Kitty C., 82, had been undergoing chemotherapy for about two years following a lung cancer diagnosis when, after returning from a trip to Florida to visit a friend, she suddenly felt weakness. She attributed it to delayed vertigo from flying earlier that week, and went to visit her daughter and granddaughter.
When she got to her daughter’s house, she said the weakness became extreme, and she had to crawl on her hands and knees to the bedroom to rest. When the weakness did not subside in the morning, they called an ambulance to take her to UPMC McKeesport.
Kitty was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare auto-immune disease. “It was frightening because the weakness came on so suddenly without any indication.”
She spent about two weeks being treated in the intensive care unit before moving to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC McKeesport.
“The first time I tried to stand, there were three physical therapists physically supporting me because they thought I was going to fall right to the floor,” Kitty says. “I spent about a month doing intense physical and occupational therapy to get my strength back. My goal was to dance at my grandson’s wedding because he asked me to teach him to do the jitterbug.”
Kitty left the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute with a walker and progressed to using a cane after completing additional physical therapy at home. Kitty recently was diagnosed with COPD and continues to receive chemotherapy, but her full strength has returned, and she is walking on her own. She attributes her recovery to her faith, family, friends, and the care and support she got at UPMC.
“Sure enough, I got to dance at my grandson’s wedding,” Kitty shares. “I certainly made the right choice by going to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”