Nerve damage from a rare and crippling disease, guillain-barre syndrome, inhibits Matthew Reisig from being able to carry out motor functions. (Submitted photo)

Aldergrove father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Aldergrove-born Matt Reisig is battling the onset of a rare, paralyzing condition in an Abbotsford ICU after a typical bout with the flu.

In late February, 30-year-old Reisig “had a flu just like the rest of his family,” said Cara Parks, the family’s aunt.

On March 1, the young father woke up in his family’s new home with symptoms that progressed from tingling in his legs to a complete collapse onto the floor.

He was taken by ambulance to the hospital emergency, and upon arrival diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).

“When Matt first fell ill, an ER doctor said it was going to be five days of treatment,” Parks explained. But on March 7 Reisig’s condition deteriorated even further and he had to be intubated in order to breathe.

Reisig has now lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder, and face movements that are limited to nodding, eye rolling, and side-to-side head motions – which he uses to communicate with his wife, Ashley.

She has stood by his side the entire time in hospital, with their one-year-old daughter Ayla.

“People really admire the love they share, their connection in this time,” Parks told the Aldergrove Star.

They became friends in Grade 5 at Parkside Elementary and reconnected after high school. The couple has now been together for 10 years.

“Ashley made a communication board with letters to help Matt convey what he feels and needs,” Parks said.

Doctors have warned Ashley that Resig’s prognosis is grave and at the very least, will amount to a slow recovery. GBS is a neurological condition where adverse effects take two to four weeks to “peak” before plateauing – Reisig is currently at the two-week mark, Parks explained.

The family hopes to raise awareness about GBS – a mysterious inflammatory disorder where the immune system attacks the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cell axons instead of the virus the body is sick with, according to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

There is no known cause for the condition.

“Before this, the family was doing so well. Matt was a very healthy, active guy. He was there for his newborn daughter when she had seizures and for his wife when she faced postpartum depression,” Parks said.

Reisig’s nerve damage now inhibits his muscles from being able to carry out their normal functions.

“We can’t tell how long the recovery is going to be,” Parks said, “Could be months or years.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to offset family expenses, as neither parent will be able to work for the foreseeable future “as Matt takes slow steps towards recovery,” Parks said.

“Doctors keep having conversations with me to manage my expectations,” Ashley told the Aldergrove Star. “But, I’m reaching out in ways I never have because I don’t know what else to do.”

Ashley posts regular status updates to her Facebook page, detailing her husband’s condition.

On Monday, she took Ayla to visit her dad – at his request.

“I wondered if I should, but he needs to remember who he’s fighting this battle for and what he has to look forward to when he comes through it,” the mother posted to Facebook.

Reisig was later transferred to intensive-care unit, and is now undergoing plasmapheresis treatment at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

 

Matthew’s wife, Ashley, has stood by his side the entire time in hospital with their 1-year-old daughter Ayla. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Charge laid in Langley rental scam case

Man charged with fraud after renter paid deposit to con artist who didn’t own property

Langley man, 34, found with 15 inch knife scheduled in court after alleged break and enter

The man was charged with several offences and will appear in provincial court

Jazz vocalist Jennifer Scott comes to town with her trio

Jazz in the Fort presents live music at Fort Langley’s Saba Cafe and Bistro, Nov. 30

Langley Township tackles donation controversy

Two motions address concerns over political donations and conflicts of interest

WEATHER: A mostly cloudy Monday in Langley

Environment Canada says rain is expected late afternoon

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Public inquest to be held into mysterious death of Fraser Valley man

2011 death of Corey Scherbey ruled an overdose by the RCMP while parents insist he was murdered

Family dog dies in B.C. house fire

Cause of Chilliwack blaze on Nov. 16 considered accidental

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

Striking Vancouver hotel workers, employer reach ‘tentative’ agreement

Employees of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia have been out at picket lines since talks broke off on Sept. 21

RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cell phone tickets worse tax grab than speed limits, SenseBC says

Distracted driving statistics questioned as B.C. tickets pile up

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

Most Read