Sharon first experienced her GBS symptoms on the 1st of April 2009. She calls it the worst April fool's joke she's ever gotten.
Sharon had a day off from her job as an optician for a scheduled doctors appointment. The doctor asked her when the last time she had a tetanus shot was. She couldn't recall, so he gave her one.
The next day Sharon woke up she was unable to walk or use her hands. It took doctors two and a half months to properly diagnose Sharon with GBS, eventually successfully identifying the condition after doing a spinal tap.
Sharon says those two months were hell: "In and out of Drs office's putting me on antibiotics, not knowing what to do for me. In and out of hospitals for tests and more tests, my health was deteriorating. I was throwing up from the antibiotics, had diarrhea C-Diff (Clostridium difficile). low blood pressure. I was passing out all the time. I couldn't eat, the smell of food made me sick. I actually could taste hormones and antibiotics in the foods. My feet and hands hurt so badly. The mid section of my body is where everything settled. I have incontinence and it affected my female parts."
Following her diagnosis, Sharon was started on IVIG treatments — Intravenous (IV) immunoglobulin (Ig) — a common treatment for disorders of the immune system.
She became a resident at two specialised Rehabilitation Nursing homes; "Living with old people being so young wasn't much fun. I was in a wheelchair til I advanced to my walker. I lost fifty plus lbs. The smell of food was unbearable. Fresh fruit, cheerio's, ensure drinks and one-fourth of an eggo was my menu. The lowest my blood pressure got to was 46/28 — that's unheard of. I was on anti-anxiety, depression meds, I cried all the time. The weakness and tiredness took over. My feet hurt so much I wore special aloe socks. My feet were so sensitive, that the sheets on the bed felt like they were razor blades cutting my toes."
Sharon broke her foot when she collapsed one day and landed crushing her ankle. She required surgery to insert plates and screws. Her appendix also became inflamed and needed emergency surgery, and on another occasion Sharon ended up in the the hospital for seven days because she was having difficulty breathing. She was put onto oxygen and breathing treatments and developed asthma. She had an interstem device installed in her hip so she could urinate, but it became infected it needed to be removed. On top of all of that she also started have reproductive problems, and had a complete hysterectomy.
"Here I am today to tell my story, with still a lot of residual side effects. I'm unable to work — I loved my job too. I've got divorced since I became sick, and I lost my Mom to cancer. I'm now living at home with my Dad."