Happily Ever After, apart.

A year ago today my divorce was finalized, and I couldn’t be happier with how far we have come the last couple years. Our separation was far from easy, but I am very proud of the relationship that we have today. Just because you get divorced does not mean you have to hate each other, and us getting along has made life SO much easier – on everyone involved. It takes time, but it is possible to come out on the other side as friends.

I often get compliments on the way we handled our divorce, and the way that we co-parent our daughter. Our divorce was pretty smooth; we never stepped foot in a lawyer’s office, we share custody of our daughter, we split all costs for her, and we don’t do child support. We do things like her birthday party and parent teacher interviews together, we have a lot of the same friends, and we see each other often. Growing up with divorced parents that were friends made things much easier for me as a child, and it was extremely important to me after we separated, that Casey grew up with parents that got along.

For anyone going through a divorce with kids right now, the biggest piece of advice I’ve can give you (that I’ve learned from both mine and Jordan’s divorces), is to LET EACH OTHER LIVE. Each parent is going to have different parenting styles, different views, different priorities, different morals and different lifestyles, based on who they are as a person – so it’s normal to not always agree with what the other parent does. BUT if your child is happy, healthy, and safe – that’s ALL that matters. If you believe that your ex is a good parent, you have to let them live their life and trust that they are doing what they believe is best. The key to co-parenting is taking a step back and allowing each other to raise the kids how they see fit. Even if you disagree with how they do something in their home, you have to try to refrain from criticizing them, because it won’t help. You are divorced, and giving each other the respect to be a parent and make their own choices, will make things so much better between you two. And besides, kids having different experiences and learning different viewpoints is actually a good thing, and will teach them that everyone thinks differently, to be open minded, and to come up with their own views and opinions in life based on what they learn.

I know my daughter is in an extremely loving, happy and healthy home at her daddy’s, so I don’t need to know to know the fine details of his day to day to life with her. I am incredibly grateful for the relationship Casey has with her father and his girlfriend,  and the way that we all get along. James and I are happy in our own lives with our new families, which is all that I ever wanted for the both of us. Turns out we did live happily ever after, just apart.


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“Flaws are just a unique piece of our history”



“In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the objects history, which adds to its beauty. CONSIDER THIS when you feel broken”

SUCH a beautiful quote!! I found this photo on my computer, of the scar on my stomach a couple weeks after the 34 staples were removed. After seeing this I see that my scar actually healed pretty nicely !! When I was diagnosed with GBS, I was brought to ICU because I could no longer breathe on my own. The doctors decided to do plasmapheresis as a treatment as soon as I got into ICU – a process in which the plasma from my blood is removed and replaced with a plasma substitute. A catheter would be inserted into a major vein in my body; in my case a vein on the right side of my groin. This is supposed to be a fairly routine procedure, however when inserting the catheter into my vein, my femoral artery was accidentally punctured (I have tiny veins) which ruptured it and caused massive internal hemorrhaging. I was rushed into emergency surgery, where my stomach was cut in two to get to the bleeding. I spent severals hours in surgery, and doctors told my family to be prepared that I may not survive it. I did survive obviously, although this was just the beginning of an extremely long journey as now not only did I have to recover from such invasive surgery, my body was at the same time attacking itself and about to get much worse from the Guillain-Barre.

It’s actually quite amazing how our bodies are capable of healing and scarring. The scar left on my groin is quite painful when touched but the scar on my stomach feels as if it’s not even there. Our scars are a constant reminder of how strong we are, and these “flaws” really are a unique piece of our history.

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Getting back at it . . .

God it’s been forever since I’ve  written on my blog!  I apologize to those of you out there that follow me here and have wondered where I have been. Life is busy and hectic as usual, so I don’t get much free time to write – but I really need to start making the time!

I started a public Instagram page and have been writing a lot more through that platform, and I have had the opportunity to connect with so many incredible people around the world!! Some who have had GBS, some who have other health issues, some that have been following my story, and others that are just such inspiring people to follow!

Because of my increased time on Instagram, I’ve taken a bit of a step back from Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I love my social media (I cant give it up completely!) just Facebook itself doesn’t do the same thing for me that it once did. I find that its the same thing day after day, and is starting to feel like a waste of my time. There is so much negativity and I find my experience on it more draining than rewarding – and it really takes time away from more important things that I could be doing. I do the majority of my writing and posting through Instagram now,  but I also know that I have a large following on Facebook and WordPress – and  because I am not on either as often, I am not able to connect to all my followers, which is something that I love doing.

