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What I’ve been up to lately

Happy Saturday! I hope you have been doing well.

 

Some of you may have been wondering where I have been because it has been really quiet here on my blog the past few weeks. Actually, I have been taking a little bit of a break from blogging.

Life has been pretty hectic the last little while with getting my kids ready for school, my garden ready for the winter and spending time with my Mom who was at my house visiting. There just hasn’t been as much time as I would have liked to work on my projects.

This past week I was all gung-ho about getting back to work on my projects and then I ended up having a health set-back. It all started just over a week ago (last Friday) when I starting feeling unwell. The right side of my neck was really sore with shooting pains and my sense of taste was significantly altered. Everything I ate or drank either tasted really bitter or extremely salty. I was concerned, so I went to the doctor who told me I had just pulled a muscle in my neck. He sent me home with some anti-inflammatory medication for my neck and after two days I wasn’t seeing any improvement. Things seemed to be getting worse.

On Monday, I woke up with swollen eyes but didn’t think much of it because I was off to the hospital that day to give my Sister some support (she was there for her scheduled c-section). That day my Nephew, Matthew was born. I was so excited for my Sister, despite that I was still feeling under the weather.

By Tuesday, my eyes were getting more and more swollen and now they were very itchy. I thought I had Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) but the drops I bought weren’t helping. Then Wednesday, when I woke up my face looked funny to me. I couldn’t close my right eye very easily and I thought it looked like the right side of my face was frozen and droopy. I was really worried that I might be having a stroke so off I went to the Emergency room.

When I finally got in to see the ER doctor and he went through all of his tests on me, he told me something that surprised me. He said that he didn’t think that I was having a stroke, but that I actually had developed a mild case of Bell’s Palsy. I went home freaked out a little because I had no idea what Bell’s Palsy was. I had never known anyone that had suffered from the condition. Apparently, it seems to be quite a common thing.

So what is Bell’s Palsy? It is a temporary paralysis of the facial muscles, usually on one side of the face that can last anywhere from 2 weeks to a number of years. Some people recover fully from it while others have lasting effects for years after the initial episode. It is not known for sure why Bell’s Palsy happens but most doctors believe that it is initially caused by a virus.

There is no way to prevent it and you can’t take a pill to make it go away. As a treatment, doctors usually prescribe a course of steroids to help reduce swelling and damage to the facial nerves. This does not guarantee recovery, but it has helped some people with Bell’s Palsy to recover quicker.

I seem to have a pretty mild case compared to others I have seen on the Internet who often have more facial involvement. My right side of my face is a little droopy. My right eye looks smaller than my left and it won’t close all the way unless I force it to. My smile is crooked, I can’t whistle anymore, and my eyebrows are at different levels when I raise them. If you didn’t know me, you might think that there is nothing wrong with my face until I smile or blink my eyes. Then you can tell something is not quite right.

Because my right eye doesn’t close fully it tends to dry out which can cause damage to my cornea; therefore, I need to put eye drops in my eye every hour and wear a patch to protect my eye at night. To speed up my recovery, I am also trying to take more time to rest and of course eat better. I also made an appointment to start acupuncture on my face next week. Ouch!

I know my blog is about decorating and not so much about my personal life but it is important to me to keep you in the loop so that you know that I am still here. I also want you to know that I am not writing this post so that you feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for myself and I know that I will get over this one way or another. I am so thankful that I have been pretty healthy most of my life and I have only recently been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. It could have been much worse, like a stroke or another serious disease.  This is still not something that I am happy about but I am trying to be optimistic that I will fully recover in the next few weeks because my case is so mild. One day this will only be a distant memory for me.

While I rest, I may be a little slower posting projects on my blog. I just have so much on my plate right now with trying to get better, work full-time and also be there for my family. Blogging isn’t easy for me to keep up with right now.

I hope you understand and that you will keep coming back to see my newest projects because you like what I have to share. I am so thankful that you take the time to visit my blog, send me e-mails and leave me comments. You inspire me to keep going.

I am planning to be back to posting 1-3 times a week as soon I feel up to it and I promise to keep you updated on how my healing is going. In the meantime, I do have another tutorial coming up that I had almost finished before life got so hectic. I am just finishing off the final touches and I hope to share it with you soon.

Do you know anyone with Bell’s Palsy or have you had it yourself? Do you have any tips for me?

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

 

 

 

Bridgetown, Barbados, 2010

 

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13 comments

2 pings

  1. Janet

    I’m so sorry you’re not well. I would suggest a visit to a neurologist perhaps to be sure the ER doctor was right. I think they treat Bell’s Palsy as it is a nerve condition. I’ve used acupuncture for back pain and 98% of the time, I felt nothing from the needles themselves, sometimes though it hurt. Because of the nature of my chronic pain causes, I just gave it up, got too expensive for temporary relief. I take prednisone, too. Don’t be surprised if your face gets puffy, if your appetite increases or your mood changes,[temporary side effects] though this may only happen with chronic use (I’ve been on it for over 40 yrs.). Hope you’re all better soon!
    Janet

    1. Carrie

      Hi Janet,
      Thanks so much for your get well wishes! I have a doctors appointment with my GP tomorrow and I am going to ask that he refer me to a neurologist just to make sure there isn’t another underlying cause that has been missed. I too did some acupuncture for my back and some of those needles were quite painful so I am thinking that needles in the face may hurt more. Maybe I am wrong! I am already feeling the side effects of the Prednisone only after 4 days but good thing I only have another 7 days to go. I don’t like taking pills if I can avoid it. A really good sign was that I woke up today and my entire smile is almost back and I had some tingling in my forehead. Maybe I am on the mend. Thanks again!
      Take care,
      Carrie

