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Overcoming COVID-19 complications: ‘Just keep fighting’

Amber Luedke
Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 16:02:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — "Just keep fighting." It’s a motto a Greenwood woman lives by after not only overcoming COVID-19 twice but working through a complication of the virus that left her unable to walk.

“I've just seen so many people just struggling to overcome that COVID diagnosis,” IU Health physical therapist Rachel Handt said.

Amber Luedke is one of those patients Handt is referring to.

The 32-year-old from Greenwood spends several days a week working to regain strength, stability, and the like after she was diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome. It is a rare condition where a body’s immune system attacks the nerves.

“Some people recover the ability to walk in about six months. Others it’s two years,” Handt said.

In March of 2020, Luedke first got coronavirus, and with it came the feeling of pins and needles down her legs.

“Doctors couldn’t really figure out what was going on. It was just COVID and so I just kind of lived with it,” Luedke said.

Her symptoms never really went away, but instead worsened this past December. That’s when she caught COVID, again. This time she lost feeling in her legs, and the numbness and tingling spread to her arms.

“I was concerned. I was worried. But at the same time, had faith,” Luedke said.

Luedke’s doctors diagnosed her with GB adding it was a complication from COVID.

While in the hospital, she started physical therapy and regained the ability to walk just in time for her wedding a month later.

“When I get back home, I pushed it a little too hard, and I’m back to square one. Back in the hospital for 12 days,” Luedke said.

After another hospital stay, the newlywed went through intense physical therapy for a second time to regain the ability to walk.

Six months after the initial diagnosis, Luedke will soon wrap up a PT session.

“You have to keep fighting. You can’t give up with GB because the question I kept asking myself was how badly do you want it?” Luedke said. “I went through something so traumatic but at the same time I learned a lot, I learned a lot about myself. I’m very strong.”

Luedke is expected to make a full recovery.

Luedke is hoping in sharing her story, others know how to identify GB and will take COVID seriously.