Brian Center Fincastle resident rehabs in 100 days, returns home to family

Nancy Mastin was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Weakness and tingling in your hands and feet are usually the first symptoms, and these sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.

She needed intubation for breathing and a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) tube for feeding. Her prognosis at the hospital was not as positive as she hoped. She was not going to be a candidate for decannulation for removing the breathing tube unless her strength improved greatly and at the time, she was at high risk of being vent dependent for life.

She was alert and able to shrug shoulders but unable to talk. However, even though being vent dependent she could mouth words. Nancy required total assistance from two caretakers for mobility, transferring and for hygiene care. She could only sit on the edge of the bed for 10 minutes with the assistance of two people, would get nauseated and only hold her head up for close to 47 seconds.

Mastin was admitted to the Brian Center Fincastle in Fincastle VA on October 26, 2023. With physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy, she began her long journey to recovery. Her determination, along with the dedication of the team at Fincastle, helped her overcome her medical challenges in just 100 days.
First, she was able to wean from use of the PEG feeding tube and oxygen.

Through physical and occupational therapy, she progressed to performing all aspects of bed mobility independently, dressing with independence, feeding independently on a regular diet, bathing with independence, and performing toilet transfers. Mastin began performing all transfers including car transfer and walking 300 feet with a front wheeled walker and supervision by therapy team members.

“Given her diagnosis, Nancy’s recovery is unprecedented in my 33 years as a therapy professional because of her determination and trust in the process,” said Judy Pack, Physical Therapist Assistant for the Brian Center Fincastle.

She said she wouldn’t be where she is without the encouragement of staff and the love and support from her dear family and friends. When asked what advice you would give someone she said, “do your therapy everyday- it will pay off in the end.”

“I’m going to miss you guys, but I am walking out of here,” Mastin said. “If you keep at it, you will surprise yourself at what you are capable of doing.”

Mastin was discharged to home with her daughter on February 2 and her goal in 2024 is to walk without her walker and drive her car again.

Brian center fincastle therapy team with nancy mastin who rehabbed in 100 days.