I would like to start my blog off by sharing this journal entry from August 23, 2014, which was the one year marker of getting Bell's Palsy.
"Wow…this last year has been a journey! On August 23, 2013, I flew into Utah and had a sudden onset of Bell’s Palsy shortly after arriving. The entire left side of my face became paralyzed. I couldn’t close my eye shut all of the way, smile, pronounce words properly (the left side of my tongue/mouth was numb and had blisters on it), or move a single muscle on that side of my face. My face felt numb and wrong.
After meeting with the doctor and ruling out a stroke, I was told that there was an 80% chance that complete function would be restored within 3 weeks. I thought, ok, three weeks, I can deal with this. I was hopeful that soon I would be back to looking and feeling like myself. Three weeks came and past with the only improvement coming in the form of the numbness and blisters going away. I never appreciated what my body could do, what one little nerve was capable of until its function was lost. Not being able to do even simple things started to bother me…like not being able to pucker my lips tight to drink out of a bottle of water or kiss like before. The biggest source of frustration was my eye drying out. I was having to put eye drops in every 15 minutes…and that was getting expensive quickly! I think I might throw a party to celebrate when I don’t have to tape my eye shut at night anymore! Wahoo...I can’t wait!
I have always thought of myself as a radiant “light” to others. I feel like I can lift others up, help them to feel loved, and share of the joy that I have. Not being able to smile was emotionally crippling to this part of me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to smile and laugh my loud, cackle laugh often. Since my smile became unsymmetrical, I found myself feeling broken in my endeavors. I felt like I couldn’t shine because I couldn’t smile. I used to avoid looking in the mirror because I didn’t recognize who I saw….and when I did look, the smile staring back at me didn’t match the smile I wanted to share. Many months passed before I realized that I could share of my light and love even though my face wouldn’t cooperate. It took a lot of looking inward and re-discovering myself (who I am and want to be) before I started to feel like myself. My smile is still unsymmetrical but is still slowly improving. I look forward to the day that I can laugh my loud, cackle laugh with a big, symmetrical smile to accompany it.
As difficult as having Bell’s Palsy has been for me physically and emotionally, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything! The direction of my life was changed because of this trial. On three separate occasions I had three different, inspired friends (Erin P., Allison G., and Anna R.) refer me to two different types of energy work modalities (foot zoning and acupuncture). After months of having zero mobile function in the left side of my face, I sought out treatment from Kristy A. and Brent T. and finally started to heal! The more I learned about energy work, the more I felt a desire to learn more about it. I was led to Courtney Beardall’s Investigating Health modality which is a comprehensive, Christ-centered vibrational energy work which I now practice. I feel like everything in my life has prepared to learn about these great energy modalities- my love for learning about the human body, my bachelor’s degree in exercise science, and my desire to help others. If it wasn’t for my Bell’s Palsy, I don’t know that I would have been directed to these great energy modalities and the truly amazing people who have so profoundly touched my life.
As I reflect over this last year, the many trials and triumphs, I find myself so incredibly blessed! My heart is so full of gratitude for my family and friends who have loved, supported, and strengthened me through this trial. They have helped me heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am a better person because of them. I adore and love each one. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty within so I can shine once again."