Looking for answers to life's questions

Have you seen those t-shirts or coffee mugs that say “I have one nerve left and you’re on it?” When people ask me what brought on my Bells Palsy, I refer to that quote. On a stress scale of 1-10, I was at a 15. What happened? We had an accumulated 6 feet of snow that brought down our second canopy. I had tried to talk my husband out of buying another. It was supposed to hold a 40 pound snow load. It collapsed onto the truck, Jeep, tractor and boat along with 6 tanks of propane. That I could handle. What brought me to the last nerve and off the chart stress was when he wanted to file another insurance claim. It would be his fifth in that house, even though we had collected on only one other. I begged and pleaded not to call them. Yup, they paid, which made him happy, then they cancelled our policy. Cancelled homeowners is a big deal and scared the heck out of me. I lost it and within a week, I had what the doctors thought might be Shingles. No visible signs of shingles on my scalp, just the other symptoms. I got something so much grander.

My reward for not managing my stress.

My reward for not managing my stress.

Today marks the four year anniversary of my bout with Bells Palsy. Every day I wake up wondering if it will be the day it’s gone. Do I feel sorry for myself? Absolutely not! I’m so grateful because it pointed out so many things that were broken. Six months later I moved out with the help of family. I couldn’t drive anymore and it took all my energy to pack one box. But each day, I packed and slept then packed some more. My husband brought me boxes. They were stacked everywhere for those six months. Do I have stress in my life now? Yes, real life stress that is usually under the scale of five. I’m pretty easy going so to get me ruffled, takes a whole load of bad stuff. I will never willingly allow that kind of stress in my life again. Yes, stuff happens. Most, with common sense is easy to manage. The kind that makes you sick, is usually a long time in the making.

You've seen this before but I look so much better than when this started.

You’ve seen this before but I look so much better than when this started.

The toughest part of this whole illness has not been my inability to drink ANYTHING without a straw or the fact that my kisser doesn’t work. No pecks on your cheek from me. You have to put up with a hug. I don’t mind that my daughter orders for me so the wait staff can understand what I want, or my smile isn’t as endearing as it once was.

For me, the toughest part has been the constant dizziness that interferes with my ability to walk and drive safely. But I am getting well enough to drive more and more. It’s not quite like vertigo. It feels like my brain is sitting in a bowl of Jello and sloshing around. I can promise you, it’s a weird feeling. I keep telling everyone I meet, that Bells Palsy and Shingles come from the same Zoster virus. If you are over 60, get your shingles shot. You don’t want shingles either. Please watch your stress levels. If you are that stressed, something needs to change or your body will do it for you.

Last year’s anniversary blog was a bit more upbeat. I think it may be that this year, I haven’t been out of the house in 7 days. Our steps were covered in ice and snow as were the sidewalks and street. A large portion of the country is dealing with the same thing. Cabin fever due to weather. I have always tried to venture out once a week at least. No one was going anywhere last week.

It wasn't much and so pretty, but brought this city to it's knees.

It wasn’t much and so pretty, but brought this city to it’s knees.

Today the snow has melted, the temps have climbed high enough to melt the ice, and I will be heading to the post office to mail cards that may need hand stamping and a small box of fabric and patterns to my sister-in-law for her to make up for her granddaughter. Lightening my load and realizing my limits is a good way to celebrate this day. I really want this to be the very last anniversary I have with Bells Palsy. Here’s where I would wink and smile at you but you’ll just have to imagine it with me.

The black plastic bag was to keep it dry on the way to mailing. Small but heavy.

The black plastic bag was to keep it dry on the way to mailing. Small but heavy.

Are you struggling with cabin fever or just enjoying the coziness of winter’s cocoon? Or like me, having a bit of both?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of the Last Anniversary" (15)

  1. While I’m sorry you are still suffering from Bells Palsy I admire your attitude. When my stress got out of hand, I just got ulcers. Not sure which is worse. Now I don’t let stress get to me so much. Life is what it is. Of course it helped you to get rid of one major source of your stress. 😉 Big hugs and stay strong.


    • Thanks Jackie. I used to have ulcers for YEARS. Then I got one smart doctor and they checked for H-pylori. Yup it was there. a triple combo of antibiotics got rid of it and no more ulcers. Now the causes of ulcers, like stress carriers, are a little harder to get rid of. Today is a good day. Not so dizzy. Yay! I do count my blessings. Life is so much better now.


