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Showing posts from July, 2012

Bell's Palsy Update - Week 6 Begins

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First of all, let me share some Summertime with you! What says Summer better than crape (or, crepe) myrtle? This picture is the first bloom on this particular tree, which we transplanted to the Way Back last year.


And, Mr. T harvested the tomatoes, peppers, and okra (pictured below)...after he bushwhacked his way through the overgrown Kitchen Garden in HPNC. Amazing that anything has survived our benign neglect while we've been in KY. He also reports that my tiny stand of Nanking Green cotton is thriving.



So what has that got to do with an update about Bell's Palsy, you ask? Maybe not much, but it seems to me we can draw a parallel or two.

For most of the past week, my forward progress in my recovery from Bell's Palsy has felt glacial, as I've sleep-walked my way through the days, neglecting even my facial exercise routine. Teeny, tiny, itty-bitty signs were there each morning: a little more feeling in my lips and cheek and a little more release of my mouth, allowing…

Bell's Palsy Update - Week 5 Begins

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di·chot·o·my
[dahy-kot-uh-mee]

2. division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.

---from Dictionary.com


And the answer is...yes...and no. Yeah, I know...contradictory. Sigh. More on that in a second.

First up...I must start out with good news. It's my nature...humor me. Missy M drove herself to work today! She got a walking cast last Thursday and was determined to begin to recapture her life after 9 weeks of having to rely on us for everything. I got a text that she had made it OK. She's still got her crutches and her knee walker, just in case, but my guess is she's ignoring both with vigor.

Here's a photo of a red zinnia (which came out orange on my iPhone) in The Secret Garden to celebrate...proving, yet again that zinnias can not only survive extreme heat conditions, but thrive as well. Cheers!


Speaking of photos, as I took my documentation photos (below) to mark the passing of another week in the clu…

Bell's Palsy Update - Day 26

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Now isn't it funny what we are celebrating on this monumental day? Let's see...It was Ella Rae's Gotcha Day, making her four years old in family time (and since she was a baby puppy when Missy M brought her home, that's close to being accurate). Isn't she a cutie?


But that wasn't the Big Thing of The Day.

And it was the anniversary of the date Mr. T and I met in Jackson, Mississippi. Mutual friends introduced us, and we are forever indebted to K and R. But even that wasn't what we were focusing upon.

No. It was my teeny, tiny, itty-bitty, left eyebrow movement. Progress with my Bell's Palsy that was describable...tangible...shareable...shoutable-from-the-rooftop! Yes!!!


Look! Did you see it?! Tell me you saw it! said I.
Why look at that? Your eyebrow moved! I did see it! said Mr. T.


OK, before I veer too far over the center line here, let's put this into perspective. I have known all week that tiny improvements in the severity of the paralysis were…

Bell's Palsy Update - Week 4 Begins

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Yeah. It's still here. Like the proverbial house guest who has far overstayed any semblance of welcome...and frankly, there never was anything to welcome about Bell's. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Period.

It was just a matter of time before this happened. And by "this," I mean the Black Hole of Depression.

Yesterday, I took Day 21 pictures (I had documented Day 7 and posted them earlier, but I had neglected to document Day 14). And in reviewing them, I let that small back door to my soul pop open...all my good humor melted, all determination leaked out, and depression came rushing through the cracks. I was, in a word, crushed.



I appear to be the same, as you can see for yourself. It doesn't look like I've made any progress at all. The left side of my face is still paralyzed. My left eye is still drooping. My mouth is still frozen is a half-smile. It's the same sad countenance looking back from the bathroom mirror.

How can that be? I've done the meds, th…

Bell's Palsy Update - Day 19

And so it continues...

I shared the following information with my brothers yesterday, so I'll take a shortcut and paste their update into this post.


I'm seeing daily improvements in my Bell's Palsy...possibly not as visible to Mr. T or Missy M, but it FEELS like improvement to me.

My lower jaw has all but quit cramping, and the pain is receding from moderately excruciating to merely annoying. My drooping eyelid feels less droopy, and I'm blinking easier...but I can't raise my eyebrow or wink yet.

I can open my mouth much better and chew easier, but my upper lip is still numb. I drank milk from a glass this morning WITHOUT A STRAW, although I'm not quite ready to do the same with my coffee just yet. Maybe tomorrow...or the next day.

Although bright light and loud sounds are still bothersome, I'm wearing my eyepatch much, much less without too many problems, especially since I'm following this new doctor's advice to use artificial tears every hour…

Bell's Palsy Update - Week 3 Begins

Day 15 came. Day 15 went. I still have Bell's Palsy. The End.

No, not really. I had wanted to put a period on this chapter of my life in the minimum amount of time that the Doctor had said back on June 24 ("...15 days, one month, or the rest of your life..."), but that was not to be. The Nightmare on Franelm Road continues.

Big sigh.

