Sunday, January 23, 2011

Smiling on the left... but... still smiling

Bell's palsy is a neural disease we learned about as students in nursing school. The singer Frenchie Dy, is known to have acquired it and everyone thought 'what bad luck that among the hundreds of diseases out there, this rare one actually gets her'. That's what I think everyone felt. It's actually quite an issue with Frenchie since she's a performer and therefore must have a face that always looks good in front of an audience.  My sister thought this form of facial paralysis can be had when you overexpose yourself to a fan or airconditioning. She swears that two of her classmates, who always placed a fan on one side of their faces,eventually acquired paralysis on that side. My friend told me that she had a friend once, who, when her boyfriend left her, instantly got Bell's Palsy.

So much for all the theories and urban legends surrounding the very mysterious Bell's Palsy.

Why am I even blogging about it anyway? That's because I have it.

Well today is Day 11 of my recovery from Bell's Palsy. It feels normal actually. I don't feel any fever coming in nor am I suffering from an insurmountable amount of pain. Just that I noticed in the beginning of last week, my eyes were becoming very uncomfortable,a little bit painful and itchy. That's when I realized that my right eyelid does not close properly which is reason for it to feel uncomfortable and compensate by being teary-eyed. I also felt pressure at the front and back of my ear and our house was on full no-direct-contact alert because we all thought this was the highly transmissible Mumps. I am thankful it's not mumps cause that's more painful and scary. I still was able to go to work although my eyes still kept tearing up. Then the middle of the week came and suddenly my entire right face could not move.Only one eye blinks. When I try to close it, the eyelid only closes a little halfway. The right eyebrow does not rise or frown. The right nostril does not flare and that looked kind of funny. What's more obvious is the mouth part. It's really unnerving when I speak or laugh or smile, my mouth moves on one side so I tried hard not to smile during the next few days.
Day 5 photo: The dreaded palsy has struck a nerve-- my facial nerve
or cranial nerve VII. (enough with the medical jargon please!)

I was so lucky to have bosses who were also health care practitioners and easily noticed that a cause of my sudden inability to move my facial muscles could be neural in nature. I  was terrified at first because I thought anything connected to nerves is a major issue. Immediately on the day after onset, we went to a neurologist and she explained to us that a virus attacked my system and was 'eating' my facial nerve. She  confirmed this condition to be Bell's Palsy. I am thankful that my case was mild. She prescribed Prednisone/ or an anti-inflammatory agent to lessen any swelling that may also be affecting the nerve and Vitamin B complex for neural repair (amazing!). She told us that a common cause of Bell's Palsy is stress and puyat (or spending time awake during normal sleeping hours). I have a talent for pagpupuyat. I love it. And now it has now taken a toll on my body which made me realize how I should value my health more.

Our neurologist explained that this was more common that most people think. More of her Bell's Palsy cases happen around the holidays when people are more prone to stress, partying and staying up late. Well, anyway, so much for all these explanations and causes. We've all now proven wrong all the previous urban legends about Bell's.

Day 11 photo: more teeth can be seen
Well now as an update on Day 11,... my eyes, they say, blink together. I can see more of my teeth on the right side when I smile. My eyebrows are still worrisome since they still do not  frown or rise as willed. But with my family and friends' faith and prayers on my side, I am so much better. Eleven days after and I look so normal barely no one noticed the small imbalances on either side of the face. Other patients (reference: youtube) still have the major symptoms for several weeks or months on end. The end goal here is to get all muscles to return to normal at the same pace and avoid therapy. My personal goal is to get my smile back :)

I hope that what I've shared with you today would increase your insight about your health. I never would've known how much my chronic pagpupuyat could affect me and so could it affect you. Stress is a major underlying cause in many diseases today so let's all be careful about our health and lessen the abuse we inflict on our bodies.

Take care, you.

sincerely, Flor.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding Peace in Cebu

This is probably one of the my best and most memorable vacations ever and it happened right here in our country. This is definitely a memorable first for us since this is the only time that we boarded a plane AS A FAMILY!  It was almost New Year back then, and my family just waited for me to come after work in the morning and we boarded the plane ASAP. No time to rest, no time to shower, or even eat a meal... We were all so excited to be headed to Cebu.

"Peace I give unto you" -- Taoist Temple, Cebu City
Finding Inner Peace in Cebu, 2009 and Trajet Tours and Travel promote tourism in the Philippines and abroad. Find great travel deals at, the leading online classified ads website in the Philippines.

Well, this is us, visiting the beautiful Taoist Temple near downtown Cebu City. 'Beautiful' is such an understatement, actually. The temple was so breathtaking in the beauty of its structures, flowers, gardens, and fountains. I also loved the huge gong which reminded me of the big temples I only see in movies in distant China. I felt like a foreigner in my own country. The Philippines is known for it's beautiful natural tourist destinations but this one is man-made which really amazed me. I never would've believed that such a building that can be visited without a fee existed . I'm really just proud of it. I hope this picture gives it justice. I think everyone must have time to visit this temple even if you're a from a different religion or sect. My siblings and I sat there and felt contemplative and peaceful once we were inside. Here's a place where you can do some serious soul-searching. We've visited almost all the tourist spots in Cebu --  the Mactan shrine, Mountainview Top, Magellan's Cross, to name a few, but this wonderful building really has a place in my heart and will always be a place where I found a little bit more of serenity and happiness amidst the bustling city of Cebu.

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