If you know about GBS (or started your research as soon as you heard one of your friends has the disease, like I did), you know the first two weeks are the worst before she will hit a “plateau.” Once the plateau is reached,the symptoms should not get any worse and in fact, will hopefully get much better. Ashley is currently getting plasma treatments (dialysis through the femoral catheter in her leg). The doctors say these treatments will push Ashley through the first two weeks quickly and hopefully she will reach her plateau soon. As of now, Ashley can only move her feet to answer yes and no questions.
Ashley was put on a breathing tube early in the week because her breathing was labored and the doctors wanted to reduce the risk of pneumonia or other respiratory infections. She was weaned off the breathing device somewhat yesterday(Friday), which is great news, but her facial muscles developed more weakness. Yesterday, the doctors noticed a spot onher lungs which could possibly be pneumonia so they started administering antibiotics right away as a precaution. Throughout her entire time in the hospital she has not developed a fever, which is a great sign. The doctors say we take everything “day by day” and celebrate every progress she makes. We will know a lot more about her recovery time and what her life will look like after she gets through the worst of the disease over the next week or so.
The cause of Ashley’s condition is still unknown. As many of you know, she recently returned from a 2.5 week trip to Uganda, doing what she loves – traveling, volunteering, and working with her students. The doctors say she could be having a bad reaction to an immunization she got before she left, she could have picked up a bug in Uganda that turned into GBS upon her return, or she could have eaten some bad meat once she got home to Burlington. There is really no telling.
Ashley is surrounded by her loving mother and father this week and her brother Garrett plans to come down Wednesday of next week to be with the family. Ashley can’t have live plants in the room, but well-wishes on the Caring Bridge blog, on Facebook, or by text to her phone are most welcome. Maria, Ashley’s mom, has access to Ashley’s phone and reads the messages to Ashley as they come in. On non-treatment days, Ashley is very alert and understands everything that is going on, so please send words of encouragement.
In the meantime, we all know how very expensive medical treatments can be and how much stress that can add to an already extremely difficult situation. If there is anything you can give to help relieve that additional stress for Ashley and her family, it would be so greatly appreciated. The only thing we need Ashley to focus on right now is staying her amazingly strong and positive self. Let us focus on easing that process and sharing our love for someone who has so much love that she has always shared with us, and the whole world.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at [email redacted].
Leah & Sam