Smile Interrupted

For Long-Term Bell's Palsy Sufferers and Friends

Long-Term Bell's Palsy Sufferers and Friends
Posting Access:
All Members , Moderated
Welcome to Smile Interrupted, a community for, but not exclusive to, long-term sufferers of Bell's Palsy.

Bell's Palsy is the ideopathic paralysis of the seventh facial nerve, causing one side of the face to become completely paralyzed. Ideopathic means "of unknown origin," though Bell's has been linked to a wide variety of other diseases. This condition strikes without warning and can affect nearly anyone, both young and older persons alike. Between two and ten-thousand people are stricken with Bell's Palsy each year.

The really scary thing is, most doctors don't have the slightest clue what, if any, of the above factors might have brought on someone's particular onset. Worse even, most doctors don't know which treatments are effective and right for a particular person. Many of us go untreated, left with permanent residual effects.

The duration of Bell's can cause numerous short- and long-term physical problems, including constant facial and nerve pain, damage of the eye, and hearing loss. Let us not forget to mention the lack of expression and facial mobility (causing contortion) that comes with this type of paralysis. In a society so concerned with appearances and 'conventional' physical beauty, we with Bell's Palsy can be made to feel like sideshow attractions pretty easily.

Most people recover from this condition within six months of its initial onset, but some of us will be burdened with this debilitating and disfiguring disease for the rest of our lives. Bell's is not only a physical condition - it's an emotional one as well, and it takes a very long time to come to terms with.

This community aspires to be a place of support and information for those of us with these symptoms, and those of us wishing to know more about the condition. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join.

Here are some basic guidelines for the community:

1. Please be respectful of others. Everyone's case of Bell's Palsy is different, but it is an intensely personal experience for everyone.

2. If you plan on posting pictures of your progress, please consider using the LJ-cut function. I'm not going to get on anyone's case about this, but it does make the community easier to browse through and read.

3. Introduce yourself and participate as often as you like! Here's a working template for first-time introductions or simply some information about yourself you might want to address whilst saying hello:

Name: (lj username or nickname is just fine)
Location: (if you feel comfortable)
Do you currently have Bell's Palsy?
Did you experience any common "warning signs" before it set on? (such as numbness of mouth, earache, muscle spasms, etc.)
How long have you had Bell's and what percent recovered are you?
What treatment, if any, did you undergo/are undergoing?
How did treatment affect your condition?
Did Bell's turn out to be a symptom of another condition? (serious neurological problems, lyme disease, virii, etc.)
How has Bell's Palsy affected you physically in the short- and long-term?
How has Bell's Palsy affected you emotionally?
How were you treated by family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers once your appearance changed?

Feel free to modify it to suit your personal needs! Not all of us are sufferers - loved ones and people wanting information on the disease are very welcome to introduce themselves to the community. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments.

Take care,
-Ruth (electrablue)