So I will be posting all old and new IG posts onto my blog and FB now for those of you that don’t use Instagram. I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone again! Of course you always have the option of following me on Instagram as well – @happilyeveraftergbs

As always thank you everyone for all of your love and support over the years and stay tuned for more postings.




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The Aftermath

My residuals from GBS and how they affect my life

It’s been 5 years since my life changing experience with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Given the severity of my case (only about 30% of GBS patients end up on a ventilator), I’m so fortunate to have recovered as well as I did, and I’m grateful that I can do all I can. I realize that I am where I am because of how hard I’ve worked (and I give myself a huge pat on the back for that), however, I’m also not ignorant to the fact that not everyone who has had GBS, is as able bodied as I am. I can push myself as much as my body allows it, and I definitely do, but I know that not everyone can. In some people’s experiences with GBS, the damage is just too severe, and their recovery is just not as complete as mine was. Some people have limitations, or have severe fatigue, and just can’t do certain things, no matter how hard they push themselves.

While I made a complete recovery from GBS, I still have some residuals that were left behind. Now some people may disagree with that statement and say that my recovery was not complete if I was left with residuals, but these things are all quite minor to me, and don’t affect my ability to live my life just as it was before. So to me, my recovery was complete.

People email and message me all the time, asking about my recovery, and I wanted to share all the different things I experience now from having GBS. Not everyone with GBS is left with these residuals, but I think a lot will be able to relate to most of these feelings, that are often hard to explain to others. These are my residuals in order of severity and how often they affect my life:

