Hello everyone, I had no idea what Bell's Palsy was, until I was diagnosed with it. It started for me 5 days ago when I had my picture taken at an evening event and my smile looked stranged. I took a couple more pictures that night, and they looked okay. I was not alarmed. Through out the night I started to notice a slight tingle in my lip, and then a mild headache. It wasn't until I got home around Midnight and tried to gargle mouthwash, that I realized something was really wrong. I could not hold the mouthwash in my mouth, it just spilled out. Then I tried to whistle, I could not. I panicked. The first person I called was the after hours, on call doctor at my ferility clinic. For the past 3 months I have been trying to get pregnant. I took one cycle of Clomid in July 2017; that was unsuccessful. I then did a cycle of Letrozole with a trgger shot August 2017, that too was also unsuccessful. This month, September 2017 I finshed a cycle of Follistim.
Within 2 hours of not being able to hold liquid in my mouth, and talking to an after hours nurse, I headed to my local 24 hour emergency hosptial at 2am. I was given a sterioid shot at 3am. I was also given a cat scan. The symptons of Bell's Palsy seem similar to those of a stroke. By 4am, the doctor at the emergency room diagnoised me with Bell's Palsy when my scan came back clear. She wrote me a prescripton for Acyclovir 400 MG tablet 5 x a day for 10 days, and Prednisone 60 mg a day working the dosage down after 5 days for a total of 2 weeks. I also was given an eye gel at night to help keep my eye mositurized. I was back home and in bed by 6am, but I was wide awake at 9am determined to know everything I could about Bell's Palsy. I suggest going on YouTube, where you can look at actual video of people that are documenting their stuggles and triumphs. Also, I started taking a daily photo of myself smiling. I have noticed a very small improvement with my left eye (the affected side). It can now scrunch very slightly. I am able to close both eyes when I go to sleep.
I did call out from work. I've been a flight attendant now for 8 years, and it's always been important to me that if I don't feel my best, to not go to work. 2 weeks prior to all this happening I had a cold. My ears were clogged, running nose, headache, and I did not go to work. Could there be a connection? I feel as if my ears are still congested, but no pain. I still have the sniffles left over from my cold. When I was in my 20s I also had shingles. I learned that there could be a connection with the two as well. My mother had shingles, and I'm pretty sure she also had Bell's Palsy. More than anything, I am contributing my Bell's Palsy to stress. My failed attempts to become pregnant were stressful, and my beloved Mother passed away 6 months ago. My Birthday was last week, and as I work through a lot of my firsts without her, I can see them being stress triggers for me. But this has also started me on a new path to getting my stress under control, and working on my grief.
My doctor wrote me a note to take time off from work. That is one less thing to worry about, if you can. Going to the ER immediately was beneifical, and letting my employer know what was happening with me right way was very helpful. I am not at place mentally where I feel comfortable going back to work. However, I watched a very motivational YouTube video from a young man that has Ball's Palsy, and his message was "Please do not hide yourself from the World". Although, it's only been less than a week for me, I am hoping that I can get to a good place where I feel confident to return to work. I always felt that my smile and laughing were life's biggest blessings, to struggle with those things now, seems almost cruel. I started taking an enrichement class at my local community college once a week, a couple weeks ago. I had to email the teacher what was happening with me, but suprisingly I showed up to class yesterday in good spirits....with sunglasses on. For me, my left eye is very irritable to light. I sat through the whole 5 hour long class with minor limitations; rubbing my affected eye, putting eye drops in, and taking my oral medication. A young girl that sits next to me asked me a couple questions about my sunglasses, and she ultimately said "she couldn't tell" that my faced looked any different. I know she was being sweet. I feel everyone can tell. That is becoming the hardest part for me, feeling that I have to explain myself.
It's been a long time since I've been to the gym, but today I am going to go. I need to start focusing on little things to combat my stress. Because of the steriods I am now taking, any attempts of getting pregnant are out of the question. I would like to use this time to get into a better mental and physical state of mind. Just in the last couple days, here are some things I have been doing (please add to the list, if something has worked for you):
1. I take my medications like clockwork. First thing in the morning I'm taking Prednisone. Then I space out my Acyclovir once every 3-4 hours. I drinks lots of water when I take my pills.
2. I put my eye drops in my affected eye, and start wearing my sunglasses. I like being on the computer, and watching some TV. When I do these things the light makes my affected eye watery and uncomfortable. When I go outside, my sunglasses are always on. I never liked to do this, because it seems impersonable, but I do it now. You will have to make daily adjustments.
3. I still take my pre-natal vitamin, and I still take a probotic (these are the only pills I have ever taken prior to getting Ball's Palsy...minus my fertility treatments). I started taking Omega-3, and I'm looking into adding a B-Complex pill.
4. I can still smell, and taste my food. When I eat I carefully try to chew food on the affected side, just to work those muscles. I delibarately yawn through out the day as facial exercise. I also try to smile, scruntch my face, and blink both eyes through out my day.
5. On my 3rd day of being diagnoised with Bell's Palsy I got a facial massage. It turned out to be more of a full body massage to relax me, and the last 10-15 minutes was focused on my face. I would suggest telling them that you would like more time on your face. The massage on my face was great, and then it was over. A love one could even do this for you, gently. However, going to a professional can give you more benefits.
6. Tomorrow, I made an appointment to get accupunture. I was taking accupuncture treatments before for my inferility, so it was easy to make this appointment. I decided on the facial massage, because the accupunturist was not available. I am extremely opptimistic this will help. I will give you updates on how this treatment went.
7. More time in the gym to relieve stress, and I'm currently looking into Hot Bath Soak treatments. I try to take a hot shower in the morning, and again at night before bed.
8. Get everything in order. If you can, take time off from work, see your doctor, or establish care. You will need to be monitored by a Professional while you have Bell's Palsy. You will need to ask a medical doctor what to expect during this jouney. When you're having good days, and when you're having bad days. Less stress to worry about.
9. Get Fresh Air! I want to hide in my bedroom too. But I am forcing myself to get out and do some errands. From all that I have read, Bell's Palsy will usually go away. I am hoping that this is the case for me too.
10. Document. Take a picture of yourself every day on your cell phone, and notice the small subtle changes that are happening. It is my hope that I will look back on those pictures, and see how far I've come.
Thank you for reading :)