where the writers are
The Smile Behind My Bell's Palsy


“The Smile Behind My Bell’s Palsy”


Ten days ago, I woke up with Bell’s palsy.  At first, I thought that I had suffered a stroke. After a MD doctor’s visit and examinations, I found that I was suffering from a temporary bout of Bell’s palsy. It wasn’t painful. The doctor assured me that I will be back to my usual self in a month or two. The doctor prescribed steroids. However, while it was much harder to smile, there was a bigger smile going on inside me, behind the outer effect of the Bell’s palsy.


Through Wikipedia, I learned that Bell’s palsy affects 50,000 people in the U.S. every year. It is an inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve that connects to the eye, nose and ear. The inflammation causes temporary paralysis of the nerve. For some, the eye can’t close, so they have to tape it shut at night, and some can’t speak.


In addition to my paralysis on the right side of my face that was painless; my eye was affected and did not close. I had to tape it shut at night.  It was blurry, and I was in pain. Within days, I developed an ulcer on my eye, which led me to eye doctors and a cornea specialist.  After a meticulous examination, I was put on oral anti-viral and antibiotic ointments and eye drops. I am already experiencing rapid improvement every day.


With reference to the causes:


Some viruses are thought to establish a persistent (or latent) infection and remain dormant until conditions are right to evoke a flare-up of symptoms, e.g., the varicella-zostervirus and Epstein-Barr viruses, both of the herpes family. Reactivation of an existing (dormant) viral infection has been studied as a potential cause behind acute Bell's palsy. Studies suggest that this new activation could be preceded by trauma, environmental factors, and metabolic or emotional disorders, thus suggesting that stress - emotional stress, environmental stress (e.g., cold), physical stress (e.g., trauma) - anything that might compromise your immune system, in short, a host of different environmental conditions, may trigger reactivation.


I happen to believe (without a doubt) that my Bell’s palsy was brought on by stress. A couple of weeks before the onset, I was under emotional turmoil with a domineering person. It wasn’t unusual for them to cut me off (or anyone else for that matter) from their life, when they couldn't immediately have their way.  I was always disappointed by this kind of behavior.  However, this time when they cut me off, it was quite different.  I reached a boiling point of release. In hindsight, the times I had turned the other cheek and literally turned a blind eye to this person, they only used it to turn the cards in their favor.  This time, I realized that our relationship was no longer serving any positive purpose for anyone.


The truth was, it had been very rare for me to ever really stand up for myself.  In a true sense, behind my smile, I felt bullied by certain people and certain behaviors most of my life. Meanwhile it seemed that others often support this type of personality and their approach, which I strongly saw as negative, bullying behavior. Their antics could possibly harm sensitive individuals who don’t always agree with them (from personal experience, I knew the effect it once had on me). I’m only too happy that I broke this cruel cycle. Bell’s palsy (from my perspective) was a sure sign to change the company that I keep. Each of us have to discern what is best for our own health and well being. Since that day, I sense a flock of spirits stirring around me and cheering me on. Perhaps everyone didn't always support the behavior as I once thought but perhaps instead they too, hesitated to stand up and speak their truth. For the very first time in my life, I believed in myself, and stood up for myself, even when others walked away.


My Bell’s palsy taught me that no one’s going to stand up for me, other than myself. The moment that I fearlessly decided not to give them my other cheek, I felt my heart smiling at a wonderful future.  I see a blessed assurance of grace and health for everyone through the window of my soul.



14 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip

It is really shocking news

It is really shocking news for me. Being a doctor I can assure you that it is 100% recoverable if treated in time. My mother and father both had it in thier 50's and they recovered well with the treatment. Avoid cold air and chilled drinks. I am deeply sorrowed by knowing some people's attitude towards you. Have a courage and all will be well. I am including you in my daily prayer.Be blessed.

Comment Bubble Tip

Inspiring support. :-)

Hi Dr. Jitu,


Thank you for your professional and inspiring support. It's huge, coming from a doctor, himself. Thank God, I have a new outlook on life that only gets better! :-)


Congratulations again, with your much-deserved  award! I was thrilled to read it and share in your success. I'm sure there's much  more yet to come.

Thank you for the prayers. :-)










Comment Bubble Tip

Oh Cathy,

I am so sorry to hear this, all of it, especially having been a sufferer myself of both syndromes.

As Dr Jitu says, the Bell's Palsy will improve, but it can take time. A consultant told me that nerves regenerate at about one millimetre a month, so patience is important. Plenty of B vitamins help. Keep the eye as moist as possible. And facial exercise is crucial. Start now. (I was given the opposite advice early on, but it was well outweighed by other medical advice since then which has proved its value.) Although the worst effects wore off within a few months, there is still a slight imbalance in features and the right eye is not as open as the other, but change is happening almost daily now. The right side of the face is waking up and the heavy feeling is going. I actually had it when my RR photo was snapped, but that shot is slightly turned away.

As to the rest, I believe there is no way as a Christian you need to continue to turn the other cheek. Forgiveness is not about being a doormat, it's about not taking revenge and praying for your enemies. There's a lot to be said for 'shaking the dust off your feet', advice given to the disciples when they gave blessings, but were not accepted in good faith. There's also real power in proving that you are not playing that game. You have other horizons and a destiny of your own to fulfil.

