Dr. Lycka & Jennifer Perri On Her Battle with Gambre Syndrome

Below is the transcript from the FAMOUS Dr. Al’s (Dr. Allen Lycka) interview with Jennifer Perri, on the How to Live A Fantastic Life Show, syndicated through Brushwood Media Network with seven million listeners a month.  In this episode, Jennifer Perri and Dr. Lycka talk about her journey with Gambre Syndrome. From becoming almost completely paralyzed to coming back – and as a transformational life coach, the learning moved her in a direction she never expected. They discuss how our greatest challenges are some of our greatest abilities. This episode will challenge you and make you truly look at your life in a different way. So read on, or listen to the full episode here.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Friends, you’re in for a really special treat today. Her name is Jennifer Perri. And she’s a transformational life coach. But she’s more than that. Jennifer is one of my heroes. Her journey from adversity to triumph. From what I’d say from zero to hero is something that everybody needs to hear because not only has she been on the tarmac once, she’s been there many times, and each time she gets up, she’s proof that the harder you fall, the bigger the bounce. And Jennifer has bounced so much it’s unbelievable. Welcome Jennifer Perri.

Jennifer Perri 

Hi, thank you for that introduction. I love that I’m gonna have to use that.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Well, I think I got that from one of the people on my shows who had written a book. The harder the fall, the bigger the bounce. And I said, this is brilliant. Tell me, Jennifer, can you fill in our listeners on the most recent bounce that you had?

Jennifer Perri 

Oh, my goodness. Well, yes. So, I would say my most recent bounce happened about two years ago. It was December of 2021. And we are getting ready for Christmas. And you know, my husband, you know that he loves to cook in this get everything situated. Christmas is my favorite time of year. And I woke up and we had a bunch of stuff to do. And I just didn’t feel right. I thought maybe I slept funny, or something was wrong. So, when we were out and about I went to my chiropractor, and she said, Well, you know, maybe it’s a pinched nerve, let’s kind of put you on one of those decompression tape tables and stretch things out and see if that helps. And we tried that and two days later, I got to the point where I couldn’t even lift up, pick up my leg and put it on a curb. And she said, listen, we’re coming into Christmas by now I couldn’t drive, my husband was really worried. She said I just want you to go over to the emergency room. Just to get checked out. We weren’t really sure what else was going on. So, went into the emergency room, and was there for about four hours, they did a ton of tests a ton of blood work X rays, and MRI. And then they finally did a spinal tap. And by that time, I was feeling much worse, and was diagnosed with Gambre syndrome. And by that evening, I started to have paralysis from my shoulders all the way down to my toes, and within five days, was completely paralyzed and went into half of my face. So, then I was paralyzed from my face into the tips of my toes. So, within a matter of six days of diagnosis, I would say I was fighting for my life because we didn’t know which direction I was gonna go in. So, it was probably it was the scariest, no doubt, the scariest time of my life. But also, I think, the most transformational part of it as well.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

You know, Gambre is a very difficult disease. And the worst part of it is its unpredictability because I’ve seen people totally paralyzed, I mean, that they cannot move anything. But then they come back from this terrible state of paralysis.

Jennifer Perri 

You do, and it’s scary, and we had never heard of it. Right. I think I had heard one time it was mentioned when they advertise flu vaccines, you know, risk of Gambre syndrome. But it’s like you don’t know about something until it affects you. Right. So within, I don’t know, two hours of diagnosis, I felt like my husband, and I had learned so much about a syndrome we had never heard of. And plus, I know it was totally a God thing that the doctor who took care of me in the emergency room. She herself had had Gambre about eight years before. And within hours, she was on a ventilator. She had lost the ability to breathe. She was really fighting for her life. And she was really concerned because of the trajectory of my paralysis, that I was going to end up on a ventilator as well. So, we had to, not only was I not going to be home for the first time in my life at Christmas, she was saying, wherever, whatever state has the treatment, we’re going to air evac your life vac you to wherever it is. So not only was I not going to be home for Christmas, I may not even be in the same state as my family. So, it was a very scary and I can tell you two days before I started to turn around and start to come back a little bit, I started having problems breathing. And I thought, oh my god, I’m going to end up on the ventilator. They had already prepared intensive care again, that I may be coming back to it. But I know it was a grace of God that it just kind of stayed out of my lungs and it’s been a long road to recover, but it happened so fast. But then there are people I have met that are recovering 20 and 30 years later still.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

That is amazing how you’ve recovered. Now, for the sake of our listeners, can you tell us about your journey to recovery?

