My Battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome

In May of every year since 2010 I reflect inward and look back on the hardest journey of my life, I faced death but God had more plans for my journey. It is important to me to share this in hope that someone who is affected by a life challenge may gain strength and inspiration to continue to fight for their mental, emotional and physical health. There are many people with much worse conditions than mine and have much more powerful stories of triumph. This is my story. Please never give up!

The Journey

Many that know me do not know this part of my life. I do not talk about it much because it was incredibly hard to face possible death and paralysis. During this event I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. I did not want to believe I was losing my ability to function. I had just gotten my health back and now to be knocked down was devastating.

I told my wife (Gwen) she couldn’t tell anyone and if they found out to say it wasn’t a big deal. We were both afraid that I would not make it through the next few hours … We fought this war together, Gwen by my side all the way. The doctors quietly told her I might die that night. She stayed all night in the ICU waiting room in and out checking on me. When I was awake she would kiss my head and tell me You Got This!!..God’s not done with us yet! It was effecting my heart, blood pressure and pulse. It looked very dim at this point of what was going to unfold over the next hours, days, and weeks. I was strong, a fighter, defiant and wasn’t about to believe what they were saying.

As a preface to this true story, you need to know I had lost 230 pounds, reversed diabetes and many other adverse health conditions and was living life on top of the world physically and emotionally before this event. For over two decades I was a prisoner to obesity and I had finally gotten my life back. Only to have it jerked out from under me.

In May of 2010 I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). GBS is a form of temporary paralysis that effects the Central Nervous System (CNS). In addition to causing a severe weakening of the muscles in the arms, hands, legs and torso it can affect pulse, breathing, heart rhythm and blood pressure. I was admitted to the ICU and spent four (4) days in the Cardiac Care Unit because my pulse, heart rhythm and blood pressure were going crazy.  They wouldn’t stabilize.

The paralysis stopped at my diaphragm, however, it was having spasms. I was very fortunate because many people with GBS are put on ventilators. I had to closely monitor my respiration rates several times daily. Eventually, they stabilized enough to move me out of the ICU.  GBS kills a small number of those it touches every year. God had other plans for this man!!

I will tell you I was very blessed. I had the slow form and I did not have paralysis of my lungs. I did lose function of my legs and hands and it also greatly affected my autonomic system. I was in great physical shape before it started and I do believe that certainly helped prevent my death and allowed me to heal faster. As soon as I could sit up on my own and had enough strength return to my hands arms and fingers ….then came the long hard battle to learn how to walk again and all at the same time. From wheelchair to walker and we would walk together in the local church parking lot to get outside in fresh air, build more strength and walk further for longer periods of time then it was to the park and as I was getting stronger I needed more. I had Gwen balance me on my exercise bike we had set up in our living room.  I just tried to pedal and slowly began moving my legs. It was a very slow, painful and long process but by asking my muscles to move, my brain began to rebuild the myelin sheath quicker because I had placed a demand on them. In a few months, with therapy, I was walking with a walker and by the end of a year walking but with poor balance. Still during all this time I continued working on my hands and fingers relearning how to use them . It was a long very painful journey and worth every struggle I had to face.

They do not know the exact cause of GBS but it is suspiciously tied to a bacterial infection that can come from a particular family of bacteria found on chicken and it can be caused by different viruses. They also know there is a connection with the ingredients in vaccines and GBS. It can also happen after a stomach or respiratory infection.

I had to re-learn to do the simple things we do to live everyday; like walking, ties shoes, eating, buttoning a shirt, bathing, putting clothes on. Hopefully you get the picture.  Additionally the pain caused from nerve damage was unbearable at time. I am grateful there are medications that help relieve that pain. I could not have lived with that pain.  Today I am medication free.

It took me three years to recover 95% of my normal functionality. GBS was the biggest battle of my life and I was determined to overcome it! Actually, I was very angry that I had worked so hard to get the weight off, get in great physical shape and then to be robbed of all of it in a 3 week period. I was determined it wasn’t going to keep me down! I am a fighter and it took everything I had, the support and Love from my wife Gwen and Gods help to overcome GBS. I was not going to sit back and just become a statistic of GBS.

Two Years Later

We had bought a couple of run around town bikes a year or so earlier and we rarely took them out to ride around our beautiful little South Carolina town. Our town is small enough to think of it as Mayberry like, very quaint and friendly.

After two years of recovery from GBS I was walking but my strength and balance was still poor. I wanted more from my exercise I wanted more from my body! Prior to GBS I was in great shape and spent a lot of time walking, hiking and exercising at the gym.

