Smile - April 12, 2011

BPP-15: Bell’s Palsy and Me – Three Years Later

A quick summary.

It’s been quite some time since my last post and update about my experiences with and recovery from Bell’s Palsy. I was diagnosed on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 with Bell’s Palsy. During my own search for information on the internet I discovered good information was difficult to find. Bell’s Palsy is not a condition most people are familiar with and

the word “palsy” in the name incorrectly makes some think of cerebral palsy, a much different disorder. Eventually I did find some great resources of information and support and after reading the experiences of others with Bell’s Palsy, I felt I might be able to make my recovery easier to tolerate by sharing it with others. Shortly after my diagnosis, I begin writing about my experiences here on Galindo.me (formerly flyinggalindo.com). In addition to writing about my experiences, I began taking a series of photographs of my face to track my recovery over time. I’m really glad I did. The photographs showed me the small progress I was making that otherwise was hard to see as well as gave me hope in those tough, early days.

The response.

Since that time I have been amazed and humbled by the number of people from around the world who have visited my site and were either suffering from Bell’s Palsy themselves or knew someone who was suffering from the condition. I received countless supportive comments and emails thanking me for sharing my experiences. These people were looking for information, advice and, mostly, just reassurance they would be OK and would get better. This response had a profound impact on me. (Thank you and my best wishes to each of you – DG)

What took so long?

I had intended to write an update several times in the last few years and have several batches of updated photographs showing my progress that have never seen the light of day. Rather than make excuses or go through all the reasons “why” it took me so long to post an update, let me just say it’s “better late than never”.

The remains of my Bell’s Palsy.

Three years later, most external signs of me having Bell’s Palsy are gone. In fact by September 2008, six months after the first onset, I got to the point where I am today. I say most external signs are gone but there are a few lingering after effects. Externally, my right eye still gets a little lazy at times. I sometimes feel a twitching in my right eyelid, primarily after stressful days or when I’m lacking sleep. When I smile big (and I’ll admit I’m a big smiler – is “smiler” a word?) the right side of my mouth doesn’t curve up as much as the left. You can see these things in my latest photos below but I think I may be the only one that notices them.

One strange side-effect of the healing and re-wiring of the facial nerve is how my tear ducts in my right eye and right side of my nose react when I eat. Because these nerves are so close the ones that control the salivary glands, it appears they now react by watering and running when I eat. It’s now easy for people to see when I think food is good because it looks like my right eye is tearing up and I have to blow my nose! I admit, it’s kind of strange, but it really isn’t a big deal, and a small inconvenience considering where I was.

Updated photographs.

Aside from being three years older and having more gray hair, my face has returned mostly to normal, whatever that means. 😉 The left column in the following series of photographs are from April 19th, 2008. The pictures in the right column were taken April 12th, 2011.

April 19, 2008

April 12, 2011

I’d love to hear more comments or questions from anyone interested in my experience with Bell’s Palsy. Thanks for following my progress!

6 comments

  1. gisela says:

    Hi David,
    I’m so glad you are doing so well. And your face looks great! No signs of you ever having BP!!!
    I wish I had been that lucky. Two years later I’m still self conscious about it, I hate taking pictures now. My smile is ok but my right eye didn’t improve that much. And I now have bags under my eyes! Sad. But I guess it can always be worse. Thanks for sharing your progress and pictures.

  2. m.maheshbabu says:

    I am 66yrear old and had this BP three months back.Even though i am cured because of modern medicines my right eye problem is persisting because of bent eye ducts. Some times I feel it may recur. I want to know from friends what is the reason for BP.

  3. Henry says:

    Thanks for posting your BP before and after pics! I was diagnosed yesterday and you have eased my anxiety. Im going to try an eyepatch on my commute tomorrow to keep the eye protected. Im using a stretchy bandana instead of the pirate patch.

  4. cha says:

    hi its great to see some1 thats has had bellspalys and look at the outcome of it u look great. I have bellspaly i have it since July 2006 i got it when i was pregnant, i never heard of it before i thought i was having a stroke. My bellspaly is still there although its not as bad as it orginally was im still not able to smile or move both of my eyebrows. I have tried so many things and read so many stories but it seems like its never going to go

  5. Abdoul says:

    Hey Dave, sorry my facebook got deleted lol, and i can’t find you anymore. Do you mind searching for me again? Thanks.

  6. Abdoul says:

    Wow, great!! Loved it! Thanks for this David. I must say i’m a little worried now about my grin, because i LOVE to smile too haha! And i do notice that the right side of the mouth points up more than my left, slightly… well… it looks like then mine might not go away then haha! Oh well.. Again a pleasure reading through your blog, I’m at day 31 now, and it’s probably 90% better. Do you have a facebook account? I’d like to keep in contact with you if that’s ok =)

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