21

I’m on day 21 of my Bells Palsy.
There has been improvement, slow improvement, but improvement none the less.

I saw the GP who has referred me to the eye clinic as I still can’t close my right eye. They saw me and my eye and no damage has been done.

However if in the next 2-3 weeks I’ve not made a full recovery I will need to be referred to an ENT and Neurology specialist to check for nerve damage.

Lets hope that doesn’t happen!

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Face Ache

That phrase always cracks me up.
Face Ache. Bloody Bells Palsy.

I always used to use it at school with friends as a joke (not a clue why).
“Morning face ache!”
“Did you do Mrs ODs essay face ache?”

Anyway, I digress!

My face? It aches!

There’s tingles and the right side feels like someone thumped me with a brick. To be fair I’ve never been whacked in the head with a brick, golf club yes, brick, no. Don’t ask.

A sign that something is happening no doubt. Which is great, I just wish it didn’t bloody hurt so much. Especially as I’ve run out of paracetamol, so I’ve taken to swigging from a bottle of children’s paracetamol oral suspension. *classy bird*

The GP has referred me to an eye specialist. I can’t actually close my right eye fully, so it has to be kept an eye *no pun intended* on. Something to do with ulceration… Yuck!

I have to wait another 3 weeks now and if I haven’t made a full recovery then I have to be referred to another specialist to determine what damage (if any) has been done.

Shame that the NHS doesn’t have a reward points card. Probably should stop complaining about how much tax and national insurance I’ve paid. Over the last 6 months I think it’s safe to say I’ve clawed all that money back and then some!

I’ll admit. I’m ready to be healthy. Fed up of this malarkey now.

Go away Bells, you’ve out-stayed your welcome!

Not So Perfect 10

Well, I’m on Day 10 of having Bells Palsy now.

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Today I have one last set of corticosteroids to take and then I’m done with the medication.

I’m still not back to normal, and I have no idea how much longer it is going to take. I’m seeing the GP on Wednesday for a review. I have no clue what to expect!

My face still has the odd tingle throughout the day, normally by my chin or nose and my cheek and jaw are now starting to feel quite sore, almost as if I’ve taken a right hook and its been a few days!

From the onset to now, you can see the difference.

Day One

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Day Four

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Day Six

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Day Eight

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I’m hoping that within the next 7 to 10 more days that my face will be back to normal.

I really hope so, because I do not enjoy/like having this condition.

Day 6

I have been taking daily photos since my Bells Palsy kicked off. So I could see if there was any change.

I’m on Day 6 and there is no change at all. However, it hasn’t got any worse, thank god!

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I still slur my speech if I speak for any length of time and I get tired very quickly. I can’t pronounce words that contain B’s or P’s, which is frustrating.
I can’t talk quickly, I have to speak slowly to form my words, which often makes me feel incredibly stupid.

Yesterday I think I felt a small twitch on my right nostril, but I can’t be 100% sure if it was real or if I think it was because I wanted to be. However I’ve just felt it again, so I think it was real!

I am still self conscious, despite The husband saying “despite your wonky face, I still love you” yesterday.

Thankfully I have had no horrible experiences out in public.

It’s just a waiting game now. How long before it starts to resolve? How long before I can eat and drink properly? How long before I can speak without sounding like I’m drunk?

I’ll admit I am fed up of waiting. I want my face back, I want to feel better.

I have a review with the GP next Wednesday. My medication will be completed and hopefully something will have started to change.

If there has been no change at all, then I guess the GP will decide what else we do and when next we review.

Foothold

I’ve the last year I have really struggled with my mental health. Having a mental health illness like depression is hard work. It’s a silent illness and only those who have had it can really and truly understand how difficult it is.

When I became pregnant with Emma, I was on a high. I’d been telling The Husband that I wanted to have a baby for about 2 years. Eventually he agreed and well, 4 months later the blue lines appeared, well it was a digital “pregnant” that appeared, but you get the picture. A positive pregnancy test!

We made a doctors appointment, got a referral to the community midwives and away we went on our new adventure.
I remember the exact day I stopped taking my antidepressants. It was July 18th 2012. Having a baby on the way made me fiercely determined to beat my depression in submission and lock it away. (Note : depression never really goes away, it’s always creeping around trying to get a foothold back into your mind)

There were days that I struggled and days that I didn’t. I think my protectiveness over my unborn baby helped that.

