Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bell's Palsy

Remember my post about things happening in threes? Well, I've decided that things happen in 25s for me.

I woke up this morning and drank orange juice as normal. It tasted kind of strange, and I didn't finish it (which is unusual). I had breakfast and noticed a muted sensation when I ate and thought it was kind of weird but didn't give it much additional thought. While I was teaching reading, I noticed a weird sensation in my mouth but thought I needed chapstick. I came home to nurse at lunch and was doing funny faces for Kellen. I noticed that my smile felt funny so went to look at it in the mirror. I couldn't smile. I rolled my tongue to see if my tongue was having problems as well, and while I could roll it, it wasn't the same as my left side. Dan had run up to the house, so I called him to come home. I only had one class in the afternoon, so I thought I could go to school to teach that. As I was leaving, I noticed that I couldn't close my right eye all the way. I drove about a block before I realized I shouldn't be driving and turned around.

All the way to the ER I was thinking that I had suffered a stroke. One side of my face was acting paralyzed. I was reassured by the fact that I still had sensation in my cheeks if I lightly scratched it. When we got to the ER, the doctor came in almost immediately. I told him I was really scared. He said that he could reassure me immediately. It's Bell's Palsy. He said they see it about once a day and that it occurs in young, healthy people. I was so worried about having this lifelong inability to smile, but he said it was temporary and should go away in the next couple of weeks. Until then I have slight paralyzation in the right side of my face.

I am amazed at by lessons in my life showing me that I have no control. As we were leaving for the ER, I thought to myself that I couldn't control what happened, even if it was a life threatening thing. I was afraid that I wouldn't get my smile back, a smile that I love. But I told myself I would trade that for being there for my son as he grows up. It's another reminder that each day is a blessing and that we shouldn't take any time for granted. We have our lives and our families and our friends and a great community. And today I am grateful for that. Even if it took a paralyzed face to bring some of that back.


  1. my "big" sister (sorority) had a severe episode of Bells Palsy while in her Junior year of college. Thankfully she has regained all of the feeling and movement back in the side of her face that was affected. Her initial onset was pretty bad and when she smiles you can see a bit in her eyelid when she's tired, even almost 10 years later.

    I'll be praying for you and hope you get back to "normal" soon. lots of hugs and love

    -- Melsie (from the nest)

  2. Oh my goodness!! You sure have a great outlook. I am amazed at your strength - Thank you for that, Brooke!

  3. Hello my dear! Just to let you know Patrick had a case of Bells Palsy as a young adult and while it was certainly scary for him and his parents he is 100% fine now. You would never know. He does complain that he face gets a little more numb in the bitter cold but has never had it rear its ugly head again.

    Best wishes to all three of you. You have a beautiful son and even I can comment of remembering your beautiful smile. As with the house, your happiness and smiles will return with time :)

  4. My goodness, so many things keep happening to you! :( You always have such a good outlook on things though. Try and rest (if that is at all possible) and enjoy that baby. :)