With some excitement, I decide to pull the old bike out and see if I could even ride it. I was very nervous because my balance was still not very good. GBS greatly affects the small muscles that are so essential for balance. As I took the bike out of the shed and dusted it off I remember mumbling “Okay Lord here we go, I pray you give me the strength and balance to keep this thing upright!” As I pushed off; picture the first time you remember seeing a little one beginning to ride a bike. I was all over the place, handle bars swaying left and right but I was upright and moving forward. It was struggle to keep the handle bars straight because the GBS left me with some hand tremor and arm weakness but I made it 1/4 mile to the end of the street. I stopped with tears in my eyes and said a thank you to God and turned around and headed home.

I can do this! Yes I can do this!! Something inside me said this is the recipe for my full recovery. I knew that the body adapts to the demands being placed on it. I needed to demand more of the nerves in my arms, hands, legs and feet to improve my condition. If I am not showing my body my nerves need to work better by putting them under demand they are not going to improve as quickly or maybe not as much or not at all. My body needed to be told what it needed to fix. Cycling was going to send the message.

Gwen and I continued riding the bike around town. One mile, two miles, three miles. I was ecstatic!! The addiction to cycling was happening. Later that month I bought us both Giant touring bikes and we rode those until I had to have a little more speed. I saw people speeding by us with ease and I wanted to push my body more. As I would mention getting a new bike Gwen would just look at me and smile. She saw my competitive spirit returning and that meant I was healing! I learned to listen to my body. It was not going to recover from exercise like a normal persons would. The recovery process was slower. However, as I continued to build my health slowly, my recovery time got better and better.

Each year my ability to ride further and tougher routes has increased. Since 2015 I have ridden my bicycle over 6,000 miles each year, climbed numerous mountains, participated in dozens of rides over 60 miles long and even did more than ten 100 mile rides. I have participated in dozens of charity cycling events. We even participated in a charity event called A Ride to Remember (supports the Alzheimer’s Association) which covers 252 miles across the state of South Carolina in 3 days in the middle of the summer (4 times). I am not bragging. I want you to see the healing potential if you don’t give up and continue to focus on better health.

Out of the horrific condition  called GBS has blossomed a team of more than 40 cyclist that ride together every chance we get. We cover all adult age groups and sectors of life. We focus on peddling our bikes to help others in need. We all share the same passion of cycling and enjoy this great sport. Our team is called Team Vive.  We celebrate life and every moment it brings.

Even today I still have lingering effects from GBS. I have hand tremors, at time very bad and sometimes it is just a small amount. I have consistent burning and tingling in my hands and feet. The best way to describe what I feel 95% of the time, imagine having gloves filled with sand up to your elbows and socks filled with sand up to the top of your ankles that’s how my hands, arms and feet feel. For unknown reasons sometimes that grit feeling …turns to a burning sensation. At time my balance is off and I run into walls as a turn a corner in a hall way. In some miraculous way it doesn’t happen on my bicycle!

My body has a vibration sensation 100% of the time. It is the same feeling you would get sitting in a chair with built in massage but it follows you everywhere. I have a very high pitched shrill noise in my ears 24/7. At times when I go to sleep, as soon as I close my eyes I have bright flashes of light. It is very much like watching a dim fire works display. To top it off my muscles do not recover from intense exercise like a normal person would. Because of the damaged muscle nerve fibers it effects muscle power and repair. Even with this I am blessed. I can still move, I can exercise, I can work, I can do most things. I praise God everyday for all things!

If you are or have battled GBS the following information may be important for you.

What worked for me may not work for you. We are all biologically unique. But have faith that a recovery will happen.  Always get your doctors approval before starting any new supplements or lifestyle routines.


Nutrition is also key to overcoming GBS. I was blessed to have a strong background in nutrition as a Nutrition and Health Coach and knew the right supplements and foods to help rebuild my myelin sheath and nerve fibers. A clean healthy diet is important for recovery of GBS. B Vitamins (particularly B1, B3, B6 and B12), Omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the minerals zinc (should always take a little copper with zinc), and magnesium are important to help heal. There are other nutrients as well that I was taking which are key. Borage oil, Alpha lipoic acid and Phosphatidylcholine in the form of lecithin.  The myelin sheath is 80% fat and 20% protein so these fatty acids are important in repairing it. The nutrients in our diet are those building blocks. Before taking any supplements check with your doctor and do your own research. There are many studies proving certain nutrients help repair the myelin sheath. I have a list of those nutrients if you want them.