  • Neuropathy in my feet – This is probably the most common residual in GBS patients, and one that causes several different symptoms; including numbness, tingling and hypersensitivity. Neuropathy is a result of damage to the peripheral nerves, causing the nerves to incorrectly receive signals from the brain. Because of this, my feet ALWAYS feel numb and tingly, as if they are asleep. They are also extremely hypersensitive, so even the tiniest of touches are extremely painful to me. Stepping on a tiny pebble feels like I’ve stepped on the most painful piece of Lego ever; someone touching my foot with their fingertip feels like I’m being poked with a knife, and even walking on sand feels like walking on sharp rocks. I no longer enjoy pedicures, and I usually sleep with my feet outside out of the blankets, because the sheet rubbing up against them is uncomfortable. I often joke that I feel like a superhero with my superhuman ability to feel things on my feet. I also sometimes get strange sensations in them, like my foot has been electrocuted, or like a bug is crawling across them. While the numbness, tingling and hypersensitivity is constantly there and has been since GBS, the strange sensations are much more rare now. When I talk to other GBS patients, this is the residual that is brought up the most.
  • Weakness in my ankles – Another very common residual from GBS, is weakness in the ankles. Just like if you’ve rolled or sprained your ankle, they are just not as stable as before. Because of this, it’s very difficult for me to stand on the balls of my feet, I am unable to wear really high heels (although I can get away with shorter heels for short periods of time) and I have to be very careful when walking or running on uneven ground. The chance of me rolling my ankle is very high, although I have been VERY lucky and haven’t. I rarely run on grass and stick to cement. Because of that weakness, my ankles also can’t handle as much impact as they once could, and they ache and throb whenever I run on them two days in a row (which I don’t anymore). Another thing that this affects is my ability to stand for long periods of time. Standing still for more than a few minutes makes them start to ache as well, so I am usually trying to find somewhere to sit whenever I can. I can strengthen them by doing certain exercises in the gym; I just find it’s not worth the risk of hurting them, so I’ve accepted that my ankles are like this now.
  • Feeling temperature in my extremities – Another symptom of neuropathy is the way I incorrectly feel temperature in my hands and feet. In my feet, I can’t feel if they are hot or cold whatsoever. I ‘m able to walk barefoot on freezing cold snow, and put my feet in an extremely hot bath, without feeling a thing. While I am extra careful with heat (I NEVER get into a bath without feeling it with my arms first), I am pretty lazy when it comes to the cold. I can’t feel when my feet are freezing, so I rarely wear socks, and they are always as cold as ice. My family always gives me shit for never wearing socks in the winter. As for my hands, they are the opposite. While I don’t have any numbness or tingling in my hands like I do in my feet, my fingers are extremely hypersensitive to temperature. When I touch my fingers to snow, they burn for hours after as if I had frost bite. When I hold a hot coffee in my hands, they sting like I burnt myself, and the pain is severely exaggerated. That exaggeration in my hands is only with temperature, and not with touch.
  • My breathing and my voice – While this isn’t actually a residual of Guillain-Barre, it is a residual of being on a ventilator, and something that does affect me. Whether it was the breathing tube I had in my mouth for 10 days, or the tracheostomy tube I had in my throat for over 2 months, my vocal cords never came back as strong as before and I do believe that they were damaged at some point. My voice is hoarser and a lot lower than before, and my throat always feels a little scratchy; as if I am starting to get a cold. I can’t hit high notes anymore and screaming loudly is both difficult and painful. My breathing, I assume from breathing through a machine for so long, isn’t as strong as before either. Running up a flight of stairs leaves me breathless. Even though I do TONS of cardio and I can run faster than I’ve ran before, I still struggle with running for long periods of times. I usually run in short intervals because otherwise I am struggling to catch my breath.
  • Weak Hip Flexors – When you walk upstairs, you engage several different muscles, including your hip flexors (a word I learned in physio!). My hip flexors are just a little bit weaker than before, causing me to have to work a little bit harder to lift my leg when I go up stairs. I don’t notice it at all on smaller stair cases, but by the 6th or 7th step on longer ones, I can feel it getting harder, and I often catch my toe from not getting my leg high enough. This happens to me often at the gym on the Stairmaster.
  • Foot Drop – Because of the weakness in my feet leftover from GBS, I have a little bit of trouble lifting my toes up when I am walking and I have to use a little more force to lift them to ensure they don’t catch the ground. This used to be much more severe, and I used to have to wear AFOs (foot braces), but with the help of consistent exercise, they are MUCH better now. I’m almost not even aware of it anymore, except when I am tired that I find my toes dragging more often.
  • My concentration and memory – When I am having a conversation with someone, I often find myself struggling to find the word that I want to use. I will be in full conversation and know what I want to say, but I just can’t think of the word. This can be quite embarrassing in work settings, or with people I don’t know. I also lose my train of thought a lot, as my mind wanders more often, and I find my level of concentration is not where it used to be. My long term memory is still great but my short term memory is definitely lacking.
  • My balance – Partly because of my weak ankles, it is very hard for me to stand on one leg at a time. Every single time I put on pants, I have to stand with my back against a wall, or against the bed, otherwise I will lose my balance. Doing lunges and certain yoga moves is difficult for me, but I always try, and overtime it has improved.
  • Uneven strength/weakness – When my muscles regained their strength, they did not come back evenly whatsoever. Some of my muscles are much stronger on one side of my body, and although I do try to get them more even in the gym, some sides remain a lot weaker than the other, no matter what I do. My muscles also shake and vibrate whenever I exercise, as if I am pushing myself WAY too hard and they are at the point of fatigue, but they aren’t.
  • Body stiffness and muscle cramps – When I first got out of the hospital, every single time I woke up in the morning, I felt like an old man. I was so stiff and sore and felt like I had to warm up my body to be able to move around. I would also get very severe muscle cramps and charlie horses in my legs whenever I slept. With the help of regular exercise, I’ve found that both of these things have improved drastically. I still get a little sore when I sit for long periods of time, or when I haven’t worked out in a few days, but definitely not as bad as before.
  • Fatigue – I am very fortunate that I don’t deal with this as severely as some other patients, but this is one residual that I know is still there. I just don’t have the energy that I used to have (although getting older and having kids doesn’t help) and a lot of the time I would really just like to lie down. However the more active I am, the less fatigue I get, so I try to keep active every day.
  • Swallowing pills – Difficulty swallowing food and drinks can be a common problem after GBS, one that I am fortunate that I don’t deal with; however I do have problems swallowing pills. I think it has more to do with the fact that I used to have to swallow 20 pills at a time back in the hospital, and now the thought of taking one more pill in my life makes me gag! I’ve switched to gummy vitamins so I don’t have to take pills very often.
  • Weakness in my hands – probably the most minor of all my residuals, is that I find opening a water bottle or a jar requires a little more force than before. I can usually do it, but it’s more difficult, and I often just hand them off for someone else to open.
  • Aches in my feet – I left this for last because I deal with is so rarely now, but it is definitely the MOST painful of all my residuals. It’s also one of the most common residuals, and one that many GBS patients will take medication for. I call it “GBS feet”, and it is a severe, aching, throbbing pain I get from time to time in my feet. It’s caused by neuropathy, and the pain is similar to walking on your feet for way too long, but times a hundred. When I first got out of the hospital, this pain was constant and I was on a heavy dose of medication 3 times a day to lessen the severity. But at its worst, the pain was very difficult to manage and the medication didn’t really help. I spent many days lying on the couch with my feet in the air trying to take the pressure off of them, and cannabis was the only thing that I found alleviated the pain faster. Over time, the constant pain gradually went away, and I slowly came off the meds about 2 years later. Now, every few months or so, when I am overly tired or stressed, it will flare up (always at night time) and the pain is just as severe as before. I no longer take the medication (it takes several weeks to even kick in, and you must take 3 pills, 3 times a day for it to be effective) so I find that high pressure massage, rubbing them on a massage ball, lifting them high above my head, and cannabis, help. I’m very grateful to not have to deal with this often anymore.


