Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page and reading my story.
Having a new baby is supposed to be a magical time between the parent and the child and it was for me and my daughter for the first 48 hours. Even though for those 48 hours we had to stay in hospital so my daughter could have antibiotics it was still magical.
We where discharged on a Saturday, mid morning approximately, and enjoyed being at home with the rest of the family. By mid afternoon I started to notice that I couldn't taste down once side of my mouth, a bit like a numb feeling but i could still feel my tongue. I text and rung my mum to ask if she knew what it was, I even googled it but couldn't find anything that made any sense to me. Not once did facial palsy pop up either. I ignored it and put it down to tiredness from giving birth and the stress from trying to adjust to minimal sleep. This was the worst thing I had ever done.
I woke up early Monday morning to feed my daughter and as I sat down to feed her I tried talking to her, but I couldn't talk properly. I couldn't see my face because I was sat down with her and no one was quite awake yet. I tried to smile but I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried to smile I just couldn't do it with the right hand side of my face. I was very confused, worried and scared. I heard my husband moving around and I shouted to him that I couldn't smile. He came running in and said the whole of the right hand side of my face had dropped. I rung NHS 111 and told them everything and they sent out an ambulance. I was in hospital for 10 hours until they finally agreed it was Bells Palsy and not a stroke. I was alone in hospital as my husband was at home with both of our children. It was a terrifying time for all of us.
Over the next few months it became apparent that no one in a professional manner that I had spoken too really cared about what I had. Apart from the health visitor. The doctor I saw just looked at me and said I'll be fine and to go back in a couple of months if I was still the same, even though I told him that the recovery had stopped, I could tell it wasn't getting better but he chose to ignore me.
Our family moved to Scotland 4 months after I had contracted Bells Palsy as my husband is in the armed forces. I've been to see a doctor in Scotland who gave me a referral for a physiotherapist to help me recover but unfortunately I was only the 2nd person in her 35 years of being a physiotherapist that she had seen with Bells Palsy. She said that she couldn't help me as she didn't really know what it was and she didn't know how to help me recover. She did show me a few facial massages for me to try at home but since then I've been on my own with it (apart from speaking to the charity) due to the lack of face to face support out there for this.
I have been talking to Facial Palsy UK and they have been excellent at making me feel good about myself and helping me understand this better. Unfortunately the only nearest person to me who is a facial specialist is in Newcastle and I cant get there due to the children and not having access to a car. Facial Palsy chairty has restored some the self esteem that I have lost and they have built my confidence back up.
Its a very scary time for anybody to has any facial palsy and there isn't enough research or awareness into this. Non of the midwives told me about contracting Bells Palsy after pregnancy or the symptoms of it, even though its common after pregnancy and in the third trimester. If I had the knowledge of the symptoms I wouldn't of put my tasteless mouth down to stress and tiredness I would of immediately gone to hospital and the steroids that I was given might of done a better job.
Its been 8 months and I still cant blink or smile properly and all my muscles are slowly tightening up which is making it harder to get my face working properly again.. I'm hoping that one day I will be able to fix my face somehow. But my main goal is to make the whole of the UK aware of this. Bells Palsy is just one of around 30 paralysis that can happen to the face, even though mine was developed after pregnancy men can contract it as well and at any age. Too much stress can be one of the causes but no one is 100% certain. So far all we know is that "it just happens"
Please help me change the "it just happens" to a "it's happened because"
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