I’ve had it twice, once when I was 18, and then again three years ago when I was 28. The first time was on the right side, the second was on the left. Both times, I woke up and one side of my face was paralyzed.
The first time, I had the typical droop, numb on one side of the tounge, some tingling in that side of the face, inability to close the eye completely but no pain. My face drooped, but I could hold water in my mouth, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I slurred a bit when talking. I was given prednisone, and it cleared up in about two months. You could only see the droop when I was very tired and knew where to look for it.
The second time, it appeared right after I had a nasty chest cold, which I am told is not uncommon. I couldn’t hold water in my mouth this time, and couldn’t use a straw. I couldn’t pucker my lips to hold the suction. I had the eye droop, numb half of tongue and this time, I had branching pain along that side of my face as well, especially in cold weather or drafts. It was bad enough that I cried with the pain. That sucked, as I got it in January in Vermont. putting a warm (but not hot) hot water bottle on my face helped with the pain. Tylenol and such did nothing to help it.
I was given prednisone and aciclovir for treatment.
This time it was severe enough to really affect my speech for several weeks. As I worked primarily on the phone at the time I took 2 weeks of vacation, but when I came back it was still very severe, though I had learned how to talk to make myself understood on over the phone, I still had problems drinking from a glass.
This time it lasted longer - about 5 or 6 months later it was as good as it was going to get. My left eye still droops a tiny bit. I still have a noticiable drag on that side of my mouth when I talk or smile, though I am told that it is not very noticible. This stifness is worse in cold weather or if I have a fan blowing on my face at night. Unfortunately, because of this residual stiffness, I can no longer kiss right
I was very self-concious, and it felt like I would never get better. I knew that it gets better slowly, so to keep myself from going completely bonkers, I would test myself every morning when I was brushing my teeth to see if I could hold water in my mouth, or hold my mouth closed while I blew air into it. I still remember the day when I could swear again, without the ‘f’ sound coming out as a weaker ‘ph’.
There is an upside, small though it may be. At 31, I am still mistaken for a 19-20 year old. I have a very smooth and unlined face, with no crows feet or forhead wrinkles at all. …probably because I can’t wrinkle my forehead, but I take positives where I can find them, considering.