A Complication Draws Near!
I’d been settled into the chemotherapy groove. I generally knew what to expect; I knew when things were going to taste bad, when I was going to be an insomniac, when I would get my energy back.
Last week my groove got messed up!
It started with a pain in and under my ear. A soreness that seemed to get better if I massaged it, but would eventually come back.
Then, on Friday evening, I looked in the mirror. My right eye was open more than my left. When I blinked, the right eye wouldn’t close as fast as the left.
My smile was also looking a little off-balance: like the right side of my mouth just didn’t have its heart in the game.
Over the weekend the ear pain increased, and so did the paralysis. Soon I couldn’t lift my right eyebrow, flare my right nostril, or move the right side of my lips at all.
The physicians read it as Bell’s Palsy. It’s thought that a viral infection caused the inflammation of one of the facial nerves (hence only one side of my face). The nerve lives within a hollow tube of bone, and the inflammation causes the nerve to expand so much that it damages itself by pressing against its constraints.
The prednisone from the chemotherapy reduces the inflammation, and I’m on medication that’s aimed at any possible infection. But until the nerve repairs itself, the right side of my face looks unflinchingly serene.
Like it’s taking the day/week(/month?) off.