Exercise is important when you are in the healing phase. Be careful not to overdo it. Pace your self and allow time for naps and rest. Everyone heals at a different pace. Be patient with your progress. Trying to exercise the effected muscles lets the brain know that they need to be fixed. The body has many ways to monitor when things are working or not. I know if you do not try to move them they will not heal. Just as if you sit instead of moving, muscles will atrophy because it gets the message that you don’t need them. Exercise such as strength training and cardio is equally important. Until I could go outside I had a course inside my house that I used the walker to exercise with. My wife was so supportive. The pain medication I had to take had bad side effects and one was constipation. Exercise also helps stimulate bowel movements.


Sleep is also essential for recovery and healing. Our body builds muscle, repairs tissues and organs, restores supplies of hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitter compounds, immune system compounds and heals when we sleep. However, it takes building blocks (nutrition) to do this work. Sleep is your friend. If you are tired rest, nap and get long deep sleep everyday until you feel more energy.

What to avoid

Eliminate as many artificial sweeteners and food coloring from your diet as is possible. Try to limit or eliminate as much processed food as possible. They are full of unnatural chemicals that overload the immune system. With GBS your immune system is already out of balance. Processed foods stress the digestive system and immune system. Toxic processed foods, stress, lack of sleep and exercising your body to much is harmful for your recovery.

IF YOU HAVE HAD GBS PLEASE THINK VERY HARD BEFORE GETTING VACCINES! If your doctors tells you to get the flu vaccine or any vaccine please tell them you have had GBS. It can cause a relapse of GBS. This is information my doctor gave me.

Do not push your self to hard. I learned the hard way that doing too much to soon will set you back. Take your recovery in baby steps.

GBS Flares

Don’t be alarmed or surprised if you occasionally have GBS flares. They happen for me about once a year and last a month to 6 weeks. A flare is minor symptoms of GBS and fatigue not a complete relapse. Flares can be scary, just pull back on activity (don’t stop exercising, just reduce it), nourish your body more and get more rest.  With GBS its important to listen to your bodies needs. If you feel a relapse happening seek medical attention immediately.

You are strong, be determined to get you life back, get up and do something about your condition, DO NOT LET YOUR CONDITION DEFINE YOU! Your attitude about your life ends up telling your life story. Make it a great one!

Please contact me with any question about GBS.

I hope for you a long and healthy life!

Wally Bishop C.N.C  I.N.H.C.

Nutrition and Health Coach

Vive shake

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I Ignored the Elephant in the Room, Please Don’t!

This Doesn't Have to Happen But Can If You Ignore It!
This Doesn’t Have to Happen But Can If You Ignore It!

This article doesn’t apply to every over weight person.  But it might be just for you.

When I was at my heaviest weight, 450+ pounds I knew I was fat, that was obvious but I kept telling myself I am not really that big, I carry my weight well.  No one has said anything to me about my weight other than my doctor occasionally suggesting gastric bypass surgery but no other remedies. My friends still like me! Sure my knees and ankles hurt and I have trouble finding chairs to sit in but that was normal for me. Going from overweight to obese to super obese was normal for me as much as I hated it.  Over time the weight increased slowly without me noticing what was really happening, or was I just ignoring the elephant in the room. I guess I just learned to adjust my life around it instead of confronting it.

And them boom! My doctor hit me with the “D” word one day! I was now diabetic. I can’t tell you what a shock that was to me. I really thought I can stay this large and live to 90. The reality in my world was fantasy not fact or anywhere close to real. In fairness he did tell me at some point I would become diabetic but I chose to not believe him. Why should I? He hasn’t seemed concerned about my weight and other than high blood pressure and arthritis I wasn’t dying. I had ignored the elephant in the room for years. Now the elephant was looking me straight in the face and was demanding my attention.  OK, I thought, so what I have diabetes, millions do. (more denial) He prescribed the medication told me how to take it. I had the prescription filled and went home with the intentions of taking the medication………until I read the side effects! Wow, that woke me up from a deep obese hibernation.  The last symptom and most compelling of phrases hit me. It said so innocently “MAY CAUSE DEATH”! How is death a symptom? Death is finality, the end, the exit of breathing and smiling and laughing and life! The elephant in the room was raising his trunk and sounding a loud roar of warning. If the pills didn’t kill me my current condition would. I kept ignoring him for years and now I had to deal with him.

Any time we talk about weight challenges it can be difficult because we as overweight people can be easily embarrassed. It’s very personal. There is a stigma attached to our situation. However, let’s face it, no one grows up aspiring to be overweight or obese.  I certainly never intended to be this heavy and kept trying to pretend it didn’t matter if I was so heavy. But to my health and quality of life and those that loved and cared about me it did matter.

