All of what you might think and opine flies out the window when confronted with a mask you are no longer able to hide behind - Jonathan FitzGordon
Bell’s Palsy is no fun.
Two years ago today I woke up to find that only the right side of my face was working. The left side of my mouth hung down towards my chin and went nowhere when I attempted to smile. I realized that my left eye wouldn’t fully close when I washed my face and got soap in my eye. It wasn’t completely a surprise as the symptoms had been oddly present for a week though I didn’t know that they would add up to this...
That night when I got home I had the first of what are best described as ice pick headaches. I would be sitting or standing when a blinding pain would shoot into the left side of my skull—enough to make me grab my head and wince in pain.
The early days were surreal. Between people gasping at the sight of me to people ignoring what they were looking at, I was beyond self-conscious. And would have liked to crawl into a hole. Instead I had to teach publicly and continue working. What is one to do?
This blog covers my experience of Bell's Palsy from the morning I woke up with half a face until the paralysis lifts, whenever that may be. Since learning I have Bell's Palsy, I've discovered lots of information on the internet, but most of it says exactly the same thing. I decided that I will blog the entire experience of Bell's Palsy from Day 1 through the end of it, whenever that may be. I can only hope that this blog will help someone else deal with this experience.
First of all I want to thank all of you who have visited my humble blog and hope that you continue to do so. Please feel free to leave a comment because they really make my day! I am really enjoying writing and want to continue to make improvements, so your feedback really helps. Anywho…It occurred to me last night, as I mentally concocted a new post in my head, that some of you may not know exactly what Bell’s palsy is. I really don’t intend for this to be the best information site on the subject, so I thought I could sum it up in my own way.
The Bell's Palsy Information Site is a comprehensive, up-to-date source of facial paralysis information. While Bell's palsy is the primary focus, it includes information that applies to facial palsy regardless of what precipitated the condition.
Most people recover within 2-4 weeks, at three weeks I was just starting to get a tiny hit of movement in my lip. When I would see people and children looked at my face with shock and I would always explain what happened. Men that had known me cried, and I couldn't understand why (not much for self-esteem).
The main aims of the Bell’s Palsy Association is to provide information about the condition to the sufferer and their families. We can also provide a supply of printed material to medical practitioners so that they may pass this information on to newly diagnosed patients.
The Facial Paralysis & Bell’s Palsy Foundation was founded in 2009, with the goal to provide support, encouragement, and resources to individuals and families dealing with facial paralysis and Bell’s Palsy. We are also dedicated to raising awareness of facial paralysis concerns within the medical community, and in society at large.
I will write occasionally about my experiences here to record what occurs so if others want to know about or experience this condition they can reference it.
The Doctor calls me in. I remember her having an amazing bedside manner (it's weird what you remember in strange situations). She makes me try to whistle, fill my cheeks with air, raise my eyebrows. She confirms I have Bells Palsy and the diagnosis is done.
My journey to getting my face back...
My Bells palsy symptoms, treatments, raw food, experiments, and success along the way. How I kicked a "dense case of Bell's palsy" in a just a few weeks with the standard prescribed medicines, additional supplements, and a raw food diet.
Although the care I received during my 3+ days in hospital was excellent, the information I was given during my stay and on discharge was patchy at best. I wanted to provide a real time record of my progress to hopefully a complete recovery that could be useful for other sufferers and friends & family of sufferers to help them understand and deal with the condition.
I decided to start a blog to document my experience with Bell's Palsy. I figure since I Facebook, Tweet, and post about everything else going on in my life... why not this? Maybe sharing my story will inspire others dealing with this condition to do the same.
Bell's palsy is named for Sir Charles Bell, a 19th century Scottish surgeon who was the first to describe the condition. The disorder, which is not related to stroke, is the most common cause of facial paralysis. Generally, Bell's palsy affects only one of the paired facial nerves and one side of the face, however, in rare cases, it can affect both sides.
People with Bell's palsy need to take special care of their affected eye to prevent discomfort and complications from severe dry eye and possibly a scratched cornea (clear covering of the eye). The most common treatment usually includes using lubricating eye drops or artificial tears during the day, and an ointment at night, to keep the eye moist. On occasion, the eye will be patched...
Though the condition is uncommon, it is the most common facial nerve disorder. Bells palsy affects both men and women across a wide range of ages. You are at increased risk for Bell's if you are pregnant, have severe preeclampsia, are obese, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or upper respiratory ailments.
Bell's palsy is most often connected with a viral infection such as herpes (the virus that causes cold sores), Epstein-Barr (the virus that causes mono), or influenza (the flu)...But in a few people, the immune system's response to a viral infection leads to inflammation of the nerve. Because it's swollen, the nerve gets compressed as it passes through a small hole at the base of the skull, which causes the symptoms of Bell's palsy.
For most people, Bell's palsy is temporary. Symptoms usually start to improve within a few weeks, with complete recovery in about six months. A small number of people continue to have some Bell's palsy symptoms for life. Rarely, Bell's palsy can recur.
While a number of different conditions can cause damage to the facial nerve, including tumors, trauma, toxins, and neurologic diseases, true Bell's palsy is an idiopathic (meaning that the cause is unknown) paralysis of the facial nerve. It typically occurs on one side of the face and comes on suddenly, sometimes overnight.
Scientists think that a viral infection makes the facial nerve swell or become inflamed. You are most likely to get Bell's palsy if you are pregnant, diabetic or sick with a cold or flu. Three out of four patients improve without treatment. With or without treatment, most people begin to get better within 2 weeks and recover completely within 3 to 6 months.
Bell's palsy is a rare condition that affects about one in 5,000 people a year. It's most common in people aged 15-60, but people outside this age group can also suffer from the condition. Both men and women are affected equally. Bell's palsy is more common in pregnant women and those with diabetes and HIV, for reasons that are not yet fully understood.
Bell's palsy is a weakness of the facial muscles. It develops suddenly, usually on one side of the face. The cause is not clear but most cases are probably due to a viral infection. Most people make a full recovery within 2-3 months. A course of steroid tablets started within 72 hours of the onset improves the chance of full recovery even further.
By sharing your stories and data, you will: •help each other live better and uncover the best ways to manage your health today •help researchers shorten the path to new treatments tomorrow.
Your Path to Meaningful Connections in the World of Health and Medicine
Connect, Collaborate, and Engage!
Coming Soon - Stitches, the innovative chat app from the creators of HWN. Join meaningful conversations on health and medical topics. Share text, images, and videos seamlessly. Connect directly within HWN's topic pages and articles.