Mum 'possessed by evil spirits' is unable to walk or talk and suffers 6 seizures a day after ovarian tumour triggers rare disease

But after freaked out husband Stephen doused her in holy water, the 39-year-old was told she was actually suffering a rare illness.

Stephen, a truck driver, said his wife's behaviour was so odd that he feared she had been possessed by a demon.

But doctors soon discovered Lorina's immune system was attacking her brain.

The mum-of-three decided that there were cameras hidden in every corner of her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US and yelled about needing to escape.

"I was so scared, it was like she was possessed," said Stephen. "The night after she came home from the ER we were up the whole night.

"She couldn't sleep and she was just talking gibberish. She kept saying 'We need to get out of here, we need to leave.'

"She kept getting up and trying to leave the house.

Lorina, a state investigator, was admitted to a psychiatric ward where medics discovered that her immune system was attacking her brain.

A 6in x 6in tumour was found in Lorina's ovary – which horrifyingly had developed its own brain tissue.

That tumour had triggered an autoimmune disease called anti-NMDA receptor limbic autoimmune encephalitis – which caused her brain to swell.

The incredibly rare condition caused Lorina to develop distressing symptoms due to her body's antibodies attacking healthy brain tissue as well as the tumour.

Lorina was left unable to talk, walk or eat independently and had to stay in hospital for almost two months.

Stephen recalled: "During her psychiatric consultation, she took a swing at me and we had to hold her down, it was so out of character.

What is Autoimmune Encephalitis?

Autoimmune Encephalitis (Encephalopathy) is a rare disease that can't be cured, only treated.

That means that Lorina could have a relapse any time.

It is caused when the immune system makes auto-antibodies that are not supposed to be there.

These auto-antibodies begin to attack healthy brain cells wrongly identifying those healthy brain cells as foreign.  An autoimmune response then happens as the immune system attacks and destroys the brain’s healthy cells.

Your own body’s immune system attacks your brain, causing swelling.

Symptoms include:

  • seizures
  • psychosis
  • aggression
  • inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • panic attacks
  • compulsive behaviour
  • memory loss

You can find out more here.

"It was then she was admitted to the psychiatric hospital.

"At one point I threw a little bit of holy water on her.

"Afterwards, my family told me they wouldn't have been surprised if her head started spinning after I did that."

Lorina said that she can't remember any of her behaviour from the episode.

In hospital, she was having six seizures a day as doctors tried to clear her body of the dangerous antibodies using a process called plasmapheresis and heavy steroids.

Lorina said: "During my time in hospital, I coded blue and they had to resuscitate me.

"I lost all function, the ability to walk, talk, eat or even go to the restroom by myself.

"I was a 39-year-old woman wearing adult diapers.

"Over the course of three months I underwent speech, physical, and occupational therapy but I don't remember much of it. It's a blur."

Although fine at the moment, Lorina's condition isn't curable – only treatable. That means that she could relapse at any time.

Understandably, she says that the whole saga "has impacted my whole life. It's been a hugely traumatic experience".

Stephen added: "I feel very lucky to still have my wife, but I worry about her relapsing every second of the day."

Despite the trauma of her illness, Lorina believes her faith has helped her stay positive.

Lorina and Stephen are now determined to raise awareness about the encephalitis.

"I'm a survivor and I really feel like I can help others with experience and information. I know now that that is my purpose."

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