Something has happened to my face.
On Saturday, I went to the grocery store. I got groceries. It started to rain. I didn’t want to wait for it to stop, so I ran to my car, threw the groceries in, put the cart away, got back inside and was soaked… It’s rained a lot here lately. This was the second time I’d been soaked in my car in two days in a row. Pulled out my phone to take a selfie to send to Ormsby and noticed that my mouth was off.
Like… crooked. I checked to make sure I wasn’t accidentally holding it that way. I wasn’t. Tried moving it. It moved back in place (yes, I realize I sound like Potato Head here) but then went crooked again.
It wasn’t that bad… not that noticeable… but I noticed it and I didn’t send the selfie.
By the time Ormsby got home that night, it was even worse. My right eye was droopy. My mouth was curved into this involuntary half-smile. I looked like a stroke patient.
I attributed it to stress. Because this is what happens when I get stressed out. Well, not this specifically, but weird shit like this. In 2006, before my wedding, I lost my ability to walk. My legs started just… burning… from the inside out. Like if you imagine a log that’s thrown onto a bonfire and it’s hot and red underneath the bark that’s not really burning yet… that’s what it felt like. The doctors thought I had MS or a brain tumor. I definitely did not have a brain tumor. A second opinion ruled out MS too.
But as the wedding got closer, it got worse and worse until I could barely walk. My father had to practically support me as I got down the aisle and if it hadn’t been for the prednisone and the valium I don’t know if I’d have made it at all.
It dissipated after several months. I’d have flare ups now and again, but never like that one time and I joked (after the divorce) that my body just as an adverse reaction to marriage.
It happened again in 2012 when my company was being transferred to Allstate and I was I was in a relationship with 3.0 (who never seemed to be satisfied with who I was or what I was doing). I didn’t think it was that stressful, really… but then I woke up one morning with double vision. And a droopy eye. I think it might have been my right eye then, but I don’t remember. Again, I got diagnosed with a potential brain tumor or with MS and I went through the whole MRI thing again. No brain tumor. Four Xanax and a Contrast MRI later, no MS. No one could figure out what it was. We attributed it to stress.
It disappeared by November.
Then Saturday happened. I spent all day Sunday on the couch… sleeping mostly… waking up once in a while to look at my face. It was severely depressing to look at – swollen, pulsating (twitching), I did, in fact, look like a stroke patient. Ormsby begged me to go to a doctor; I didn’t want to at first – I knew what they’d say. More MRIs, only to find that there’s nothing visibly wrong with me except that I have an anxiety disorder (which we all know).
But by Monday, when this wasn’t any better, and actually got worse the second I walked into work, I told HR that I needed to leave to go to a doctor immediately (she agreed… I looked like shit). And so I spent the afternoon in the doctor’s office.
Long story short, she thinks I have neuropathy. Caused by stress and anxiety. I’ve been referred to a neurologist so they can do some electro-test thing on my brain. But it’s hard to get into a neurologist here so by the time I get seen, the symptoms will probably have dissipated again (like they do) and I can only hope this partial paralysis doesn’t last.
I think the worst thing is what it’s done to my self esteem. I don’t even like to look in the mirror anymore. I hid away in my office all day and internally cringed when my coworkers called me “Droopy.” Even though I know they didn’t mean anything by it, it brought up too many memories of getting made fun of at school as a child.
Ormsby still seems to be attracted to me, and things are fine here. Better than fine, actually. Unlike 3.0, he’s told me he’s not leaving me just because I have some stupid neurological disorder. And I believe him. Still, I can’t help but wonder if, when we kiss, it feels as crooked to him as it does to me… Though I know that, even if it did, he’d still kiss me anyway. Because that’s what love is. And he’s pretty fantastic that way.