Bell’s Palsy: Don’t Fight It, Just Be Part 1

February 2, 2012

A week and a day ago my crooked smile disappeared. What I had left of a smile is now gone. Gone.


It has vacated until further notice. It’s split and left no note or anything. You may be thinking that I’m speaking metaphorically when I say, “I have no smile now” or “I just can’t smile,” but no. I wish that were the case. Actually, I don’t because that would mean I would be severely depressed to the point of near catatonia again, and I definitely don’t want that. What I mean is that I’m saying this quite literally because the right side of my face is immovable, zombie-like, paralyzed. But now that I conjur metaphor, I will say that I also mean it metaphorically. After all, it’s difficult to smile inside when you lose such a basic function. It can be devastating.

On Wednesday morning of last week, just a day and two nights after arriving back in Houston, I woke up unable to move the right side of my face. The skin just hung there all soft and wobbly, like a dangling pancake. When I got up to get ready for my first therapy appointment since November, the delicate, pancake muscles on my cheek, lip, eyelid and eyebrow all slowly drooped; the nerve filaments microscopically scintillated inside.

Then, the tingling began, tiny sparks, growing stronger by the minute. That’s when I knew. I knew the facial paralysis, or rather Bell’s Palsy, had swooped in and struck me overnight.

When Bell’s Palsy strikes, it likes to do so incognito, in silence. It strikes like a ninja assassin sent to snap your seventh cranial nerve right there behind your ear. You may get the occasional warning–a spasm, soreness of the face, neck pain or a migraine perhaps–and many people do, but if and when you do, you’ll find yourself already struck before you can lift a leg for a roundhouse kick. In this case, however, you can’t even raise your brow to the mighty heavens and yell a crisp and clear “THE FUUUUUCK?!” because you can’t move your lips. Instead you sound like you have a moderate to mildly-severe retardation that causes your speech to slur and become nasally. Instead, your cry wheezes out with a lisp. It’s reduced to a faint, wispy whimper, “ph-puh-uuuck. “P”s, “M”s, “N”s, “B”s and “F”s are especially hard to enunciate .

This is the third time it has happened. The first time was in 2006…

6 Responses to “Bell’s Palsy: Don’t Fight It, Just Be Part 1”

  1. Dear PAZ,
    How long has it lasted the other times?
    Love Dotty xxx

    • P.A.Z. said

      Dottie! The first time, it only lasted a month. I had recovered completely by the 3-4th week. But funny ’cause I don’t even remember which side it was on. Though now that it’s happened again, I’m thinking it was on the right. I also didn’t have pain the first time. The second time, in 2009, it was on my left side. Man, it was fuckin’ hell. I didn’t begin to see life on my face until about the fourth month. And I still haven’t recovered completely. I had initially thought I was having a stroke because I had the most intense migraines and pain. And that’s when I developed neuralgia, but who knows what kind of neuralgia. I don’t get very good access to medical care because I’m not a citizen here.

      Anyway, I’m having pain now, but it’s not as consistently bad. So I’m hopeful, plus my eye has been twitching since yesterday! And that’s a good sign. Also, my face doesn’t look like it’s been run over by a tractor as oppose to last time. But enough of my ramble… I’ll write part two of this ordeal when I actually get to some work I had planned first…seeing fuzzy.
      much love xo

  2. Best of luck with it. I’ve had it 2 years. Rest, rest, rest. and lots of B-vitamins.

    • P.A.Z. said

      Thank you! I have had it for two years as well–on my left side. The second onset was in 2009 and I didn’t fully recover from that one. Several months ago, I had actually bought some B12 methylcobalamin which is really hard to find. Most of what you see out there is the cyanacobalamin, but I’d read that methyl absorbs better. Of couse, I was doing that just for the sake of my left side and a general boost to my nervous system. But now I’ll really need it. If you haven’t already, I recommend to look for the methyl B12 instead of the cyana B12.

      Thanks again, and best of luck to you too.

  3. […] 400mg Carbamazepine/Tegretol – These are the little round yellowish-beige colored pills with the orange circle in the middle. They were initially for the neurological pain I started experiencing two years ago after I got the Bell’s Palsy for the second time and for he third time in January of this year. Oh, snapples! I never got to writing my Bell’s Palsy Part II did I? Hell, I think I’ve promised too many “Part II’s”. I need to stop doing that. Oh get this though. Carbamazepine is an anti-convulsant, so it helps reduce epileptic seizures, yet it’s used for neuropathic pain which is what I have on my face, BUT… BUT… get this: It’s also used as a mood stabalizer! So, am I getting two for one or is this shit making my moods flail around and flagellate my soul more?!  (You can read Bell’s Palsy: Don’t Fight It, Just Be Part 1 here) […]

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