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The Mamihood

Still on the mend…

This month marks the 2 year anniversary of  the strangest thing that has happened to me.  I’ve had my fair share of medical emergencies in my lifetime, but I think this takes the cake.

2 years ago we had a strong earthquake here in So Cal.  You may recall the Chino Hills earthquake we had that summer.  It was my first “big” earthquake, alone with the kids.  Jeremiah was at a scouting day camp, up in the hills of Monrovia, and I was alone with the little ones.

When the earthquake struck, my first thought was “OMG, EARTHQUAKE” then “OMG, Jeremiah” then “OMG, Norman (my hubby)”! I got the kids close to me, and we rode the quake.

After that wore off, my first instinct was to get in the car and drive to where Jeremiah was.  I did.  Then, I had to try to get a hold of hubby.  With all big So Cal earthquakes, phone lines get SUPER DUPER busy, and you will NOT get any calls through to no one. Finally 2 hours later, I spoke with the hubs, and things got back to normal.

Or so I thought.

2 weeks later, my world was shaken again.

I was at Costco eating a Hot Dog, when I noticed I could not open my mouth wide enough to bite the Hot Dog.

“Hmmm, this is weird”  I thought.

As much as I tried to open my mouth, it wouldn’t.  I even got a cramp (in a place where I never thought cramps can happen) on my neck (almost my throat).

I kept thinking that the good Lord just didn’t want me to eat the darn thing, but in my corazon, I knew something was wrong.

Later that evening while I was cooking dinner, I told Norman about it, and I got the idea to look in the mirror and check things out. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before… DUH!

I got to the mirror and opened my mouth and noticed it was opening crooked.  My jaw would go to the left.   W H O A!

I keep repeating that, and then noticed I had only half a smile.  The right side of my face was partially paralyzed.

I know, right???  The first thing that came to my mind was a stroke, too.  Dios Mio!!!

Norman saw it, and was completely baffled.  We both agreed that it was probably nothing, and I needed to sleep.  So to sleep I went.

The next morning, my right eye was droopy and would not close.  The paralysis was moving up.  Total freak out by then.

By this time, Norman had gone to work already and I was alone with the kids.  My mom started a prayer chain, and my cousin came by to check me out.  By this time, when I tried to eat, food would spill out of the corner of my mouth, because my mouth was not closing properly.  Off  to the ER I went.

Bell’s Palsy.  At the age of 31, I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.  I was put on a heavy doses of steroids and antibiotics. I was taking about 16 pills a day for 1 week.  It was awful.  It was scary.  When I would shower, soap would get into my right eye and my mouth. I thought I was shutting them tight, but apparently not!  I had to wear a patch over my eye, to keep it from drying up.

I soon recovered from this whole ordeal, with the help of God.  The weaning of the drugs was very painful. I would say about a month and a half later, I was ok. Still, until now I can see that there is permanent damage done to my face. I know you can’t see it, but I can.  My right eye is still a little teenie tiny bit lazy.

Oh, the whole earthquake story?  I blame the quake.  I think I scared myself into this. This is my opinion.  The Doctors told me it was a bacterial infection.

So whether it was the Earthquake, an infection or the good Lord really, really, REALLY didn’t want me to eat el mendigo Hot Dog, esto fue lo que me paso.

Wow, I can’t believe I spilled my guts like this…. lol

Liz Cerezo

Liz is a Mexican-American blogger living in Southern California. Married 19 years, and a mami to 3 kids, her content is inspired from living in and raising a multicultural familia. Liz has been blogging for more than 7 years, establishing herself as a nationally recognized Latina blogger. She often blogs in Spanglish and may throw in some Tagalog when talking about her hubby. You can also find her chit chatting away at @Liz_Cerezo on Twitter!


  1. Julie Diaz Asper

    That’s scary, really scary! So glad you are ok. And can eat that mendigo Hot Dog!

    18 . Aug . 2010
    • admin


      I’ll never forget that stupid Hot Dog!!! lol

      Thanks for the comment.

      18 . Aug . 2010
  2. Lin

    OMG hon I had the same thing 3 years ago! It was the worst thing to ever happen to me. Luckily I only had Bells for about 8 weeks, I’ve heard of people still recovering after a year so I consider myself lucky. I too have noticed permanent damage, my right eye never fully closes while I sleep.

    I know what you went through & how scary it was & how scary it still is to imagine it happening again. I actually have to pinch my face every now & then just to make sure I can still feel it lol. My husband laughs & swears que estoy loca.

    18 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Awww Lin, we’re Bells hermanas!!!


      18 . Aug . 2010
  3. Laura

    I had no idea!
    That’s so scary.. I’m glad you are better!!

    18 . Aug . 2010
  4. Ana Lilian Flores

    Really?? had no idea, amiga!

    You really, really can’t tell. Para nada!

    Relieved to know you’re doing well. Bendiciones!

    18 . Aug . 2010
  5. Yoly @ YNR Live

    Oh my! Thank goodness everything worked out and you are better now. Do you even like hot dogs anymore?

    19 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      @Yoly, @SpanglishBaby Gracias chicas…

      @Laura, thanks for the comment!