  2. Wow, Marlene, what a beautiful and honest post. Stress contributes to so many health problems. Our body says ‘enough’ and something else takes over. I’m sorry you continue to deal with Bells. I’m glad that some positives came from it (ending your marriage) and that you are living a happier life with lowered stress.

    There were times in my younger life that I put up with things that caused me so much grief. My life is calmer and happier and like many of us that reach a certain age, I no longer participate in the drama. Life is too short.

    I’m glad you got out to the post office. Fresh air on my face is always invigorating. I get a little stir crazy if I don’t get outside.



    • Thanks for reading Alys. I really wanted the second time around to work but the deck was stacked and I knew it going in. Not blaming him. But my kids were glad when I finally gave up and walked away. Stress is the leading cause of so many illnesses. Now, before making a decision, I sit to see how it FEELS in my gut and LISTEN. Sometimes a decision is right for the moment, but not the next. I love being outside but have to cover my face when it’s cold. That darn nerve isn’t happy with cold. It’s getting better though no matter what the doctors think.


      • Good for you for trying again, and good, too, that you ended it because it was the right thing to do. I think we are nothing but optimists when it comes to matters of the heart. I also know that our past influences our choices. It took me awhile to get it right (I got married for the first time just shy of my 36th birthday). We’ve been together 20 years this March, married for 18. I found my own power, then found the right man to match.

        Doctors have limited knowledge. If you feel better, you are better. That makes me happy.


  3. eyeclic said:

    I breaks my heart knowing you had to suffer a single moment with this.
    In the second picture you look just adorable.


    • Everyone struggles with something. I’m lucky it wasn’t something I couldn’t recover from. But I am tired of having limited energy and movement. Thanks for calling me adorable. See, I am getting better. Just need lots or rest for that last nerve to heal. 🙂


  4. Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on positive changes since your last anniversary and make plans for the future too. To hear you had such a desperate situation and made changes that were difficult but necessary, tells me you’re one tough cookie. I have no doubt that you will beat this thing and kick it in the behind.

    I’ve been avoiding going out too it’s been dastardly cold, like -28 C. Plus I’ve actually been too busy. But tomorrow I’m heading out for a bit, mostly to treat myself to my own pleasant company at my favourite haunts, the book store, the antique mall and the scrapbook store. After all, if I can’t enjoy a day with me then who will?

    Hey, Mar (I’m going with that again today), I like your hat and that giant spruce tree in your view. I wish I had a balcony that I could let the kitties out on (but they couldn’t leave from). Looks like a nice spot to read, do you do that out there? Have a good outing, you’ll feel like a new woman 😀 xoK


    • Thanks Sweety. I’m going to call you that since you are. I don’t care what anyone calls me, as long as they call.:) I do go out there when it’s warm. Cold is hard on Bells so I wrap up. I don’t know if I could handle your temps. I’m with you on enjoying your own company. I do most things alone and am quite comfortable with it. It was lovely on my outing. Rain, but not too hard and not too cold. No ice. I’ll go out with my daughter on Sunday again. She will drive and order. 🙂 You are right, I am one tough cookie. Just a little slow sometimes to get that somethings just aren’t going to get better. Please stay warm and safe out there in that frigid weather.


  5. Marlene
    You really raised my spirits with your story. It must be tough to go what you are going through, but you are not letting it get you down. Doesn’t writing about it and sharing with people help though? It is like therapy to have this blogging outlet. And yes, winter is dragging me down, but I just look through all my pictures of flowers and gardens and I am OK.


  6. Marlene, thanks for the words of advice. It is too easy to let stress build up way past the point that we are able to handle. I will try to heed your words of been-there-done-that.


    • Thanks Missy. I’ve just found 2 others with long term Bells. The worst of it was that I knew something was going to happen from the stress. I was afraid it would be a cancer and tried many times to make the changes. I got darn lucky it was only the most debilitating case of Bells anyone has seen. 🙂 I’m so lucky. Thanks for reading. Hope you are doing well.


  7. It has been a pretty intense winter for everyone. I’m so glad I can get out and around in the snow and ice.

    I saw the seed packets in the store today . . . . that’s a good sign. 😀


  8. I really do love your attitude and outlook on life. Thanks for sharing your experiences and teaching us all 🙂 Big Hugs!



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