So I have this crazy little thing called Bell’s Palsy going on in my life. Only it’s not so little and is causing more havoc than I expected, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually too. Funny how God will use EVERYTHING if we let Him. And He is certainly doing that.
Anyway, it’s been 9 days since the Bell’s started, and I realize there are many who do not know anything or only know very little about Bell’s Palsy or what to expect.
You can read the full description of Bell’s here.
And I’m certainly no expert but since I have some firsthand experience going on with it, I thought I’d share a few things.
1. There is more going on than just a lopsided smile and paralyzed face. It’s more than that. Yes, I’m worried about how I look but there are many other physical things going on other than my appearance. My ear hurts. My eyeball aches and is constantly dried out because my eyelid doesn’t close. My face aches on that right side. The inside of my mouth is sore. Chewing on only one side all the time makes the teeth/jaw tender on the “good side” too.
2. Bell’s makes you tired. Very tired. Very, very tired. I sleep a lot right now. I am told this will improve with time but in the meantime, naps are a very good thing.
3. Activity, stress, & talking sometimes make it worse. Truly. I don’t know how else to explain it. But the more I do, the more stressed I get about a situation or talk too much, the more my face and mouth start to droop on that side. Which often incurs more stress because I can sense the change in my speech and that it is harder for someone to understand what I am saying. So no stress and less talking are important.
4. Noise is bothersome. Because of what it is going on in that cranial nerve, it also affects the ear and sounds can be painful. I have not found loud sounds to be excruciating like some report but I am sensitive to noise right now. Quiet is best.
5. No one knows how long it will last or if it will come back or if there will be residual effects. Obviously, every case is different and varies in duration and severity but the average seems to be 2 weeks to 3 months. My sister has had this twice now and both times it was a 3-month affair. Some people never have it again but others do. Many report having residual effects whether it’s a smile that is a little off or their face/mouth starts to droop when tired or under stress. So I really don’t know how long this will be with me but I’m starting to have some muscle twitching around that eye so I’m hopeful that means progress!
I hope I will have the shorter course of this, but I am taking advantage of the downtime to rest – especially once I realized stress/activity were making it worse. I am very blessed to have a wonderful husband and children who are taking care of me and making sure I get rest!