Bell’s and whistles


Bell’s as in Bell’s palsy


bell's palsy is dangerous


I don’t live my life in public. I consider myself to be a fairly private person. I don’t plaster Facebook with every little detail of my life. I’ve spent some time trying to figure why people are so willing to put the details of their lives on the internet. Maybe it’s something that younger people like to do. I guess if you have no other way of communicating with people, the internet can be a great tool.


However, I refuse to tweet about what I ate for lunch!


I am making an exception for today, though.


I don’t really share these kinds of things with people and now I’m about to tell 30,000 of my closest friends.


It’s a story that goes back 10 years.


I had just gotten back from a trip to Alabama. I took my, then 10 year old son, to my uncle’s funeral. That’s a whole other story, but suffice it to say that it was a very stressful trip. When I got back, I was sitting in my office, doing paperwork. I was alone and was just trying to get enough stuff done so I could go home and relax. All of a sudden I feel my forehead, on my right side, go completely numb. Then my eyelid on that side went numb. My cheek all the way down to my chin went numb as well. It took less than 5 minutes and I had no feeling on that side of my face. I couldn’t close my eye all the way. I could even raise an eyebrow. My mouth felt like I had just left a dentist’s office. If I tried to drink, I would’ve drooled all over myself. Needless to say, I went straight home and called the doctor.


I went to the appointment. I was sure that I had a stroke. What else could’ve caused all the numbness and loss of muscle control?


The doctor asked me how old I was and he said that it probably wasn’t a stroke. Well, that was the end of the good news. He told me that I had Bell’s Palsy. How could I have that? I’d never even heard of it. He explained that it is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. I had the chicken pox when I was about 12 years old. Apparently, the virus stays in your body and is wrapped around the nerve fibers, throughout your body. It can be anywhere and everywhere. In this case, it was located on my facial nerves.


bell's palsy can cause paralysis


What happens is that the virus can be “activated” during times of very high stress.


I had just returned from a 1,500 mile trip. I had a 10 year old with me and he was a handful at the time. I was around a bunch of relatives that cause me a great deal of grief. Then add in the stress of the funeral and that was a recipe for disaster.


What the doctor didn’t tell, that I had to learn from a friend was that the paralysis can be permanent. I couldn’t even imagine that a childhood disease could end up making me paralyzed on that side of my face. That was scary!


The good news is that with the medication and exercises I regained about 95% use and control of the muscles and nerves. I can still tell that there is a problem, but most people have no idea. My lower eyelid is weak and it allows my eye to dry out. I can’t whistle like I used to and my smile is slightly off on that side. Almost no one can tell that there are those problems, but I can.


Fast forward 10 years.


I have been trying to take Mark J’s Master Key Experience over the past month or so. I made the decision, last weekend, to drop out of the class. I wrote an article explaining that I had fallen way behind, I didn’t think that I could catch up and I was getting stressed out about it.


While all of that is true, I didn’t tell everything that’s going on here and I why ultimately felt that it was best for me to withdraw from the class.


Over the past few months, our oldest son passed away, my wife’s sister passed away a few weeks ago and my third son had twin boys that were 4 weeks premature. It was a high risk pregnancy and we worried every minute of every day until they both left the hospital. There’s a lot more to that part of the story, but it’s not my story to tell.


I’m not usually affected by stress. I don’t freak out and I don’t get anxiety. I don’t really worry about things that are out of my control.


In this case, it just seemed like the stressors got piled up higher and faster than I thought was possible. Add the stress of a class that I was falling behind in and I had another recipe for a disaster.


bell's palsy is a recipe for disaster


About 3 weeks ago, I noticed my left arm going numb and I had little to no control of it. I also had numbness down my left side, from my shoulder to my knee. It would start and finish a few minutes later. So far, I’ve regained complete control of my arm and the numbness is gone. Again, I thought I was having a series of strokes. I decided that I’m still not old enough to have a stroke, but it was still scary.


I finally figured it out and it has to be the Bell’s Palsy again. All of the stress has built up until it has triggered the virus to be active again.


The fact that it could be permanent made me stop and reassess things. I needed to get rid of as much of the stress as I could and give myself a chance to heal. I’ve taken a little time off from blogging. I withdrew from the MKE class and I am trying to delegate some of my other responsibilities to others for the time being.


The last thing I want is to be permanently paralyzed because of having the misfortune of having had the chicken pox as a kid!



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