Living with a rare case of face paralysis


David Crilly-Jones has been living with the condition for nine years. Source: Supplied.
David Crilly-Jones has been living with the condition for nine years. Source: Supplied.

Imagine that one day you are completely fine and then the next, without warning, you wake up with something that is going to completely change you.

28-year-old David Crilly-Jones suffers from Bells Palsy, a paralysis or weakness of muscles on one side of your face.

He first woke up with the condition in August 2006 and recalls that he initially had no idea of what had happened.

“I didn’t know anything had changed until I was eating breakfast and the food was falling out of my mouth,” Mr Crilly-Jones said.

Doctors predicted that he would recover from his condition in a few weeks but he has been living with Bells Palsy for nine years now.

“Mine started healing but it never fully healed.”

“About eight or nine months later it [the paralysis] happened again overnight,” Mr Crilly-Jones said.

Living with the condition, he has had to adapt to the paralysis on the left side of his face.

“It took a bit to get used to anything involving my mouth,” he said.

“Because I can’t control my lower lip muscle, its surprising how much that helps keep food in your mouth.”

“The other side to it is my eye, as it doesn’t close fully it gets really dry and I have to use eye drops whenever it feels dry,” Mr Crilly-Jones said.

Along with the physical effects, he has had to deal with the psychological effects associated with face paralysis.

“You are very self conscious,” he said.

“Your face is your most visible part of your body and its very hard for you to think you look good.”

“There’s a lot of days when I don’t want to go out to see people, or for people to see me I should say.”

Optometrist Faizul Doola works with patients who suffer from Bells Palsy to help with dry eye symptoms that are often associated with the disease.

“Most people that I treat, the condition only lasts from around two to three weeks or up to six months,” Dr Doola said.

“It is pretty rare for someone to still be living with Bells Palsy after nine years.”

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