Sartre well said Hell is other people. Those who say there is no such place as Hell - it's all a figment of the medieval mind - are living in a fantasy themselves. Bullying takes many forms and it is a disease of world class proportions now.

You are as always in my prayers. Wishing you a very speedy recovery and sending you hugs and lots of love...


btw A copy of The Twain is somewhere in transit to you :)



Comment Bubble Tip

A whole new world!

Hi Rosy,


I'm sorry that you had to go through it, too. Yes, you are right, forgiveness is not about being a doormat.  However, the sad part about it is that a Christian can sometimes enable cruel behavior (by turning the other cheek) to those who have slapped it more than once.  Walking away, is my first step forward. I realize now that I could have done it years ago. 


Now that I see the whole thing metaphysically,  I truly believe that everything happens for a higher purpose. And if it took an illness for me to speak up for myself; it was all for my good! It wasn't strange that the signs of Bell's Palsy were in perfect alignment with what's been going on inside of me.  These things needed to be made known! Perhaps, they will help another take a stand, sooner. Which is actually the higher purpose of my blog.  


Thank you for the perfect advice for massaging my face and muscles, and keeping my eye moist. You are 100% what the doctor ordered. :-) One other thing the doctor mentioned to exercise was to remember to blink. I'm doing it now. ;-)


I appreciate you stopping by and all your warmhearted concerns.


I'm sorry that I didn't know when you went through this. I'm glad for your feeling better.  You always look perfect, to me.





Comment Bubble Tip

Catherine, I truly believe in

Catherine, I truly believe in the power of stress to cause havoc on our health and livelihood.

I once had a boss who developed Bell’s Palsy and I recall that it was a stressful time for the business and she felt certain that stress had brought it on too. I don’t remember how long her recovery was, but it seems she was back to herself fairly soon. She was such a beautiful woman and it devastated her to walk around with a droopy face, but I’m sure it slowed her down and brought a bit of humility.

I’m glad to hear that you are doing better and that you are being strong, both in your relationships and health.

You are always an inspiration!

Take care,



Comment Bubble Tip

I do too!


Hi Rebbecca,


I do too, believe that stress causing havoc on our health. I once read many years ago; I can't remember what author/doctor it was that said this, " When someone walks into my office with any health issues, I don't ask them what is the matter with you? I ask them who is the matter with you?"


I'm glad you are inspired with my blog. It makes my heart smile. :-)


Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your lovely and supportive comments.













Comment Bubble Tip

Best Wishes


May I add my best wishes to the other inspirational postings of support for you.  I had never heard of Bell's palsy before reading your description here. I'm on a regime to keep my blood pressure lower.  The challenges we face in our older years are scary at times but I know your faith and indomitable spirit will see you through the days ahead.

Be well,


Comment Bubble Tip



Hi Brenden,



Yes, I noticed that the challenges we face, the older we get, seem to slow us down to a pace that is closer to the rhythm of the earth, doesn't it.  Sort of like 'not' running or hurrying to get something done, but savoring every bit of the sheer moments before us that is life. 

Thank you for the wishes, Brenden.

With all my best to your health, as well. :-)

I always appreciate your lovely comments and sharing with me.





Comment Bubble Tip

Stress and Bell's Palsy

Catherine--So sorry to read that you have been through all this, and I pray that your recovery is quick and complete.  I hope you have succeeded in eliminating the stress factors (people) from your life, and that you can enjoy the peace that brings.


Comment Bubble Tip

Rapid improvement

Hi Sue,

Thank you so much for all your good wishes and prayers! I'm already seeing a rapid improvement inside and out. 

I appreciate that you took the time to read, and brought your wise and lovely words of truths. :-) 



Comment Bubble Tip

Your improvement is swift

Your improvement is swift because your mind is healthy Catherine and how I could relate to this post. Severing association with those who cause you mental angst is a difficult task but the euphoria that ensues is akin to starting out on a new lease of life. I wish you only good things always. mx

Comment Bubble Tip


Hi Mary,

You're so right! I've never felt lighter.

It's so nice to see you, and I LOVE your new photo. Beautiful!

I'm glad you shared your inspiring wisdom here, and that you resonate with. I believe that it's "true wisdom with likeness of mind that needs to stay connected, for strength." XO

As you know; it was not an easy task.



Comment Bubble Tip

Hi Catherine,

Keep your spirits up. Nice to see so many come out to support you. My sister in law suffered this when she was a teenager, right after I met her, and fully recovered. I hope you'll be able to do the same.

Best wishes for a full, fast recovery. Cheers

Comment Bubble Tip

Kindred spirits

Hi Michael,

I'm so happy that you stopped by and shared a positive experience with your sister-in-law. ( It lifts my spirits immensely!)

It's been over three weeks now, and I'm almost back to normal. Thanks for the cheers. I'm smiling inside and out. :-)

Thank you for all your wonderful blog post you share with all of us in RR. I truly enjoy them all!