Monday, February 8, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Or is it?

So I'm going to post pictures of me during this journey with Bell's Palsy. This is *not* a pleasant thing to do and I'm scared to death. It's akin to walking around completely naked and hoping no one laughs. I need to do this though. I feel like this is part of my emotional healing process; me facing my fears. And right now the mirror and how others see me are 2 big fears.

So first off a before picture of me....ready?

So then 1 week after my daughter was born I woke up with Bell's. All of a sudden half my face didn't work. At all. And after about a week it looked like the right side of my face was sliding off my skull. Seriously.

I didn't allow ANY photos of me during that time because it was so awful. I didn't get the nerve up to keep a photo I took of myself until 3 months into this experience. This photo is from September 2009. I can, at least, smile by this time. The right side of my face is still obviously affected but it was SO MUCH BETTER by this time. You can tell my right eye still doesn't want to work and my smile isn't totally correct yet - but we are getting there.

 This next one is from October 2009. I was 4 1/2 months in at this point. Excuse the makeup and such but this was taken on Halloween; I had a vampire costume on and full makeup (I was trying for normalcy here even though I still looked wonky.) So you can see that my right eye is getting better - it isn't totally perfect yet but it IS better just from September. However this is where we start to enter residualville. If you notice - the right side of my mouth is kinda pulling upwards and so is my right nostril. It isn't that bad here yet but this was just the beginning.

This next photo is from November 2009. Not a great picture, I had been crying right before this so my nose is all red. Again, my eye is better but still not normal. Also you can really see that the right side of my mouth is pulling upwards now, as well as the right nostril. I can't do anything about that - it is involuntary. The muscles have become hypertonic - after months of being lax now they are receiving nerve signals and pull constantly. It is way worse when I close that eye. I'll see if I can find a picture of that too. This was taken on Thanksgiving Day and at 5 1/2 months into Bell's Palsy.

This photo is from about the second week in December. Not so different from the last picture. I took it on my 6th month anniversary with Bell's. It seems I hit a sort of "plateau" with my recovery here. I am better here but

This photo is from the first week in January. I took this at 1 week shy of 7 months living with Bell's.

This is still January 2010 and is a photo (taken at the same time as the other one) of my residuals. This is what happens when I try to close my right eye. You will notice how much the right side of my mouth pulls. I have zero control over that. The nerve evidently re-connected wrong. It sucks out loud ya'll.

This photo I took last week - still a bit off but better. This was right before I left for my Acupuncture appointment. My eyes are almost the same size again. Although I think one of the damn residuals is that now instead of my right eye being too large it's actually becoming smaller than the left. *shaking head* This is the craziest condition ever I think.

And this is the same day/time but with my eyes closed to show the residuals. My mouth is still pulling upwards but not as bad and my eye is closed. Now I'm having to really try to hold my eye closed but it's so much better than it was.

This is me today. I just went and put my contacts in (I have not been able to wear my contacts in almost 8 months) and put makeup on. Still not normal yet but so much better. I see improvement just from last week. I am 4 days shy of having had this damn shit for 8 months. Here are the places I still need to heal: my mouth - I still can't pucker my lips or really control my top or bottom lip on the right side, and the top of my eye/forehead - I can't raise my right eyebrow or wrinkle the right side of my forehead.
I would like the residuals to go away. The one that causes my mouth to pull upwards and the newest one - the dimple on my chin. See it? I don't actually have a dimple but now the muscles that connect there have also become hypertonic and pull constantly in two different directions causing the weird dimple. *sigh*

BUT I'm hopeful. I'm working at accepting me the way I am. Some days I am considerably better at it than others. Today is a good day and I'm hopeful. There is improvement and I am holding on to that. Maybe. Maybe it will still come back. Baby steps. And courage in small doses.


  1. you are a brave one my friend.

    So I was worried, i'll be honest. I know what you 'looked' like before, and I could only imagine the worst.

    But hey! You have come a LONG way baby. Seriously, I can hardly tell. At all. i know you can, cause it is your face and all...but seriously. You are still as beautiful as you were before. The lip thing is almost cute. (I am sure you disagree, feel free to smack me) Not nearly as bad as you see anyway.

    I'm in awe of you.

    Beautiful. Inside and out. always.


  2. Thank you sweetie. I *am* a ton better. But. The damn residuals. *HUGESIGH* I am trying to keep faith and that is harder some days than other. I know you know what I mean. Thanks for always being here though this and always supporting me. :) ilu.

  3. I'm stopping by from 'the lady bloggers'! I found your blog and I'm reading up on your posts and you truly are a remarkable lady. Hang in there! You're beautiful! (From what I see so far, both inside and out!)

  4. Kath -- I'm catching up on both your blogs since I'm feeling better now and the dance comp is under my belt. This is such a great post, glad I found it. Takes a lot of guts to put it all out there for all the world to see! I commend you! It's looking much better! Seriously, you can barely tell in the pic you took most recently. Okay, don't virtually slap me but I like the chin dimple. It's cute!

  5. Jenny - ty and I'm so glad you found my blog!

    Kendall - I appreciate that BUT it isn't even in the center of my chin - I could at least try and live with that - it is ALSO off center...wonky. *sigh* It's like having to wear a mask I can't get off around all the time. I'm still very unsettled about it but I'm working on acceptance.