I’m very fortunate that the majority of my residuals are minor and don’t affect my day to day life like some people’s do. Like I said before, some patients or doctors may say that my recovery was not complete, because I still have these weaknesses, and aches and pains. But I can walk without the help of anything, I am able to work full time, and I am able to do everything I could do before GBS (if not more), so I personally consider myself completely recovered. And I will never take that for granted and will continue doing what I am able to do.

Many people who had GBS deal with similar residuals, to varying degrees. Some residuals are more noticeable (they may have weakness and wear braces on their legs, or be in wheelchairs) but many things you wouldn’t even notice if you saw them walking down the street. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Just because you can’t see someone’s pain or struggles, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Weakness, pain and fatigue can be severe after GBS, and can affect their ability to walk, to exercise, to drive, and to work. These residuals can have a very negative impact on people’s lives.

That being said, I do believe that people need to push themselves a little. Sure, I could certainly use my residuals as excuses; as reasons why I can’t exercise, but I don’t. I could have said there is no way I could exercise when I was in a wheelchair, but instead I sat in it and lifted dumbbells. When I did Insanity, I could have said I couldn’t do it because certain moves were too hard on my ankles, but instead I modified it, or did a different move. I could say that my ankles hurt when I run, so I can’t do it. Instead, I run every second day. It’s important to figure out what you are able to do, how long you can do it for, and try to push yourself a little more as time goes on! And you really have to make time for it and make it apart of your daily routine. Yes there are days I don’t want to work out, but I still do. Hell there are days that I don’t want to work out, and I DON’T, but I don’t beat myself up for it and I start over again the next day.

My residuals are a part of my life now, but I don’t let them hold me back. And neither should you. You need to figure out what you love to do, what you are able to do and DO IT! And don’t be afraid to push yourself! That’s the only way you are going to see what you are capable of!

For those of you that had GBS, do you deal with similar residuals? Are there any residuals that I didn’t mention that you deal with?



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What is CIDP?

CIDPCIDP is an illness that is often compared to Guillain-Barre, and is a term that you may have heard me use from time to time. I myself had never heard of it, until I started attending GBS conferences and found out that there was another disease out there like GBS. CIDP is a part of the GBS/CIDP Foundation; because we experience many of the same struggles, and I have several CIDP patients in my support group meetings.

CIDP stands for Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. It is very similar to GBS in that it is a rare disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that are not a part of the spinal cord or brain), and is likely caused by a reaction from the immune system. Many of the same things that can trigger GBS may also trigger CIDP, (a case of GBS can even lead to CIDP) but a cause cannot always be linked. Just like GBS, as the illness progresses and as the immune system attacks the nerves, it starts to damage the myelin sheathe around the nerve, causing weakness or paralysis.

The biggest difference between GBS and CIDP is the onset. GBS generally comes on suddenly and progresses very quickly. GBS patients generally reach their maximum weakness in less than 30 days (in most people actually 14 days). But in CIDP, muscle weakness slowly progresses over months. CIDP is often called the chronic form of Guillain-Barre. GBS is an acute illness, meaning that once you hit your maximum weakness (the plateau stage) you start to recover and it does not usually return (although it can), However, like its name states, in Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, the symptoms are chronic and continue, and do not usually improve unless ongoing treatment is provided. However, some people do stabilize. The initial symptoms of CIDP are similar to GBS; with tingling and weakness, slowly spreading throughout the body. However in contrast to GBS, most people will not go to a doctor for several weeks to months, because the weakness is so gradual.

Treatments for CIDP include glucocorticoid drugs (a steroid hormone) as well as IVIG and Plasmapheresis (treatments also used in Guillain-Barre) IVIG is a process that involves removing the plasma from your blood and replacing it with new plasma, and Plasmapheresis is a process that involves removing blood from your body and “cleaning” the plasma before putting it back into your body. With IVIG and Plasmapheresis, because of the chronic nature of CIDP, they are only effective for a few weeks and many people require regular treatments every couple months.

