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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ben's view: Bell's Palsy

I've put off writing this post for several reasons.....
1. Ben's not quite the shareholic that I am on social media.
2. We weren't sure what this would mean for his return to Afghanistan.
A week ago today, we went out on a double date with Ben's little brother, Daniel, and his wife. During our date, Ben began to complain of his lips and right cheek feeling "numb." I immediately thought he might be allergic to something but we finished our date with no other problems besides the "numbness." 
We got up on Sunday morning and Ben asked me if his eye looked funny. His right eye was indeed swollen and bulging a bit. We were then speculating on a bite of some kind. Ben began to have difficulty eating and drinking on the right side of his mouth. We went to church. By the end of church, Ben had a significant right side facial droop, slurring of his speech, right sided hearing sensitivity, and his right eye would not close at all.
We traveled to the ER at this time. I was concerned it was either a stroke or Bell's palsy.
Thankfully, it was Bell's palsy and we had family in town. Ben's mom and aunt took the kids home so I could be there with him. Daniel and Tina stayed there at the hospital with us. A huge thank-you to the Perry family who also stopped to see if I needed them to take the kiddos.
They immediately diagnosed him with Bell's Palsy. On visits to the doctor after the ER, they ran a blood test to check for Lymes Disease. (Sometimes thought to be a cause of Bell's palsy.)
What is Bell's palsy? Well it's a virus that is not uncommon but there is no known cause for it. 
It is the paralysis of (usually one side) the cranial nerve that controls the face. It typically resolves 3 weeks to a few months after the initial onset.
The ER doc suggested stress may have played a factor but again we have no idea what brought it on. That brings us to a week out from his initial symptoms.
Ben has been treated with prednisone (a steroid) which is the only medicine that has proven to help with symptom improvement. He is also on anti-virals which are standardly given but have not been proven to provide any relief. (Better safe than sorry!!) 
The biggest treatment right now has been his eye drops and a thick gel that he uses at night. His eye will not close on it's own. He has to manually close it or tape it down. Obviously he is being extremely careful with it so he doesn't damage his eye/eyesight. The eye doesn't bulge as much but still will not close. It is light sensitive and obviously irritated from the inability to blink and rehydrate on it's own.
It is hard sometimes to understand exactly what Ben is saying but hopefully that will improve as well!
It appears that Ben will not be returning to Afghanistan. It is hard to be excited to have him home for good under the circumstances but I am beyond grateful that he was here in the US when it happened and for the medical care he has received so far.
We appreciate your prayers for continued healing and I will try to update as he progresses.

So grateful for this man. Even though he is uncomfortable and obviously has some eating/drinking deficits, he has kept his sense of humor through it all. I am sure at some point it will make sense why this happened but for now I am glad that he can laugh despite the circumstances.
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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

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