Eight years on with facial palsy

September 18, 2010 was the onset of my facial palsy from Bell’s Palsy. Most people recover fully. I am in the ten percent with lasting effects. 

Throughout my life I considered myself attractive and liked to smile. I haven’t smiled in eight years. At times the palsy has caused me enormous distress, but from the beginning I have known that if this is the worst health issue I have in my life I will be extremely fortunate. Initially when one side of my face went slack, I lost my wrinkles — some sort of ironic bonus!

For the past seven years I’ve been grateful to the team of dedicated physical therapists and doctors who are pioneering treatments for facial palsy patients. In fact I am patient #2 in their ongoing exhaustive research. Because of them and the work we’ve done together, most people don’t notice my palsy. At times the treatments have been painful and I can’t tell you how many bruises I’ve endured. If you watch the accompanying video I am not anesthetized or numbed. It has all been worth it. Not only for myself, but also for those who are coming along behind me and benefitting from the Team’s skill.

A few images follow. One from before onset, a painting of how I felt after onset, one of the many photos of my bruises, a video of one of the early procedures and a self portrait from yesterday. That’s as much of a smile as I am able to pull off these days.

Pamela Viola
Reflection

Last Sunday when I learned my friend Victor had died, I just needed to walk, and so I did - nearly 10 miles. It was a walk of reflection, remembrance and contemplation. Along the way I passed Jones Point and made a photograph that is the reference for the digital painting below. I've titled it "Reflection" and it will always remind me of Victor.

08 aug 31 2018_reflection.jpg
Pamela Viola
Library at Coimbra Triptych
 The Joanina Library is a Baroque library situated in the heights of the historic centre of the University of Coimbra. Construction was completed between 1717 and 1728 and the library received its first books in 1750.

The Joanina Library is a Baroque library situated in the heights of the historic centre of the University of Coimbra. Construction was completed between 1717 and 1728 and the library received its first books in 1750.

Pamela Viola