Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paralyzed at 10, and again at 33

Welcome to my blog! Aside from, "Why are you SOOO cute?", the first question I usually get lately is, "What's wrong with you?" I have CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demylenating Polyneuropathy). It's an auto immune disease that attacks your nervous system causing paralysis/weakness/numbness in your legs, feet and hands. I also had double vision for about 6 months. Mostly I had trouble walking, at times my right leg wouldn't lift up, my foot would roll to the side or refuse to lift up. I couldn't feel most of my fingers and would have to switch eyes so I wouldn't get headaches. My stamina was also shot. At first, I'd get wiped just taking a shower. It's been a year and I'm doing better, not using the walker very much and even drove for the first time in over a year. This is a chronic condition, so it will always be there, but it is getting better.

This isn't the first time I've been paralyzed.

It first happened at 10 years old when I had GBS (Guillian Barre Syndrome). Then whatever wasn't totally paralyzed was too weak to move. I couldn't walk or move at all really. I did manage to lift a finger or roll to the side a bit. My lungs had collapsed (paralyzed diaphragm), I couldn't swallow (those muscles wouldn't work) and I was seeing double cause my eye muscles were somewhat paralyzed too. I was in ICU for two months and at home learning to walk etc. for three months. It was a couple years though before I was back to normal.

I had brief periods of numbness/weakness where random things would stop working like half my tongue or a foot, but it usually came back within a week. I remember coming home from high school when I was 16 and half my face wasn't moving. My mom wanted to take me to the hospital, but I told her it was fine - not a big deal. She said, "Staci, I know that being paralyzed for you is normal, but for most people it's not." I laughed (well, half my face did anyway) and allowed her to take me. Turns out I had Bells Palsy.

At one of my first jobs, my co-worker could tell when I was feeling stressed because I would start holding my face, mostly my left side. It was because I couldn't feel it. It was at that job when at one point my left leg stopped working right (couldn't feel it, it would drag when I walked) and other general numbness took over (face and hands too). I had a bunch of MRIs and a spinal tap done. It all came back negative and eventually the symptoms subsided after a few months. That was 2004 I believe.

That's why when things went south last Christmas (2010), I prepared to wade through it and wait for things to come back again. I'm still waiting. But that's enough for now. More to come later.

Happy Thought: I've had to learn to walk three times in this life. At least I'm getting better at it. (Stupid gravity.) I really need to learn to fly - which by the way, is at the top of my "Things to do when I'm resurrected" list.