Jennifer Perri 

Oh, my goodness, well, between the hospital I was transferred to, I live in the mountains in north Georgia the in the US and was diagnosed in this little mountain hospital. So, they were all wonderful. But I had to be transported to the city because I had to go through a five-day infusion. And I was in the hospital and then transferred into rehab and spent a total of 30 days between the hospital and rehab. And I started to regain use of my hands, moving my shoulders and things like that. But I still had to go through a ton of occupational therapy to learn how to write again, to learn how to send text messages. But I came home in a wheelchair and really had no control over moving my legs. And they predicted I probably wouldn’t walk for about a year and a half. And it was a journey that was overwhelming at times. But you know, my husband and I had just been married for a short period of time.

My husband really jumped in and became, you know, the true example of in sickness and in health. So, did started having people come in and doing physical therapy with me at home. And it was 56 days later that I took my first steps and kind of have continued to blow through every milestone that they tried to, you know, they tried to say I wasn’t going to be getting any better for a while. It’s been really hard, mentally and physically, quickly, emotionally. And spiritually, you know, you question a lot of things as a believer like, Why me why again, why this, what am I learning, but I really think looking back that everything that I have gone through I was assigned this. And because I knew that I would continue in my life’s journey to help other people move through what they their mountains they were facing, I am probably 75% back to normal. Still have a hard time with my legs. But I’m blessed that, you know, I can drive I can have a normal life, I wear braces on my legs to kind of help them stay stable, you know. But outside of that I’m really, really blessed.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

You know, I don’t know if you’re religious.

Jennifer Perri

I am.

Dr. Allen Lycka

But you know, there’s the old saying that there was this man that saw some steps in the sand. And there were two steps of steps going when and all of a sudden, one step disappeared. And he had thought God had abandoned him at that time. But later he when he talked to God, God said, that was when I carried you. And I think sometimes we need to be carried.

Jennifer Perri 

You know, my company is called Hero, you know, I’m a big Wonder Woman, superhero, Euro fan, and I try to heal that and all of my women that I work with him, and my, you know, my husband, and my sons just never let my cape hit the ground. You know, they always kept my cape behind me and, and when it was ready, they let go of it for me to fly again. And I agree with you, I think there are times where, you know, and it was hard to right. And, you know, we look at being vulnerable as a weakness. And asking for help is something that’s not easy to do. And it really allowed me to find a lot of blessings and a lot of kind of like the blessings on the battlefield. And I came out of it a better wife, a better mom, a better coach, a better friend. And I’m still continuing to learn.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, and you know, you’ve been down a couple of times I have to you know, I was diagnosed with ALS Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2003. And I was supposed to be dead in six months. I sure I’m glad I proved them wrong with that.

Jennifer Perri 

I am, too.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Because, you know, this experience, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, mind you. But you know, when you go through something like that, you go through the typical phases of anger, denial, bargaining and depression. And of all those phases, I think depression is the worst because you could stare up the ceiling all day, not eating, not sleeping, and wondering if you’re really going to make it.

Jennifer Perri 

I agree, definitely there were periods of time. To the point when I was even in the hospital, they, they would send a counselor around. And at first I didn’t understand because I’m a mindset coach as well. So, I knew that my mind was going to carry me on the days that I couldn’t. And on the days that my family couldn’t, I knew I had to make my life or not be better at what had happened. And they would send some money around. First, I didn’t understand into rehab, they were coming every day. And I only asked her, I said, I don’t understand. I said, Am I giving off vibes that I’m not well, and she said, No, she said, you’d be surprised how many people want to take their life and the situation. And we just have to let you know that we’re here. And we understand and that we’re, but I think you don’t realize that there are so many people, especially in what I have, and even what you were misdiagnosed with the suffering in silence, and then they don’t have anybody to be there to support them that understands them and understands that there may be days, even now this far out of recovery, there’s days I get up in my legs don’t want to work. I wouldn’t know that was gonna happen. And then there’s other days where I feel like nothing’s ever happened to me before. So, there’s an ebb and flow of emotions that, you know, there are so many people who are suffering, and they just don’t have, they don’t have a support system or an outlet for people to understand them. So, you’re right, that depression can come in hard and fast.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

And when it comes, it is I called the dark days, because they are so dark. And that dark side, by fire usually hits me in the middle of the night. It hits me when, you know, there looks like no hope. But you know, every day, the sun keeps coming up, no matter what happens. And every day, there is a new day to live. So, you know, I think people have to realize that all of this is something that’s a remarkable plan. And we just have to listen to that plan.

