Bell's Palsy Update - Week 5 Begins

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 clutches of Bell's Palsy, I knew I would not suffer the same devastating reaction that I did just seven short days ago. [Last Sunday, when I saw how little the pictures differed from two weeks before (since I neglected to take photos on Day 14), I "took to my bed and covered my head."]

Some of you wrote to say...hey, there IS a difference. Too kind, my dearies, too kind. Sometimes you have to hit bottom, if for no other reason than to gain purchase for your toes to push yourself out of the deep water. That was last Sunday for me.

Every day this week, I have awakened to the knowledge that I am on my way out of this nightmare...a tiny bit of nerve regeneration at a time. By Sunday morning, I could enjoy my coffee without a straw, as well as eat a small stack of pancakes without slicing-and-dicing it down to crumbs. My eye has stopped tearing constantly, and I only have to use an eyepatch or tape during a nap or at night for protection.

Hopefully what you will see in the new photo from Day 28, is the lessened droop to my left eyebrow and the less-pronounced pull or drag on my mouth. I am now able to wiggle my eyebrow and to lift the left side of my mouth in the beginnings of a smile. Those are more difficult to document, so you will have to trust me until I can snap a whole smile. Soon. Very soon, I hope.

I have almost ended my relationship with prednisone entirely, tapering off to 5 mg/day. It has done what it needed to do as far as serving as a powerful anti-inflammatory...and now we need to part ways. A host of side effects kick in after a month of use, and I'm there. One of those that is evident is the "moon-face" effect, exaggerating my natural tendency toward that look anyway.

I am currently at the mercy of the nerve medication, gabapentin/Neurontin. On the one hand, I credit it for masking all the jaw and ear and skull pain that I've had as the nerve behind my left ear is regenerating. Hooray! All I feel there now is a dull pressure.

However, I am paying a price for this pain-controlled luxury. I now live in a fog, from which I emerge twice daily. I have been instructed to "keep the amount of gabapentin constant in your system...taking it exactly 12 hours apart."

It takes about one hour to kick in after I take it, so you see have about 2 hours each day when I am myself...a logical, thinking, moderately intelligent human being. And, apart from some stomach issues that best be left unsaid, I feel pretty good. The rest of the time...not so much. "Clumsiness, tiredness, drowsiness, nausea..." reads the prescription info sheet, and I have all those in spades...when I'm not just plain asleep.

It's a good thing that Missy M is now driving because I can't...not as long as I'm taking gabapentin, which is for 2 more weeks.

So, yes...I am better. And no...I'm not there yet. But progress is evident...even to the toughest judge: me.

Day 28


Day 21


Day 7

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