Sufjan Stevens Shares ‘Scary’ Guillian-Barre Syndrome Diagnosis – Billboard

Sufjan Stevens Shares ‘Scary’ Guillian-Barre Syndrome Diagnosis – Billboard


Sufjan Stevens was gearing up to promote his upcoming Javelin album (Oct. 6) when he woke up one day recently and couldn’t feel his hands of feet. The singer revealed in a length Instagram post on Wednesday (Sept. 20) that he has been missing from the press rounds in advance of his first solo collection of new tunes in three years because he’s been in the hospital battling a scary autoimmune disease.

“I’m very excited about having new music to share, but I just wanted to let you know that one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to participate in the press and promotion leading up to the release of Javelin is bc I am in the hospital,” the singer wrote along with a selfie of him in a hospital room with a walker at his side.

“Last month I woke up one morning and couldn’t walk. My hands, arms and legs were numb and tingling and I had no strength, no feeling, no mobility,” he explained. “My brother drove me to the ER and after a series of tests—MRIs, EMGs, cat scans, X-rays, spinal taps (!), echo-cardiograms, etc.—the neurologists diagnosed me with an auto immune disorder called Guillian-Barré Syndrome.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, the syndrome is a “rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your hands and feet are usually the first symptoms.” The numb sensation can spread quickly and can eventually paralyze a patient’s entire body, requiring immediate hospitalization to begin treatment.

The cause of the Syndrome is unknown, but most patients report symptoms of some kind of infection (COVID-19, Zika virus, a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection) in the weeks proceeding a diagnosis. There is currently no known cure, but there are several effective treatments that can ease symptoms and reduce the illness’ duration, with recovery sometimes taking several years, though most patients can walk again within six months of the first symptoms. In rare instances, the Syndrome can be fatal.

Stevens said he was lucky that he’s received treatment via immuno-hemoglobin infusions for five days, though he had to have faith that “the disease doesn’t spread to the lungs, heart and brain. Very scary, but it worked. I spent about two weeks in Med/Surg, stuck in a bed, while my doctors did all the things to keep me alive and stabilize my condition. I owe them my life,” he wrote.

Stevens said he was transferred to an acute rehab facility on Sept. 8, where he is currently “undergoing intensive physical therapy/occupational therapy, strength building etc. to get my body back in shape and to learn to walk again. It’s a slow process, but they say I will ‘recover,’ it just takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work.”

He noted that most people with GBS learn to walk again on their own within a year, so he’s hopeful that he’ll be back on his feet at some point. “I’m only in my second week of rehab but it is going really well and I am working really hard to get back on my feet,” he said. “I’m committed to getting better, I’m in good spirits, and I’m surrounded by a really great team. I want to be well!”

The singer/songwriter promised to keep fans updated on his progress and thanked them for their thoughts and prayers. “Be well, be joyful, stay sane, stay safe. I love you,” he said. Javelin is the proper solo follow-up to Stevens’ eighth studio album, 2020’s The Ascension.

See Stevens’ post below.



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