(Pam posting here)
As you may recall from previous posts (here and here) I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy about 8 months ago (around the time I found out I was pregnant). Recovery was slow and steady and I had regained most function to my face by springtime. I’d say I’m about 95% back to full facial movement now.
However, a few months ago I noticed a funny thing with my eye. Any time I chewed, smiled, or pressed my lips together my left eye would contract. I knew with all the research I’d done that this was NOT normal. I decided to go through the ass-pain and attempt to get a referral through the army healthcare system… which absolutely sucks, by the way. In the military you have to see your general health care provider before you can get referred to any specialist. Well, my doctor was on leave until mid-July and I didn’t want to wait until I was about to pop to finally see a specialist about my eye. So, Travis pulled some strings and got me in to see the “Special-Op’s” doctor . I know he’s probably more used to treating things like STD’s and war wounds but I thought I had a legit complaint. He actually had the audacity to say “of all the patients I’ve seen with Bell’s Palsy, you’ve been the most concerned about it.” Did he miss the bed-side manner lecture in med school or something?! I left his office diagnosing myself as a hypochondriac. Sorry for wasting your time buddy!
I guess all the ridicule wasn’t in vain because he did give me a referral to an ophthalmologist (and a civilian one too!). Last week I had my appointment. It’s always such a comfort when the doctor goes “hmmm” and “well…” and does the head-scratch thing. He pawned me off on the plastics specialist the next day and I finally got some validation for my concerns. Finally someone who can tell me what’s going on with my face! Me: 1; Poopy Army Doctor: 0
To preface with some statistics: Bell’s Palsy affects .01% of the population a year (or 1 in 6,800 people). To top that off, the doctor diagnosed me with “abnormal nerve regeneration” which is considered “highly unusual” with Bell’s Palsy recovery (no statistics given). Also add into the mix the sporadic hemiplegic migraines that afflict me (incidence rate also at .01% of the population) and you can say I’m a neurological jackpot winner. Yay me! It gets even better… keep reading.
So course of action, I have a follow-up in October after baby’s born where they want to put cocaine drops (?!) in my eyes to rule out yet another neurological condition I may have called Horner’s Syndrome. No incidence rate given due to etiology but also considered to be a “rare condition.” On top of that they want to do an MRI (my 3rd to date) because I am “so atypical.” Long-term treatment will probably be Botox injections to help with the spasms (wish me luck getting Tricare to cover that). Full recovery is iffy. Sounds like something I may just have to live with the rest of my life. So, if I give you the “stink-eye” every now and then just keep in mind I don’t mean it. Well, maybe I do.
Check out recent post pictures of me to see what I mean.