Mike’s Story: Overcoming COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré Syndrome


When it comes to COVID-19, many people believe, “Well, it can’t happen to me!” But with 16.8 million diagnosed cases worldwide, and nearly 4.5 million of those in the United States alone, the chances seem increasingly likely. For Mike Krabbenhoft, a Casselton businessman, his health journey began in March. Following hospitalization, Mike received a shock; he had both COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Read Mike’s full story on InfoForum.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare and unpredictable autoimmune disorder. Rather than attacking foreign invaders, the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheath, the protective covering on peripheral nerves. In many cases, GBS occurs after some sort of viral infection. Up to 30% of patients still experience symptoms after 3 years. Symptoms include:

  • Leg tingling and weakness, which progressively spreads to the torso and arms
  • Muscle pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Problems with coordination
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • Paralysis (in severe cases)

Discover more on Guillain-Barré syndrome here.

Mike’s Story

In March, 67-year-old Mike Krabbenhoft attended a few basketball tournaments. Even though he enjoyed the sportsmanship and cheering on the teams, he returned home feeling sore, fatigued, and generally unwell. His first symptoms were a fever and loss of appetite. So Mike brushed it off as a cold or stomach bug.

However, his opinions changed the next morning when he woke up semi-paralyzed. He couldn’t move his arms or legs. Frightened, he visited the hospital and was immediately admitted. After running a series of diagnostic tests, doctors diagnosed Mike with both COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Between the two of them, his body failed to function properly.

As a result, Mike remained hospitalized for 3 months. As he slowly recovered, he found that he lost a lot of function. He couldn’t walk, speak, swallow, or use his hands. Since then, he has been participating in physical therapy. This involves exercising his legs, tongue and lips, and other areas to build strength and improve function. As of right now, he is still re-learning to walk, but he is hopeful.

Because of his condition, Mike has been unable to go home or work at his business since April. If you would like to donate to help Mike’s recovery, consider using his GoFundMe! Donate here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

Share this post

Follow us