Jennifer Perri 

I agree with you 100%. And it’s funny, because when I was in the hospital, and even now, anytime that I don’t feel really good as at night, and I even remember being in the hospital, like I was on a floor where people had what I had, and they had had spinal cord injuries and strokes and, and all of us were up at night. And the doctor said it was some type of phenomena where people that were having nerve issues are having this type of injury, they can’t sleep. It’s kind of like everybody was awake, everybody was cruising the halls who could at night. And it is you I would wait and pray for the next day because even though I knew I was still in the hospital bed, I still couldn’t walk that there was a new day of new opportunities and, and you know, just one step closer to where I was told I would be back to normal. So, I looked at it that way, you know that there was another opportunity to reinvent what had gone wrong.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Friends. I have a personal friend with me today, Jennifer Perri, who I call my personal hero because she’s done so much. Jennifer, you’ve also been down on the tarmac before. Can you tell people a little bit about that.

Jennifer Perri 

So you know, starting back when I was way younger than I am now. I grew up in a great area you know in Pennsylvania right outside of Philadelphia lived kind of in a bubble I tell people you know my parents were middle class lived with my brother had a lot of friends did well through school, senior year of high school, real life started creeping in while my parents divorced. And shortly thereafter, I met somebody who was you know, I guess I would say my first love and my first real experience to a true relationship. And, you know, we got married and within a very short period of time that turned into probably the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. Because I spent the decade after that just again fighting for my life, being with somebody who was supposed to love honor cherish me. And he ended up you know, essentially abusing me for 10 years of my life and you know, I completely lost it. Everybody who I was before and came out the other side of that completely broken, and had to spend time picking up the pieces with two small children in tow, my ex going prison, and no child support no support at all, you know, recovering myself from all that it happened to me, being obviously diagnosed with complex PTSD and literally raised my kids with no child support, no nothing but me. And it was a very hard, a really hard time, you know, 30 years ago, there wasn’t a lot of open communication, at least in my circle, about, you know, domestic violence, and what to do, and the whole see something, say something, at least not anything that I had been exposed to. But it literally took away everybody who I was before, and left me on the other side of it, trying to figure out what I needed to do, what was I going to do for raising my kids? How was I going to work? How was I going to find money? How was I going to do a lot of things. And when I looked for somebody to help me, there really wasn’t anybody around and going through all of that has, you know, it was a period of such turmoil and ugliness, that it literally became the, I would say, the fuel for what I went on to do in my career. And it I look back on it again, somebody recently asked me in an interview, well, if you could look back and change anything, what would you change, and there really isn’t anything. I feel like I was assigned all of this for a reason. I’ve learned something from each one of them. Other things that I had gone through, and my first marriage yielded two of my sons, and I wouldn’t give them back for anything in the world. But you know, I’ve tried to every step of the way turn, all of my files and my tests and the things that were for the greater good to help other people because I feel like there’s been so many times in my life that I shouldn’t be alive still. And I’m like, okay, so somebody’s using me for something much bigger than me. And I’m gonna stay here and find out what that is.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, it’s funny how our greatest challenges are some of our greatest abilities. And that’s why I love that line. The harder you fall, the greater the bounce. Yeah, because all you have to do is look for that bounce.

Jennifer Perri 

That’s right, exactly.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Jennifer, this show is called the How To Live A Fantastic Life. How have you learned to live a fantastic life?

Jennifer Perri 

My goodness, that’s such a wonderful question. I think a lot of it comes from, you know, I take a chance on me all the time. And I know that there’s been a lot of times in my life where I didn’t really fully believe in my abilities fully believe if there was a life that was out there. For me that was a happy and successful and but I, you know, I took a chance on myself, I’ve surrounded myself with incredible people. I have reached out and have done an incredible job of pouring my lives my life into the lives of others, and tried to give back everything that I knew that I needed at times of desperation in my life. So, I think that that is for me, how I try to truly find, you know, find living a just a wonderfully blessed and successful life. Because I think more than anything, I just, I bet on me all the time.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

We now have over 7 million listeners for this show. I can’t believe it.

