A man who was paralyzed from the neck down has made an incredible recovery and is back in the gym just six months after becoming ill with a potentially deadly immune disorder.
Actor Cody Hively was just 27 when he received a diagnosis for a severe form of the Guillain-Barre syndrome, a lethal condition in around 1 of 20 patients.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is an immune disorders that causes the immune system to attack the patient’s nerves.
Hively spent three months in a hospital receiving intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a treatment for patients with antibody deficiencies.
But he is now back in the gym, just six months after falling ill and after having to learn how to walk again.
It began in mid-January 2022 with numbness and tingling in the feet, and progressed to complete numbness up to the shoulders.
In early February Hively was hospitalized, where he became completely paralyzed two weeks later.
“Every day the doctors said the same thing, this could stop tomorrow, or it could just keep getting worse,” said Hively
The symptoms were so severe that he was only able to nod his head slightly and nurses had to use an alphabet board to talk to him. He had to be intubated because he was unable to breathe or swallow properly.
“It was really disturbing,” he recalled. “I was a prisoner to my own body, minutes turned into days turned into weeks turned into months. My whole body felt like it was on fire.”
Fortunately for a physically active young man with his whole life ahead of him, the treatment was successful, and sensation gradually returned to his body. He was moved to an in-patient rehabilitation clinic on March 17th, where he began recovery.
Hively had to re-learn to use most of his muscles and underwent four hours of physical therapy a day, but by early-July was able to walk short distances with some help.
“I’m a person who enjoys being physical and active, so I’m used to working for things like this,” said Hively. “When I began walking it felt like I was alive again, each week I would make progress even if it was a couple of extra steps.”
By August, he was back in the gym, admitting that he didn’t think he was going to be that 1 in 20; he never lost hope.