Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I have what?

I am 44 years old and have never been a vain person in my life. My hair is curly so it's pretty much gonna be one of two ways, little curls and kinda cute or a big ball of frizz. I despise makeup so have rarely worn any. There are a few pictures out there with some on me, so I did go through a stage of it. But I bet it's been at least 15 years!

So, why is it driving me nuts that my face is not working? Why is it, that while talking to the lady at Lowe's I noticed the second she stopped looking me in the eyes and starting watching my lop sided mouth?
Why do I not want to sit on the floor and tell stories with the kiddos? Why, am I hiding behind my hand every time I laugh or talk for more than a sentence or two?

I would kinda like to hide for a couple of weeks but I have many things I want to do. It's summer time. Time for fun with the kiddos and day trips with the family. So I will push all these crazy thoughts behind my head and go forward with each day.

I think I will blog about this little journey in order to at least get the crazy thoughts out of my head and off my chest. Will share pictures as we go along. For your sake, I hope we see improvement sooner than later or my words be not be so easy to read! ;)

Let's start with a little Information I found online about this thing I woke up with beginning Friday and getting a bit worse everyday. Hopefully I am at the worse part now and start getting better ASAP.

Bells palsy is a condition that causes the facial muscles to weaken or become paralyzed. It's caused by trauma to the 7th cranial nerve, and is not permanent. (for the record, I have not had any trauma so no clue why or how I got this)

How long will it take to get well? I wish I could get a SHOT and be well NOW.. But here's what the Dr. said, 2 weeks to 6 months. And here's what I found online.

Approximately 50% of Bells palsy patients will have essentially complete recoveries in a short time. Another 35% will have good recoveries in less than a year. (A YEAR HOLY COW!)

Regardless of the trigger, Bell's palsy is best described as an event - trauma to the nerve. As with any other injury, healing follows. The quality and duration of recovery is dependent on the severity of the initial injury. If the nerve has suffered nothing more than a mild trauma, recovery can be very fast, taking several days to several weeks. An "average" recovery is likely to take between a few weeks and a few months. The nerve regenerates at a rate of approximately 1-2 millimeters per day, and can continue to regenerate for 18 months, probably even longer. Improvement of appearance can continue beyond that time frame.

So here's how it begin with me. On Friday June 10th, I got up, showered, brushed teeth and everything was normal. I took my morning meds (for high blood pressure and diabetes) then opened a back of peanut butter crackers for my breakfast. After eating just one, I noticed my tongue felt numb. By the end of the day the inside of my lips were numb feeling as was the roof of my mouth. I thought I had caught something from one of the day care kiddos who would not eat or drink and ran a high fever on Wednesday. He saw the Dr. and it was not strep but just some type infection.

During the night I noticed it was hurting to lay on my left ear. I have ear infections often so thought oh great now my ear hurts. We got up and was out of here by 6:15 AM for appts. in north Atlanta. As the morning went on I begin to hurt worse and worse. I also noticed on the way that my eyes were watering like crazy and the sun was hurting the left eye pretty bad. After James' 10 am appt we decided to come back to Newnan so I could rest and maybe get seen at the Urgent Care center. I went in and the Dr. looked me over and saw nothing wrong. Had no clue what could be up with the tongue. She felt the knot behind my ear in the saliva gland. So said she thought that and allergic's were causing my problems. So put me on med's and over the counter sinuses meds.

On Sunday everyone was going to the house for pizza and fun. I got up and everything was the same as on Saturday but the ear pain was not any better even after taking 4 advil and I noticed as I brushed my teeth I could do a mean Elvis Pressley lip look.

Mom came over early so we could make a Sams Club run and as we were talking and laughing is when I felt like my face was not okay. So she watched me talk and sure enough the left side was just there. Your first thought is OH lord, I have had a stroke. But I had no other signs of a stroke. BP was good on Saturday 132/83. I had Bells Palsy 10-15 years ago. It effected my face only. I do not recall the pain in the ear or back of head from that time. So I said maybe its that again. We went on with our day. I felt a bit worse as the day went on. Totally worn out and the right side of my face begin to hurt from doing all the work.

