I woke up with half my face paralysed but it won’t stop me from being a make-up artist
Rebecca says she won’t let her Bell’s Palsy beat her
A make-up artist who woke up with half a paralysed face has become an internet inspiration for posting a beauty tutorial on the internet.
Rebecca Elliott, 36, felt a twitching feeling in her eye before her tongue went completely numb and doctors thought she could have been having a stroke. But after tests she was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy – a neurological condition which causes paralysis of the muscles in one side of the face.
Instead of hiding away the mother-of-two decided to post a “make-up video with a difference” just two days after the diagnosis to not let the condition “beat” her. The 14-minute video, which she posted on Facebook on December 6, has so far gained over 5,000 views and she has been inundated with kind messages of support.
Rebecca, of Colchester, Essex, said: “A lot of my sales are done through social media and direct selling where I post videos of make-up tutorials. So I thought I can let it beat me and hide away or I can try my damned hardest not to let it get to me.
“The reaction I have received to the video has been amazing. I am normally quite outgoing and confident but this has knocked me down quite a bit. I am not very good at taking compliments usually either but it’s been so nice to receive messages from people saying I am an inspiration. But I have just got to wait, there is nothing I can do to help it. It could be weeks, it could be months, or longer, I just do not know.”
Rebecca went to Colchester Hospital University A&E after she woke up on December 4 with feeling still in her face but no control over the entire left side. She was seen by doctors, who at first thought she may have had a stroke, but was diagnosed and put on a concoction of steroids, antiviral tablets and paracetamol.
The mobile hairdresser is now on 22 steroid tablets a day and is also undergoing acupuncture and physiotherapy in a bid to regain muscle control. Rebecca said: “It started on the Friday and I had a twitching feeling in my tongue while I was doing a client’s hair and it went numb.
“Then I went to put some lipstick on and I couldn’t smudge my lips together. I woke up Saturday morning and went to drink my tea and it all fell down my top. When I went to hospital they they treated me as a stroke patient and I thought I was going to die.
“My mouth had just dropped and by Sunday morning I had no muscle movement on the left side of my face at all. I couldn’t smile, I can’t even twitch my nose, and at first I couldn’t even close my left eye lid. My eye is getting a bit better now as it closes when I go to sleep but it wouldn’t close when I closed my other eye.
“It was pretty scary and the doctors told me it could be from a viral infection or from stress, but really I have got no clue why it’s happened.”
Rebecca, who lives with her husband Tony, 34, and sons Teddy, nine, and four-year-old Zachary, works for Maëlle Beauty and Skincare and sells their products online. She has been posting tutorials for 18-months and mainly uses Facebook with her page called “Mrs Maëlle” where she posts video make-up tutorials about products.
Rebecca said: “I find it easier talking online which is why I decided to post it, whereas if I bump into someone shopping I don’t want someone to look at me at the moment. I think it’s because you can see their reaction in person, so I feel a bit more confident making a video about it instead. I was working really hard recently to get the products out there and all of a sudden I was hit with this.
“The beauty industry is such a big thing and I did not want to stop doing what I was doing, but I also don’t want sympathy. I made the video because a member of my family said I probably would have to stop with the videos now, but I thought why should I?”
In the make-up tutorial Rebecca says she wants to show that “anyone can do it, no matter how we look, no matter how we feel about ourselves”. She films herself putting on a full face of make-up for the first time after being diagnosed and says “if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry”.
In the video Rebecca also says she now “blinks like an alien”, dribbles and mocks herself by showing how she can’t raise both eyebrows. In most cases of Bell’s Palsy the facial paralysis is temporary with the majority of cases resolving in two to three weeks and 80 per cent resolved within three months.