Saturday 7th May was quite a magical day for me. 12 weeks ago some UK members of the Courage to Smile group on Facebook decided to arrange a meet-up and this happened last weekend. Meeting people for the very first time who also have facial palsy was quite surreal, I hadn’t known quite what to expect, yes of course I noticed they were different, but when you are interacting with each other, you really don’t see the facial paralysis. For the first time I truly understood what people mean when they say they don’t notice my face, the facial paralysis did not detract from their looks and people were still beautiful. Meeting others with facial paralysis has given me the confidence to smile more, and to not hide my wonky open mouthed laugh as much as I did. Here is the picture of our group meeting, two of the ladies are mums of children with facial paralysis and they also found the meeting really helpful. Out of the people that met up, some had facial palsy since birth, some from acoustic neuroma surgery and one lady had long-term Bell’s Palsy. We were able to compare each others quirks and laugh at them, and we all came away feeling much more positive. If you want to be involved in the next meet-up (date to be arranged) then please either contact me via the website or join Courage to Smile, a private group on Facebook.
New Facial Palsy Website
We are also developing a new website with information about facial nerve palsy called http://www.facialnervepalsy.com/. If you want to contribute with stories or experiences or information in any way then please let me know. It is a work-in-progress at the moment but lots of people are contributing and we are trying to develop a really good resource so people have more information than we did, and more importantly, don’t feel as lonely as we did. Your mouth and your eyes are the window to all your emotions and when you feel uncomfortable smiling because you know you look different, it can be emotionally crippling. Getting people together with similar problems really does make a big difference because it helps to put things in perspective.