A Birthday to Remember
"I was perfectly healthy a little over a month ago, then I started having headaches and fatigue. I was admitted into the hospital on my birthday," says 27-year-old Jenna Neumann. After a false diagnosis, Jenna transferred to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center where she was diagnosed with mono meningitis guillain barre, an infection that targets the nervous system, leading to weakness, numbness, and in rare cases, paralysis and death. "It's just a slow degenerative process that lasts usually a month. At the worst I was on a ventilator and I could only move my right forearm and a little bit of my hand but I've had plasmapheresis [a treatment that removes plasma from the blood stream]and everyday I get a little bit better." Once Jenna is released from the hospital she will spend a month in an acute rehab clinic regaining her strength. "I'm thankful for every breath that I have, it gives you a renewed perspective," says Jenna. "You learn patience, perseverance, to have faith and to rely on the friends, family and phenomenal staff here at UCLA! UCLA really is wonderful."