Mr. T took me back to the Dr. for a follow-up yesterday, and because of scheduling, I saw a different physician. He asked us lots of questions and seemed both knowledgeable about the progression of BP and genuinely interested in me. He said he was not going to continue the antiviral acyclovir, since "if this was started by a virus," that med had done whatever it needed to do in the 15-day prescription I'd just completed.

He did increase my prednisone dramatically though, by changing me to a dose-pack, similar to what I've taken in the past for a bad reaction to poison ivy. So, starting today, instead of 10 mg of the an…

A Time to Say Goodbye

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He was found wandering the streets of Hannibal, Missouri. He had no collar, no chip, and almost no lower front teeth...apparently from having chewed his way out of something strong like a chain link fence. The vet for the wonderful Guardian Angel Basset Rescue (GABR), who said he was probably between 5 and 7 years old, pronounced him healthy, if perhaps about 20 pounds underweight, and after a period with a foster mom in Western Illinois, ready for his forever home.


We were newly-arrived in our new-to-us home in O'Fallon...the first one we'd had with a fenced yard since we'd left Ohio. Duchess, just turned 2 the previous December, was still more-or-less a pup, with lots of energy to burn. Her principal playmate, Missy M had a job that kept her away from home during the week. Solution? Let's get her a playmate! The sun, moon, and stars aligned...and we were approved for adoption by GABR by the end of the week.

I remember the day we drove to the outskirts of Granite Ci…

Bell's Palsy Update: Day 11

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Is it my imagination? Am I so desperate to awaken from this nightmare that I'm willing to believe that I'm experiencing some signs of healing...when it's just my getting used to the symptoms?

No. The changes are evident, even to a not-so-casual observer. Mr. T commented this morning on my speech...which he thinks is definitely becoming clearer and easier to understand. I know that my jaw is less painful today and seems to be loosening up a bit. I can even yawn! Perhaps the paralysis is receding? One can only hope...

Yesterday, for our July 4th celebration meal, we were excited to have received our Corky's order (photo of its arrival on Tuesday). Thanks to Internet ordering, the miracle that is dry ice, and that other Memphis champion, Federal Express, we were able to enjoy Memphis BBQ, three different ways: ribs, pulled pork shoulder, and chicken.


Speaking with all due modesty [ahem], I think my own homemade baked beans, potato salad, and cole slaw are a tad sight bet…

Bell's Palsy Update - Day 9

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I posted the following on Facebook this morning, but I wanted to share it with those of you who aren't (yet...:-) FB fanatics:


If you want to read the whole story...and, if you interested in learning more about BP, I think it's a good one...here is the link for you to click:
http://gma.yahoo.com/c-tv-reporter-loses-her-smile-bells-palsy-164432652--abc-news-wellness.html

Thank you, one and all, who contacted me after I posted a couple of my BP at One Week photos. You were too kind...but very reassuring. Did you notice in that article that the reporter showed her BP photo...taken at one week? Interesting.

I did want to put a little note in about my posts and the attached photos. As I now have to use TWO applications in order to post anything with photos [since Safari...the Apple OS browser, used on the iPhone and iPad...doesn't "do" Flash, which Google...keeper of my blog...requires to post photos], you may arrive on my blog while I am still working on the day'…

Bell's Palsy Update: Starting Week No. 2

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Today I laughed...and ate soup without choking. Progress, you ask? Well, the eternal optimist who resides in my soul says "I sure hope so." It's Day 8 of this nightmare called Bell's Palsy, and I'm really ready to see some progress, however small it may seem.

Since I feel like smiling...although at present, it's only half of a smile with half of my face...I decided that the exercises* I would add to my Facial Exercise routine would be focused upon SMILING:


4. Smile without showing teeth; then smile showing teeth.

5. Try moving your lips into a small smile slowly. Then gently pucker slowly using equal strength from both sides.

6. Using your index finger and thumb pull the corners of your lips in toward the center. Slowly and smoothly push out and up into a smile. Continue the movement up to the cheekbone. Use a firm pressure.


With the three exercises from yesterday's list, that gives me a solid routine...one that I can easily do multiple times each day. M…

Bell's Palsy: Day 7 - A Week Later

Just joining me on this journey? It's Day 7 with Bell's Palsy. So how's it going?

I'm ending my first week since receiving the diagnosis, and since I didn't wake up from the nightmare yet, I'd better take a look ahead.

[First, here's a recap for those of you who just wandered into my world on this post: While visiting my daughter 400 miles from home...to care for her during her recovery from a broken foot...and after a couple of days with deadened taste buds, I awoke on Sunday with a numb sensation on my lip and the top of my tongue. I became paralyzed on the left side of my face rather rapidly, and by late afternoon, I gave all appearances of having suffered a stroke. With fear and trepidation, I went to Immediate Care where I received a diagnosis of Bell's Palsy...and prescriptions for a 15-day supply of a corticosteroid called prednisone and an antiviral called acyclovir. The doctor told me that this could last 15 days...a month...or the rest of my…