What you need to know:
- When you decide to take your life more seriously or when you face health challenges, some of them will drift away. This has been the most profound lesson for me.
- Additionally, it is crucial to prioritise your health and surround yourself with family who will genuinely care for you.
- Learn from the experiences of others, and remember that our children can be incredibly strong and supportive when the need arises.
Media personality Annitah Raey has courageously opened up about her battle with Bell's Palsy, a medical condition that temporarily silenced her for an entire month.
Despite her strong and outspoken personality, Annitah confessed that the condition greatly affected her self-esteem.
Initially thought to be mere fever blisters, her eventual diagnosis with Bell's Palsy left her isolated from the public with little hope of recovery.
She tells MyNetWork that she is currently making remarkable progress after undergoing three months of facial therapy, and is taking potent painkillers.
Her initial revelation about her health struggles was made in August 2023 when she clarified her absence from social media platforms and explained her absence to her concerned fans.
She says that ‘mother’ is the most important title she holds currently.
1. Could you please share your experience with Bell's Palsy? When did you first notice the symptoms?
In July 2023, I fell ill, and initially attributed the malaise to a viral infection. At first, I didn't take it seriously, but my concerns grew after returning from Kilifi. I started experiencing fever, body weakness, and what seemed like a pimple on my lips, which I initially dismissed as a flu. I tried self-medication but eventually sought medical attention when the pain became unbearable.
At the hospital, I was given a cream, which, unfortunately, triggered a reaction that resulted in numerous blisters resembling burn wounds. The excruciating pain led to a spike in my blood pressure, which ultimately caused Bell's Palsy, which affected the nerves on the right side of my face. It's worth noting that Bell's Palsy can have various causes, and in my case, it was primarily due to the elevated blood pressure, which in turn placed pressure on my facial nerves.
2. How has this experience changed your perspective on health and wellness?
Bell's Palsy introduced me to a type of pain that many people have never experienced. Even now, I often listen to my own voice just to reassure myself that it is indeed mine. Being unable to speak during that period was a huge struggle for me. I can’t bear to imagine the impact it would have had on my work had I been on air.
This illness has forced me to view my relationship with God in new light. It was a period of introspection, silence, and learning. I voluntarily took a hiatus from social media to avoid external influences. I chose to speak about my experience when I felt emotionally prepared to handle people's reactions and comments.
3. What were some of the most challenging moments you encountered during your battle with Bell's Palsy?
I experienced a profound sense of disconnection from my own identity to the point where I shaved my hair. Initially, it was so hard to even face the camera. I wasn’t confident enough to even look at myself. I used to conceal my appearance with a cap, but gradually, I began to accept my new appearance. Some said I had cancer and I was bombarded with numerous theories. The day I posted a photo, I started receiving "Rest in peace" messages in my DMs. That's when it hit me hard that I was truly unwell. I got so upset that I was unable to feed properly.
4. What was going through your mind during that period?
I was angry at first since I have gone through so much in the past and I thought I did not deserve that. On the other side, I asked myself, why not me? I needed to start being positive about it and that was when I started healing. A good support system is the biggest therapy you can ever get.
5. Is there a message or encouragement you'd like to convey to your listeners and fans who may have followed your journey through this challenging time?
First and foremost, it's important to understand that the people you hang out with and share drinks with may not necessarily be your true friends or family. When you decide to take your life more seriously or when you face health challenges, some of them will drift away. This has been the most profound lesson for me.
Additionally, it is crucial to prioritise your health and surround yourself with family who will genuinely care for you. Learn from the experiences of others, and remember that our children can be incredibly strong and supportive when the need arises. Lastly, always keep in mind that when you are ill, money loses its significance. Good health is a precious gift from God.