I have been experiencing a sudden numbness in my face and my eyes would twitch for 30 seconds or so the past few days. I didn’t think it was serious. Perhaps I was just tired. I woke up yesterday feeling more uneasy because of the numbness in my face and I feel like my jaw is locked. I just continued working as I really have a lot of things to finish before the weekend.
Today is a different story. I was having breakfast when I noticed I am having a hard time eating properly. I am also having a hard time drinking… The feeling of numbness in my left face is making me more uneasy. I started to pray asking God not to let me have a stroke or something more serious…I have not tried looking at the mirror though. I don’t usually look in the mirror for the longest time because I don’t like seeing how not beautiful I am. Well, there are days when I don’t give a damn but there are days too when you wish you were pretty, right? Anyway, as I was saying, after eating lunch I decided to look in the mirror and see if my suspicion was right. And it was. My lips are distorted (a bit) and that I can’t close my left eye fully and that numbness is more evident this time. What? Why did I wait until lunch time before I looked in the mirror? Well, I am afraid to see the reality too. It’s so hard to be sick nowadays when I really need all the money I can get for my family. It’s so scary because I know that If I get sick today my mom will no longer be around to keep me calm and take care of me.
Anyway, I went to see a neurologist today and yes, I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. So it’s confirmed. I am scared to the bones!
According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Bell’s palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to the facial nerves. The facial nerve-also called the 7th cranial nerve-travels through a narrow, bony canal (called the Fallopian canal) in the skull, beneath the ear, to the muscles on each side of the face. For most of its journey, the nerve is encased in this bony shell.
Each facial nerve directs the muscles on one side of the face, including those that control eye blinking and closing, and facial expressions such as smiling and frowning. Additionally, the facial nerve carries nerve impulses to the lacrimal or tear glands, the saliva glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear called the stapes. The facial nerve also transmits taste sensations from the tongue.
When Bell’s palsy occurs, the function of the facial nerve is disrupted, causing an interruption in the messages the brain sends to the facial muscles. This interruption results in facial weakness or paralysis.
Also, according to NINDS, Because the facial nerve has so many functions and is so complex, damage to the nerve or a disruption in its function can lead to many problems. Symptoms of Bell’s palsy can vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis. These symptoms may include twitching, weakness, or paralysis on one or rarely both sides of the face. Other symptoms may include drooping of the eyelid and corner of the mouth, drooling, dryness of the eye or mouth, impairment of taste, and excessive tearing in one eye. Most often these symptoms, which usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours, lead to significant facial distortion.
Other symptoms may include pain or discomfort around the jaw and behind the ear, ringing in one or both ears, headache, loss of taste, hypersensitivity to sound on the affected side, impaired speech, dizziness, and difficulty eating or drinking.
Bell’s palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles is swollen, inflamed, or compressed, resulting in facial weakness or paralysis. Exactly what causes this damage, however, is unknown.
Most scientists believe that a viral infection such as viral meningitis or the common cold sore virus—herpes simplex—causes the disorder. They believe that the facial nerve swells and becomes inflamed in reaction to the infection, causing pressure within the Fallopian canal and leading to ischemia (the restriction of blood and oxygen to the nerve cells). In some mild cases (where recovery is rapid), there is damage only to the myelin sheath of the nerve. The myelin sheath is the fatty covering-which acts as an insulator-on nerve fibers in the brain.
The disorder has also been associated with influenza or a flu-like illness, headaches, chronic middle ear infection, high blood pressure, diabetes, sarcoidosis, tumors, Lyme disease, and trauma such as skull fracture or facial injury.
So, there you go, the medical explanation and all. Actually I am just trying to learn something of this too so I post it here. Let’s see what will happen in the next few days. I know this is curable and nothing to worry about. But who gets calm when they are sick?!