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My Story about Bell’s Palsy

This post was published in August of 2010. Since Bell’s Palsy is in the news, I thought I’d share my experience with what can be a scary episode….

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.

This picture was taken 2 weeks after diagnosis!


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.



My Story about Bell's Palsy
The right side of my face is still a little off.

Here we are, almost 10 years later and I can still see the damage done to my face. It never really went away but I’ve learned to live with it and I hope and pray that I never get it again.

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!

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