Jennifer Perri 

That’s amazing. Congratulations.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

It’s amazing how this keeps growing. Can you give our listeners some advice on how to have a fantastic life?

Jennifer Perri 

Well, I honestly think obviously listening to you, for the pearls of wisdom that you share is a great place, surround them surround, you know, make sure you surround yourself with people that love and support and encourage you. And, you know, I spend a lot of time working with women who sit on the sidelines, and they cheer along their friends and their family members and encourage them to go out and just live the best life that was made for them and, and they don’t do it for themselves. I just encourage you to get off the sidelines and into the game. There are so many beautiful things that are waiting for you. You just have to believe in yourself that you deserve them. So, I think it’s more than anything again, bet on yourself. And if you don’t believe in yourself, find people like me who believe in you. And you can borrow my beliefs until you get to a point where you can believe that you’re capable of doing that. And then at that point in time, you can reach out and give them back to me and I’ll pass them on to someone else.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

You know people always ask me how I been so successful. And I say it’s easy. I step on the shoulders of giants every day. It’s so easy for me to be in the seat that I’m in because I get to share the successes and the failures of everybody that I get to talk to, I get to share in their joys and their sorrows. And that’s why I think I have 7 million listeners is because people love to hear the triumphs, but also the tragedies.

Jennifer Perri 

You’re absolutely right. It’s kind of like, how many pictures does somebody have to take to get that perfect one on Facebook that you see, right? Probably 50, you don’t get to see all the ones that are ugly ones. And I think the people that are really making an impact are sharing all of their, their ugly stuff. They’re sharing all of the tests that now become testimonies and the trials that are triumphs. And, you know, they do all of those things, because there is somebody who’s listening who has maybe not gone through the exact same thing that I have gone through, or that you have gone through, but can find strength and encouragement, knowing that they’re not alone. So, I think it’s so important to share your stories, because right, your stories become somebody’s Survival Guide at some point.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

You know, in my former life, I was a cosmetic surgeon and I used to treat people for very, very bad scars. And the lady came to me all the way from the United States because she had bad scars on her chest, that were induced by another doctor using lasers and too aggressive of fashion. And she was beside herself. She had thought she had to be resigned to that. But you know, we put her on a program, and we were able to make those scars vanish. She wrote me a letter recently that I’ve shared to some people on social media, because it still brings a tear to my eye over how I was able to help her.

Jennifer Perri 

That’s amazing.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

You know, and that’s what it is. It’s about helping others. And I know you do that, Jennifer, every day in your life.

Jennifer Perri 

I do. And I consider it an honor to be honest with you, there are so many women that I get the pleasure of, of working with. And they take me along on part of their journey. And it’s just, you know, it’s an extraordinary thing. We are surrounded by so many amazing people. And I just feel blessed that I have the opportunity to work with some.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Jennifer how can people find out more about you and what you have to offer?

Jennifer Perri 

You can just go to my website, it’s www.jenniferperril.com . I am based in the US; however, I have clients globally. So, it doesn’t matter where you are. If you need somebody that can come alongside you, and help you transform your life, you can just reach out to me, I have a bunch of information on my website. You can also follow me on social media. I’m very, you know, active on Instagram and Facebook. And it’s just J Perri coaching.. But that’s really the best way to reach out to me.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing this time with us. I know it was difficult going back and forth and tried to get a time. But we’re busy people having a hard time getting together. But guess what, we always make it happen.

Jennifer Perri 

We always do we always find a way to make it happen. Thank you so much for having me. It was so good to see you again.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

It is and say hello again to your wonderful husband. I will ever down in your neck of the woods we will have to get together. I’m actually I’m actually going down to Nashville in December for that award. So, I don’t think that’s too far away from you.

Jennifer Perri 

We are actually going to be heading to Tennessee tomorrow for some filming. So, we go to Nashville quite a bit was about three hours from us.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Okay, well, that’s great. Maybe we could hit up someplace down there.

Jennifer Perri 

Would love it.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Okay, bye for now.

Jennifer Perri 

Bye.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

And friends, if you would like to know where you are on the journey to a fantastic life, go to www.lifequalityassessment.com  That’s life quality assessment.com There are 25 short questions there. That’ll show you exactly where you are on your journey. And there’s a manual that’ll take you to the next level. Bye for now and have a fantastic day.