  2. Shanna Gilbert

    Carrie- I feel so bad for you! Acupuncture is no big deal so don’t worry about that. You are in my prayers. Just wanted to let you know I love you’re blog! I just started my own 3 weeks ago and I have learned a lot from you. I feel like there is so much to learn and I don’t know where to start or the fastest way to get your blog to grow. Any tips would be appreciated (when you’re feeling up to it that is). I hope you have a speedy recovery!
    Shanna

    http://restorationredoux.blogspot.com

    1. Carrie

      Awww.. thank you Shanna for your kind words. I seem to be feeling a little better today. Good for your for starting your own blog. It is a lot of work but a lot of fun at the same time. I already stopped over to your blog to take a peek. You have done a wonderful job so far! What kind of tips were you hoping for? Drop me a message and let me know. I am happy to help you out!
      Enjoy the rest of your day.
      Carrie

  3. Leslee in TN

    You must be feeling pretty bewildered at this point… I had an aunt who developed it out of the blue, as well. She was up in years though, and I’m not sure if she recovered from it or not. You are young though, so I’m thinking positive thoughts for you! Will be looking forward to your blog and hearing how you are doing, and how things are going. Thinking of you, and will keep you in my prayers! God Bless!

    1. Carrie

      Leslee,
      Yes, it has been a little scary for me. It is the not knowing why it came about and whether or not things are going to get back to normal. I had some minor improvements in my face today so hopefully I am on the mend. Thanks so much for thinking of me. That is very kind of you! I will let you know how things go.
      All the best,
      Carrie

  4. Leanne

    Carrie, a friend of mine developed it earlier this year. He has recovered just fine, so keep that in your thoughts. You are in mine.

    Hugs,
    Leanne

    1. Carrie

      Hi Miss Leanne!
      How have you been doing? Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear that your friend recovered from Bell’s Palsy. I hope I am as lucky. I have already seen some improvements this morning so I am crossing my fingers that my face continues to get better.
      Thanks again and hugs back at ya!
      Carrie

  5. chris

    I’ve known a few people who have had Bell’s Palsy and it’s gone away completely for all of them. I have heard it can sometimes be caused by Lyme Disease-have you had any tick bites lately? Might need antibiotics-check with your doc. Good luck.

    1. Carrie

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for leaving me your thoughts! We don’t have many ticks here in western Canada and I haven’t been in the trees all summer so hopefully that isn’t my problem. I did go to Barbados two years ago and they have ticks there so who knows. I will mention it to my doctor tomorrow and see what he has to say. Good idea to bring it up because you never know!
      Take care,
      Carrie

  6. Dawn Harmon

    Hi Carrie,

    I was so sad to hear of your recent medical setback. My mother suffered Bell’s Palsy a few years ago. She fully recovered from it within a few weeks. I will send some extra thoughts and prayers your way. I wanted to also share with you how much one of your projects inspired me. You asked me to share photos with you when I completed it. So I will let you check it out for yourself!Here’s the link: http://raisingkidsandcraftingtoo.blogspot.com/ Thank you for being the inspiration to get my blog going. Had it not been for you, and “Hooked On Decorating” I may not ever have had the courage to create “Raising Kids and Crafting Too.” Thanks Carrie and feel better soon!

    1. Carrie

      Hi Dawn,

      What an sweet surprise to read your message today! First, thank you for your prayers! I am actually on the mend believe it or not. I am still exhausted but my face has improved so much already. I am so happy to hear about your Mother too. That’s wonderful that she fully recovered from it and it gives me hope that I will be all better in no time. As for the rest of your message, you totally made my day! I stopped by your brand new blog and saw your cabinet. You did a gorgeous job on it. You go girl! I also can’t believe how your cabinet is so similar to mine, except for the legs. BTW, I just had to share your makeover on my Facebook page. :) Congratulations on starting your own blog. It is a lot of work but so rewarding at the same time. Just because of comments like yours!
      Take care,
      Carrie

  7. P.j.

    Carrie,

    I’m so sorry I didn’t realize you’ve been ill the past couple of weeks! I’ve known a couple of people who had Bell’s Palsy, one a friend’s daughter when she was just a teenager. She recovered well, but her smile was bit crooked for awhile. I never noticed it though, but of course she & her family did. She’s now grown & her illness is a distant memory–as yours will be someday.

    I came down with mysterious symptoms 11 years ago, which started with throbbing pain in my toes, then my feet became numb in a couple of days. At first I assumed it was something related to my lower back issue, or that was related to a UTI I’d just had. Within a few days the numbness & pain progressed to my legs & then my hips & lower back. It was very scary, because I was getting more & more numb & having trouble walking, too. The Dr. didn’t have any answers, just scheduled an MRI to be done 2+ weeks later! When I kept getting worse my husband decided we coudn’t wait that long to get some answers, & took me to the ER. After more tests–pricking my feet with needles to test nerve impulses, etc–they referred me to a neurologist, but I couldn’t get an app’t for 3 weeks unless there was a cancellation. At the rate the numbness was progressing, I didn’t know how much worse I’d be by the time I saw the specialist. A few days later his office called to say an appointment had opened & I got in. The Dr. said what I had was similar to Guillain Barre: a virus had attacked the nerves in my feet & legs, & it would probably take weeks or months for the nerves to repair. He advised me to take B12 vitamins & I think vitamin E to boost the healing process. For the most part, I recovered within a few weeks, but I still had neuropathy in my right foot–mostly in my big toe–for about 5 years. Occasionally I have pain, but it’s nothing compared to how much it hurt when the virus was still active. So ask your neurologist if it would help to take vitamin B12 & maybe vitamin E for awhile. And I’m glad to hear that you’re doing much better by now (9/22). :-)

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