I really felt that I needed to post about this subject because after being diagnosed, there was not a lot of info posted by individuals who had dealt with this trauma.
In short, Bell's Palsy is a facial paralysis brought on by damage to the 7th cranial nerve. Generally, this type of paralysis is triggered by some sort of viral infection. It can also be caused by stress (me, stress?), but there is no exact cause.
So two weeks prior to being diagnosed, I woke up one morning and my right ear felt a little "full" and a little itchy. So, the first thing I did was grab a Q-Tip and I cleaned my ear out. I always do this after I shower anyway because I cannot stand to have water in my ears. After I cleaned my ear out, it still felt like I had water in it or still felt like it was "full". You know, that feeling you get when you're in an airplane...like it needs to pop, but won't.
So after two days of this feeling, I decided to schedule an appointment with my general practioner. When I went in, he said everything looked fine. There was no wax build up, no ear infection. So, he gave me a nasal prescription spray and Alegra, thinking it might be allergy related. Well, 4 days later, no change. So I called my Dr. again and he referred me to an Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist.
***Side Note: I have NEVER in my life had any type of ear problems. Maybe ONE ear infection when I was four, but aside from that...nothing! And, I've always been healthy!***
***Also please note that if you have any awkward feeling or loss of hearing in your ear(s), seek medical attention immediately, as generally medical professionals will NOT be able to bring back any hearing loss after 72 hours of the onset of hearing loss....scary lesson learned here!***
Ok, so back to the story here! So, I went to the ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat) Specialist and had a hearing test done. Yes, my right ear was far below what the norm was in every range....way below in fact. Definite hearing loss...was temporarily diagnosed with SHL (sudden hearing loss). I was then told by the ENT that I should come back in a month to have another hearing test done. This is when my instincts kicked in...what? Come back in a month to find out why, although in my 33 years in existence that I've NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE HAD A PROBLEM WITH MY EARS AND NOW I FEEL 50% DEAF, I should come back in 30 days with no diagnosis??? Um, no thank you! So, I set up an appointment with another specialist.
Thank God that I did make another appointment. The night before, I told Jason that my face felt a little weird. He thought I was just being a little looney. Oh, and not to mention, my tastebuds had faded two days earlier. I really didn't think much about that though...I just figured I had one too many glasses of vino ;)
Again, God was on my side. The morning I woke up to go to the second specialist, I had lost the ability to blink my right eye and move the right side of my mouth. Yes, it felt like I had just gone to the dentist and had my mouth numbed...it wouldn't move for anything!
I freaked out! Having NEVER heard of Bell's Palsy, I had no idea what was going on...I literally felt for the first time in my life that I may be dying. It just felt like my facial functions were fading little by little.
I remember the morning of my Dr.'s appointment writing out a list for Jason of what Macy liked and didn't like for her lunch, when she needed to take her bath, what she liked to wear to school, what Mylie and Chance liked for lunch, what entertained them during the day...at this point, I didn't really know what was going on. Was I going to go to the specialist and find out I was dying within the next 24 hours, did I have a brain tumor? Seriously, it was that crazy and eye opening.
So, when I went to the speicalist, I had to do a few facial movement tests and more hearing test. This is when I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. I did research this before, so I kind of (hopefully) knew already what was going on.
Again, thank God the morning of the paralysis, I had already set up my second specialist appointment. I think this saved me a lot of recovery time!
For the next three weeks, I slept when I could, made sure I took the prescribed medications of Presidone (steroids), a diuretic, postassium and zantax...and massaged my facial muscles....even thought my Dr. said that really doesn't do any good...I beg to differ. Within four weeks, I was 100% recovered. I give credit to being able to diagnose this within the first 12 hours of the onset of Bell's Palsy.
I also feel (although the Dr.'s said no) that the hearing loss was an onset to the Bell's Palsy. Never having any hearing issues EVER in my life and two weeks before the onset of the Bell's Palsy, I lost hearing? I also failed to mention that not only did my hearing feel "full", but the kids screaming and pan clanking (when putting the dishes away) also made me cringe! And also, I did have sever neck and shoulder pains...I even had Jason buy me a heating pad...and I'm never that big of a baby!!!
If you feel that you may have Bell's Palsy, it could be hereditary, or from a viral infection. The more I look for answers, I did have a real bad upper respiratory infection two months before Bell's Palsy...so this could be the reason (no, I don't smoke). My grandmother also informed me that my Great-Grandmother also had an onset of Bell's Palsy back in the day...which also supports the fact that it can also be hereditary.
The best advice I can give to those of you who are reading this and are suffering from Bell's Palsy is to make sure you keep your eye moist with an eye moisting solution. I think this is the worst part of the whole onset is having to maintain your eye!
If you have any questions about this paralysis or need any pointers, please feel free to email me...whether this post is 1 day old or 500, I'm here...as I know this ia a scary and difficult thing to experience :)