November 08, 2015

Surviving Bell's Palsy

"Hello! So... It's hard to take me seriously if half of my face is devoid of emotions when I am such an animated person by default. It's hard not to look into the mirror & not feel bad for having to see my lopsided, drooping lipstick-less mouth. It's also just as hard to even find comfort in food because I have about 25% left of my regular appetite." This was exactly my sentiments a year ago after suffering from Bell's Palsy.

I cannot even begin to explain the fear I had the night I started feeling the symptoms. I overdosed on bacon that day which is why I thought maybe it's going to be one of the serious cases like stroke, perhaps. I went to bed praying and eventually cried myself to sleep because I was so scared. You know your own body so well that you do know when something's actually up and not going right. So when I woke up the next morning looking just about the same but already half smiling, I wanted to go right back to sleep. It has happened, I've gotten Bell's.

The possible reason behind why I've gotten it is still unknown, no official diagnosis can be made since every case is pretty much bizaare but I have a feeling it's stress. I tend to sleep so late and my muscles are all worked up when I finally get a shut eye. Then I'd be so afraid of sweating so I'd have a fan blowing straight up on my face the moment the AC shuts down. Eventually, my facial muscles gave up and ended up paralyzed. Or least the half of them exposed to the sudden changes, rise and fall of temperature for consecutive days.

365 days and then some after, I haven't fully recovered from it. I was reluctant to admit it at first. I wanted to believe I was a survivor already. Little did I know, I am still here - surviving. I was convinced when I saw the latest rolls of photos I took of myself up close. It's still there, if not some of it. I can still feel the numbness but can't put my finger on it. I feel a twitch every now and again and my face contorts on its own. I still can't control some of my facial muscles and I still can't pull off a wacky, duck face normally. (As if there's a normal way of a duck face, let alone that's even a priority but you get my drift.)

I guess what I'm saying is back then I thought: I can either let this sickness define me or I can let me defy this sickness in all my positivity glory and I ended up choosing the latter. Not much has changed since I still choose to do the same - to defy this sickness in all its glory, until it's finally over. If there's one thing that will definitely stay with me, it can be summed up in two words: BE BRAVE. And this is me choosing to be brave all over again.
Getting my smile back was one of my 2014 favorites. I guess it will still and always be on my list this year and years on end. If you've somehow lost yours too, because of a disease or a tragedy so cruel you can't really smile again after that - please think otherwise. Your eyes can do the smiling too. And that's the kind of smile so genuine to go unnoticed. It may not be perfect, or symmetrical but it is yours. You got it back. You get to keep it. And that's more than enough. Have a lovely Sunday, folks!


  1. This is inspiring! Glad that you are overcoming what you've been through. Yup, be brave always! Your smile is pretty! :D

    1. Aw, Judy! Thanks for the kind and sweet words. xx


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