nerve; recovery can take weeks, months or years.
didn't think something was wrong when I had a swig from a water
bottle and ended up with water down my shirt instead of in my
mouth. I have a tendency to spill, so I brushed it off as being
didnít think anything of it when I bit my cheek chewing gum or
when I got shampoo in my eye in the shower or when my eye
continued to tear as I put on makeup. What I did notice was a
horrible deformity when I looked in the mirror to apply lipstick.
My left lip wouldnít move. My right lip curled up in a perfectly
shaped, beaming, beautiful smile. The left side hung limp. It
drooped down like a flower that had been left in the summer heat.
the 99.98 percent of the population that will never be afflicted
with Bellís palsy, let me tell you, the effects are devastating.
Self-esteem is thrown out the window. Imagine waking up one day
and not being able to eat properly, talk properly, drink without
dribbling or dazzle those pearly whites.
most traumatic effects for me are psychological. Whatís the one
feature you really like about yourself? For me, itís my smile.
love to smile! I love seeing a babyís face light up into a
toothless grin. I love smiling at friends and coworkers and having
them smile back, knowing the day is going to be a good one. I love
how my Grandmaís eyes squint into a black line as she smiles and
wraps her arms around me.
at strangers is fun, too, because itís natural to smile back and
you know in some way, you have just made their day a little
better. One smile can set off a chain reaction that could reach
across the state.
genuine smile is the best gift I believe we can give anyone Ė
ever! Itís even free and
thereís an endless supply.
the onset of Bellís palsy, Iíve been stingy with my smiles.
Iím embarrassed by my droopy left lip and crooked smile. I still
have a hard time looking people in the eye because unfortunately,
when my smile left, it took a big chunk of self-esteem, too. But
any smile is a precious gift. Regardless of itís shape, size or
day we have the opportunity to give countless wonderful gifts;
each one automatically produces another and another. Give someone
the gift of your smile today; it will come back to you again and
again and again.
Melisa Uchida can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org