‘I shed a couple of tears’: Ramsay Hunt sufferer is ‘heartbroken’ seeing Justin Bieber with illness


A woman with the same illness that has left Justin Bieber with facial paralysis has said she is saddened to see what he is going through.

The Canadian pop star, 28, said on Friday that he had been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

Nicoya Rescorla from Marazion, in southwest England, said she developed the same illness 20 months ago.

She told Reuters news agency: “I’ve watched his video and I’m not going to lie, I shed a couple of tears.

“I never thought that I would relate to someone so much that I didn’t know.”

The 28-year-old mother of three said: “It’s hard to think of someone else going through something that you’re going through.

“Obviously, Justin Bieber… he’s a huge celebrity, and I also felt so proud that he was spreading awareness of Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

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“It was heartwarming that he was spreading awareness, but also heartbreaking that he was going through it.”

Unable to leave the house alone

Ms Rescorla said that the illness has left her unable to drive or leave the house alone.

She has to drink from a straw and struggles with vertigo.

“I went from being so independent, fiercely independent, to having my husband care for me because I haven’t been able to do it for myself,” she said.

Bieber said in a video posted on Instagram that the virus had affected nerves in his ear and face, and his right eye was not blinking.

What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

The NHS says Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by a virus in the facial nerve and is a more severe cause of facial paralysis.

Possible symptoms include blisters in the ears and on the roof of the mouth, as well as facial weakness.

The syndrome can be treated with steroids, antiviral medication and facial rehabilitation.

The NHS says less than half of patients recover completely.

‘Signs that there is some early recovery’

But Charles Nduka, a consultant plastic reconstructive surgeon in Britain and the co-founder of health charity Facial Palsy UK, said the singer is showing signs of recovery.

Dr Nduka told Reuters: “With facial paralysis one of the most obvious things is patients are unable to close their eye fully to blink and they are unable to smile.

“Before the smile recovers, the first thing that will develop is there is increasingly symmetry in the face at rest.

“So, the base of the nose often elevates slightly, and the mouth becomes more even.

“On the video that was shared I could see some signs that there is some early recovery.”

He said that 75% of patients who receive early treatment, which includes steroids and antivirals, can make a full recovery.

‘Quite severe loss’

On Saturday, Professor Derick Wade, an expert in neurological rehabilitation at Oxford Brookes University, told Sky News that although most people recover fully, Bieber appears to have a serious case of the virus.

“I noticed that there wasn’t any movement, so that is quite severe loss,” he said.

Asked about recovery times, he added: “Some people [recover] very quickly – in three weeks – and then other people can take several months. So it’s a very unpredictable exercise.”

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