Sunday, February 28, 2010
My Mirror Has Two Faces
Well now that I am into my IVF cycle I am officially seeing a doctor more times a week and taking more drugs than I ever thought I would in my entire life, and today those numbers went up yet again, only this time it is in no way fertility related.
It all started with a typical cold about a week ago. Just your basic, run of the mill stuffy nose, post nasal drip, sore throat, body aches. But as it cleared up it left my tongue feeling slightly numb. I didn't think too much of it at first, I still had some sinus congestion and figured all that extra mucus was probably just messing with my taste buds and leaving my mouth feeling off, plus I had been forced to breathe through my mouth for a few days and that always causes weirdness. But when the numbness still wasn't gone by the end of the week I started to wonder. I did some asking around with Dr. Google and on twitter and decided to call my RE to be sure it wasn't a reaction to the Lupron (facial swelling/numbness can be a symptom of a serious allergic reaction). I was so nervous that this would be the case and my cycle would be canceled. Thankfully he ruled a reaction out pretty quickly and we confirmed it when I went in for my weekly appointment on Friday morning. By then the numbness had gone down considerably and was back to just being on the tip of my tongue.
Saturday though was a whole new world. That's when the entire left side of my face started feeling numb and stopped working! When I tried to eat, smile, or put on lipstick I realized that the left side of my mouth was not quite cooperating. Then I realized I also couldn't raise my left eyebrow and Chad noticed that my left eye wasn't blinking. It was a simultaneously hilarious and frightening sight to say the least. By the time we realized just how paralyzed my face was it was really late and I was very tired so Chad and I both decided to sleep and then decide how to proceed in the morning.
Well this morning came and at first I felt completely back to normal. All feeling had returned and I was feeling good. So good that i broke into a great big smile , a great big HALF smile. Yep, I thought I was healed overnight but I was very wrong. So we called the Nurse hotline offered by our insurance and described what was happening and of course she recommended seeking medical treatment so off to the ER we went. Apparently facial paralysis is not a good thing and we were whisked through to a room very quickly, where I was also quickly diagnosed with Bell's Palsy.
It sounds like a scary name, but it's actually very common and very random. It's comes out of nowhere and then usually goes away on it's own as mysteriously as it came. It's basically a compressed facial nerve that cause temporary facial paralysis on one side. They believe it's caused by an viral infection but there is no 100% way to determine what caused it. I just know that it's not serious and it goes away on it's own most of the time.
Of course I was yet again freaked out that this would somehow impact my IVF cycle but so far things are still going according to plan. After calling my RE to confirm that it is OK for me to take additional meds with the ones I am currently on for IVF (and also having a nice little giggle about my distorted face), the ER doctor prescribed me a steroid to assist the repair of my facial nerve and an anti-viral medication for the whatever may have caused this to begin with. I also have to use artificial tears for my non-blinking eye so that it doesn't dry out and get infected. So that's 3 drugs to add to my list. Oh and I start my stims tonight, so add 2 more. Which means this week I will be receiving an injection in my thigh, an injection containing 2 medications in my stomach, orally taking 2 different steroids (one of them 3 times a day), and another oral dose of an anti-viral medication 4 times a day. Whew, that is a whole lot of drugs in one little body.
There is no way to know how long this Bell's Palsy thing will last. Dr Google, and the ER doc both said it can be gone in days or in months. My sister in law knew someone who had it for 2 years and other people I have talked said it went away for their respective friends and family members after a few weeks. I am also slightly nervous about the small possibility that this will not clear up completely. Chad did some searching and found out that George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan, and Katie Holmes have all been affected by Bell's Palsy, and I don't know if you see it but don't they all have slightly crooked smiles?
Honestly though I am trying to stay optimistic and hope this goes away as quickly and completely as it came. But for now I can do an uncanny and hilarious "Two Face" impression, although don't expect to see me in any photos until this clears up, I don't want to break any cameras.