We can all admit that 2020 was a year like no other! This is especially true for our January Patient of the Month, Becky Rogers. Becky first came to 3DPT Tabernacle to rehab after a fractured arm, but soon after started experiencing muscle weakness and balance issues, unrelated to her injury. After Dr. Carlie Strazzullo recommended she see a doctor, Becky found out that she had Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder where the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Becky certainly did not plan on having to re-learn how to walk in her 30’s, but GBS immobilized her and forced her to be completely dependent on others to get around.
Becky started off in a wheelchair, and as soon as she could, got back to physical therapy at 3DPT. She progressed to walking with a platform walker, then walking with a typical front wheeled walker and NOW after getting stronger and more coordinated, Becky is walking on her own!
Take a look at this video to see some of Becky’s PT journey. She is truly an inspiration and proof that hard work, dedication and a support team can help you achieve great things!
Keep reading to learn more about Becky and her battle with GBS.
3DPT: Tell us about what brought you to physical therapy and how it affected your life.
Becky: I began physical therapy in April 2020 originally after a fall that caused me to fracture my left arm. I needed surgery to repair the fracture and after healing for a while, I began physical therapy with Carlie to regain motion and strength. At the end of May I noticed issues with feeling in my legs and was having balance issues. Carlie noticed as well while I was in physical therapy and encouraged me to seek medical attention. For two weeks I fell on a daily basis and was transported to the hospital via EMS on May 31st. I was admitted to the hospital and on June 1st was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Basically what happened was I had a virus and my immune system became confused and instead of attacking the virus it attacked my central nervous system, causing severe nerve damage. This left me essentially paralyzed with extremely limited use of my hands. I spent seven weeks in the hospital, including four weeks in an acute physical rehab where I began the process of learning how to stand and walk again. After being discharged on July 17th, I instantly contacted Carlie to come back to 3DPT so I could continue the work I needed to do. I’ve been there three times a week ever since! Basically I lost all independence, needing assistance in every aspect of my life, from dressing, bathing, eating; everything. I haven’t driven a car since March of 2020, haven’t been able to cook a meal for my family, and have had to depend 100% on my Mom, husband, and son.
3DPT: Tell us a little about your recovery process. What has been the hardest part of your therapy?
Becky: Recovery for this disorder is slow and can be frustrating. General recovery time is a year to 18 months and sometimes progress is very noticeable and other times it can feel as if you’re not recovering at all. It’s important to recognize and celebrate all improvement because it’s improvement! The hardest part has to be having a lack of feeling and sensation in my body as I’m trying to get stronger but at the same time also having immense pain. It’s very confusing to have both at the same time.
3DPT: What advice would you give to other people who suffered similar diagnoses?
Becky: My advice would be to accept that you’re going to need to be patient and that you’re not going to get better over night! Guillain Barre Syndrome is commonly referred to as GBS; us survivors use the initials GBS to remember we’re “Getting Better Slowly!”. Remember to celebrate your improvements and gains because it means you’re healing and can eventually return to the life you had.
3DPT: Why would you recommend 3 Dimensional Physical Therapy?
Becky: I would recommend 3DPT for so many reasons, I don’t think I can list them all! Every time you walk through the door you instantly feel welcomed and the staff are happy to see you. Everyone there is knowledgeable and goes above and beyond for their patients. I think Carlie and I spend the majority of our sessions laughing while we work and the environment is always positive. Not to mention my Mom and I love Parker puppy so much!
3DPT: What are you most looking forward to that you may not have been able to do since your diagnosis?
Becky: Being independent! Not having to need other people to do things for me! Being able to drive, cook, walk unassisted, work; in other words, getting my life back! It’s the everyday things that are typically taken for granted and when you can’t do them anymore, that’s when you appreciate them the most. For example, I’m typing these answers on my computer! It’s hard, taken quite a bit of time, and had a lot of typo’s to fix but i’m actually typing myself, for the first time since May!