I called to see family Dr. on Monday and he checked me over saying it appears to be Bells Palsy. So put me on over $300 of meds. Thank goodness for health insurance! It was only $130 out of our pocket.

My daycare kiddo's have been super through this. Noah looks at me and says "does your face hurt" and will rub it for me. Curtis has given me a billion kisses and I will gladly take them all and then some.
So onward we go on this ride.

Sorry for the long Blog today! Man, I can get wordy when stressed a bit. Who am I kidding, I can get wordy anytime. ;) Now for the pictures.

Taken on June 12th.. 
Taken on June 14th.  This smile thing is not working for me.

Nope not this one either..  I think I better stick to the no smile look OR wait.. 

Maybe this one will work..  LOL 

8:45 PM  June 14th,
Just got home from first night of Karate with my new look and sound.  I am totally worn out.  Lucky, I only had four students tonight.  But that meant I had to explain it to 4 students and 3 sets of parents.  I found my self near tears each time I tried to tell them about what was going on. 

Everyone was very supportive and the kids did great. I had Sempai Austin do as much as I could to try and save the talking.  Ready to go to bed and hide for a few hours.  At least once I am asleep it's off my mind for the most part.  Good night..

7:15 PM June 15th,
Today has been a little easier on me.  Coming to terms with how strange I sound and how to talk in small amounts in order to be able to be clear. 

The pain has eased off tons. Took a pain pill at 4:30 this morning and then again just now.  Much better than the every 6 hours I was taking them Monday and yesterday.  Hopefully will be done with them in the next day or two. 

My mouth inside feels better but outside still looks strange.  I can touch and feel most of my face now except for right around the eye area.  Still numb and cold looking. 

Here's todays pic.   Notice I moved my bangs to the other side..  I feel like it hides the wide open eye a bit.  Oh and in case you ever have this, MAKE sure to cover your eye before washing your hair.  OH my goodness I about freaked out when I couldn't get all the shampoo out of my eye.  OUCH

Thursday June 15th... 
Totally been a stressful day so has not helped much with my feelings. (people really just don't think about others sometimes) Up at 6 am to be ready and could have slept in and sure could use it the way I am feeling) That's a story for another time.  Life moves on and things are moving along. 

I really can't tell a difference in the good way yet.  Hopefully soon.  Picked up some tear drops cause my eye is getting super dry.  James got straws last night and now I can drink a bit out of the right side of my mouth.  My best meal was today.  I had cream of chicken soup.  Oh yum..  GRIN..  at least I didn't need to chew in order to get it down.

To me, my speech seems worse but James thinks it is better.  I hate the way it makes me half to think about what words to use.  Heck I hate everything about how this makes me feel.  Went to town for a bit.  Not really gonna do that again unless I have to! Placed Karate order.  I hope she got what I wanted.  ;)

Here's today yucky picture for ya.

Friday June 17th,  5:34 pm
Oh looky there, I do remember the correct date!  I have been a pretty big mess this week.  Made my mind up yesterday that I may have Bells Palsy but I be darn if I am gonna let it have me.  I have way too many things to do so forward we go. 

I stopped and picked up the eye patch yesterday.  It really helped while out in the sun and helped me SLEEP last night, so I guess it was needed. 

We took the kids to see Nana in Carrollton and just hang out at the park awhile then for lunch.  It was hard to be out and see people watching me but hey if they have nothing better to do than watch me try to get cat fish in my mouth and it stay there then so be it.  grin..

Getting out did me good.  I feel much better right now.  Not normal but what is normal anyway?

Here's today's pictures and oh, I finished my trip report finally.  So read it if you would like to hear day by day what we did. 

