My Approach & Values
My approach is to listen first, talk second. As your Peer Support Partner I will not give you advice nor tell you what to do. What I will do is help you to make sense of the thoughts and feelings that you are finding it difficult to cope with while living with Bell’s Palsy.
As someone who also lives with Bell’s Palsy, I have a sincere interest in your welfare. I believe that talking with a support person, whether that is me or someone else in your life, can help you to heal the emotional wounds of your diagnosis. I will always have compassion, sensitivity and respect for the challenges that you are now facing.
- Feel more confident
- Be heard, supported and understood
- More likely to cope better at work and in social situations
- Feel better about yourself
- Start down the path to a brighter, more promising future
- Certification, Social Worker – University of Michigan edX
- Masters of Arts, Mass Communications – University of South Florida
- Bachelor of Arts, Interpersonal Communications – University of Central Florida
Hello! I’m Andrea
Bell’s Palsy Peer Support Partner, Founder
Hi, my name is Andrea. I started Bell’s Palsy Peer Support after I was diagnosed with a severe case of Bell’s Palsy, Level 5 on the House-Brackmann scale. Level Five is assigned to patients who have little to no ability to smile, frown or make other facial expressions; with an incomplete closure of the eye and no forehead movement. There are six levels on the scale, learn more here, six being the most severe with a total paralysis.
During my multiple month on-going recovery, I experienced one of the most emotionally and physically challenging times of my life. I was told that most people recover in two to three weeks, around 85% of cases. Since months went by with no improvement, I struggled deeply with the possibility that I could be paralyzed forever.
My husband and family wanted to support me, but they never knew the “right” thing to say. Most of the people I encountered did not know anyone with Bell’s Palsy, and often thought I was having a stroke, which took an emotional tool. I became annoyed and frustrated when someone would give me advice – because how could they possibly know how it felt? Waking up with half of your entire face paralyzed changes you. It affected my self-esteem, confidence and ultimately, my happiness.
I isolated myself for months, obsessively thinking about Bell’s Palsy and not much else. Too often, I refused invitations to hang out because of fatigue or embarrassment. It was easier for people to think I was being antisocial then see them. Looking back now, I know this did not help me to recover. I believe stress played a major role in the onset of my paralysis and I also think it plays a major role in recovery. There are many research papers that indicate there is truth to this theory, learn more here.
Having Bell’s Palsy is one of the most challenging experiences in my life and I know that I am not alone in feeling that way. That is why I wanted to start helping other people who get BP. I do not want anyone to feel like I did, so alone and hopeless, while going through this horrible and difficult journey.
I am not a healthcare professional, so I cannot give you medical advice, but I can share with you about my experience, learn more about my personal story here. I can listen to your story and empathize with what you are going through as a peer – because I actually get it. I can share with you what helped me to get through difficult social situations like seeing people for the first time or going back to work. Most importantly, I want to be there for you, so you do not feel alone during your recovery. BP may cause interruption in life, but it does not have to stop you from living to your fullest.
As you continue on your BP journey, you may need extra support. If you think that you would benefit from a one-on-one conversation, book your session now. Bell’s Palsy Peer Support is a donation-based practice. I believe EVERYONE struggling with Bell’s Palsy should have support, which is why I offer sessions by donation only (suggested $50 donation per session).
No hidden fees. Just support. For everyone.
Please keep in mind that your healthcare team is always your primary resource when it comes to your BP and your treatment.
I Work With Individuals with
Bell’s Palsy & Loved Ones of
Those Living with BP
Support comes in many different forms. Talking with a Peer Support Partner allows you to talk honestly and openly with someone who will not judge or make excuses, but have similar experiences and emotions regarding living with BP.
There is never a good time for Bell’s Palsy, but one might argue while you are pregnant or just delivered your baby, there couldn’t be worse timing. Talk with a BP Partner who has had the same experience and can help you to cope.
Partner, Family, Friends
If you know someone in your life with Bell’s Palsy, you may be struggling with what to say or do to help. Talking with a Bell’s Palsy Support Partner can help you navigate a very physically and emotionally difficult time for your loved one.
Ask a question or book an appointment below. Please allow 48 hours to receive a response to your question. For emergencies call 911 or visit your nearest hospital.
Disclaimer: The information on this website, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to inform and entertain through a variety of topics. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended to seek the advice of a competent physician or other qualified health care provider with questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Bell’s Palsy Peer Support does not prescribe, recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, treatments, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.