Like GBS, the severity of CIDP can range from mild to severe. Some people experience mild weakness which may not even be noticeable to others. Others experience more substantial weakness and require the use of aids (braces, canes, walkers or wheelchairs). And just likle GBS, most people have never heard of CIDP. Most doctors and nurses will never deal with a CIDP case in their entire careers. If left untreated, about 30% of CIDP will progress to wheelchair dependence, so it is extremely important to recognize the signs early on to get the proper treatment.

Please share 🙂

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What is Guillain-Barre syndrome?


*Updated version*

I hear that all the time. People will ask me how I got the scar on my neck, or will say they heard that I had a rare disease, and ask what I had. When I tell them I had GBS, not many people will say they know what that is. Guillain-Barre syndrome is not a well-known illness at all. The first time I myself heard the words Guillain-Barre, was when I was being told I might have it. Less than 8 hours before that, I was a healthy 26 year old. It had started with a tingly finger, a pain in my neck and weakness in my legs. By the time I was at the hospital I could barely walk anymore. My neurologist told me they would need to monitor me over the next little while to see how bad I got. No big deal. I was sick, they would give me medicine and I would go home and be fine. That’s what happens at the hospital, right? Wrong. There is NO cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome.

In my book, “Happily Ever After” I told my side of the story, I explained what GBS did to me emotionally and physically over a year. I explained my feelings, my fears, the challenges I faced and the obstacles I overcame. But what I didn’t dive into as much is exactly what Guillain-Barre is. I am by no means a Doctor, but I hope that this blog helps explain it to you all a bit more.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that are not a part of the spinal cord or brain). GBS is caused by a reaction from the immune system. In a normal attack on our bodies, our immune system immediately starts fighting off an infection (such as a virus or bacteria). With me, my body saw an attack and my immune system started to fight it off. The problem lies within my own immune system. My immune system continued to fight when it should have stopped. It overworked and after fighting what it needed to, it then started to attack my own body. People need to be aware that you don’t catch GBS, and it is not contagious. The disorder lies within me; my immune system reacted incorrectly. Unfortunately it’s impossible to say why one persons’ body reacts this way, when thousands don’t.

So what sort of things can trigger GBS? While it’s impossible to pinpoint, (and doctors will rarely say exactly what it was) I myself have met people whose cases of GBS came on a few weeks after they had the flu, a stomach bug, a virus, during pregnancy, after giving birth and even from stress. It has also came on for others who have had surgery, a flu shot, other vaccines, an epidural, and the Zika Virus. For me, it came on shortly after I gave birth. I had also had a C-section, an epidural and then the flu a week later, so it’s hard to say exactly what it was that triggered my GBS.

As the illness starts to progress, and as the immune system begins to attack the nerves, it starts to damage the myelin sheathe around the nerve (or axon). Basically, the nerve is a wire, and the myelin sheath is the plastic coating around the wire. The nerves are then unable to transmit a signal, which causes the muscles to lose their ability to respond to commands. Essentially, weakness starts to spread throughout your body, slowly paralyzing you.

One of the very first symptoms of GBS is usually tingling and weakness, which typically starts in the hands or feet and works its way inwards. When the doctor first saw me, my arms and legs were very weak, and I no longer had any reflexes, which made him think that I had GBS. A spinal tap was done to drain fluid from my spinal column to check the protein levels, (which are very high with GBS) and it was this procedure that lead to my official diagnosis. I was very lucky that the Neurologist that saw me that night immediately had an idea of what was going on, and knew what test to complete. Unfortunately I have heard hundreds of stories of misdiagnosis, where patients go days or weeks before they finally find out what is going on.

My case ended up being quite severe – the paralysis spread to most of my body, which paralyzed my diaphragm and affected my ability to breathe on my own – so I needed to breathe through a machine for 2 ½ months. However this doesn’t always happen. Only about 30% of GBS cases require mechanical ventilation and need to be in ICU. Some people with minor GBS don’t even require hospitalization – they improve quickly, and recover within weeks. In others cases, the paralysis may be severe but only reaches as far as the waist – and the upper body remains unaffected. Either way, the majority of patients reach their weakest point around 2-3 weeks after their initial symptom- and then slowly start to recover. For me, the paralysis affected my entire body from the neck down and I did not start to recover for over 6 weeks.

Not only did it affect my nerves, it also affected my autonomic nervous system – the part of my body that controls blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and other body functions. My blood pressure, my heart rate and body temperature were all dangerously high for a very long time which is another reason I was in ICU. Because I was paralyzed, I could not go to the washroom without the help of a catheter and many medications. And because I was hooked up to a machine to breathe, I could not talk or eat. I communicated to my family by mouthing words, and was fed through a tube in my stomach.

