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Our Patients

    • Michelle Soto

      Michelle Soto


      Think of all the great memories that the birth of a child brings: the announcement of being a boy or a girl, the congratulations from all of the family members, and the list goes on. When Michelle Soto became pregnant for the third time, these were without a doubt some of the things that she was looking forward to. Although Michelle was able to enjoy all of these things, her story took a twist that led her to West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital.

      In May of 2012, Michelle was getting ready to have her third child and her first baby girl, Lily. However, during her third trimester, Michelle began to have numbness and tingling in her legs. For Michelle and Lily's safety, Michelle had to undergo an early c-section and have her baby. The doctors believed that the child's birth would alleviate Michelle's symptoms. However, two days after going home from the hospital, she had to return when she lost full control of her legs.

      After conducting a battery of tests including a spinal tap, doctors concluded that Michelle was being affected by Guillain Barre Syndrome, a rare condition that causes one's own immune system to affect the nervous system of the body, causing paralysis. Michelle was treated medically for the condition but then faced the burden of regaining her strength and functional capabilities to return to her normal life which consisted of caring for her husband and three children as well as working at a law firm.

      When Michelle was admitted to West Gables on June 1, 2012, she was essentially paralyzed from the waist down and had minimal control of her legs. Because of this lack of control, Michelle was dependent on someone else for the majority of life's basic tasks such as sitting up in bed, standing up, and putting on her pants. Michelle had also lost the ability to walk.

      With the intensive inpatient therapy at West Gables, Michelle was able to regain control of her legs and begin to walk. She gained sufficient independence in a matter of just two weeks. At that time, she was able to return home, walking with a walker, and saw her baby for the first time since being hospitalized almost a month prior.

      Michelle's story then continued in our outpatient department where she received care for approximately one more month. She regained full control of her legs and thus the ability to complete all of her past tasks such as walking independently, caring for and carrying her newborn and driving within the community.

      Although this time has started to become a distant memory for Michelle, her journey through West Gables was a special one for all who encountered her. Michelle demonstrated an incredible amount of strength, courage and tenacity to overcome such a scary life event. Our congratulations go out to Michelle and her family for her incredible recovery and ability to show us all what great moms do on a daily basis!