Saturday, May 5, 2007

A family's journey with Bell's Palsy

When was the last time you walked around the store/school/restaurant and did not judge some one's intelligence by their appearance-physically or by dress? What caused their physical "abnormality"? Genetic? Accident? Seventh Nerve Trauma (Bell's Palsy)?
Until Feb 24, 2007 my daughter Alexis "looked normal", "looked intelligent" had a beautiful smile. Was she the same 8 year old that she was before Feb 24? Yes, yet my biggest fears have been that people would judge her intelligence by her seventh nerve and would the nerve recover. I previously worked for 2 different eye doctors and had seen Bell's Palsy before. I saw patients before, during, and after Bell's Palsy yet I still judged a person's intelligence by their physical appearance. Now as a manager of my father in law's Piggly Wiggly in a very "country" town (you know what that usually means) I still found myself judging people.
Mama would ask my every time we spoke "how is Alexis? Is it getting better? Any improvements?" and I would always answer "no". Then I would say "well the doctor's and Buffy (my good friend) notice a difference but I see her everyday and when she's tired so I guess it is very little improvements."
One afternoon while talking to Mama on the way to pick her up, it hit me (an epiphany?). My fear is Alexis will be judged by her appearance the same way I judged others. If I didn't want my child's intelligence to be judged by others on how her face looked then why was I judging others? People who know her know that she is the same girl. People who don't know her need to know that they are missing out on one terrific girl.
Within a week I noticed MAJOR improvements. The nerve regenerates at a rate of 1-2 millimeters per day. I saw one inch of her right eyebrow move over night. The corner of her mouth went up when she smiled. It's been a few weeks but I still notice improvements everyday (even though they are not as major). If she had to have Bell's Palsy, I'm glad it happened now and not when she is 13 and kids are at their cruelest. I've read that there is a 4-14% chance of recurrence and that they happen about 10 years apart. By that time she'll be 18 and will hopefully have some of the same friends she has now and they'll remember that she is still the smart, sweet, loving girl she always was.
Is she the same girl she was before Feb 24, 2007? I hope not. I hope she has learned not to judge a person by their "beauty" or physical appearance. I know I have.

"Mom" chiming in here. I would always ask how Alexis was doing and if any improvement so that I could update all the people praying for her. Am I sorry this happen to my little sweetheart? Definitely, but you know the word says God will bring beauty from ashes, and because of the changes He is making in my daughter, I know that He is in control. Isn't it amazing that once my daughter saw what He was trying to show her in this that the improvement started? Doesn't that just bless you? It does me! I am posting a picture of what our sweet Alexis looks like now, and as soon as Keri finds and emails me one taken right before the Bells Palsy I will post it. She wants everyone to see the before and after. And of course once the healing is 100% we will post that also.

I hope that if someone is dealing with a situation like this you will find encouragement that God is in control, and He will bring you through whatever you are dealing with right now. Remember He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will change you and sometimes the changes aren't pleasant to go through. But He will be there with you. He isn't finished with any of us yet.

Phil 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The pictures show her smiling, closing her eyes and smiling, and making funny faces. The final picture with the smile is since the improvements.


FlipFlop Mom said...

OH my GOSH.. she is the CUTEST!!! Thank you for sharing this story...How funny this is posted today.. Katie is dating a boy that use to be "fat".. and now when everyone see's here they say "You know he use to be fat?" Ok... so WHAT?????????? Because someone is fat it makes them less smart? less of a person?? come on!! and these are 16-18 year olds!!
I am so glad that you wrote this and shared it Kim!! It means a lot!! I'm sure there is going to be a MAMA out there who is going to be 100% BLESSED by this story!!

Mere said...

WOW!! How AWESOME is that?!?! God definatly works miracles..and Alexis is one of our prime examples!! And no...I wouldn't judge her for that at all....I'm SURE she's a GREAT kid...with a mom like you...who wouldn't be!! You ARE BLESSED!!