Throughout her life, there hasn't been much that has stopped Deanna Wheeler.
After returning from deployment with the Air Force, the 31-year-old mother-of-three embarked on an entirely different and ambitious career as a professional singer and songwriter and, last month she was preparing to embark on her first tour.
But the night before Mother's Day, driving back to her home in Austin, Texas from a gig in the wee hours of the night, Deanna's foot started going numb. Then her ankle, her knee and soon, her entire left leg were suddenly useless to her.
By the time she made it home from the harrowing trip - driving only with her left foot for most of it - Deanna could barely walk into her house.
After a bath made matters worse, her children's babysitter insisted she go to the emergency room.
Within 24 hours of arriving there, Deanna was paralyzed from the neck down.
She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that causes the body to spontaneously attack its own nerves.
But Deanna is determined that whether on foot or the two wheels of her chair, she will return to the stage.
A rare autoimmune disorder paralyzed Deanna Wheeler from the waist down, almost instantly. With months of physical therapy ahead, the veteran and singer-songwriter hopes to once again stand, walk and take the stage again
Deanna (right) was about to start her first tour as a professional singer songwriter while raising three children, Ailee, Reid and Aiden (left to right of rigth) when her paralysis set in
Some conditions that affect the nerves just manifest as numbness in the affected body parts, but that was not the case for Deanna's Guillan-Barre.
The condition only strikes a few thousand Americans each year and is known for the rapid spread of its symptoms, and Deanna felt every inch of it.
First her right leg and then her left went from feeling like pins and needles, to numbness to feeling like they were 'in boiling water, just on fire,' she says.
As was the case for Deanna, an episode of the syndrome typically begins with numbness and tingling, but from there weakness can quickly turn to paralysis and tingling to pain and then a complete lack of feeling.
Once she made it to the hospital, Deanna's condition deteriorated quickly.
Guillain-Barre is even more bizarre than it is rare. Scientists still do not know what causes it, though it is not uncommon for the disorder to appear after an infection.
The immune system starts out trying to attack pathogenic cells, but somewhere it goes astray, and starts to pick on the coating of nerves instead.
Deanna's symptoms progressed so quickly that her diaphragm was paralyzed and she had to be put on a ventilator to breath
This coating, called a myelin helps to conduct the electrical signals through which the brain communicates with the body.
As it deteriorates, so does the signal quality, until no information at all is getting a person's limbs, and, in rare cases, to any part of the body below neck, causing total paralysis, including of the lungs.
Deanna had one of those rare cases of the rare disorder.
'Within six hours getting there, my oxygen dropped to 70 percent and they had to take me to the ICU because my diaphragm had been paralyzed,' she recalls.
The singer, who was planning to release the single she'd written for her mother the following day - Mother's Day - was placed on a ventilator just to keep her breathing.
The mother-of-three couldn't speak, but silently she was terrified for her children.
Her mother lived in California had looked after her oldest son, nine-year-old Aiden when Deanna had been deployed, but now she was far away from Deanna's home in Austin.
'I worried that I had no one for