Survivor story: Beating West Nile

Survivor story: Beating West Nile

DALLAS, TX (KSLA) - Just one mosquito bite was all it took to change Debbie Orand's life. Now, the former Shreveport resident is sharing her story of survival and recovery from the West Nile Virus.

"I'm feeling great," says Debbie Orand, sitting in her new Evergreen Life Services office in north Dallas.

Orand worked in Shreveport/Bossier with Evergreen for years before moving to Texas.  Evergreen has offices all over the country and works with those with developmental disabilities.

"Then I have this opportunity to know what its like," Orand adds, "to be in a place of need."

Orand has the spent the last year recuperating from West Nile Encephalitis and Bell's Palsy Paralysis.

Roughly one year ago, Orand had gone for a late evening jog in her South Highland neighborhood.  She says by the next afternoon, she was in intensive care.  Soon after, doctors diagnosed her with West Nile. It was all from a simple mosquito bite.

"To be disabled within hours was hard for me to believe," adds Orand.

After being nursed back to health, Orand soon began rehab at Willis Knighton Hospital in Shreveport.

"Trying to re-jog the brain to remember what it used to be able to do," explains Lydia Ingram, Orand's physical therapist.  Ingram recalls Orand struggling to walk and her brain processing slowed tremendously when she first began therapy.

"She has a big personality, "adds Ingram.  "So she was fun and pushed herself ,so I always remember those."

For Orand, the physical and occupational therapy soon began paying off.  The brain swelling went down and the ability to do the simple things soon returned, like lifting a fork to eat, putting her hair in a pony tail, or lifting her hands to worship.

"Faith is a very big part of my recovery," says Orand.

Orand continued therapy closer to family in the Dallas area before returning to work with Evergreen.

"I'm so blessed to have my life back."

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