Mondays often get a bad rap… and this Monday in particular I am reminded to be optimistic, motivated and grateful!  Today I am smiling for one reason and one alone… simply because I can. I strive to always be thankful for my blessings, be appreciative of life and those in my life and to take nothing for granted. However, on this day last year I was guilty.
It was a Sunday morning, pretty ordinary considering I was almost 7 months pregnant.   My plan for the day was to do my usual three mile morning run and then meet a client for a personal shopping experience in the early afternoon. After I returned home from my run I mentioned to my husband that the right side of my face felt tight… similar to Botox. He quickly questioned “How do you know what Botox feels like?” I replied “I don’t I’m just assuming”. Which is true… I have never received any Botox treatments. I sort of dismissed the feeling and continued to get ready as I normally would .
About 30 minutes into my styling appointment I noticed my face was starting to look a little weird… like I couldn’t fully smile and my right eye was watering a good bit. {We spent a good amount of time in multiple fitting rooms so I used the mirrors to evaluate the situation.} While waiting in the fitting room I searched my symptoms in google… stiff face, what does it mean to half smile, face feels tight. Quickly my google feed flooded with STROKE… signs of a stoke… you might be having a stroke!!!!!
Wait?!?!  What! For real could I have had a stroke? OMG… my baby I’m seven months pregnant what does this mean? I was starting to freak out so I texted my Mother.  I told her I felt completely normal except for the whole face not moving thing. She said I should go to the ER immediately! I was a bit stubborn and decided to finish styling my client and then proceeded to the local Patient First.
It of course took forever to be seen and once I was, they diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy.  Bell’s Palsy???? I had never heard of it. They are explaining it to me and my head is spinning… I had so many questions but the words couldn’t come out right. I asked about the baby and they said the baby would be okay but the treatments would need to be altered because I was pregnant.  And then they followed with “We can’t treat you here because you’re pregnant. You need to see your OB and a neurologist ASAP!”
I left in pure bewilderment… I had really no idea what was going on and I was frankly scared. The next day I called out of work and started calling every neurologist in a 40 mile radius NO ONE would see me that day, the next week or even the next month. All booked! How the heck could that be???? I just started crying, pleading with the receptionists and voicemail boxes for someone to squeeze me in that day. Finally, I got a call back that a doctor who agreed to see me. The doctor mentioned there is not a lot of information on Bells Palsy but there is correlation between diabetes, lymes disease and pregnancy to Bell’s palsy. Well I’m pregnant, I spend a lot of time in the woods and diabetes runs in my family so at this point it could be any one of them. They sent me for immediate blood testing {my results were negative for lymes and diabetes} and started me with a modified steroid and medication treatment {all approved by my OB}.
I felt numb, sad and scared.  There were so many unknowns and the doctors couldn’t guarantee I would get better although they said most recover within six months and they also said it could get much worse. I was embarrassed and ashamed at how I felt. I had taken smiling for granted. I had taken eating normally and laughing for granted.  The right side of my face was frozen… I was like two face. My baby shower was the following weekend. I had so many of my friends and family coming over to celebrate me and the baby bean I was carrying. I was thankful my baby was okay but I was still so sad… I was the girl who lost her smile. I still had my baby shower but I was completely awkward and didn’t tell my friends and family what was going on.  It was still too raw to talk about it. Honestly I haven’t told many people until now.
While the neurologist said my case was considered mild the following weeks were pretty difficult for me.  Just looking at me you wouldn’t notice unless I was laughing or smiling.  I just kind of looked like I had a constant RBF {resting b*tch face}. I had to drink from a straw and be careful what I ate so it wouldn’t fall out the side of my mouth. And since I couldn’t blink properly I had to tape my right eye shut during the day so my eye wouldn’t get dry or scratched. {Part of me is embarrassed now for saying this because I know my situation could have been much worse.} I started to become depressed… I’m sure the pregnancy hormones didn’t help the situation.  I was feeling very sad and it didn’t help that there is so much unknown about Bell’s Palsy. The neurologists did say there is a very small percentage {5%} that I get it again BUT because I had BP while pregnant it is a bit higher chance{15%} that I could get it again.  They also say the more you have BP the less you recover each time.   Thankfully, after three long weeks I started to see a little improvement… and at about 5 weeks I was 95% back to normal.  My right eye still twitches from time to time but other than that I have not had any other signs of the Bell’s Palsy. I wanted to share my story because we all go through trials, and social media can make it look like people live perfect lives.  That simply isn’t the case. Pure perfection doesn’t exist.  Our goal should be to find happiness and gratitude in our day to day lives.
So on this Monday, celebrate with Motivation & Monograms.  Motivation to keep smiling, to be kind, to be honest and monograms… well because who doesn’t love monograms?!

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