The patch and a little smile for ya..

No patch and just me..   we will get use to this..  we will we will.. 

June 18, Saturday Morning 10:05
OUCH, why is the pain around the ear and under the eye coming back?  I totally feel like I have been hit more than a few times on that side of the head.  I am guessing the swelling is coming back and that is what I am feeling.  I took the last steriod this morning.  The pain pill is keeping the pain low as along as I take it every 6 hours but I will not take it that often while working.  Doesn't make me sleepy I just hate meds. 

Anyway, hope to see ENT next week to make sure we are doing everything we should.  I need and want my face back NOW..  

5:00 PM,   Had a very busy day.  Feel totally worn out but really had an awesome time in town with Andrew and Nana.  Yep, got a lot of looks and stares but oh well..   ;)   I think I was able to lift my eyebrow a bit once or twice.  Every little twitch is a good sign to me.  
Today's pic: after a trip to walmart where I swear it was 900 degrees!  

Monday June 20th..  6:35 PM
I went back to the Doctor today.  The past 48 hours has been super painful.  Just touching my face hurts.  He still feels it is all from the Bells Palsy and just gave me a new pain med.  Not what I wanted.  Have not filled it yet because I am going to go see the ENT tomorrow.   Will see what they say.  Nothing has changed as far as the looks go.  Tongue may be a bit better but am so sore on face and back of neck I am not even sure what doesn't hurt at this point.   Wish me luck for tomorrow.   Need answers..  

Tuesday June 21st.   4:20 PM
Happy first day of summer.  What a busy day I had.  Got very little sleep last night.    Had a 9 am appt with the ENT, who sent me over the the Neuro..   It is not Bells Palsy.  It is Ramsay Hunt syndrome and caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After chickenpox heals, the virus lies dormant in your nerves. Years later, it may reactivate. If the virus reactivates and affects your facial nerve, the result is Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

Have already taken the meds that can make it not so bad but didn't get started on them for as early as they would have liked.  I TRIED..  SAW the doctor on Saturday at the first sign of ear pain.  For the folks who know me, they know it is unheard of for me to go to the Doctor so soon! 

Now on day 12, I have been to 5 appts and 4 doctors.  ACKKKK  Sure do not like this one little bit.  The neuro changed my pain pill and also gave me samples of a patch I can use at night right behind the ear and on my face.  MAYBE I will get some sleep now.  So nothing else we can do at this point other than treat the pain.  Keep my eye safe from everything since it will not close or blink and rest.  I am sick of resting darn it.. 

Here's todays pic.  I took it about 30 min after taking the new pain med.  At least I am not crying in the picture! 

June 22,   Day 13...  8 AM
I finally got 4 hours of solid sleep last night.  HELPS SO MUCH.  Still hurt but the new meds does take the edge off.  Having a bit of vertigo trying to creep in. Goodness, I really don't need that on top of everything else.  Will call and see if I can take the meds to help control that.

Moving forward again. 

June 26,  4:50 PM
Well a few days have gone by.  Body is adjusting to so many meds.  I tried to come off a few this morning and was hit hard with the fact that its the meds controling the pain.  Turned around and went to bed and slept till 1 pm. 
Guess I will take the meds until July 5th and see what the Dr. says. 

Yesterday was quite an adventure.  Family get together the first time in 3 or 4 years.  Saw cousins we haven't seen in some time.  Was hard feeling like the oldest of the bunch of us.  Was hard explaining what the heck Ramsay Hunt is and that hopefully it will go away.  Everyone was great but I hated being the needy one.  ARGHHHHHHHHHH   goes so well with the patch..  ;)

Picture is from yesterday.  I tried so hard not to be lop sided..  Oh well. 


Brandy said...

Thanks for explaining Bell's Palsy. Crossing my fingers that this thing goes away QUICK! Hang in there!

MomToAp said...

We love you.. So sorry you are going through this..