13 February 2007

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 2

In my last post, I introduced my experience coming down with Bell's Palsy. At that time, I was very uncomfortable and annoyed that everyday activities required more effort, but I was in fairly good spirits.

This past weekend was different. The BP kept getting worse, to the point where my face was drooping and my bottom eyelid was hanging open. Which is gross. And hurts like hell. For most of the weekend, I was exhausted. I don't really know why, but it might have to do with the cranial nerve rebuilding itself. Or it might have had something to do with how horribly down I was feeling.

I'm thankful that it wasn't a stroke, and that this condition is not usually permanent and is confined to my face, neck and upper shoulder. I also realize that there are people out there who are para- and quadriplegics, with no hope of recovery. There are people all over the world with terminal and life-altering illnesses and conditions that will never change for them. I am truly fortunate that I am not in such a condition. But I was feeling sorry for myself because I was in pain, because it was so hard to take in liquids, because I was limited to eating soft foods, because I wasn't able to sleep even though I was exhausted. I talked to my mother (we talk every single day) and I was complaining about the BP, and she said to me, choking up, "You're so much stronger than I am. I would be absolutely freaking out if something like that happened to me and I was so far away from my family." I'm assuming she was also thinking about the events of the past two years, which involved getting married, quitting a stable job to move to Vermont with new husband, have new husband dump me after a few months, move in with parents to look for work since old job had already replaced me, find a job in Virginia, get a lump in my breast, have lump removed, move to Virginia to start new job, get divorced and sued, and find out that breast lump is an indicator that I'm twice as likely to develop a malignant tumor.

I've been through a lot, which might be why my immune system is down right now. Hence, the BP. I don't know if I'm entitled to feel sorry for myself, but I do.

I'm feeling better today, in that my condition hasn't worsened from yesterday to today. That's a huge relief. I don't know how long I will stay on this level, which is part of the horror of BP. If I knew this would be permanent, it might not seem so scary and I could start editing my life around it. But it might clear up in a week, so I don't want to make any big changes. Or it could take a year to clear up, which would be dreadful!

Today's symptoms are tenderness on the right side of my face, especially around my ear, temple and jaw. My eye is still terribly dry, but not any weaker, and the conjunctivitis has cleared up. My mouth and teeth hurt, which is new, but not so bothersome. Eating is still difficult. Certain sounds feel like they'll split me in half. My face and neck are having some spasms. And I'm still exhausted.

It's day 7 of my BP.

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