Because of my medical history I had to be reviewed and my pregnancy managed by a team of consultant obstetricians AND the community mental health team. Having a history of depression means that I am more likely to relapse into a depressive episode during or after the pregnancy. This pushed me to fight even harder. I did not want to rely on tablets and monthly doctor visits when I had a baby to look after.

I don’t want my child to grow up with a mother that was constantly pill-popping or spending days in bed.

Emma is my world, my antidepressant. She is one of my sole reasons for waving the flaming torches at the blackness of depression, warning it away. The Husband is the other. The two most important people in my life.

I am struggling today. I struggled yesterday. I have Bells Palsy. The right side of my face is paralysed. I feel awful and I look awful, then I feel depression gleefully clapping its hands and looking for a way in.

It’s becoming harder.

This morning one of my twitter friends said to me “you’re allowed to be pissed”

She is right. I am allowed to be pissed.

Since Emma’s birth it has been hard. Even just before it. I caught a virus and my sciatica was so bad that I had to start my maternity leave 4 weeks earlier than I wanted. We were hospitalised, we had breastfeeding issues, I had suspected appendicitis and now this.

However I am not pissed. I am upset and disappointed.

Bells Palsy is temporary. Looking at myself in the mirror is fine if I have straight face, it’s barely noticeable. However the moment I make any facial movement only the left side reacts and I look freakish.

I can’t smile.
When I talk for a short period of time I begin to sound slurred. I can’t pronounce certain words. I sound like a drunk.
It’s very hard to eat and drink.
I have to express my breast milk and throw it away. The person who coined the phrase “there’s no point crying over spilt milk” has clearly beer had to throw away their own breast milk!

The actual palsy isn’t an issue. I know it will resolve over the next few months. I’m hoping it will resolve without any complications.

The psychological factor IS an issue.

I cry because I cannot smile at Emma. She however finds my lopsided smiles funny and when I try to smile at her she responds with gummy grins. They make my day but they also make me sad. It is a horrible feeling not being able to fully smile at your new baby.

I cry because I’m disappointed in myself. I feel like a freak and I look like one. The lady with the freakish face. I cannot bear to leave the house because I am worried that people will stare at me. Having been someone who is never bothered by what a person looks like and has never bothered about how I look (within reason of course) I am now painfully aware of my hypocrisy. How noticeable my shallowness is, that I am more concerned about how I look to others when really I shouldn’t be. I am now questioning myself.

I cry because the medication I have to take for the next 10 days means I have to express my breast milk and throw it away. This is the 4th time I’ve had issues with breastfeeding. I am determined to do it, but at what cost? Where do I draw the line?

I am afraid that depression is sat at my feet trying to claw it’s way up my legs.

Thankfully The Husband, being one on my beacons helps me stave off depression.

I am ever thankful for him and my daughter.

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Doctor Doctor

A few weeks ago I visited the doctor to get my allergy meds. Later in the afternoon I began to feel unwell and ended up in hospital with suspected appendicitis.

Yesterday I visited the doctor to have my post partum check up and guess what?
I ended up in the hospital a few hours later!

I am beginning to the think that going to see the family doctor is hazardous to my health!

There is nothing more frightening then waking up, taking a drink of water on your bedside table and having it dribble out of your mouth because all of a sudden half of your mouth doesn’t work anymore. I was terrified.
It was like the sandman came along whilst I slept and instead of sprinkling me with sleepy dust, he injected a load of anaesthetic into my face.

The next thing I know, I have 3 paramedics in my living room assessing me. All of my symptoms point towards a possible stroke.
Yes. A stroke!
Healthy 29 years olds don’t just have strokes! Well, not statistically anyway.

For the first time in my life I got to ride in an ambulance at a very quick speed with the blue lights going and siren wailing. To a hospital a fair way away. One that had a specialist stroke unit.

I was met by the consultant neurologist and the resus team. After a few minutes they realised I wasn’t in a very serious way and left the neurologist to manage the emergency.

He quickly ruled out a stroke (thank god!) and diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy. Still scary, but at least I’m not going to die eh?

This was my face at 3am whilst in hospital.

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This was the same expressions 6 hours later.

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I’ve been told the symptoms peak within 48 hours and can take between 2 weeks and 6 months to resolve themselves, depending in the severity. So far I have 8 of the 13 symptoms listed by the NHS.
I’m hoping for the 2 weeks recovery, but with my string of luck recently, I better not hold my breath! God knows what would happen if I did that!!!

So far 2013 hasn’t been the most fantastic year for me. The only good thing so far is Emma!

I’m ready to be healthy body, so hop to it!!