Bell's Palsy Update - Week 11 Begins

Week 11. Really? Really.

Yes, I'm still dealing with Bell's Palsy. I have come a long way since that scary Sunday in late June, 72 days ago...but I still have a few miles to go to reach full recovery. Sigh.

The good news? If you were to glance at my face, you probably wouldn't notice anything wrong. The paralysis that has contorted the left side of my face has released enough of the hold on my mouth and eyebrow that...until I try to smile normally...or wouldn't notice anything not-normal. Until I try to smile...or speak.

But wait.

As you recall, I had three benchmarks I was aiming for: whistle, wink, and full-toothed smile. As of this morning's facial exercises, I can check-off 2 out of the 3. Full marks on the wink...partial credit for the whistle, as it still needs work...still working on the smile.

It's my mouth where the paralysis continues to reside. Feels like an old-fashioned clothespin clipped to my top and bottom lip, just to the left of center...making a normal smile a dream and normal speech still difficult. Difficult, but no longer as garbled.

Toward that end, at my visit last week, Dr. K (my Primary Care doc) recommended that I see a Speech Therapist for evaluation and recommendation of specific exercises for specific facial muscles. And that happens this afternoon. Should be interesting.

BTW, Dr. K also said his "personal record" for a recovering Bell's patient was one year. He thinks, with the help of a Speech Therapist, I should be "back to normal" between the three- and six-month mark. Since I'm only a week or two from that 3-month date, I can live with that. Whoa! Did you think you'd ever hear those words from me?!

Looking back over the last 73 days, I never thought I would still be dealing with this for so long. I just couldn't wrap my mind around a three-month recovery period. Even though I was the one who knew someone who had been on disability for...remember? Three months.

You would think I would have taken the hint.

Ok. Time for the Documentation Photo, Day 72. Hard to tell much difference since the last one (except for the shirt color and the hair cut...:~\), but there really is. The photos that show the most improvement are the ones I haven't been brave enough to post... the ones with the full-toothed smile...maybe one day.


Day #72 with Bell's to see the Speech Therapist...


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