When a person is paralyzed in bed with GBS, it is not only physically painful, it is also very emotionally challenging. Some experience such severe pain that can be very difficult to treat. The stress of being bedridden, in pain, having other people completely take care of you, and not knowing if you are ever going to get better, can cause severe anxiety and depression. Many patients believe they are dying, or feel hopeless and wish they would die. Most GBS patients are treated with some form of anxiety medication and anti-depressants.

Although there is no cure, the myelin sheathe around the nerves do start to regrow – as long as the damage is not too severe. In minor GBS cases, re-myelination occurs and recovery is rapid. In more severe cases, the axon within the nerves is damaged and recovery depends on regeneration of the tissue. Usually, specialists say it takes an inch a month for the nerves to regrow. That is why GBS is often called Get Better Slowly. In general, the only thing that will help a patient improve is time. However there are treatments that are provided to try to help speed up recovery. The two most common treatments for GBS are IVIG and Plasmapheresis. IVIG is a process that involves removing the plasma from your blood and replacing it with new plasma (with new antibodies), and Plasmapheresis is a process that involves removing blood from your body and “cleaning” the plasma before putting it back into your body. I had both of these treatments.

The other treatment that almost all GBS patients require is physiotherapy. As the nerves start to come back and as movement is regained, the muscles in the body require intense therapy to strengthen them to a point of use again. The first thing that I had to learn how to do when I started to improve was breathing on my own. I practiced this by spending a few minutes a day off the ventilator and slowly increased it as time went on until I was breathing on my own again. Then it was my hands and arms, followed by my core and torso, then my feet and legs. Full time therapy at a rehab hospital is quite common, (as is being in a wheelchair for some time) and patients need to strengthen their muscles until they can learn how to eat with utensils, how to brush their teeth, how to pick up objects, and other day to day activities. Eventually they may be strong enough to get out of the wheelchair and learn how to walk with a cane, then walk with a walker, and then walk on their own. This timeframe typically span over the course of a few months to a few years. For me, it was about 6 months before I was walking on my own again. I have met those that it took only a week or two, and others who are still learning 7+ years later.

Although a large majority of patients do make an almost complete recovery by two years after onset, there are those that do not. About 20% of patients are left with permanent residuals. Some people are unable to write or type as their fine motor skills never return, and some require walking aids such as braces, canes, walkers and even wheelchairs. Many experience fatigue. I was always told that I would eventually recover, and I am very fortunate that I was able to get back to my life. It absolutely breaks my heart when I meet others that are still affected by GBS years later. I consider myself extremely lucky, and attribute it to my young age at the time of my diagnosis. Thankfully, my residuals are fairly minor.

Because of the fact that it was my own immune system that malfunctioned, many people, including myself, have asked: if it reacted that way in the past, can it react that way again? The answer unfortunately, is yes, there is a chance that it could happen again. But the chance of recurrence is only about 5-10%. However because of that, I have made the personal decision not to get the flu shot or other vaccines that have been linked to GBS. And with it coming on so quickly after I gave birth, I have also decided not to have any more children. Even if the chance of recurrence is extremely low, and there are no guarantees that these things could trigger it again, that risk is just not worth it to me.

Guillain-Barre is quite unknown, but it is not as rare as most people think. It effects about 1-2 in every 100,000 people a year. So in a city the size of Edmonton, Alberta, it would effect on average 10 people a year. Still, most people have never heard of GBS. Some doctors and nurses I had, had never dealt with it before and some of them did not really know how to care for me. My own family doctor has never seen a case of GBS in his whole career. As I mentioned before, many people go undiagnosed for some time because of health care professional’s lack of experience with it. It is very important to recognize the signs early on, and it’s important for our medical staff to know what they are dealing with and how to properly handle it. And I as I continue on in my life now, I can’t help but feel privileged to be able to promote awareness on Guillain-Barre syndrome. And I hope you found this post useful and will share it with others!! ❤


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Letting go and moving forward …Things I Learned from my divorce 

Well its official, I am now divorced. When I received the paperwork in the mail, I was overwhelmed by a lot of bittersweet feelings; feelings of loss, defeat, pain and sadness, which were then followed by feelings of release, freedom, independence and growth. Although it used to make me sad that my past went the way that it did; that I didn’t end up with the man that I loved since I was 18 years old, the man that helped me through my experience with GBS, and the father of my daughter, I know that everything ended up the way it was meant to for the both of us, and it excites me to see what the future holds. It’s been almost two and a half years since we separated, and this is the closure that I need to completely let go of that part of my life, and continue moving forward!

