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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

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

Langley RCMP are looking for witnesses to an apparent shoot out between two vehicles in Langley City and Brookswood on Saturday morning. (Langley Advance Times files)
Shots fired between speeding cars in Brookswood, Langley City

One or both cars were firing shots at the other in the middle of the night

Township of Langley civic facility. (Langley Advance Times files)
Budget shortfall shrinking in Langley Township

Staff showed council a tightened up budget, without borrowing, on Monday

A Langley woman said she was shaken by the angry encounter. (Google Maps)
Woman shaken after belligerent encounter with unmasked man in Langley store

A man angry about vaccines berated a fellow shopper, a witness said

Cody Younker, Revelstoke city councillor. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke councillor accused of sexually abusing Langley teen while school chaperone

Lawsuit alleges Cody Younker sexually abused student while volunteering on school trips

Jen Papageorge, 52, with her teenage daughters Keira and Talia are members of the Westcoast Harmony Chorus. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read