For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ruth, I’m 39 years old and I have Bell’s Palsy for the 3rd time. This is gonna be a long one! My hope is that someone who reads this will have info or help to give or maybe see that they’re not alone.
Because of the first two times I am camera shy. I rarely post selfies and actively avoid people taking pictures. Which has held me back with this blog as it’s hard to talk about products and not show them in use.
The first time was in 2003 . I’d just had a kidney infection and noticed that my mouth had dropped on the right hand side. The doctor sent me to A & E in case I was having a stroke. Luckily I wasn’t and was diagnosed for the first time.
I was put on steroids and I got full use of my facial features. It was frightening but it passed and I got on with things.
The second time was in 2010. I was sitting down in the canteen at work and went to drink from my cup of tea but it dribbled out the side of my mouth. I asked my colleague was my smile working and she said no.
It had been a stressful day, I had been dumped into a different department with no training and left on my own.
My face continued to droop and by the time I got to the doctors the right hand side of my face was completely paralyzed. This time I also had a horrendous pain in and around my ear.
Back to A & E. Diagnosed again but a bit more investigation done. ENT appointments and MRI’s etc. But no real reason as to why it was happening.
Also it was worse this time. 12 steroids a day. A lot of pain and this time it took way longer. A few months before I got substantial movement back and the pain subsided. But I never got full mobility. When I ate my eye would blink. And if I laughed my face would contort. I became very self conscious and became a bit reclusive and depressed.
And now we’re unto number three. But it’s moved , it’s on my left hand side. Fully paralyzed and extreme pain.
This time round I had been diagnosed with Glandular fever (2nd time round!) and was in the post viral fatigue stage. Work is stressful. I woke up on Thursday morning with a bad pain in my ear. Like you’ve slept on your pillow wrong. By Friday it was worse and assumed to be an ear infection. But woke up on Saturday morning knowing something wasn’t right. Low and behold my face had started to drop. I have horrendous tinnitus and my mouth tastes like crap!
The cycle began again and after 7 hours in A & E full paralysis on the left hand side and excruciating pain. The shock on nurses and doctors faces said it all. Once is unusual, twice is rare but three times and on the opposite side is unheard of.
So what now. I’m being tested for Lyme Disease to see if that could be an underlying cause. I’m awaiting new ENT and MRI appointments. Luckily both my GP and doctor in the hospital are adamant that they are going to get to the bottom of this.
I’m gonna post some pictures and I’m hoping that that will stop me from becoming a bit of a recluse again. People are probably gonna stare but I can’t let that stop me this time. I need to be stronger.
So here goes:
Me trying to smile
Me trying to raise my eyebrows.
Me trying to close my eyes.
Me heading out and about!
Yes I used filters! I think I’m allowed lol.
For any that may suffer from this these are the things that help me :
Heated pad: really helps with the earache
Gel Tears : because my eye doesn’t close it drys out and doesn’t generate moisture.
Straws: stops the drool 🤤
Eyepatch: essential for outdoors, cause my eye doesn’t close , wind and dust can play havoc with it.
Headband: can’t remember what these are actually called, but they keep my ear toasty warm.
Lip balm: because I’m mopping up drool a lot my lips are bone dry and need minding.
So that’s where I’m at. If you’re reading this and have suffered from it can you give any hints or tips? Have you managed to get to the bottom of it? Or do you maybe just want to chat about it with someone who’s going through the same thing?