I was able to get an appointment with my neurologist for today about the maddening, crazy-inducing, making-me-almost-cry-with-frustration issue of My Twitching Face. (Which makes it sound like My Left Foot. Which is a different thing entirely, as My Twitching Face does not involve Daniel Day Lewis in any way. Although, the twitching IS on the left side. Food for thought, Hollywood.)
After a short discussion, which wasn't all that different from the discussions I've had with him 3 other times in the last 2 years about this same issue, he declared that he thinks he knows what it is, and he prescribed some meds for me to give a try.
He wrote it down so I could look it up when I got back to work. "It's called hemifacial spasm," he said. "In fact, when you look it up, you're probably going to read about the symptoms and say, 'This is exactly what I'm dealing with!'"
And so I looked it up. And damned if he wasn't totally right...
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:
Hemifacial spasm is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by frequent involuntary contractions (spasms) of the muscles on one side (hemi-) of the face (facial). The disorder occurs in both men and women, although it more frequently affects middle-aged or elderly women.
I'M TOTALLY MIDDLE-AGED! (I hope.) (I know I'm weird for not wanting to live beyond the age of 80, but I also know I'm not alone in that hope!)
The first symptom is usually an intermittent twitching of the eyelid muscle that can lead to forced closure of the eye.
Um, yep. That's exactly what started happening over 7 years ago. I looked it up at the time, because I thought I was having a stroke, but it turned out to be a normal issue for people who were stressed (like I was), and needed more sleep (not that I wasn't getting enough sleep, but still...I can always stand more!) So I just dealt with it as best I could.
The spasm may then gradually spread to involve the muscles of the lower face, which may cause the mouth to be pulled to one side.
OMG, YES. This was the next thing that started happening after I couldn't figure out what else I could do to help with the fucking twitching eye. It made me think I might be experiencing signs of neurological issues, but again, a quick lookup on the internet told me that I had a hum drum issue that no one could help me with, and I just needed to get a massage.
Eventually the spasms involve all of the muscles on one side of the face almost continuously.
And this is where we are today. I can feel the spasms in my left ear, even. It feels like there's a constant little stream of electric shock that is running under my left eye that makes the whole thing "click, click, click" with a little twinge of movement pretty much all day long. It gets worse sometimes, and the entire eye is twitching, and then there are days like today, when my left cheek is all about joining in the "fun".
So I'm going to fill my Rx tonight, and hopefully, we're on the path to getting this thing conquered. We're not starting with Botox, because there are other things to try first. Which I can appreciate. We'll cross those bridges if we need to, ever. For now, I'll be trying and anti-epilepsy drug that should help. Just a tiny dose to start. And then I'll visit him again in 6 weeks to figure out if it's working.
Good GOD, I hope it works...