March 15th, 2016… Noon
I woke up feeling like something heavy had been sitting on my face overnight, the left side of my face was numb and stiff. When I went to the bathroom, to engage in my daily routine, I noticed something was different about my face. As I kept on with my routine of brushing my teeth, I also noticed that I couldn’t keep the water inside my mouth, to get rid of the toothpaste residue. That’s when I began to poke and prod at my face; it drooped down from my eye all the way to the left corner of my mouth. I stared at myself in the mirror scared and confused as to what the hell had happened.
The next thought running in my mind was that I had a small stroke and didn’t even know it. So before hyping myself up, I asked a medical friend if they noticed something different of me. And of course they saw that my face was droopy, and that I could not move my facial muscles to fully smile. WTF?! My friend did a quick stroke test on me; she had me raise my arms, bend down, talk, etc. everything was functioning just fine, so why did half of my face look like this?
As you can see in the above picture, I could not smile fully like I usually do. Instead of going for a run that I had planned with my friend that day, I went to an Urgent Doc by my house, to see what was going on. I got to the doctor’s office, filled out the paperwork (praise the Lord for insurance lol) and waited for the verdict. After checking my vitals (which were good) the doctor came back and had me try to make the blow fish face. I failed at that. I could not hold my breath, without letting air out on the left side of my face, I kept trying and trying while the doctor shook her head in agreement with herself; she knew what was up. She then asked me a series of questions about my stress levels and I answered honestly, “Well I am graduating, I have a heavy school and work load and I’m dealing with other personal issues,” I looked at the doctor sheepishly. “Mhhmmm, well Jasmine, you have Bell’s Palsy. The facial nerves have stopped functioning…” At that point I drowned her out with an overwhelming sea of thoughts, as to how this happened to me. I touched the left side of my face and said, “What? I have Bell’s Palsy? What is that? Am I gonna be ok? Is this treatable?” I was a nervous big-eyed mess. “You will be fine, Jasmine,” the doctor said reassuringly. “You just really need to watch your stress levels, it’s good that you caught this early or it could have gotten worse.”
After my visit, I had learned that I had a temporary facial paralysis, that could have been caused by stress. I was prescribed with a steroid Prednisone, that reduced the inflammation in my face, I had to take that for a week. So I had a half functioning face, how in the world was I going to function throughout the day?
I did my research to see how this could be treated, and I stumbled upon some videos on YouTube that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this journey. Bell’s Palsy Recovery and Remedies I’ve been Trying was very helpful because the same thing happened to this person as well. Her facial paralysis lasted for about 4 weeks like mine, and she did a lot facial exercises to help ease the pain.
Since this was my first time experiencing this (and hopefully my last), I was very concerned and scared about my health. I guess you could say, “I woke up”. I really did not need a health scare during the most crucial time in my life; I’m graduating in May, looking for a full-time job, and just overall transitioning into this new area of my life. Why did this happen? I don’t have a definite answer, but I do know that I have learned from this situation. My mental health needs to be nurtured too, such as reducing my stress levels by removing things and people out of my life, that aren’t good for me. I’m an introvert at heart, and when I stress, I keep it in, it’s hard to reach out when you feel like no one understands what you’re going through. But there’s always a silver lining to crazy situations like these; someone has gone through a similar situation and can help you, whatever it may be, don’t keep your stress in. Trust me, you don’t want to end up like me, with half your face working.
My Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy:
- Pain in the ear
- Abnormal taste sensitivity
- Ringing in the ear
- Dry eye (my left eye would not close all the way, so I had to use eye drops a lot)
- Constant twitching
- Difficulty eating, food would slip of my mouth
- Confidence was a little low, I was ashamed to smile sometimes because I looked really weird
In no way am I a medical professional, this is just my experience that I wanted to share with you all. I want you all to be healthy and as stress-free as possible, this shit is not fun or cute. Stay healthy friends.
I am glad to report that I am 95% recovered, sometimes I still twitch and experience stiffness. I hope nothing like this happens again, this experience has taught me to take care of my mental health, and to let out my frustrations. As a young woman, I want to encourage you all to nurture your mental health, it’s vital to your well being. Mental health is real yall.
Thanks babes for reading, I hope this helps someone.