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San Antonio Teacher Overcomes Rare Autoimmune Disease with Determination and Hospital Support

Cynthia Rios, a devoted teacher, wife, and mother of three, recently faced a life-threatening battle against dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease with symptoms similar to Lupus. Her journey to recovery was marked by determination, support from her family, and the dedicated medical team at Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan in Houston.

Cynthia's ordeal began when she noticed a spreading rash on her body, followed by muscle weakness that gradually immobilized her legs and made swallowing difficult. Her primary doctor promptly referred her to Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan, where she received a diagnosis of dermatomyositis. Dr. Brian Winn, a Rheumatologist at the hospital, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that her muscles were deteriorating rapidly, and immediate action was imperative.

The medical team at the hospital wasted no time in treating the life-threatening disease. Cynthia underwent aggressive infusion treatments, akin to chemotherapy, which led to hair loss but helped halt the progression of her condition. Subsequently, she was admitted to Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan's Rehab Services for intensive therapy sessions lasting three hours a day.

"I couldn't move, sit, or even get out of bed by myself," said Cynthia, reflecting on her challenging journey. "I lost around 36 pounds throughout all of this. My muscles were in so much pain, but Dr. Winn said I would be able to walk in a few months with the right amount of therapy."

Despite the initial hardships, Cynthia was determined to regain her strength and independence. With the unwavering support of her family and the hospital's rehab team, she worked tirelessly to relearn everyday activities such as standing, swallowing regular food, and putting on shoes and clothes. Her biggest milestone came when she took her first step after standing for three minutes.

"After the physical therapist took me off the bars, I was able to stand for a whole three minutes," Cynthia shared. "As I started to reach for her, she told me to try and take a step. I surprisingly did it and just kept going. We were so amazed that we both just started crying."

Cynthia praised the hospital staff for their exceptional care and motivation. "Everyone here has been absolutely amazing," she said. "They took great care of me and never let me give up. They knew my limits, but also what I was capable of despite all the pain. All of a sudden, I went from walking five feet, to ten feet, to 250 feet."

After a grueling 62 days, Cynthia celebrated her "Independence Day" as she was discharged from the hospital. The hospital staff and leadership team lined the halls to show their support as she walked back into the life she once had. Her husband, Juan Pablo Rios, expressed his gratitude by singing a heartfelt song he wrote about Cynthia's recovery journey.

"When we landed here at the Rehab Center, I told my wife, 'I don't just want a survivor moment, I want this to be a story of hope and care,'" Juan Pablo Rios said. "The Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan staff has done nothing but show compassion and care to us, and it's what the world needs more of. We love that the mission of this hospital includes honoring God, and that's exactly what you guys have done. I wrote this song because all of you have made our life better, and from this experience, we will never be the same."

Cynthia and her family credit the hospital staff for helping her reclaim her life and appreciate the everyday things they once took for granted.

"This all made me realize how many little things I take for granted. I'm so thankful for everything and everyone that helped me get where I am today," Cynthia commented, looking forward to a brighter future.

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