Exactly nine months ago, I woke up one morning with a face full of Bell's Palsy.
Horrified to see my face twisted and contorted into an unrecognizable sneer, I headed to the doctor who told me not to worry. It's a fairly harmless inflammation of the facial nerves, driven by exposure to some sort of viral infection, and with an early intervention of steroids and anti-virals, the whole mess should clear up in a week or two.
And you know, I am all for positive thinking.
But that is not even close to what happened.
The first month was rough. I not only looked bad but I felt bad. My face ached, my brain was loopy, and I was continually sleep starved.
Around six weeks, I started to improve and felt much more myself.
Right around two months, my recovery stalled out. My face looked normal, my mind and spirit were feeling better, but I still had some weird, mostly invisible symptoms. Though no one could see this phenomenon, not even me, I could feel my facial nerves twisting and rippling under the surface of my skin. These sensations didn't hurt but they were strange and disconcerting. A friend noticed that I had developed the habit of laying my hand over the left side of my face as I talked. Yes. I was trying to calm whatever was happening inside.
My doc told me to contact her if I still had symptoms at six months, so on Halloween, I gave her a call.
"Make an appointment and come on in," she phoned me to say. "We may be able to do something to get you healed up."
So in I went and long story short, she gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant.
Now I understand that drugs can be used for more than one purpose, but as I read over the literature that came with the medication, and contemplated the long line of possible side effects, I wondered if there might not be a better way.
I decided to put the meds on hold, and focus all my efforts into taking the best care of myself possible. For the next three months, I cut out all processed sugars and carbs, drank more water, and slept eight hours every night.
And guess what. My symptoms have almost completely disappeared. I still get an occasional sensation of mild puffiness under my eye. But mostly, I feel strong and healthy, and finally I feel done with Bell's Palsy.