      19 . Aug . 2010
  6. Patty@NYC Girl at Heart

    I am glad that you are ok. I applaud you for being so brave to share this story.

    My co-worker had a similar situation and while she was not officiall diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, all her symptoms were very similar. With steriods & meds she is also better. She was under a lot of stress with a messy divorce, so it could be what you say about being scared by a difficult situation.

    19 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      @Patty, I honestly think it was the stress!

      Even now when I get stressed, I get scared that it will come back, because according to the DRs. it can come back. Thanks for the comment chica!

      19 . Aug . 2010
  7. Rory -Mama Contemporanea

    I had Bell’s palsy in 2004. totally recovered but scary.

    19 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Really? Aww, another bells hermana! (:

      Wow, this thing get around!

      19 . Aug . 2010
  8. Unknown Mami

    Hijola, that is terrifying. I’m so sorry you went through that. Thank you for sharing your story.

    19 . Aug . 2010
  9. Ms. Latina

    Came here when I saw @ModernFamilia’s tweet! I am so sorry to hear that you went through this but glad that you are all better. As for stress, its causes more illnesses thn the doctors want to admit! Honestly, even if it was an infection, the stress lowered your immunity.

    Again glad you are better and if you didn’t mention the difference in your face, no one would have noticed!

    19 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      @Ms. Latina- I really believe that. Stress is a real killer. You are the sweetest. When I read this, I hear your “new york” accent in my heart! (:

      @Unknown Mami- Thank you preggy, for the comment! (:

      19 . Aug . 2010
  10. Rachel

    Oh my gosh this is a very scary story. Life is scary sometimes. I am glad that you are okay. And I agree with you, I believe stress is the cause of a lot of things especially our bodies.

    Stress is a killer. Less stress is best. 🙂

    Thank God you are ok and thanks for sharing this story with us.

    BTW, can’t notice a thing!


    20 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Thank you Rachel! (:

      20 . Aug . 2010
  11. The Other Liz

    I know at least a couple of friends who have had Bell’s Palsy. I think that sometimes it can be related to Chicken Pox/Shingles and any of us who ever had Chicken Pox could get it. Stress can certainly bring illnesses on, especially shingles. I’m glad you are better and kicked it fast!

    20 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Wow, never thought to relate Chicken Pox to Bell’s…

      Thanks for the comment Liz! (:

      21 . Aug . 2010
  12. Elma

    Wow! Que horror!, but I know what you mean about the hotdog, if I’m going to eat something and I drop it I always think que eso no es pa’ mi. I’m glad you’re doing better, y no se nota!

    Thank you for sharing such a scary and personal part of your life, and enjoy Disneylandia!


    22 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Thank you Elma, for this comment! (:

      23 . Aug . 2010
  13. Dariela

    Wow Liz! I didn’t know all this. Se me pararon los pelos con tu historia. I’m glad you’re fine now. Muchos Besos para ti!

    24 . Aug . 2010
  14. Monica

    Ay, Liz. I can’t imagine how scary that was. And to be alone with the kids is even harder. So sorry you had to go through so much. May your recovery continue smoothly. Lots of positive, healing thoughts your way…

    28 . Aug . 2010
  15. Carrie at TikiTikiBlog.com

    Liz, I never would have noticed…still can’t see it…Your face is beautiful and perfect to me!
    So glad you’re fine, mama.

    28 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Thank you ladies…. for all the support and kind words I’ve received.


      29 . Aug . 2010
  16. Tracy

    Wow Liz – like everyone else in the thread, I had no idea. How scary! I’m so glad you came out of this none the worse, (love your beautiful face!) – and with your sense of humor intact, también. (You had me laughing about the hot dog while feeling worried about you at the same time!)

    30 . Aug . 2010
  17. Melanie (ModernMami)

    Wow Liz! So scary to go through it. Like you said, you can’t tell at all, and you’re freaking adorable! I’m so glad everything turned out well, though I know it sucked at the time.

    31 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      Aww, Melanie…

      You are too sweet! (:

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      31 . Aug . 2010
  18. Maura

    Que miedo, Liz! The only other person I’ve known with Bell’s also suffers from a severe case of Lyme Disease. Thank goodness you recovered fairly quickly. Did the doctor ever tell you what kind of a bacterial infection it was or present a logical case to you about how you ended up getting Bell’s from it?

    31 . Aug . 2010
    • admin

      The ER doc said that they don’t know what causes Bells. “Dumb Luck” was his answer!!!!!! LOL

      Thanks for your comment chica! (:

      31 . Aug . 2010
  19. Catalina

    Completely shocked! I would have never known by looking at you in person. What a truly frightening experience. I’m so glad you recovered quickly. Cuida te bien chica!!

    07 . Sep . 2010
  20. Anita

    How scary!! I’m so glad you’ve recovered (even though you can still slightly feel some of the effects). And so crazy that they don’t even know what bacteria causes it!! Your theory of the stress/scare of the earthquake sounds very possible.

    And thank you so much for writing for the MomsRising blog carnival. I came to this post after publishing your post there. Hope to see you back there again!!

    23 . Sep . 2010
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