My wife, daughter and I left out of Los Angeles on a 14-day cruise to Hawaii on April 27, 2013. My health was fine for the entire trip. During the last few days of the cruise, one of our dining table companions came down with some type of virus. He had a deep cough and spent much time in his cabin.
When we returned to L.A. on April 10th I was still feeling fine but by the 12th had developed a cough and a very sore throat. I suffered with these symptoms for nine days and finally felt better by the 21st of April, but that all changed on the 22nd!
By the morning of April 22nd, I noticed that my fingers on both hands were numb and tingling. I was also having trouble with my eyesight. I could not get things to focus correctly and was having double vision. As the day progressed so did my symptoms. The numbness spread through my hands and up my arms. My back, face, gums and teeth also became numb. By evening I found my balance was compromised and my head felt as though I had consumed alcohol on an empty stomach, which I hadn’t. Stupidly ignoring all these symptoms on the unjustifiable idea that they would all go away on their own, I didn’t mention any of them to my wife.
The next morning even someone as stubborn as I could not ignore or hide the fact that I could now barely walk! I explained my symptoms to my wife and we called to make an appointment with my doctor. After hearing the symptoms, the phone rep told us to go immediately to the emergency room, which we did. After a CAT scan and EKG ruled out a stroke or heart attack, we were referred to my primary physician but couldn’t see him until the next day.
On April 24th my doctor examined me and mentioned a very rare condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome however, at this point he did not feel that that was what I had since one of the main symptoms of GBS is muscle weakness and although I had no reflexes, my muscle strength was not impaired. I received an MRI and was sent home and told to carefully monitor my symptoms. I returned to my doctor the next day for the MRI results and more examinations.
My doctor had been conducting more research on GBS and told us of a variant of GBS called Miller-Fisher syndrome whose symptoms seemed to more accurately follow mine. It was at this point that my doctor and I agreed that I should be admitted to the hospital for more testing and to be more closely monitored. The following 48 hours involved a lot of blood being drawn, another MRI and a spinal tap!
My symptoms plateaued by the 26th, only four days after their onset! On Saturday, April 27th, with the results of the spinal tap showing an increased protein level (which is indicative of MFS) and no adverse effects on my respiratory system, I was discharged from the hospital.
My progress over the next few days can only be explained by the grace of God and power of prayer! Family and friends had all been made aware of my condition and had been lifting prayers for me before God. I attended church on the 28th, still walking with assistance and still feeling the numbness throughout my upper body. Over the next 48 hours, I began to notice my eyesight clearing, my balance improving and the numbness beginning to diminish. By May 3rd my balance had returned, the numbness was now only in a few fingers on both hands and I was able to drive again. In less than two weeks from the first sign of symptoms my body was practically back to normal.
Having read about the recovery periods for Miller-Fisher on several websites, I can only attribute my incredibly short recovery time to answered prayer. I encourage other with this potentially devastating condition to take this opportunity to consider your personal relationship with God and His Son.