A British man battled back from a rare, paralyzing condition that may have been triggered by a common cold, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.
Robin Sheppard was struck down by a debilitating condition known as Guillain-Barre syndrome but has beaten the odds and is back on his feet.
The syndrome, which can be brought on by common ailments such as a respiratory infection or stomach flu, is a very uncommon inflammatory disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its nerves, according the Mayo Clinic. As a result, it can cause severe weakness and numbness and eventually the whole body can become paralyzed.
Sheppard, 53, knows the warning signs all too well.
"I’d developed a hacking dry cough a week beforehand," he told the Daily Mail. "It would not go away and I was definitely lacking in energy."
The day before he collapsed, the wealthy hotelier noticed tingling in his fingers. From there, the symptoms worsened.
"My legs were like jelly," he explained to the newspaper. "I was in agony from pain that seems to be spreading from my spine. Four hours later I got up to use the bathroom, fell down on the landing and couldn’t get up. My arms, my legs, my head — nothing would move. I knew I was in big trouble."
Sheppard was taken to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with Guillain-Barre syndrome, the Mail reported.
While there is no cure for the condition, there are several treatments including intravenous immunoglobulin, which contains healthy antibodies from blood donors. High doses of immunoglobulin can block the damaging antibodies that may contribute to Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Thanks to early treatment and countless hours of physical therapy, Sheppard was able to recover.
Three years later, he is well enough to return to work.
He told the Daily Mail that he’s learned some very important lessons from this harrowing experience.
"I now realize that I was running on empty, but like a lot of men I ignored the signs and hoped they would pass. If only I'd listened and slowed down sooner," he added.