Aug. 3rd, 2015

wwcitizen: (Face-Serious)
I've been very internal for the last 18 months or so. My personality (truth be told) is actually more of an introvert who's been working - his ENTIRE LIFE - to be an extrovert. No one believes me when I say that. Invite me to a party where I know one person, and I'll meet three people tops. If I know 10 people, I'll meet 30 and will dance on a table... But, I digress...

In times like these last 18 months, when I've felt exceptionally vulnerable,  unpretty, or "off my game", I become more and more introverted. So much so that people ask me (or Matthew), "Uh, yah. What's like going on with Steve?"

Matthew knows the answer. Really close friends and I know the answer. We just don't really talk about it. It's the Palsy (as I pet the right side of my face...).

Honestly, when Bell's Palsy became a reality in my world and expressed itself ON MY FACE (!), I didn't really know how to react. I thought I'd be strong. I thought I'd start up a section of my blog about it - to support others who might become afflicted with it. I thought better of myself. Ultimately, I was pretty weak. And I didn't have the backbone I thought I had.

Granted, for a time I blamed my own inaction happily on others who'd been afflicted with The Palsy before me: They had already stepped up and posted about their experiences. YAY! I didn't need to! Others posted videos about their self-imposed exercises (for better or for worse, prematurely or right on time) to improve their facial muscles and re-engage their nerves.

I'm lucky. I'm truly one of the lucky ones. As silly as it sounds: I'm a survivor and my face has rebounded!

Ok. I agree. It's not cancer. Right. It's not heart disease. Sure. It's not another death-causing ailment; it's simply a nerve issue possibly affected by a virus. But in the end, it becomes all about self-image. Bell's Palsy affects your person. Your core. Your ego. Your confidence.

The effect? I didn't post that many selfies or pics of myself for the better part of 18 months. I spoke and posted more about others and their issues, trying to ignore my inner self. I became an introvert as in many times past when I needed and chose NOT to express when I looked inward.

Because this time, I didn't like what I saw. I ignored what I saw for as long as I could. This time, my inward focus showed me a lot of other corners of my soul that needed spot-checking. They needed some levels of cleansing.

Now, 18 months beyond the inital effects of the Bell's Palsy, I can thank God for "Fat Face". My cheesy smile is almost 100% returned.

While I need to lose a LOT of weight again, I'm am realizing how blessed I am to have the liife that's been granted me. All of my recent biopsies (yes, I've had a few over the last 12 months) have been benign. I'm getting long-awaited dental work done. My husband and I have reconnected in ways we really needed to (and I didn't realize!).

In essence, I'm sorta "back". I realize my own limitations more astutely. I'm happy to be me and to be where I am. I know how lucky I am to be with the man who stalked me for 5 months. I'm ecstatic to be with the man who asked me to marry him and who accepted my proposals over and over again until it became legal in NJ for us to tie our legal knots.

I couldn't let this overwhelming emotion go unnoticed and unblogged. There are others out there I know who need a boost of confidence in the "FACE OF BELL'S PALSY" who need to know - Yeah - you can feel good about yourself. You're beautiful. You're loved. Be confident in who you are. Rise above and claim your inner and outer beauty! YOU are LOVED!

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Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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