Of course it would happen to me. Why wouldn’t it? Bell’s Palsy. Ugh.
To be clear this is NOT a pity post. Shitty things happen in life and you have to find your way through them. But this one is seriously just pissing me off. I️ don’t have the time nor do I️ deserve to have to deal with a half frozen face! Ok so maybe it is a bit of a pity party. Maybe. Just a small one. Indulge me for just a minute.
So seriously not much gets to me. Like really, there isn’t a whole lot in life that bothers me or really impacts my life in a meaningful way that actually slows me down. This has done just that. I am impacted in ways I have never been impacted before. The paralysis of half of my face has effected every part of my life. My speech, my eating, drinking, socialization, confidence, personal hygiene, sight, hearing, productivity, etc. You name it, I feel the impact. In all honesty this is the first medical issue I have faced that has truly impacted all areas of my life.
In all honesty this Bell’s palsy has been brutal. I have for the first time in my career felt inferior and less than confident in myself. Mostly due to the physical appearance that has resulted from my medical condition. I am self-conscious of my face when I speak … wondering whether or not the paralysis in my face is as noticeable to others as it feels to me. The mental and social insecurities from this medical diagnosis has had a rippling effect on my life.
I have had to make adjustments in the way I eat and drink. My sight is different out of each eye. My hearing is different out of each ear. My taste is all but gone. My smile is one-sided. When I laugh only half of my face reacts which then inhibits my laughter out of social insecurities. My left eye is constantly “crying” which leads to red eyes and dry skin. In all it is a miserable diagnosis that impacts all areas of my life and causes me to find different ways to adjust. It all it sucks. It’s not fair. I don’t deserve it.
In my 32 years of life I have faced heart surgery, chronic migraines, asthma, the death of a child, and colitis yet none of those things have impacted me in such a deep way as this facial paralysis has. In a way it has made me reflect on myself and what is important to me. It has made me think about why I have struggled so hard with this paralysis. All of those other ailments I had previously, from the migraine to the colitis to the death, I could hide all of those. So even when I was having a bad day I could bury them beneath a smile and just push through. With the paralysis that is not an option. My issues are front and center for all to see whether I like it or not. That’s tough. I have no control. I just have to deal and find a way through it. I have to find a way to manage the medical and social aspect of my diagnosis. I have to learn to live with the suck. Because this sucks. Ain’t no other way around it but straight through it…this sucks.
That being said I had one night where I allowed myself about 20 minutes to wallow in my suck. I vented to my husband about why it wasn’t fair that it had to be me that got Bell’s palsy. Even went so far as to tell him that it was crap that I got it and not him. Like it would make it any better if it were him but that was my truth in that moment. In that moment it wasn’t fair that it was ME that got Bell’s palsy. It that moment it wasn’t fair that I had to deal with yet another life challenge. In that moment I was having a pity party. I think that might have been my first pity party EVER. And probably my last. Hopefully my last. Because pity party’s are no fun but sometimes they are necessary. Sometimes you have to embrace the suck so you can stand up and march on. You have to acknowledge the shit that is being thrown your way and then have the fortitude to say “I am stronger than this day. I will overcome this hurdle. I will fight. I am a warrior.” It’s not always easy and sometimes, I guess, a pity party is needed. A pity party is needed so you have the strength to push through. You know what my husbands response to my self-wallowing was? He rubbed my back and said “babe, it could have been worse. You could have had a stroke.” He was right. It could have been worse. Much, much worse. Pity party over.
Someone said to me recently, “I admire the optimism you and your husband have.” No lie, that is a direct quote. Someone actually admires the optimism Alex and I have. 😂😂 That is a remarkable thing. That simple observation astounds me because Alex and I are not naturally optimistic people. We are realistic and work hard but by no means are we optimists. But then again maybe we are. I don’t know. I think maybe people see us as optimistic because they know our story. Or part of our story anyway. They know that we had a child that died and so anything after that is perceived as optimism. On the other hand maybe we are optimists. I don’t know. What I do know is that no matter what we all get one life on this earth. Just one…that’s it…one life to make the most of. One life to make a difference. One life to make an impact. One life to leave a legacy. I think about my life. What have I done that makes an impact? What have I don’t to better this world for my children? My answers to those questions right now is not enough. I haven’t done enough. So Bell’s palsy or not I’ve got to up my game. It’s time to make an impact. Time to leave a legacy. Time to make a difference. How I don’t know but it will come to me. I have faith. It will come. In the meantime I will persevere. I will be the example for my children. I will show them that no matter what challenges are thrown your way you find a way through. You stand up and march on.