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Condition and Disease Recovery Patient Stories

Cindy: COVID-19 Survivor

After a long battle with COVID-19, including a three-week hospital stay and five days on a ventilator, Cindy turned to UPMC Western Maryland’s Comprehensive Inpatient Rehab Unit (CIRU) to help prepare her to return home.

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Kitty: Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Kitty, 82, had been going through chemotherapy for about two years after a lung cancer diagnosis. After returning from a trip to Florida, she suddenly felt weakness. She went to UPMC McKeesport where doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disease.

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Matt: COVID-19 Survivor

Matt thought the worst was behind him after a week-long hospital stay near his home for COVID-19. But 10 days after his release, he continued to have COVID-related problems, including weakness and tingling in his hands and feet. After falling and tearing a muscle in his hip, he was admitted into the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute's inpatient rehab unit at UPMC St. Margaret.

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Sonja: H1N1 Flu

In 1996, Sonja — a Pittsburgh native — moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In December 2015, Sonja was flying home to visit her parents for Christmas. She became very ill and her family had to take her to the hospital where doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia. On New Year’s Day, she took a turn for the worse and found herself on a life-flight to UPMC Presbyterian where doctors diagnosed her with H1N1 — the swine flu.

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Judy: Brain Surgery Rehab

79-year-old Pittsburgh native Judy was away in Florida when she developed crippling headaches, leading to surgeries to remove a mass on her brain stem. When swelling from breathing tubes led to a tracheostomy that left her temporarily unable to speak or swallow, experts at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute guided Judy through speech, physical, and occupational therapy.

Read Judy's story