This was one of those weeks that had a lot going on. It was exhausting, messy, sloppy, busy, hectic, discouraging, productive, challenging, fun and inspiring all wrapped together.
Here are a couple of lessons I learned this week:
Lesson 1: Be Patient and Don’t Rush Recovery
This was a week I realized that, as amazing as our bodies are at healing themselves, recovery still takes time.
Even though externally my Bell’s Palsy isn’t as noticeable to others, the nerve functions to the BP-affected right side of my face and eyelid still have a lot of healing to do. Because of my recent improvement, I started to return to my normal work habits this week. I was running around, talking a lot and not taking the necessary time to rest.
The problem is, my right eye still doesn’t fully blink or create tears like it should. In the last couple of days, I wasn’t using the artificial tear drops as often or closing my eyes to let them rest as much. At the end of those days, I felt drained again, my right eye dry and aching, having to put my eye patch on just to let it rest.
As far as my speech goes, I thought it was completely back to normal. On Wednesday afternoon, I was conducting a brief, ten-minute training session in front of 40 or 50 people. As I was trying to project my voice, I still had those occasional “blow-out’s” with words that have hard consonants that require you to purse your lips.
I’m going to try to remind myself to take it easy. The world won’t fall apart if I stop to rest every once in awhile.
Lesson 2: Even the Small Things We Do Can Make a Difference
This week I received number of emails and comments on my blog. It’s amazing the number of people around the country and world who have recently been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. In many cases, they are unsure of what to expect and scared, the same as I was a few weeks ago. Often, they get little to no information, let alone reassurance, from their doctor. And I’m not blaming the doctors either. Bell’s Palsy is pretty rare, and most doctors don’t know what to do with it. Aside from prescribing medication to prevent further damage to the affected nerves, there really isn’t much they can do.
In the emails and comments I’ve received, several people have told me, that by sharing my experience, I was helping them overcome some of their fear and giving them hope for recovery. I was really touched by this.
To those of you I have never met but wished me a speedy recovery, thank you. You made a difference too.
Side-by-Side Progress Pictures #5
Pictures in the left column were taken Saturday, April 12th, 2008 (except where noted on the side profile smiling photos).
Pictures in the right column were taken this morning, Saturday, May 3rd, 2008.