Valley Fever started out as flu-like symptoms, then paralysis for Arizona woman

SURPRISE, Ariz. - A woman remains on a ventilator as she continues to struggle with extreme Valley Fever symptoms. Doctors say it started as a respiratory infection that became pneumonia, then she reported paralysis in her throat and face that has since spread throughout her body. Now all she's able to move is her neck.

Thomas Hannah's world has completely turned upside down after finding out his wife, Cassandra, is suffering from extreme Valley Fever complications – a diagnosis he says doctors almost missed.

"The first thing she reported besides flu-like symptoms was paralysis of the face, and I was with her at home, and they had accepted her into the ER the day before and gave her a false diagnosis and sent her home with prodome shingles, and medication for that," he said.

<div>Cassandra and Thomas Hannah</div>
Cassandra and Thomas Hannah

As the days went on, her symptoms began to worsen.

"Friday.. two weeks ago and she was in abject pain.. pain shooting down her legs and I rushed her to hospital... she was no longer able to swallow," explained Thomas.

Doctors were able to see her right away. Thomas says it's a moment he'll never forget.

"I heard her murmur.. she was waving her hands.. and said she was suffocating, and I had to grab her by her ankles and pull her off that bed, stand her up, and she was wobbling."

Due to the Valley Fever condition, Hannah was also diagnosed with meningitis. And now every day, they look for signs of hope.

"The lead doctors at Banner are insistent that's her best chance of recovering and survival. And time is a factor," said Thomas. "She's been devoted to me, dedicated to me, and she's my full-time job. And we're trying to make this happen."

A fundraiser has been set up for Hannah at

According to the University of Arizona, about 150,000 people are diagnosed with Valley Fever every year and nearly two thirds of the cases happen in Arizona.