"In a single day, everything changed." It was March 10, 2018: Mike woke up and realized he couldn’t feel his hands or legs.
“I went from working, walking, laughing to waking up on a Saturday morning not able to get out of bed,” he says.
Mike was rushed to the hospital where the weakness and paralysis got worse, and excruciating pain began.
He had a severe case of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease, which causes the immune system to attack its own nerve cells. In mere hours, Mike could no longer swallow and needed help to breathe. His body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure were all fluctuating abnormally.
If not for a plasma-derived drug, intravenous immune globulin (IVIg), Mike’s story might have had taken a very different turn. IVIg helped neutralize the harmful antibodies and inflammation responsible for Mike’s symptoms.
“If IVIg hadn’t been available when Mike needed it, I know that I’d be a widow,” says Mike’s wife Angie.
Mike spent a month in the intensive care unit at the Ottawa General Hospital, and when the worst of his symptoms had passed he began daily physiotherapy, as well as occupational therapy. He was determined to walk out of the hospital, and he did. He continues to work towards a full recovery, and is encouraged to be able to do many of the things he says he used to take for granted.