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McKiernan doing well

Ennis soldier back on track after battle with nerve disease
When she signed up to be a soldier she didn’t think her first battle would come so quickly, but Rachelle McKiernan has recovered from a rare disease and is back to basics trying to enter the military.
Rachelle was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition that paralyzed her from the shoulders down. During the worst of illness, Rachelle lost the ability to speak and could barely move her shoulders and head.
The condition caused Rachelle’s immune system to attack her peripheral nervous system, which began as a tingling sensation in her legs and worked its way up to her arms and upper body. She was first hospitalized following injections she received as part of her training for the military. Following that she was to be shipped overseas.
However, most of that terrible illness is behind Rachelle and her family, and Rachelle has returned her focus to joining the armed forces to fight for her country.
“She’s been really, really, remarkable,” Vecenta McKiernan, Rachelle’s stepmother, said.
Vecenta said Rachelle has returned to Arizona, where she was sent prior to being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Rachelle hopes to still be accepted into the military so she can fight for the ones she loves.
“She is still committed to it,” Vecenta said. “She’ll do what (the military) has planned.”
Rachelle’s recovery is still ongoing as she continues to go through therapy, but Vecenta said she is getting around without a walker now and continues to improve. The right side of Rachelle’s face was still numb after it seemed she had fully recovered, but since then the numbness has subsided.
“Not knowing what’s going to stay with her and what’s not going to stay with her was one of our greatest fears,” Vecenta said. “Not knowing if she would recover fully. Thinking that something would linger.”
A byproduct of Rachelle’s close brush with total paralysis is that it has brought the McKiernan family closer together. Vecenta called the experience an eye-opener for her.
“Things can happen so quick and so fast because you have this child who’s never been sick a day in her life and then you are in the ICU because she is going on a breathing machine,” Vecenta said.
Rachelle, an Ennis resident since the fourth grade, and her family received numerous correspondence and prayers from neighbors and friends who shared in the McKiernan family’s fear of what was happening. Vecenta couldn’t fully express the appreciation her family felt.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” Vecenta said. “A word doesn’t fit for the amount of gratuity we feel toward everyone.”

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Posted by on Aug 26 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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