Austin musician ready for comeback show after rare diagnosis

An Austin country musician is back on her feet following her battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. 

That's the same autoimmune disorder Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick has been diagnosed with.

Deanna Wheeler was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre back in May after it paralyzed her from the waist down, but just five months later Wheeler is ready to return to the stage to debut her new album.

“It was a nightmare, but I'm really glad it's over,” she said. 

That nightmare began the day before Mother's Day after Deanna lost the ability to move or feel her legs. After months of physical therapy, much of it on her own, Wheeler ditched the wheelchair and started walking again. 

“I fell down a little bit and my friends helped me pick back up, and if I stood up one day and I hurt the next, I stood up harder the next day. It was just a process, every day was something,” said Wheeler.  

Wheeler was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder that causes the body to attack its own nerves. 

Doctors told the country musician it would be an eight to 12-month recovery process. Deanna did it in five, with some help from the music community. 

“Being in Austin, I've never seen this kind of comradery and unity and people that came together. Austin’s music community is amazing. They pick you up when you're down big time,” Wheeler said.  

Wheeler is preparing to show the world just how far she's come, returning to the stage at her album release party September 25. 

“So, it's my CD release party, finally. I held onto this CD for a while because I wasn't going to release it until I was actually able to put on the show that I know I'm capable of putting on,” said Wheeler.  

Learning Dallas Cowboy's center Travis Frederick has also been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre reminded Deanna to appreciate how much work she's put in to get to this point. 

“You are a Dallas Cowboy. I know what you're capable of and so do you, and so does your whole family, and your drive and ambition and motivation, and I know you will come out of this absolutely stronger than you came in and you will get right back to where you belong,” Wheeler said. 

Although she said she just did what anyone else would've done, Deanna is hoping to raise awareness about Guillain-Barre and the steps she took to get her life back. 

Wheeler's album release party will take place at Saxon Pub Tuesday. 

Deanna, an Air Force veteran, will also perform at the state fair in October with Rock the Troops

She will begin filming a documentary with Red Lux Productions in Ireland where she is performing this fall. The company plans to send three female veterans to Ireland with Deanna to support female empowerment in the veteran community.