I receive many messages from those of you that have seen my YouTube video and read my book, and I know that people wonder how my ex and I could separate after all that we had been through together. For anyone that’s read my book, you read how marriage, babies and a family was all that I ever wanted, and how my own parents’ divorce heightened that desire to have a committed marriage for the rest of my life. When I entered into that commitment with my ex, and said my vows, I truly meant them; as I’m sure many others that have ended up where I am today, did too.

For those of you that have been through a divorce, I know you didn’t start your marriage thinking that you would end up divorced one day. But then shit happens. You can blame the breakdown of your marriage on different things, like maybe you got married young, before you really knew yourselves, or quickly, before you really knew each other. Maybe over the years you changed and grew apart, unable to gravitate back to each other before it was too late. Maybe you found that the two of you were too different, and that you wanted different things out of your relationship. Maybe as responsibilities increased, the stresses of everyday life got in the way, and you stopped showing each other love, appreciation, and respect. Maybe you never learned how to communicate with your partner, and didn’t treat each other as well as you should have. Maybe in the end, you knew that your relationship couldn’t make either of you happy anymore, and that you each deserved better.

It really doesn’t matter how you got there or who decided to end it, the fact is that the relationship is over. You couldn’t make it work anymore. And whatever you think the reasons for that may be; no matter how justified you, your ex, or the both of you together feel about the decision, it is still one of the most heartbreaking experiences you will face in your life. Whether it’s the questions or judgement you receive from others who don’t understand it, the guilt you feel for things ending the way it did, or the sadness you experience from losing someone so close to you, the pain is often overwhelming and heart crushing, and lasts for many years. But with all bad, comes good, and you will certainly learn more than you ever thought possible. These are a just a few things that I have learned from my divorce:


Your entire world will be affected.

I once read that divorce can be compared to experiencing a death in your life, and I couldn’t agree more. But you don’t just lose your partner; you lose a huge part of yourself as well – especially when we are talking about a decade long relationship like mine.  You lose the entire life that the two of you had built together, perhaps you lose the home you shared, and some of the things you purchased together. The hopes and dreams and all the plans the two of you had made for the future are now gone. You lose your entire identity; you are no longer “the spouse of so-and-so”, you are no longer a part of the family that the two of you created together, and as woman, you may even lose the name that you identify with. Your entire routine that you have been in for years, abruptly changes. Date nights and afternoon family fun are a thing of the past, you don’t get games nights with your coupled-friends anymore, and no more Sunday dinners at the in-laws. You not only lose your spouse’s family, you lose a lot of mutual friends as well. Your circle and who you hung out with on the weekends changes. You’re sometimes excluded from mutual friends’ get-togethers, since your ex will be there; or if you are invited, you’re torn about even attending (for the exact same reason). Friendships change, conversations become awkward, some people pick sides and friends that were once a very important part of your life, drift away. You feel very alone, even with some of the best friends around you.

Your relationship with your ex will change drastically.

You have no choice but to sit back and watch as your relationship with your ex changes and deteriorates, little by little. The same person who you once called your best friend slowly becomes a stranger. This is the same person you were madly in love with at one point, and the parent of your children. You see glimpses of your old life – perhaps through a memory or a photo – and you’re reminded of what you once had together. You wonder how things ever got to this point and it sometimes makes you sad. You had gone through so much together; you had laughed with them, cried with them, and grew with them. This person was once the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. Now, that’s all changed. Even if and when you do get along, the conversations are cold, and you feel totally detached from one another. The connection and love is completely gone, and replaced with awkwardness, resentment, and even anger. It’s often hard to believe your ex is the same person you were once married to. And even though the two of you are much better off apart, it’s still hard to accept that this person is no longer part of your life.

You will be judged, but only because they are not in your shoes.

