Sunday, September 7, 2008

1 Year Ago Today...

A while back I promised to tell about my experience with Bells Palsy and since it happened to be exactly one year ago today that I was diagnosed I figured it might as well be now. Just for a little info if you've never heard of it, Bells Palsy is paralysis of the nerves in one side of your face...

The morning I was getting ready to leave the hospital after having Taya I remember something was sooo nasty about the water there. It'd been fine the whole time so I couldn't figure out why, on the day I was supposed to leave, it had all of the sudden gone bad. Of course I didn't think anything of it and headed home anyway. The next couple days were full of baby excitement and resting, but I kept noticing weird things going on with my face. I'd smile and something was just not quite right. My mom and Cameron thought I was being paranoid so I tried to ignore it, but it finally got really bad. I called the doctor and the nurse said I was probably having a reaction to the pain meds, so they switched those and had me take benadryll to help it. It didn't. I called again the next day and made an appointment to be seen. By this time the whole left side of my face wouldn't move at all, not even a little smidgen. When I smiled, the right side smiled with me, and the left side was dead. There weren't even any wrinkles that would wrinkle up. When the doctor walked into the room he looked at my face and immediately said, "yep, I'm so sorry, you have Bells Palsy". I had no idea what that was, but by the look on his face I could tell it wasn't good. He explained that it's facial paralasis, when all the nerves die in just one side of your face, for some unexplained reason. Apparently they don't know where it comes from or really how to fix it! He then went on to tell me that it could last anywhere from two weeks up to a year and in some cases stays permanent. I don't think I've ever felt worse in my life. I started bawling and luckily Cameron was there to comfort me. I'll never forget walking out of that office with my head sunk so low trying to hide my tears. There I was with a precious six day old baby and this had to happen. I called my mom on the way home from the doctor's and her and my dad came over right away. I'll never forget my dad hugging me, for some reason it really meant a lot. The next few weeks were really hard, all I could think about was year's down the road Taya's friends asking "what's wrong with your mommy's face?". I felt so robbed of my first few weeks with my daughter, I had such a hard time with it all. I remember running errands with my mom and people would comment on my baby but I was so ashamed of my face to even really talk to them. I remember saying a prayer one night, though, and I knew everything would be ok, even if I had to live with this forever. It lasted for a month and slowly each day got better and better. I'll never forget that experience and hope I'll never have to go through that again!

On a non-emotional note, it actually was really hard to do certain things. Chewing was almost ridiculous, as my entire tongue was half numb. You know after going to the dentist and coming out of the numbness? That's what my tongue felt like... the pins and needles, yucky feeling. Plus I couldn't taste. (Hence, the grose hospital water.) And sucking through a straw... yeah, not so much. I'd have to pinch the left side of my lips with my fingers around the straw just to get my mouth to suck. I remember one time at a gas station I ran in and got Cameron and I drinks, but I overfilled his so I tried to slurp it up... that was probably the only time I actually laughed about my Bells Palsy, because I could not suck for the life of me! And then there was the lovely task of putting on my makeup. I now appreciate all the movements my face can make. Whenever I wore lip gloss I couldn't just spread it around with my lips, I had to move my finger across it and hope it looked ok! I'd also have to pull my eyelids up to put my mascara on because my eye wouldn't open and close all the way. Speaking of which, I lost probably about 60% of my vision in my eye because it would dry out from being open all day. I'd squint so hard but couldn't get it to close. I was still in Washington at the time and couldn't get back to Utah so Cameron had to fly back and drive me home because I couldn't see! Thank goodness my vision came back though, that was miserable!

I tried not to take any pictures of myself at the time because I was so horrified, now I wish I would have, but I still have a few. They don't do it justice, but this is what having my child did to me :) ... Let's just hope it doesn't happen the next time!! :/

This was right after Taya's first real bath I think... I'm trying so hard not to smile :)

This was about 3 1/2 weeks into it, so it's almost gone, but still there a little.

8 comments:

Andrew and Jenna said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I remember the night I found out about this I bawled myself to sleep. I was so worried and sad for you. It really was a miracle that it completely went away though. And thank goodness, cause your face is too cute to be ruined :)

Rebecca said...

When things like this happen, we remember to be grateful for even the simplest of things. I am so grateful that your challenge came and went swiftly. Thanks for sharing what it felt like Ash, you handled it like the woman of substance you are :)

Brendan, Shea & London said...

Ash, that is the saddest story ever. I almost cried. :( I'm glad that it got better. Like I told you my mom had it when I was young and I never had my friends ask "what's wrong with your mom" ha ha. Anyways, don't write sad stories like that, makes me sad.

nikki_ty said...

wow ashley, I'm so sorry you had to go through that! I had heard about Bell's Palsy before, but for that person it was permanent. I'm glad it went away quickly for you. Thanks for sharing.

Ryan & Jess said...

I'm so glad that it went away - is it common for it to happen again with your next child if it did with your first, or is it totally unpredictable?

Thanks for telling us about it. I had no idea what you were going through at the time...

Krista said...

Boy honey, That brought back a memory. You were so brave. We take so much for granted. Heavenly Father wrapped his arms around you and held you through it. I cried many days, but you were such a trooper. It wasn't too long before you had your beautiful smile back.

photographybyjocelin said...

When I heard you had bells palsy, I cried for you. I think I told you that my Mom got it just days after giving birth to my littlest brother but hers didn't heal and my brother is 18 now. It's so normal to me that I forget about it until someone asks me why my Mom can't smile. It's a sad thing and I'm so very glad you got better! I can't wait to see you guys--the dogs are acting really nervous with all the packing and people moving it...they'll be SO happy to see you!

Carole said...

I looked at your blog today and read about your experience with Bells Palsy. What a trooper you were and still are. We all thought you were beautiful even if you didn't for a time. We love you, sweet Ashley, you are such a wonderful addition to our family. Isn't it wonderful when something leaves us that we thought maybe never would? It truly makes us realize how blessed we are, and so grateful to know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us amd watches over us. It is wonderful to have you and darling little Taya back. Can't wait to have Cam here too.

Grandma Warner