my wheelchair. Since then, I have progressed to walking 100 feet, then 200. I can even walk 60 feet without stopping.

It has been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For me, that first tentative step represented the end of my journey of wondering whether I would ever be able to walk again. It also started a new journey — one of greater hope, independence and a firm belief that I will actually be able to park my wheelchair for good.

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Comments (4) -

Linda Thornrose
5:10 PM on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Awesome!  Praise the Lord for your determination and success.  Such an inspirational story.  Thanks so much for sharing.  

kelli
5:29 PM on Monday, October 01, 2012

What a beautiful story of strength and tenacity!  I am so happy for you and reading your story on a bad day (for me) was a blessing to me.  Thank you!

Block paving hornchurch
12:43 PM on Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Truly beautiful and inspirational story, thanks so much for sharing x
Regards
Colin

Desperate
10:53 AM on Friday, October 12, 2012

I am so proud of you.  Your story  gives hope to many with GBS!  Thank you for sharing your journey.

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IG Living Blog | Celebrating New Opportunities
IMMUNE  GLOBULIN  COMMUNITY
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Dedicated to bringing comprehensive healthcare information, immune globulin information, community lifestyle and reimbursement news.

Posted on 2. February 2012

Celebrating New Opportunities

By Kris McFalls

It has been nearly seven years since I began my position with IG Living’s founder and publisher, FFF Enterprises. And, I remember feeling then what I still feel now: It was a wonderful opportunity full of challenge and promise. Not only have I had the chance to work for a company like FFF Enterprises, which has integrity and a patient-first philosophy I have long admired, I have had the chance to connect with all of you - patients within the immune globulin (IG) community - through IG Living magazine. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as a writer for IG Living, as well as a patient advocate for many of you. I take pride in the amazing work that has been done to serve the IG community. That is why it is with mixed emotions that I am announcing I have once again been blessed with a wonderful new opportunity. I have accepted the position of manager of reimbursement with CSL Behring, and this will be my last blog as a member of the IG Living staff.

The funny thing about opportunities is that sometimes when you least expect them, they find you. And I assure all of you that is the case for me. My colleagues here at IG Living celebrate with me as I embark on this new journey, and while I won’t be as visible, I will still be very much involved with this community. I can tell you, without a doubt, that the work is far from done, and I will always be a part of it in some way.

Winston Churchill was quoted as saying: “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” I believe at IG Living we have made postive changes in the right direction, always with an eye toward our mission to support the IG community through education, communication and advocacy. For instance, our social media outreach has allowed readers from all over the globe to connect with one another. Many of our articles are now being written by experts in the fields of immunology, rheumatology and neurology. And, in 2011, we launched the first of what we plan to be an annual writing contest through which several of our readers shared the intimate details of their personal battles with chronic illness.

I have enjoyed reading your letters, emails, Facebook comments, as well as comments submitted with your subscription requests. And I can promise you that I have personally read every single one of them, as have many others on our IG Living staff. We take the responsibility to be good stewards of the rare disease community very seriously. Therefore, positive, forward change will continue to happen at IG Living, and you can be part of it. I encourage all of you to keep telling your story, continue to comment on the articles, and continue to make suggestions for new articles. Your needs can only be met if you let them be known!

I would like to thank my sons, Konner and Keegan, for allowing me to make their lives so public. It is only through sharing our trials that others can understand them. And I am grateful they allowed me to share some of our experiences with you. Additionally, I would like to thank the IG Living staff for their wonderful support and for making me look like a bona fide writer. Many on our staff go unrecognized and unnoticed, but I can promise you, they all care as much as I do. I must give a special thanks to Patrick Schmidt, FFF’s CEO, who has had the vision, caring and determination to invest in this community and to back a publication that is patient-focused.  Thanks also go out to the IG Living advertisers who continue to believe in and support this publication and our community.  Without this support, IG Living would not be able to continue. Last, I would like to thank all of you, our readers, for allowing me the honor of being a small part of your lives. I encourage you to celebrate your opportunities, rise to your challenges and embrace them all with passion. Know that, as I step into my new professional role, my personal role as part of this wonderful community and as a Facebook fan and avid IG Living reader will continue.

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Categories: Life With IG

Comments (11) -

Shauna
5:50 PM on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thank you so much Kris for educating me about the challenges faced by those in the IG community.  My mind has been enlightened, my sensitivity expanded, and my heart touched.  I wish you the best of luck in the new position.  I'm sure you will be amazing, just as you always have been!!  

Janet Kaye
5:52 PM on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Kris, Congratulations!  I'm so pleased for your new opportunity and wish you the very best and much success.  I want to go on record, publicly, to thank you for your wonderful patient advocacy.  You are the reason I got treatment two years after diagnosis.  It was your persistence in checking on me that gave me the support to do the research and find the providers who could help me (since the doctor I had was not helpful).  I am more grateful than can be imagined.  You will be remembered always as the best of the best.  I look forward to seeing you in our community.  Who knows our paths may yet cross again.  If there's anything I can ever do to be of assistance to you, please let me know.  Again, best wishes.  You will be missed at IG Living, I know.

Carol Miletti
6:06 PM on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Good luck to you Kris, I wish you the best.
CSL is a great company.
It is a great opportunity- and you are correct, you just never know when it will come knocking.
Carol

Carrie Lyons
6:06 PM on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thanks for the great articles, Kris! You will be missed.

Jeanette
6:38 PM on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Kris,
You have done an outstanding job educating the IG Living community with great passion, thank you. I know you will go on into your next oppurtunity with the same greatness! Go for it!!
Jeanette

Megan
8:50 PM on Thursday, February 02, 2012

Kris, With something that is a part of your very being you haveshared your passion for giving others a glismpe into your life and the lives of so many others. You have done a wonderful job.Now you are on to new adventures. May you continue to touch and help others.
Thanks for your inspiration Kris.
Megan

Betty
11:08 AM on Friday, February 03, 2012

Best ofluck as you continue in your life's work. Thanks for all the help over the past few years

Joanna Tierno
1:29 PM on Friday, February 03, 2012

Kris,
Congratulations on your new job!  You will be deeply missed by all your readers, but I have a feeling you will continue to help patients just in a different way.  Thank you for all your wonderful blogs & for the advocacy work you've done.  You've been a real comfort to patients like me.  

Ellen
3:10 PM on Saturday, February 04, 2012

Thank you so much for all that you done.  I want to wish the best of luck. The IG community has been lucky to have you as an advocate.

Regards,
Ellen Macozek

Susangb
4:29 AM on Friday, February 10, 2012

kris thank you so much for everything, we are going to miss you

Robert Brandt
3:08 PM on Friday, February 10, 2012

Kris-
As we say in Texas, "good on you." Your encouragement meant a lot. Best wishes as you head in a new direction

blessings
Robert Brandt

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