This is.....

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Probably insane, sometimes cynical, mostly absurd and occasionally feisty, buddhist, sapiosexual witch with a passion for love, food and life. Convinced that most people either need a hug, or a damn good slap :)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Living with Bells Palsy

No one told me that, once you'd had Bells Palsy, that you were likely to get it again, but on Friday night, when I realised that what I was eating tasted strange, and the pain in my neck was travelling up to behind my ear, 6 years on from the first bout, I knew exactly what it was and my heart sank.

It had taken over 18 months to recover from my first meeting with this illness, and to this day certain nerves don't send signals to the correct parts of my face, causing my eye to water when I eat, and my eyebrow to dip when I smile.. not noticeable by most, but I can feel it happening. You live with those things though after fighting complete paralysis of one side of your face, the dribbling, the drooping, the not being able to eat and drink properly.. any recovery from that is gratefully received.

Now, 6 years later, I'm sitting here with an eye that won't close, a numb tongue and half a face that remains completely immovable, no matter how funny Most Haunted gets.

Saturday morning I trotted dutifully off to the emergency doctor, got tested and they agreed it was back, prescribed me steroids for 10 days and sent me away. That's all they can do, there is no miracle cure, they aren't even convinced about what causes it, viral or damage or bad luck.. nothing is conclusive. What they do seem to agree on though is that one visitation creates a weakness, a higher likelyhood of getting it back.

I'm glad they didn't tell me that at the time.

For those interested in the medical side of things this is how it works... This bugger attacks the 7th Cranial nerve that travels your neck to behind your ear, where it enters the skull through a small hole and basically makes your face work. The nerve swells as a result of either the virus or the damage, and the small hole constricts it, stopping it working and exactly half of your face goes into dead-pan mode at best, drooping similar to a stroke if you are unlucky.

That's what happened to me the first time, I had enormous problems making myself understood as my speech was impaired. This time I'm luckier.. I have to think about what I'm saying, but I can be understood.

With any luck, 3 - 6 months time and I'll be back to normal.. I'm actually hoping that as it's on the other side of my face this time, that it'll actually even my face up again.. but I'm not sure this illness is that kind.

By the way, I'm smiling in the picture.. hard to tell isn't it. (cover half of my face and you'll be able to tell) A real "smiling on the inside" moment :) I'd like to say I'm putting on a brave face, but I'd only be half right... lol

I'll keep you updated if you're interested, but really posted this to let people know that this is something that can attack ANYONE.. young or old, healthy or not, apparently George Clooney suffered with it.. so even the rich and good looking aren't safe! If you do get it however, as horrible as it is, only a very few people are left with lasting damage, most of us recover completely.. Fingers crossed eh?


  1. Awww Kate.... sending a huge HUG your way. Hope it doesn't last too long this time. Steve Carter. X

  2. Hi there.
    Happened to stubble across your blog by chance as I have just been told I have Bells Palsy. I went to the dentist thinking it was a dental problem because I couldn't feel my tongue and my lip was numb. but now the whole left side is numb and my mouth is droopy, plus whistling is impossible haha. But your blog has really helped explain things to me, like the funny tasting food and the pains behind my ear. Anyway 2 weeks in and I feel I am getting better, so good luck to ya for a better recovery this time, Ludo xx

  3. Thanks Ludo, I'm really glad I could help. It was really why I wrote the blog and you are so right whistling is impossible, so is that sucky squeaky noise you make when you're calling your animals! lol Hope you make a complete recovery and it never visits you again :)