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Kitty: Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The Challenge: Sudden Weakness

Kitty C., 82, had been going through chemotherapy for about two years after a lung cancer diagnosis.

After returning from a trip to Florida to visit a friend, she suddenly felt weakness. She figured it was delayed vertigo from flying earlier that week, and went to visit her daughter and granddaughter.

When she got to her daughter’s house, the weakness became extreme. Kitty had to crawl on her hands and knees to the bedroom to rest.

The Path to UPMC: Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)

When Kitty's weakness didn't go away in the morning, her daughter called an ambulance.

She went to UPMC McKeesport where doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disease.

“It was frightening because the weakness came on so suddenly without any signs.”

Kitty spent about two weeks in the ICU before moving to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC McKeesport.

Kitty says she made the right choice by going to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

The Solution: Intense Physical and Occupational Therapy

Kitty says:

“The first time I tried to stand, there were three physical therapists supporting me. They thought I was going to fall right to the floor.

“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 the jitterbug.”

The Results: Dancing the Jitterbug

Kitty left the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute with a walker and progressed to using a cane after completing more physical therapy at home.

Kitty recently learned she had COPD and continues to receive chemo. But, her full strength has returned and she's walking on her own.

She credits her recovery to:

  • Her faith.
  • Her family and friends.
  • 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.”

Learn more about inpatient rehab

To find out more about our services, contact the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.

Or, visit the UPMC HealthBeat blog to read:

This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Read more Rehab Institute Patient Stories.