PANAMA CITY - Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense is back at his Panama City home continuing to recover. He's spent the past four months in hospitals trying to fight Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The rare disorder causes muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
"The most I could do was move my hand and touch my chin that first day and that was all i could do. Otherwise all you can do is look around with your eyes. It's debilitating," said Bense.
Bense has held a number of high profile positions across the state including Florida Speaker of the House in 2004. He's currently on the Board of Trustees at Florida State University.
"I received thousands of calls, letters, emails, and text messages. Thousands from Panama City and from the rest of the state too, but I realized I live in a great community," said Bense.
Bense says the road to recovery hasn't been easy for him. He's had a number of plasma transfusions and spent a majority of his time at the Shepard Center in Atlanta.
He was expecting to spend Christmas in a hospital bed.
"Greatest Christmas I've ever had. My family is home. My son is home. My oldest son is home and daughter is home," said Bense.
Bense believes he will get back to normal with time.
"If having faith in God, if having a supportive family and a supportive wife, and if being persistent and really wanting something bad, which I do, if those mean anything in life then I'll get there," said Bense.
He is still attending physical therapy sessions in town and says he expects to be walking on his own again in the next 7 to 8 months.