I Went Numb This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 6, 2008
Bell’s palsy is a condition that involves the facial nerve. It means that either one side or the entire face cannot be moved. For me, it started with a numb tongue during summer vacation. At first, I thought it was because I wasn’t sleeping well. Then, as time passed, the condition worsened. My right ear started to hurt. No amount of sleep could erase the pain. It was there to stay.

The night we arrived in Buffalo, New York, my family and I took the opportunity to visit Canada. From the hotel, it would take just eight minutes to reach the border and the bridge that linked the two countries over the thunderous waterfall, Niagara Falls.

The air was cold when we reached the water’s edge. Before us was Rainbow Bridge. We could feel excitement stirring in our hearts; we were about to walk into Canada. My father led the way past the ­security gate, armed with only a jacket and camera. After him was my sister. My mother and I followed, bundled up in our sweaters.

In the middle of the bridge, the wind slapped our faces with phantom hands. Wave after wave of iciness stung and numbed our cheeks as we peered into the night at beautiful Niagara Falls. Blue, red, yellow, and green lights were cast upon the water, creating the perfect picture. A breathtaking sight.

However, the next morning, everything went wrong. I woke up with the realization that I could not blink my right eye. When I tried to brush my teeth, the right side of my mouth refused to open. When I blocked my left nostril, I could not breathe. When I tried to lift my eyebrows, only my left one obeyed. When I tried to eat, I bit my ­upper lip over and over. What was happening?

I told my parents. They thought I was joking – until they saw how difficult it was for me to eat lunch. Every time I tried to drink, the water dribbled out of my mouth. When I bit into my sandwich, I ­also bit my upper lip. I had to force my upper lip open with my fingers just to eat. The experience was humiliating, not to mention embarrassing.

My mother assumed it was a stroke or a brain tumor. As soon as we got home, she took me to the emergency room. The doctor told us that it was Bell’s palsy and its cause was unknown. She gave me a prescription for prednisone, a steroid that would reduce the inflammation in my facial nerve. After that, it was wait and see. However, that was unacceptable to my mother, and she immediately went on the Internet to look for other ways to reverse my facial paralysis. The only other answer she found was acupuncture, and so we took it.

Now, three weeks after I first experienced Bell’s palsy, my condition has barely improved. I have managed to regain some control over my mouth and, according to my mother, I can now lift my right eyebrow a bit.

Having this condition has taught me something; everything takes time. Some health problems do not go away as quickly as you would like, if at all. I can only wait and hope that the matter will be resolved soon. I can only wait.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 17 comments. Post your own now!

Medina D. said...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 10:32 am
wow, i never even knew there was such a thing. So glad your better now!!
Corkyspaniel said...
Dec. 3, 2010 at 11:41 am
I love this article. It's well-written, and your story really touches my heart, to the point that I wish I could help you.
The only mistake I see is in the sentence, "The experience was humiliating, not to mention embarrassing." They are synonyms, though "humiliating" is usually considered a stronger word. Besdes that, this is perfection. Best wishes to you in your struggle.
darkangel09 said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 11:45 pm
wow i never knew there was such a thing...i read another coment and congrats on being cured of it! Thats wondeful! How did you get rid of it?
P0i3s0c6es This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 12:48 am
It was six weeks of acunpucture and herbal medicine. Though it might not sound appealing, it was far better than taking those pills that my doctor prescribed
P0i3s0c6es This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 12:50 am
One more thing, the acupuncture took only six weeks, but the herbal medicine... I'm still drinking it now XD
darkangel09 replied...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm
wow, I'm glad your getting. Thats amazing
bluegrl95 said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 10:04 am
i got Bells Palsy last year so i know how much it sucks and how humiliating it is to have it.
addicted2candy said...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm
I admire you for being able to share your story. I sincerely hope that things turn out better for you and pray that you will stay strong until they do. It's great that you can inform and move others all at the same time through your writing! Keep up the excellent work and never lose hope.
P0i3s0c6es This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 12:37 am
Hi! Thank you so much for your comment. As of now, I have officially been cleared of Bell's Palsy for about three months. :)
P0i3s0c6es This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 12:37 am
and thank you to everyone else who's commented on my story. :)
addicted2candy replied...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm
That's great! It really is a relief to hear that. See what happens when you stand strong and firm?!
TheMaisinator said...
Mar. 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm
That's scary. I can't imagine. This is very well written, and informative to boot. I'm intrigued by rare medical conditions, considering my own medical history, so thank you for sharing. You're so brave.
Joy said...
Jan. 16, 2009 at 12:20 am
Your descriptions were very emotional and well-written. I hope your condition improves. Best wishes.
princess september said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm
hi jennifer, i hope you get well soon. your descriptive powers are good. i can feel the anguish when i read your article. take care and keep writing.
JohnO said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 9:44 pm
I hope that your condition has improved by now; it does for many.
CABhahahaHPhahaTL said...
Jan. 3, 2009 at 6:38 am
i had a paralized sister and I know how hard it is, she could only move here eyes as far as external body mobility. Im so sorry for you and i can only hope you will get better. My thoughts go to you, good luck.
B-star7 replied...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm
I hope you get better! Your article was amazing! Very well-written!
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