GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A Glendale nurse is recovering from two rare conditions that landed her in the hospital for over a week.
During Arizona's first wave of coronavirus, 45-year-old Shannon Smith was caring for COVID-19 patients at long-term care facilities in the Valley. During that time, she started losing feeling in her fingers, arms and leg. While in the hospital, her face became paralyzed.
"As it progressed each day, the eyebrow dropped, the face dropped, and then I had no control over both sides," said Smith. "It was relentless."
Smith said she was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, a rare auto-immune disorder, and Bell's Palsy, a condition that causes muscle weakness in the face. Although extremely rare, health experts have linked both conditions to COVID-19. Smith said she tested positive for coronavirus antibodies and said her doctors believe the virus could be responsible for her diagnoses.
"While we have a few case reports, it is not something that is common either," said Dr. Shad Marvasti with the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Four months later, Smith continues speech and physical therapy, as well as IVIG treatment. She said her arms and upper body still go numb but she is making progress.
"It is a serious virus, it has killed people, it has destroyed people's lives, like me. I want to go back to nursing, I want to go back to taking care of people, I want to be normal again," said Smith.