On Friday, January 4, I started having symptoms of Bell’s Palsy on the right side of my face, and by Sunday the 6th, that side of my face was totally non-functional. In case you are not familiar with Bell’s Palsy, it’s a paralysis of the facial muscles, usually on one side of the face, caused by the inflammation of the facial nerve that runs through a canal in the skull behind the ear. This nerve controls muscular movement of the face only, which is lips, cheeks, eyes, eyelids, and forehead. They don’t really know what causes the nerve to become inflamed, although it is associated with a number of viruses including the common cold. It is not contagious. It’s self-limiting and will not spread to other nerves.

I have had this once before, over 20 years ago, and it went away by itself after a few months, I don’t recall how long it lasted but I think it was something like 3 or 4 months.

So, you will notice that I cannot move at all on the right side of my face. I have difficulty eating (hey, maybe that would be good for my diet!), drinking and talking. I have some slight pain right behind my ear, which I’m sure is the inflammation. My smile is undoubtedly lopsided…and sometimes I have to rub my right eye which gets a bit dried out. I’ll be wearing my glasses as contacts will not work as I can’t blink too well on the right side. I will probably be getting some medication to try and bring the inflammation down more quickly.

I’m trying to stay positive and confident. It’s ok to ask me about it and talk about it with me, and if you have any experience or knowledge of Bell’s Palsy you can share I would very much appreciate it.

Under this page, I’ll keep my BP journal to keep you updated. 

Here are my pictures:

Me Before Bell’s Palsy:

Pat Headshot

Me on January 11, 2008 — one week after getting Bell’s Palsy:

20080111_300

January 29, 2008 — maybe about 10% recovery

20080129

February 4, 2008 — I think it’s looking better still…

Pat20080205

February 19 — I think it’s about 75%

BP_20080219

March 13 — Don’t see much difference from February 19

March13

Links I have found helpful:

Bell’s Palsy Information Site

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Mayo Clinic Bells Palsy Page

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