Stop ignoring the elephant in the room. He will eventually get your attention if you don’t. Acknowledge his presence then do something to get him out of the room.

Begin by taking a good long look at yourself in a full length mirror while absolutely butt naked (southern term). Take it all in and say today this is me. Accept this is you, today. If you need to cry, shout, fuss and get on your pity pot for about 10 minutes. Then get pissed off and angry that you allowed this to happen. No one else did it to you, you did it through choices you made.

Now, what isn’t your fault is a lack of healthy dietary and lifestyle knowledge. I had no clue how to eat healthy or live healthy. I was depending on my doctors to give me the knowledge to prevent or fix my situation. They didn’t have it.  If something isn’t working it’s our responsibility to seek out the knowledge to fix it or improve it.

How to get ride of the elephant!

  • Acknowledge him
  • Educate your self about healthy foods and food to avoid.  This blog is a great place to get this knowledge!
  • Fill your days with an abundance of highly nutritious foods, herbs and spices!
  • Stay active everyday by exercising and enjoying physical activities like walking, swimming and cycling.

My elephant was over 200 pounds of fat, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, etc.. and today he is gone!

Your NutriBullet, your juicer, your healthy diet and your legs are your ticket to a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Eat healthy, keep moving, make people laugh, be of service when possible, be grateful for everything and your elephant will become a picture of health!

I have gone from fat to fit and you can to!!

I conquered Paris Mountain!
I conquered Paris Mountain!













Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.



The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Before exercising get your doctors approval.







My Ride to Remember! Cycling 256 miles in 3 Days

The Finish Line!! 100 miles on Day 3 and 256 miles in 3 days!!
The Finish Line!! 100 miles on Day 3 and 256 miles in 3 days!!

The word grateful really doesn’t begin to express how I feel most days now. I have been blessed to have overcome the bondage of obesity and its health problems like diabetes, arthritis and sleep apnea and from being paralyzed for a few months to a life of health and fitness.  It is not often you get the opportunity to get a do over in life or as golfers say “take a Mulligan”! God has given me two and everyday when I wake up he gets my praise and thanks for giving me the courage and strength to fight through these two beast’s.

Losing weight is about acceptance of what caused the issue, (you are not moving enough and eating the wrong foods) dietary and lifestyle knowledge, planning and patience with yourself. Overcoming paralysis is all about having the drive, heart and courage to overcome and move again.  It’s hard to have patience when your legs and hands no longer work.  In both cases you have a choice, do nothing and accept what is happening or change your situation. I was tired of being 450 pounds and I beat that beast!  Then, four years ago I was struck with Guillian Barre Syndrome a form of paralysis.  It took me a year to be able to exercise vigorously again.

There was a period in my life when I really didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t get the weight off and couldn’t see that I had a greater purpose waiting once I got through these life challenges. That was over eight years ago and now I just rode a bicycle over 250 miles in 3 days!! I never could have dreamed I would have accomplished this a few years ago.

Special thanks to Lewis McWhite my Vive Team Partner and Jason Leslie my trainer.

This was a special event from a personal perspective,

A Ride to Remember is a ride across South Carolina to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association of South Carolina. Even though this was a cycling event with over 220 cyclist, it was a very special Ride to Remember for me! The three days were fun, yet at times difficult, at times wet and sweaty. We visited small towns all across South Carolina and got to meet and enjoy local residents.

And yes, with this many miles and this many cyclist all types of issues arise. A multitude of flat tires, crashes, broken bikes but never broken spirits. All types of bikes from very expensive to not so expensive, tandem’s (2 people on a bike), vintage bike’s (older bikes) and a bike that looked like a large-scale version of a soap box derby car! If it had 2 wheels and a seat you might have seen it.

Doing an event like this has a feeling of camaraderie and you get this feeling in your gut that you are about to do something special. For some cyclist riding this distance is not a challenge but for many it is their first time doing this kind of distance for 3 days in a row and completing it is very special.  I made many new friends some of which may last a life time. But this journey was special and gave me much more!

You can do anything if you are willing to put in the effort and dedication required to earn it. Most things worth having can’t be bought, they must be earned. Just like respect, integrity, honor, reputation etc… they are earned. Your age doesn’t matter, your gender, race or religion doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is if you are willing to earn it.

Never in a million years……More coming!


Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.



The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.



Are You Holding You Back?

one legged bikerBefore you read this I want to share with you that God has given you the amazing strength to pull yourself up from the depths of depression and hopelessness to a life of glorious health. You just have to want it and be willing to put in the effort. There are many true stories of true hero’s that have overcome huge obstacles to achieve greatness. I want to share with you an event I recently experienced that really inspired me. I hope it does you as well.

