‘It has made me miss my smile’ Mum releases brave video to raise awareness of Bell’s Palsy

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  • A mum’s emotional video detailing her experience with Bell’s Palsy has gone viral, with more than 31,000 views.

    Ruth Fergurson, 31, took to Facebook to share an informative but also deeply personal video about her experience with Bell’s Palsy and how it has affected her life.

    At the beginning of the six-minute clip, Ruth explains that she was diagnosed a few days ago, but has since been inundated with questions from friends and family who had little to no knowledge of Bell’s Palsy, encouraging her to ‘not hide and shy away’ and to raise awareness of the condition instead.

    ‘It’s basically a condition that begins with the inflammation of the cranial nerve number seven, which controls your facial muscles,’ she says. ‘My taste went first of all, and then I had pain at the back of my head, just behind my ear, and then my right eye also watered through the night, but I didn’t think anything of it at that stage.’

    ‘The following day I looked in the mirror and noticed that my right hand side of my face was partially drooped, and that I couldn’t smile properly, and also that my right eye wouldn’t blink. This was when I worried and went down to A&E to get checked out, and thought I was having a TIA or a stroke.’

    Ruth then shows the camera other symptoms that she’s noticed since, including lack of movement in her right nostril and right side of her forehead – the latter of which indicated to doctors that she wasn’t having a stroke, as during these your forehead is usually unaffected.

    ‘It’s really important that Bell’s Palsy is treated within 72 hours with steroids,’ she stresses. ‘The steroids reduce the swelling of the cranial nerve and Bell’s Palsy sufferers have a better chance of a full recovery with no permanent damage if it’s treated within 72 hours with the steroids.’

    ‘People generally do not know this, and there are so many videos out there regarding cancer awareness or stroke awareness, what to do when someone’s having a stroke, what to do when someone’s having a cardiac arrest, everyone knows CPR and the staying alive song and all these types of things that are out there on social media, but I haven’t for one seen anything for Bell’s Palsy. People seem to come to me asking what it’s about, so that’s really where this is going.’

    Ruth Louise

    Ruth Louise added a new photo.

    Ruth, who gave birth to first child Zander 11 weeks ago, adds that Bell’s Palsy occurs mainly in people of ages between 15 and 45, and is common in women during their third trimester of pregnancy, but can happen to anyone.

    ‘In eight out of ten cases it will slowly disappear over a period of weeks or months, but left untreated it could last as long as a year and leave permanent damage to the face and the affected eye.’

    Ruth admits that the condition has made her self-conscious, and caused problems with things she had previously taken for granted, including eating, drinking, and brushing her teeth. ‘It has made me miss my smile,’ she says.

    ‘My emotions have totally changed just purely because it’s my face, everyone can see my face, and it may not seem like there’s much going on to you, who don’t know me, but people that do know me will know that my face is quite different, and my speech is different, and my smile was probably one of the things that I held onto dearly, and now it’s not the same.’

    ‘I’m hoping that the steroids that I’ve started on will work and I will see an improvement over the next few weeks, rather than suffer for longer.’

    Ruth Louise

    Ruth Louise added a new photo.

    Since she posted the video on 16th February, Ruth has had over 31,000 views and hundreds of comments from people applauding her determination to stay positive and use her experience for good.

    ‘Great video – if it helps just one or two people get help in first 72hrs then it will have been so successful, but I’m sure it’s helped more than that already,’ one wrote. ‘I’ve had bells palsy many years ago and had the steroids quickly so recovered 100%. I’m amazed at the amount of people who have said they have had it too. Good luck and I wish you a speedy and complete recovery.’