'Very surreal and humbling': 'Bachelorette' star diagnosed with rare autoimmune disorder

Ashley Hebert and husband J.P. Rosenbaum. Image via Getty Images.
Ashley Hebert and husband J.P. Rosenbaum (Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images).

One half of the most beloved couple in “Bachelor Nation” has been diagnosed with a debilitating disorder.

Former “Bachelorette” star Ashley Hebert took to social media to reveal her husband, J.P. Rosenbaum, is suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disorder that causes nerve damage and muscle weakness.

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The couple, who married in 2012 after becoming engaged on season 7 of the ABC reality franchise, addressed the diagnosis in separate stories on Instagram.

Image via Instagram/AshleyHebert.
Image via Instagram/AshleyLynnRosenbaum.

“J.P was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome yesterday,” Hebert wrote. “He is in treatment and doing well. It may be a long road to full recovery, but we are so grateful to everyone that has helped us to get a speedy diagnosis and treatment.”

Rosenbaum addressed his followers in a video message admitting that he had become so weak he was unable to complete even the simplest tasks.

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“Very surreal and humbling... things you do every day, like picking up this phone, or buttoning buttons, tying shoe laces, putting on deodorant - just can’t do it,” the 42-year-old said. “Picking up my kids - can’t do it. Wiping your own a—, maybe TMI, but might have Ashley assist on the next one. [I] can’t really believe it.”

Despite the diagnosis, Rosenbaum revealed he is hopeful that his symptoms have plateaued, and no further nerve damage or muscle weakness, but require “lots of physical therapy.”

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“Hopefully I’m on the road to recovery,” he continued. “I’ve heard from a lot of people and I know that things can get a lot, lot worse. Knock wood, hopefully that is not the case for me. Hopefully I’m fortunate enough that we caught it early enough to start treatment early enough where we can now start recovery.”

Rosenbaum went on to thank friends, family and followers who have reached out, and shared their stories of recovery.

J.P. Rosenbaum and Ashley Hebert  (Photo by Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images).
J.P. Rosenbaum and Ashley Hebert (Photo by Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images).

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. [I’ve] come this far, I will certainly keep everybody posted on my progression. Hopefully I wake up tomorrow and the symptoms are again no worse, hopefully better or at the very least the same.”

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Although GBS typically follows an infection or virus, experts are still unsure of what causes this rare disorder which affects approximately 1 or 2 people every 100,000 Canadians.

GBS causes the immune-system to attack the covering (myelin sheath) of certain nerves in the brain and spinal cord that can cause permanent damage.

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Symptoms include numbness or tingling in the hands and feet or around the mouth and lips, muscle weakness, trouble speaking, chewing and swallowing, back pain, and inability to move your eyes.

According to Health Link B.C., those with GBS tend to improve after four weeks, however it can be fatal if the weakness spreads to muscles that control breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Recovery typically requires between 3 and 6 months, however, many people will experience long-term effects such as numbness in the toes and fingers.

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