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Bell's Palsy - AGAIN!

(28 Posts)
jabberwocky Thu 29-Dec-05 13:29:27

Just nearing the second week of my second round of Bell's Palsy . The first time happened during my third trimester of pregnancy with ds. This time, after a fun but exhausting visit home for the holidays. As I caught it much, much earlier this time I have not gone on to have complete paralysis and wanted to share the early warning signs and treatment to maybe help others prevent total (hopefully temporary) facial paralysis.

My first episode began with the feeling that I had burned my tongue, even though I had no memory of drinking anything hot. This went on for two days before I started losing control of the right side of my face. By the morning of the fourth day I had complete paralysis of the right side although with no drooping. I had recognized what was going on as the paralysis started to affect my mouth the morning of the third day and began treatment immediately. It took two weeks before any sign of recovery and six months to completely regain my smile.

This time, I noticed a tinging feeling in the lower portion of my face, such as when you are about to get a fever blister/cold sore (the syndrome is caused by the same virus - herpes simplex). I did not get suspicious until I noticed the tingling had traveled up my face and there was an underlying numbness. This time I immediately started treatment. I am now on day 10 with only a very small weakness in my smile on the right side. If I smile not showing teeth it does not even show. I can't tell you what a huge relief it is not to have total paralysis. But, I have had to constantly watch and monitor my treatment, making small adjustments along the way as tingling, twitching, numbness, and paresis of my mouth and eye muscles transpired.

The typical treatment plan is 2000 mg of acyclovir for 10 days and a six day course of steroids. On the seventh day my symptoms actually increased and I began another course of steroids which helped tremendously. I also added B12 injections on the fourth day as symptoms sharply increased on that day as well. These are given every other day. I have been extremely lucky that my brother is a physician and has assisted me and supported me in early treatment as well as changes that I have made along the way. On the days that I had a noticeable increase in symptoms I also added one more acyclovir tab for a total of 2400 mg/day instead of the recommended 2000 mg. New symptoms would begin to dissipate within hours.

I know this is somewhat lengthy but I feel if it helps even one person avoid a bout of facial paralysis it is worth reading!

SackAche Thu 29-Dec-05 13:36:07

Jeez JW, thats awful, I'd never even heard of it!! Hope you are ok now?

jabberwocky Thu 29-Dec-05 13:49:57

Doing pretty well today, thanks. I'll still have to do a small bit of self-guided physical therapy to get my smile back, but nothing like the last time.

Yes, the reason I posted is, if you've ever had a fever blister you can potentially get this and a lot of people wait a day or two (or more!) to go to their doctor. It is absolutely critical to start medication ASAP. I am living proof of that.

jenk1 Thu 29-Dec-05 15:13:30

its awful isnt it? i had it when i was pg with dd last year and again about 4 months ago.

jabberwocky Thu 29-Dec-05 18:15:28

Really? I hadn't been able to find any MN'ers before who had had it. Did you do the same treatment?

jabberwocky Thu 29-Dec-05 18:16:17

btw, how many weeks along were you when you had it when pregnant? I was at week 35.

cranberryjampots Thu 29-Dec-05 18:18:47

gosh that sounds terrible jaberwocky but thanks for sharing your story. Hope you feel 100% soon

jabberwocky Thu 29-Dec-05 18:26:33

thanks, cj. It is a really terrible malady and one that a lot of people know little to nothing about. Hence, all too often they delay getting treatment too long. There is a risk of the facial nerve actually atrophying which can cause the paralysis to be permanent. This happened to an acqaintence of mine in college and it was really tragic.

Jockey Fri 30-Dec-05 20:27:22

I had this three days after my dd was born. Luckily I'd heard about it from a friend so didn't panic as much as I might've. You have my sympathy - how are you feeling now?

CaptainCavemansMummy Fri 30-Dec-05 20:32:01

ooohh, I had this twice but when I was 6 and then 8 years old, right side of my face both times.
Now this was the late 70's so they took my tonsills out to 'cure' it. (they said my tonsillits prior to getting bells palsy had pushed one of my facial nerves close to the skin and the cold weather at the time had frozen it.....I swear this is what they told us).
I had physio for it but then they may not have discovered acyclovir back then!
Never got it whilst pg with ds - must've been the magic tonsillectomy !!

4blue1pink Fri 30-Dec-05 20:47:02

I wonder why two of you had it round about pregnancy and birth??

Jockey Fri 30-Dec-05 20:53:16

4blue1pink - I'm not sure but my midwife said she had come across it before. In my case I had a stinking cold/ear ache for a couple of weeks before and just thought I was getting another cold sore (I'm prone to these).

CaptainCavemansMummy Fri 30-Dec-05 20:56:05

I'm sure it's something to do with the extra fluid you carry during pg that pinches the facial nerves (or something like that).