Even though it is (unfortunately) much more common these days, divorce is still quite frowned upon. In some religions, it’s even prohibited. My whole life I have heard people criticize others for making the decision to get divorced, saying things like, “How could they just give up so easily? If only they had tried harder to just put their differences aside to make it work. Divorce is the easy way out and they obviously didn’t take their marriage very seriously,” etc. etc. And I’ve definitely felt that same judgement the last couple years, when others have learned of my divorce . I can even admit that I myself thought those things in the past! But after going through it myself, I see things very differently.  When I look back on that time in my life and remember how hard it was for me to start over again; the disapproval and judgement I faced, the friends and family that I lost, how I gave up my home and had to learn how to survive on one income, and how I had to heartbreakingly try to explain to my daughter why mommy and daddy wouldn’t live together anymore…I definitely don’t think that divorce is the easy way out.  I certainly agree that marriage is hard work and that you have to put in as much effort as you can to repair a broken marriage, but sometimes it just can’t be done. No one sees what goes on in a relationship behind closed doors – so while outsiders may see a very happy, picture-perfect relationship and wonder how they could just give that all up – what they don’t see is all the problems that they may have actually had, and just how long and hard they may have been trying to fix them. People don’t end marriages because they don’t want try to fix them. They end them because they already tried and have come to the realization that they cannot be fixed. And contrary to what most people think, deciding to end a relationship does NOT mean that you didn’t try hard enough, or that you don’t know how to commit to a marriage, or even that you don’t love that person anymore. Sometimes it just means that deep down you know that you aren’t going to find a way to make that relationship work anymore, and it’s time to let it go and move on. If I learned anything from my experience with GBS, it’s how fragile life is, and yes, I do believe that life is too short to spend it in an unhappy relationship. Of course you need to change the things that you can first, but you also need to accept the things that you can’t change (or shouldn’t). And sometimes, in the end, separating really is the only way you can both find happiness again. Ultimately, your happiness belongs to no one but you, and nobody should be judged for doing what is best for them.

You will learn a lot about relationships.

Growing up with divorced parents, and living with a mother that was single the majority of my childhood, I never got to see what a real relationship looked like. So I have never really known what makes a relationship work, or what the most effective way to solve a conflict was, or even the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one. But now that I have gained more experience in dating and relationships (only my second as an adult), I am learning all of that. And I am now able to recognize the difference between a relationship that goes through rough patches every once in a while, and one that goes through them all the time. While all couples will go through hard times together at some point, a strong, healthy relationship will never be a roller coaster of ups and downs, year after year. High conflict relationships that are filled with toxic behaviour, anger, tears and break ups, that leave you both feeling emotionally drained over and over again, are all signs that the relationship really isn’t working. It doesn’t matter how deeply you love each other, how committed you are to making it work, how long you have been together, or how many times you kiss and make up. If the both of you do not fix your toxic relationship habits, the problems are going to continue happening over and over again. And you will eventually burn out. You will eventually find that you can’t keep repeating those patterns anymore – especially when you know your child is watching you repeat them. Your children are learning how to have a relationship from you, and I certainly didn’t want my daughter growing up believing the way we handled our problems was actually healthy.

You will do a lot of reflecting.

After surviving something as life changing as a divorce, you will feel like you have grown and learned so much. You will really figure out what you want and need in a partner, and even realize the type of partner that you want to be (and no longer want to be). Sure I can place blame on my ex for the way he treated me at times, but I know that I made my fair share of mistakes too. I know as a result of never learning how to properly communicate in a relationship, that I had my own set of behaviours that were damaging to our marriage, and that I wasn’t always the easiest person to communicate with. Divorce really forces you to take a look at yourself; to not only take responsibility for the things that you did wrong, but to really try to improve yourself so that you don’t fall into those bad habits again. I know I failed in my relationship in many ways, but I am confident now, that through the hard lessons that we learn from a divorce, that we can be better people, and we can learn how to be better partners. And even if you feel your marriage ended in heartbreak, hopefully you will never look back on your relationship as a failure, as you will always have a ton of great memories to forever look back on. For me, everything that I experienced in that relationship; the good and the bad, has shaped me into the person I am today. I have zero regrets, because the love that my ex and I shared, created our beautiful daughter, and I am grateful that she has a father who is as amazing as he is. Everything happens for a reason, and I truly believe that everything that happened brought us exactly where we were meant to end up in our lives. We have both found happiness again, which is all that I ever wanted for the both of us.


The last 5 years has been quite the journey for me, from becoming a mother, to my health issues, then my divorce, and now a new relationship with my wonderful boyfriend. I’ve learned so much about life, love and happiness and what is most important. The sadness, the guilt and the pain from my divorce has subsided and I feel at peace with everything that has happened. I have rebuilt my life (twice now!) and I am so lucky to have been given another chance at love; a chance to do things better this time. My relationship with Jordan has played the biggest part in my growth as a person, and the time I have spent with him has truly transformed my life. And I truly believe that everything that happened in our past, brought us to each other. With the both of us having been through a marriage that ended in divorce, there is a much higher level of appreciation for our relationship, which helps us to protect, respect and even work on what we have that much more. The things that we each learned from our pasts has only strengthened what we have together. Our relationship not only shows me the way that I need to be treated and loved, it is also teaching me how to really treat and love someone in return. And along with his love and support, and the love and support from my family and friends, I feel emotionally stronger than I have felt in my entire life. I’m healthy and happy, and am definitely ready to let go and move forward.


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