How do you face your problems, when the problem is your face?
I have wanted to share my experience with facial paralysis (aka Bell’s Palsy) for a while now, and decided a video would be the best way to do so.
Warning: it is a long-ish video and I’m a novice at recording/editing, but I’m learning! 😉
Facebook Post 11/13/15:
I haven’t smiled in 15 days, but I am happy.
I had never heard the words “Bell” and “Palsy” used in a sentence together. Ironically, pronouncing “B’s,” and “P’s” is now close to impossible so explaining “I have Bell’s Palsy” seems like a cruel joke. Thanks, Mr. Bell!
This disorder occurs when the seventh cranial nerve (facial nerve that runs through the bone behind your ear) becomes inflamed or damaged, completely impairing all functions in one half of the face. In my case, the right side. PRAISE that at least it wasn’t my “good side”. If you’ve taken a picture with me, this should make you giggle. BP affects each individual differently. Some cases may disappear within a few weeks while others may last several years.
During this month of giving thanks, I have found myself caught somewhere between the deeply discouraging thoughts of my face never returning to its “normal state” and the sheer relief that this is not a life-threatening illness. I have allowed myself to feel the fear, pain, and sadness. After all, I am human, and a kind of vain one at that.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that my illness doesn’t have to define me. If anything, it seems as though life has provided me with a unique opportunity by magnifying several of my shortcomings: insecurity, doubt, impatience, pity…and revealing a more honest, beautiful self. My exterior may be temporarily altered, my circumstances changed, but I am still me. And I am much more than my face.
I hope I can create awareness for those living with Bell’s Palsy. It afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year. And although most people fully recover, the physical and emotional trauma that come along with the disorder can be debilitating. It takes empathy and understanding to get through the healing process. And for those people who do not fully recover, I hope for them a life of happiness, not shame.
Facebook Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BellsPalsySupport/
If you have any additional questions please feel free to message me!