Sunday, August 07, 2005

Wanna see my neat trick?

I have not gone into detail much about it and have been very reluctant to post photos of myself, but I have suffered from facial paralysis post treatment. It probably started earlier and gradually built up to its full potential as I recall back before that shocking horror on the evening of December 14th I had little clues or hints along the way.

I think back in January I had a facial nerve test at the Seattle Ear Clinic that I may have mentioned. At the time my facial nerve was only operating at 52% out of 100%. (100% being the normal looking population). Most people would refer to it as "facial palsy" but that it is not. Facial palsy is caused by a bacterial or viral infection and can often be remedied over time with the use of steroids. A neurosurgeon way back in February corrected us as in my case (as well as others with NF2 or these type of brain tumors) it is considered facial weakness/paralysis and is the result of the tumor, surgery, or radiation damaging the nerve.

Many people think it has improved but that might be because my head (face) is no longer swelled up like a dang pumpkin now that I am off steroids. It has kind of been a pain in the butt. Basically the facial weakness has ruined my photography eye which is the only one I can keep open, causes eye dryness and blurred vision in that eye, has made eating a challenge (I can only chew on the opposite side of my mouth), has caused food to get trapped in the right side of my mouth (between the teeth and gums) which is very difficult to get out without swishing water around my mouth several times while holding the lips shut, I cannot take very big bites and eat with my mouth closed (thus I have to take small bites or hold a napkin in front of my face), and I can no longer drink from glasses or bottles. I always need to use a straw so that I do not dribble on myself. Oh I did not mention what it does to a woman's self esteen either in a very "Cosmopolitan" driven society with age and wrinkles looming just around the corner.

Despite all that, I have managed to amuse myself. First of all, hehe, winking at someone is no problem whereas I just could not really wink before without blinking both eye lids. I can make interesting faces like I am smiling on one side as if thinking "Hmmn." or being sarcastic or a smart alec (spelling??). I can raise my eye brow on the left side repeatedly at someone. Yet the best trick of all I have found is smiling or curling my lip on the right and raising my eye brow on the left in a repetitive motion. I don't know if I can do it without looking in the mirror. I can of course smile on the left but recently with my deflated face I have been able to smile some on the right. This takes concentration as I have to not move my smile on the left side of my face which is really easy (the facial weakness is on the right). LOL Anyhow, this really seems to entertain me when I am observing my face in the mirror and practicing smiling and moving the face.


Angel said...

you are a silly girl!!

Rebecca said...

Hey I gotta find some way to amuse myself! ;o)