Atlanta woman overcome by mysterious illness

ATLANTA, GA (FOX 5 WAGA)- Pete Ballard walked outside Piedmont Hospital with a burning question about his wife Stefanie. 

"They're trying to figure out what's gone wrong with her," said Ballard.

He said two weeks ago his wife went to bed with fever after a day at the pool with their two children.

"She woke up the next morning with chills, headache, started getting nauseous, and then started losing muscle control and actually had a fall," said Ballard.

He said he rushed his wife to Piedmont Hospital where after a battery of tests doctors identified swelling in Stefanie's brain, but not the illness causing it.

"Her immune system is confused and actually attacking her brain confusing it for a virus or some other kind of thing that needs to be fought," said Ballard.

He said the swelling paralyzed Stefanie's right side for about eight days.

Steroids and other treatments eased the paralysis. Then Wednesday at physical therapy, it returned, but now on the other side. 

"I noticed that her left side her face was drooping. It flipped and we weren't sure why," said Ballard.

Doctors were conducting a brain biopsy on Stefanie when we spoke to her husband outside Piedmont Hospital.

Earlier FOX 5’s George Franco spoke with Jessica Diamond and Karen Morianos at their west Atlanta home. They and others are teaming up to help the Ballard family. They've organize a weekend yard sale and a GoFundMe account.

Pete is self-employed and Stefanie, a stay at home mom.

"We would hate to see the financial mountain that's waiting for them be something that they can't overcome," said Jessica Diamond.

"Her story is sort of changing every day and it's the most we can do is be there to support," said Karen Morianos.

Back at Piedmont Hospital, Pete Ballard praised the friends who are helping him in a race neither he nor his wife have ever been in before.

"A gun went off for a race that I have no idea how long it is I have no idea what the course is I have no idea what the obstacles are but we got to run like heck," said Ballard.

Just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday Pete Ballard sent a text to FOX 5 News stating that the brain biopsy had gone well and doctors said they should have a definitive diagnosis in the next two to five days.

Mr. Ballard said she will be in the ICU unit until doctors feel it's safe to put her in a regular room which Mr. Ballard said could be sometime this weekend.

Anyone who would like the family with their medical expenses can do so through their GoFundMe account by click here.

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