FROM THE BITTERNESS OF DISEASE MAN LEARNS THE SWEETNESS OF HEALTH – CATALAN PROVERB
During my stay in ICU I was given antihypertensives, immunoglobulin, analgesics, an anticoagulent, antidepressants, albumin, antibiotics and a sleeping pill (see the ICU section for more information). Fourteen months after first contracting GBS, I still take the following medications.
- Anticoagulent x 1 daily, to prevent clots forming in my blood vessels due to my prolonged lack of movement.
- Antidepressant x 1 twice a day. I had never taken any antidepressants previously; Dr B asked a psychiatrist to prescribe them when I was in ICU. These drugs are essentially mood lifters and help relieve anxiety. In the words of Ashleigh Brilliant, “I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attach me at once.” What really gets to me some days is not knowing how long it will take to recover, and whether I will make a full recovery or be left with some level of disability.
- Sleeping pill x 1 at night. Sleeping had never been a problem before GBS, but the constant noise and activity in both ICU and the rehab clinic disturbed my sleep immensely. I am still not able to sleep as soundly as I used to, but now only take a pill if I slept badly the previous night.
DIET & SUPPLEMENTS
The most useful information regarding diet and supplements is on the Guillain-Barre & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN) website. Click this link – GAIN – and download the brochure entitled “Recovery”.
Regarding diet, I drink at least 1,5L of fluids every day, focus on foods containing protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates, and limit my intake of simple carbohydrates in order to stay healthy, maintain energy, and prevent weight gain. Read a comparison of simple vs complex carbs here.
I also take the following daily supplements:
- Calcium with Vitamin D (which is required for the absorption of calcium).
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin B Complex
- Omega 3, 6 and 9.
- An over-the-counter capsule containing chondroitin and glucosamine to nourish joint cartilage. NB: DO NOT USE THIS MEDICATION IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH!
I don’t know whether the supplements are responsible for the improvement in my movements, but the greatest and most consistent improvements started about 3 weeks after I started the supplement regimen. It could be totally coincidental; we’ll never know for sure because there isn’t any data to support or deny the benefits of supplements for GBS recoverees.
Update – 2017:
- I started experiencing muscle spasms in my shoulders, and am now taking a slow release magnesium pill at night. This has greatly reduced the spasms.
- To relieve constipation, I now take one 9-strain Probiotic at night. I discovered this beneficial side-effect in January when I was prescribed a probiotic along with a very strong antibiotic to treat a prolonged bout of bronchitis.
© louisehasgbs 2014. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: This is a personal account of my experiences. Discuss all treatment, therapies, medication, diet and supplements with your own doctor and/or specialist.