Mona Lisa Smile, Signs that Your Child May Have Bell's Palsy

Intuition is defined as: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. It also goes by many different descriptions, including, inkling, hunch, "a feeling," or that little voice in your head that alerts you to something.

Whatever name you choose to call it, we have it for a reason.

Motherhood bestows you with many things. Some good, some not so glamourous, some you wish you could take back (lack of sleep, the decrease in your grey matter). Perhaps the most handy thing that we receive as mothers is Momtuition.

Momtuition is that special power that brings with it eyes in the back of your head, and the ability to know that your child is up to something. It also alerts you when something is not right. Even when you are not entirely sure, always listen to your momtuition. I say this because mine is quite possibly responsible for saving further nerve damage to J's cranial nerve.

Let me back up a bit.

Yesterday morning I left to run some errands and work on some school related things. When I saw J in the morning, things appeared normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. When I returned late in the day, I noticed while speaking with her that something was slightly peculiar about the left side of her face. It was ever so slight, but that little voice kept nagging at me. So I questioned her. "Does your face feel okay?" "How are you feeling today?" "Is anything bothering you?" She assured me everything was fine aside from a bump on her tongue, which we thought might just be an swollen taste bud.

An hour passed by and J came to help me with dinner. She started talking about how she thought the bump on her tongue was causing her not to be able to taste her food properly. As she was talking I noticed her eye and half of her mouth as she spoke was disproportionate to the other side of her face. Something was not right. I could feel it. I couldn't put my finger on what it was though, and in order not to create panicdemic as a result of my own fear, I opted to stand calmly and let her continue speaking while trying not to lose my shit. Then she smiled, and there it was. My feeling had been confirmed. Her eye and face were drooping on one side entirely, the other half of her face- paralyzed.

Some people don't believe in fate. I do. I am a firm believer that every person we come into contact throughout the course of our lives is there for a particular reason. Whether it be to learn a lesson, to offer us lifelong companionship, or just impart a piece of knowledge that will become indispensable at a later time. A piece of knowledge that might not be clear at that instant, but will reveal itself eventually.

I was fortunate to have met a very wise, very kind woman who came in the form of a prenatal yoga instructor. A woman who also happens to have a severe and resistant form of Bell's Palsy. A woman who, had I not met and learned her story, I may not have recognized the same symptoms in my daughter the moment she smiled. For this I feel fortunate. Some people are not so lucky. As such, I would like to pay it forward and relay what I know and have learned of Bell's Palsy for those who may be faced with a similar situation.

See, the thing about Bell's Palsy is - its a weird and baffling disease that a lot of people are unaware of. It can strike at any time, though generally happens overnight, and if undetected or left for too long untreated, can turn severe and irreversible. It presents the same facial paralysis and drooping of the face that is indicative of strokes, but is not a stroke. It is caused by inflammation or damage to the facial nerve also referred to as cranial nerve 7. The real kicker is, this disease most commonly affects adults starting around age 50. Extremely rarely do cases appear in children under the age of fifteen- J is twelve....

It is also referred to as "Mona Lisa Syndrome," as its thought by some in the medical community that her enigmatic smile is in fact a result of Bell's Palsy.


(Mona Lisa)


Other famous people have had Bell's Palsy and recovered fully, including:


George Clooney (in high school)




Perhaps the most famous case for Canadians, is former Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien




Even James Bond has been touched by the disease. And today appears neither shaken nor stirred by it...


Pierce Brosnan (In his dressing room before an appearance on the "Tonight Show")


The most immediate and noticeable symptoms include:

  • Loss of taste,
  • Irritated eyes
  • Inability to properly close eye
  • Drooping eye or corner of mouth (or both)
  • Inability to smile properly on both sides of the mouth
  • Inability to raise eyebrow on paralyzed side,
  • Distorted features (usually more present on one side of the face)

The good news is, that if caught early enough and treated immediately, there is a very good prognosis. Most people fully regain facial function.

After 7 and a half hours at the Children's Hospital it was indeed confirmed, this is what J has. She has begun her round of medication and the doctors are confident the treatment will result in a positive recovery in a few weeks to a couple months. She remains in good spirits. She is not in pain and in the meantime, has gained a new appreciation for staring contests - using her open, non-blinking eye to her advantage and dominating the playing field.....

1 comment:

  1. If you are feeling a portion of the indications, then you ought to visit your specialist. He or she will give you the right therapeutic treatment. Also there are numerous Bell’s Palsy Natural Treatment that you can use as treatment.

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