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In March of 1999, I worked as a medical transcriptionist when I started noticing numbness in my feet and hands. Six weeks later, I found myself in ICU for one week receiving daily plasma transfusions and being fitted for drop-foot braces. My enemy had a name: Guillain-Barre Syndrome or GBS.

At twenty-nine years of age my life drastically changed. My two children, ages five and three, had no clue what was going on except Mommy couldn't pick them up anymore, carry them, drive or run. My husband supported and encouraged along with a host of other people as I relearned to walk and do daily activities. It turns out I had the chronic form of this disease, so the damage done to the nerves in my body are permanent causing significant pain and making it difficult to walk.

Over the years, I learned to deal with the lot I'd been handed. I live a normal life with a few limitations, but it could be worse. The braces on my legs make me self-conscious, but my husband continually says, "Let them look. You're just different." There are people I see every day who have it worse, but strive to make a difference in their own lives as well as others. I admire those people and I'm shamed for my own self-doubts.

Does GBS define me? Absolutely, but not in a negative way. I survived and I will continue to fight for myself and those less fortunate!

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