A few weeks before Thanksgiving, Dana Moore, an accounts payable manager, began to experience a slight tingling sensation in her legs. A doctor’s exam, blood work and an MRI were inconclusive, but the tingling continued to worsen and, by the holiday, the numbness and pain became unbearable. During dinner with her family, Dana collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital where she would spend the next two months struggling to regain her health.
Extensive testing revealed that Dana had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder in which a person’s own immune system attacks the nervous system causing muscle weakness and in some cases paralysis. Although her condition stabilized, Dana was unable to walk or even stand. “I really couldn’t do anything, even the smallest everyday tasks,” she recalled.
Dana was determined to rebuild her strength, skills and independence. She made small strides through inpatient rehabilitation, but still required use of a wheelchair and assistance to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). That’s when Dana and her family turned to the specialized Day Neuro Program at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Fort Worth. This program provides a comprehensive approach to treatment with services tailored to individual needs and goals. It proved to be the right move for Dana.
The Day Neuro team provided Dana with the care, treatment and strategies she needed to move forward. In physical therapy, she began, quite literally, with baby steps. She regained her strength and balance, learned the proper techniques to go from sitting to standing safely and eventually took her first few steps using a walker. Dana worked tirelessly on re-training her legs, which enabled her to walk independently for more than 800 feet by the time of her final walk test.
In occupational therapy, Dana and her team focused on the ability to perform daily activities and self-care tasks, which improved with every session. Before long, she was able to cook and do laundry in the clinic – all without assistance.
After nearly four-and-a-half months in the Day Neuro Program, Dana recalled how much the therapy services and support impacted her progress. “From where I was to where I am now is pretty impressive. I’m walking with a rollator everywhere ... sometimes I can even walk without it. I prepare meals, do my own laundry and make the bed by myself. I’m doing all of the grocery shopping, and I just passed my adaptive driving evaluation!”
Dana also said she learned that she is stronger than she ever thought possible – both physically and mentally. Even with the support of her family, she admits that finding the determination to push through the tough days was just as challenging as getting up out of her wheelchair for the first few times, but “I stuck with it and am glad I did. I’ve regained a lot of my independence and have accomplished so much along the way."
Dana continues to build on the gains she’s made, participating in therapy at one of BSWIR’s outpatient centers and is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, visiting their two grown children and simply getting back to everyday life.