My journey with the Guillian-Barre Syndrome

Hi there,

As you may have noticed, I have not written anything in a very long time. Some of you might know, that I got a serious disease of the nervous system while traveling. I had to be flown back to Germany after a few weeks at the hospital and am still struggling with some effects.

But how did it all start: I had some major back pain and went to the doctors but they couldn’t find anything and assumed it was just some muscle problem because of all the hiking.

I went back three days afterwards because my toes and my fingers were numb all the time, but no real diagnosis until then. A week, a numb tongue and more back pain later, I was back at the hospital, where the doctors suspected a neurological problem, and I stayed for two nights at the hospital. After a lot of tests I got the diagnosis of Guillian-Barre-Syndrome. At that point I only had sensational problems, so they released me from the hospital with the order to stay in Santiago de Chile for the next few weeks. I was eager to continue my trip and not loose time staying in Santiago but I was smart for once and stayed at a friend’s house (best spontaneous host family ever!) for a few weeks, during which, the symptoms got worse until I wasn’t able to get up without any help.

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I went back to the hospital, got treated for the next two weeks and waited for the flight that would take me back home to Germany. I had decided on going back to Germany just a week before being back at the hospital and had booked a flight but all the sudden the symptoms got so much worse that the doctors kept me at the hospital after a spontaneous examination. I was very unhappy because all I wanted at that point was going back to Germany to get treatment done there. It wasn’t because I didn’t feel in good hands in Chile, as the hospital was one of the best I had ever seen from the inside (not that I had been in one before ;-) ) but because I had already finished with my trip mentally and wanted to be back home with my family.

As mentioned before, the treatment at the hospital was excellent, not as many might think, South America is no good with medicine. Most of the doctors were trained abroad at some point, the installments were very good, I got physiotherapy twice a day for one hour, and the food was excellent. If it had been only for the hospital, I would have stayed there.

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During the time at the hospital, the symptoms got worse to the point were I was not able to walk and barely get up at all because I couldn’t really move my legs. From that point I was sitting in a wheelchair with nurses helping me in and out of bed, getting dressed and such. During the weeks that followed (more weeks at German hospitals and rehabilitation centers) I was able to build up strength and now I am able to life almost a normal life. I am still on crutches, have problems moving my arms, can’t ride a bike and such but I am very happy I am out of the wheelchair. This disease takes so much longer to heal than I anticipated but it is what it is. I have been in it for eight months now, so I might as well stay on track a bit longer. There is still a lot that doesn’t work properly but I am positive there will be improvements over the next weeks.

With this in mind, I will start a new adventure (haha, I just can’t sit still for a long period of time) at the end of 2018 and go to China for at least one year to learn Mandarin and be with my boyfriend. More on that in the next post. Until then, have a wonderful Christmas time.

 

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