FrenchKissUnderMistletoeGirl Fri 30-Dec-05 21:26:31

DH has had 3 times, and recovered well although it took time. Still had a little bit when we got married poor thing!
I wish he'd known about your course of treatment.
My neighbour has had it but with little improvement for 4 months now, only doing physio and getting eyedrops. Do you think any of the treatment could help at this stage?

chipmonksRoastingOnAnOpenFire Fri 30-Dec-05 22:12:00

Well done for catching it early JW! A friend of a colleague has it at the moment and she's miserable!

jabberwocky Sat 31-Dec-05 01:19:12

Hi everyone, thanks for keeping the thread going. I really would like for more people to know the signs, symptoms and treatment for this.

Jockey, it can start as an earache as the facial nerve runs right by your ear so that is something to definitely be aware of. I am cautiously optimistic that my aggressive early treatment has warded off a full blown attack like I had last time. I do have an area of fullness/numbness on my cheekbone and at times my right eye seems more difficult to close than others. However, I have maxed out on the steroid/acyclovir therapy now so am crossing my fingers and continuing with the B12 injections. I keep thinking surely it's got to have run its course by now!!

4blue1pink, pregnancy is definitely something that can bring it on. I think CCM is right about fluid retention being a possible factor. I also had mild pregnancy induced hypertension which can bring it on as well.

Hiya, chipmonkey! Did your friend get early treatment as well?

Jockey Sat 31-Dec-05 10:31:47

Thanks for taking the trouble to highlight this. I hope you feel better very soon.

When I first thought I might be getting it, I phoned the out of hours clinic and was diagnosed on the phone, but they didn't ask to see me or recommend treatment. The doctor there said it would go away by itself but I might need physio later! My GP called on me the next day (routine, due to having a baby). I told her what had been said - she disagreed and started the steroid/acyclovir treatment immediately (even though breastfeeding). It is really important to see someone ASAP.

cranberryjampots Sat 31-Dec-05 14:04:18

my friend's dh had 2 girlfriends who suffered with this after they had been with him. We suspected he was a carrier - not sure if that is the case as Jane has been with him for about 11 years now and not suffered

jabberwocky Sat 31-Dec-05 14:33:17

Jockey, thank goodness you got a second opintion! I know lots of people do resolve spontaneously but it is certainly not a given that you will. I'll bet if that doc/nurse ever had his/her face frozen they would think twice about that advice Also, for me, just knowing that I am doing something helps a lot. Last time I had a lot of depression with it because it did get so much worse and I realized that it had actually started two days before with the weird feeling in my tongue. I kept berating myself that I should have figured it out, etc. This time I now know that if I heed those little warning signs the whole process is much less severe.

I have a little weakness in raising my right eyebrow today and smile is still a tad weak, but nothing worse.

jenk1 Sun 01-Jan-06 22:20:46

sorry, forgot id posted, i didnt take the steriods i just let it clear up both times, i was 27 weeks the first time and not pregnant the 2nd

jabberwocky Mon 09-Jan-06 23:29:52

Just thought I would post an update. Have just a small amount of weakness mostly noticeable just to me. Occasionally still feel funny in spots, hard to describe, like a mild numbness. Keeping my fingers crossed for a full recovery.

Lulu41 Tue 10-Jan-06 13:12:06

hiya hope you receover soon - I got BP when I was 37 weeks into my second pregnancy and although I was started on steriods the day after onset I still only have 85% recovery. I was told by a consultant that there are two types of BP one that will correct itself within weeks and the other that attack the nerves and they dont grow back unforutnately I had the latter but to be honest its only really me that can see the difference - I hope you have a speedy recovery I know how its feels especially when you are pregnant I didnt even have any photos taken when my ds was born!!

Take care x

Lulu41 Tue 10-Jan-06 13:12:08

hiya hope you receover soon - I got BP when I was 37 weeks into my second pregnancy and although I was started on steriods the day after onset I still only have 85% recovery. I was told by a consultant that there are two types of BP one that will correct itself within weeks and the other that attack the nerves and they dont grow back unforutnately I had the latter but to be honest its only really me that can see the difference - I hope you have a speedy recovery I know how its feels especially when you are pregnant I didnt even have any photos taken when my ds was born!!

Take care x

Lulu41 Tue 10-Jan-06 13:12:12

hiya hope you receover soon - I got BP when I was 37 weeks into my second pregnancy and although I was started on steriods the day after onset I still only have 85% recovery. I was told by a consultant that there are two types of BP one that will correct itself within weeks and the other that attack the nerves and they dont grow back unforutnately I had the latter but to be honest its only really me that can see the difference - I hope you have a speedy recovery I know how its feels especially when you are pregnant I didnt even have any photos taken when my ds was born!!

Take care x

Jockey Tue 10-Jan-06 14:08:32

Glad you're feeling better now jabberwocky. Hope you get the full recovery - keep us posted if you can.

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