I Could Not Believe My Eyes!

Two weeks ago while riding my bike on a trail we have in our city called the Swamp Rabbit Trail something unbelievable and inspiring happened. I ride the trail almost every day, Monday through Friday. I see all types of people from families walking, roller bladders, roller skiing to bikers in their 80’s. Yes that’s right, I said 80’s. I see a couple in their 80’s at least once a week that ride at least 12 miles that day.

Well, today was a very special day. I saw a young man riding a very nice and serious road bike. I am not talking about a bike you just cruise around on I am talking about a $2,000.00 to $4000.00 road bike, the kind professionals ride. What totally blew me away was that he had only one leg and no artificial leg to support him on the other side.  As I passed him, I was thinking how is this possible. On road bikes of this type we wear special shoes that clip in and out of a special fixture to give you more pedal power. Once your feet are clipped in they can’t slip off of the pedal. They are locked in. It takes practice to understand how to get your feet off in a hurry if you need to. I have fallen several times. I can only guess that to become as good as he is, he has put in an incredible amount of hours to master the physical ability of road biking at this level. He is not the only person with a disability that has mastered this feat.

As I am peddling along totally absorbed in this young mans ability to overcome his disability I was overcome by emotion. I guess we shared a common bond of sorts. Not that overcoming my challenges was anything close to his challenges but we were both over-comers.  Truthfully, I was just shocked that he could do what he was doing. I hear so many excuses from people everyday about why they can’t beat their obesity or improve their health.

After about 5 minutes a blur passed by me and it was this young man with one leg. I consider my self a fair rider with decent speed but this guy just blew by me like I was standing still. I am still trying to figure out how he gets on and off his bike. I hope to meet him one day and let him know what an inspiration he is. There are many people with disabilities that strive to lead a normal life and through their strength and determination they find a way to be a part of everyday life and even reach higher levels like this young man.

I am an Over-comer, You Can Be One Too!

Eight years ago my physical world was a disaster. I weighed almost 450 pounds, had several health conditions and couldn’t do much of anything I wanted to do . Walking more than a couple hundred feet or standing longer than 5 minutes was very difficult.  It was very painful on my knees and ankles and made me short of breath quickly. I was a hostage of my own making. It took me a while to learn, understand and painfully admit that I created my condition.

I was once an athlete and took pride in my physical abilities. I routinely worked out, played racquet ball, took martial arts, ran 5 miles 4 days a week.  The rest is a blur! What happened? Life happened like it does for most of us.

Seven years ago God gave me an opportunity to right the sinking ship my body had become as I began earnestly searching for ways to help my wife overcome debilitating fibromyalgia. You can read about that story here. Anything worth having has a price that must be paid. I saw the opportunity and I took advantage of it. I was willing to pay the price to get my health and life back. It took dedication and resolve and support from friends and family. But what it really took was for me too stop making excuses. I lost over 200 pounds and now thoroughly enjoy my life.  I can do anything I want for anyone my age!

Then Out of Nowhere

Three years ago I became ill with a condition called Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). It is a form of paralysis that begins in your feet and gradually works it way up your body. Every case is different. For months I could not walk without a walker or use my hands enough to hold a fork or spoon. I am like, wow, I just get my life back and now I can’t walk much less run, hike or bike. At this point I could have climbed inside my shell and blamed God or life and just given up. Many people do just that. I guess I am stubborn. I was not going to let this condition rob me of the life I had just worked so hard to get back.

I prayed for God’s mercy and strength to overcome this terrible condition. I was very fortunate in that my case was not as severe as it could have been. I spent 4 days in intensive care and a total of eight days in the hospital before they sent me home to recover. I believe that my new found health and fitness kept me from having a more severe case of GBS. I don’t think I would have survived GBS if I would have been at my heaviest weight.

GBS is weird in that your nerves lose their ability to adequately send signals to muscles and as they heal ever so slowly you begin to recover the potential to regain your strength. Strength doesn’t happen without work. Once strong enough I used my walker and would do laps around the house. As soon as I could get on my exercise bike I did. Gwen, my wonderful wife would help me get on the bike (that was a real challenge)  and help me balance on it so I could just turn the  pedals. Gradually I began to rebuild my body again. What would have happened if I just gave up?

I humbly ask you to think about any excuse you have for not trying. Life is not perfect, it is what we make of it.

What are you making of your life? What excuses do you really have, honestly?

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C.

The contents of this blog is not and should not be  considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

This product has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not used as a cure, treatment or diagnosis for any disease or illness.