Tag: Bells Palsy

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

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Day 71, BPP-14: 10 Weeks and Counting

As I sat down to post this update, I started doing the math on how long it’s been since I was first diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. Wednesday, April 9th was when it all began and today is Wednesday June 18th. It’s hard to believe it has only been ten weeks. Somehow it seems like much more time has passed.

Yesterday, I went to see my doctor for a follow-up appointment. On the surface, I look like I’m pretty much back to normal. He noticed that my eyebrows and smile aren’t as symmetrical as they normally are – something I’m aware of as well. Still, most people can’t see anything now. I mentioned to him that I still feeling some aching in the muscles where my chin meets my neck and a few other small areas around my face. He said that, although I’m taking a little longer than most to fully recover, I’m pretty close and that it should probably take care of itself. At this point I don’t have any appointments scheduled to go back for a follow-up on this unless something changes and needs attention.

I’ve heard others say after recovering from Bell’s Palsy that any pain or strange feeling around their face makes them wonder if it’s returning. I have had that same experience recently. It may come back to stress. I get these aches and pains when I don’t get enough rest or let the little things get to me. I’m going to try to be conscious about getting a little more exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep.

I’ve been pretty busy with some other projects lately. Because of that, I’m going to get back to writing some “normal” non-Bell’s Palsy related posts. But don’t worry – I’ll update periodically on my progress.

Below: Progress pictures – taken Sunday, June 15th, 2008:

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Day 50, BPP-13: My Bell's Palsy at 50 Days

Since My Last Post

I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, May has been an extremely busy month. I had been hoping to post more frequent updates on my recovery. Today is a big milestone though. It is 50 days since I was first diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. I’m going to try to quickly bring everything up to date here. Here’s what’s been going on since my last update on May 11th:

First, the right side of my mouth is beginning to turn upward again. I didn’t notice it until I compared my recent pictures with the last set. Next, when I smile big, the sensation of tightness or laziness is going away. Plus, my right cheek is pulling back more naturally. Finally, when I raise my right eye, the creases and wrinkles have mostly returned to normal. I never thought I’d say this, but those wrinkles are a welcome sight!

If I had to put a percentage on my recovery, I’d say I feel like I’m somewhere around 85% recovered!

My Recent Doctor’s Visit

I visited my doctor a little over a week ago for a follow-up appointment. He assured me that my progress was really good and that I look much better than my previous visit. I mentioned a few things I was still experiencing: my sense of taste not quite right (things on my right side tasted metallic), periodic pain in my neck and ear, occasional headaches. He’s been good about covering the bases with each visit and not making assumptions. Although everything is returning to normal, he wants me to come back in mid-June to make sure the recovery continues before he releases me from care.

Progress Pictures

My most recent pictures were taken a few days ago. Comparing my smile between 5/11 and 5/25, it seems to look more natural now. And what about my “Smile – Right Side” photo near the bottom?

It seems the Bell’s Palsy “snarl” that was my right profile has now mostly disappeared! I’m going to continue to take pictures even though the degree of change is not as noticeable.

I’ll be watching for improvement in my smile and in my right eye not looking so “tired”. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with where I’m at.

Straight Face 04/12/08: P4124333 Straight Face 05/11/08: P5114659 Straight Face 05/25/08: P5254685

More Pictures…

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Day 33, BPP-12: One Month Progress Report

The effects of stress and fatigue.

It’s been about 8 days since my last progress report.  Originally, I was going to post on May 9th, a month to the day I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy.  With the busy and eventful week I’ve had, it had to wait until today.

I wasn’t sleeping well this past week.  I took pictures yesterday, with the intention of using those for an update, but I felt exhausted and had a headache.  Instead, I decided to close my eyes, lie on the couch, and take a well needed nap.  I really needed that.

I took pictures again today, after sleeping better last night.  I decided to add another column below.  Comparing the April 12th, May 10th and today’s pictures, there is definitely marked improvement.  However, I think the effects of fatigue and stress from this past week are visible in the pictures taken yesterday, May 10th.

So what was all the stress and stuff going on that was causing me not to sleep well?  It doesn’t really matter.  What is important to recognize is how stress and not getting enough sleep make it more difficult for our bodies to take care of themselves.

I’ll try to be more aware of that now.

Progress Pictures:

Straight Face
Straight Face
Straight Face
05/11/08 (today):

More Pictures…

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Day 25, BPP-11: Lessons Learned

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.

Straight Face
Straight Face
05/03/08 (Today):

More Pictures…

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Day 22, BPP-10: "Your Face Is Back!"

A Wrinkle At A Time

As I walked into my office yesterday afternoon, a co-worker, after not seeing me for a day, exclaimed “David! Your face is back!” Prior to having Bell’s Palsy and the way we playfully joke with each other at work, a comment like that would probably have been followed by a witty punch line. This time however, it was sincere. And it was nice to hear too.

The word on the street is that my smile is returning to the right side of my face. All the things that make a smile possible – mouth turning up, squinting of the eye, raising the eyebrow – are returning to normal, a wrinkle at a time. Who would have thought wrinkles were a good thing? I do now.

Side-by-Side Progress Pictures #4

After three weeks, I think the following pictures are a significant milestone. I’m doing my best to take natural-looking photos. If it looks like I’m smirking – I apologize. Wink

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, Wednesday, April 30th, 2008.

Straight Face
Straight Face
04/30/08 (Today):

More Progress Pictures…

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