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Bell's Palsy
2nd Time

***Anna Dolopo was the acupuncturist the second time around.***

Within a four year period I have been stricken with two episodes of Bell's Palsy. The first episode occurred on my left side of face followed by a second episode two years later on the right side of my face. The interesting circumstance is how I chose to treat the episodes and the physical outcome of each episode.

My first episode of Bell's Palsy began one morning waking up to a droopy upper and lower left portion of my lips losing the ability to blink and twitch my nose, basically losing movement on the left side of my face. Rushing to the emergency room thinking I must have had a stroke during the night, I was immediately seen and almost instantly given the diagnosis of Bell's Palsy by the doctor. After blood work and testing to confirm, the final diagnoses was Bell's Palsy on the left side of my face. I was told by the doctor that the treatment was a week of steroids and over time the nerve would heal, thus regaining the movement on the left side of my face.

A week had gone by and I was ending my steroid treatment, but seeing no improvement with the movement of my face, still having the droopy lower lip, I then returned to the doctor reporting my status. I was told the healing would take time given an extended dosage of steroids with another explanation that only time will tell the extent of nerve damage done.

Not satisfied with the western view of treatment I started to do research on my own. I spent hours reading about Bell's Palsy on the internet and it seemed the western medical treatment is steroids and time. Still not satisfied, especially due to the fact I was now going at the end of two weeks with no improvement from taking steroids, I began reading articles about acupuncture and the treatment of Bell's Palsy. I never personally had any acupuncture treatment. The only treatment I received from my doctor was steroids and I saw no improvement in my condition in the last three weeks and I was desperate. I began my acupuncture treatment three weeks after being diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. (Acupuncture then was not with Anna Dolopo.)

After seven sessions of acupuncture, I began to see improvements; my sense of taste began to improve , movement of my nose, eyelid movement and the drooping of my lower left lip was going away. After several more sessions, I gained control of my left side of my face, but permanent damage was done to my upper left lip (movement is about 60%), eyelid is still droopy with constant feeling sensation gone. Going back to my primary physician I was told a small percentage of people have permanent nerve damage and, apparently, I fall into this category.

Two years later I had woken to the loss of taste, droopy lower right lip with no movement of my right side of face. I knew immediately I was having an episode of Bell's Palsy, but this time on the right side of my face. Seeing my primary physician that day, he confirmed my Bell's Palsy episode and of course, put me on a regimen of steroids.

What I did differently this time was that I immediately contacted Anna Dolopo to begin acupuncture treatment. (This was the first time Anna Dolopo treated the patient.) Anna, understanding time is of the essence, scheduled daily acupuncture treatments for the next week. Amazingly after two sessions I started to have movement of my lower right lip and right eye. Over the next week with daily sessions I was experiencing daily improvements that included the regaining of taste and movement of my nose. Continuing my acupuncture treatment for the next eight weeks, I remarkably regained full movement of the right side of my face.

At my follow up appointment with my primary physician, he confirmed the full recovery of the Bell's Palsy episode on the right side of my face. I explained to my doctor I had received acupuncture treatment, curious of the doctor's response. His only reply was, “If I were you and if you do have another episode of Bell's Palsy, I would continue to do what you did this time."

I had the rare experience of being able to compare western medicine versus acupuncture treatment for Bell's Palsy by having experienced two episodes of Bell's Palsy at separate times. Having no extensive background in seeking alternative healing methods, I have become an advocate for acupuncture. The treatment of acupuncture by Anna saved me from experiencing permanent extensive nerve damage on the right side of my face, proving to me acupuncture is an alternative treatment method for Bell's Palsy.

Ken Simms

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