A Scots newlywed has been forced to tape his eyes shut after developing ‘Bell’s Palsy’ – but doctors now fear he may be suffering from a rare form of cancer.
Joe Beaver suddenly developed ‘terrifying’ facial paralysis while he was at the cinema with his wife on Boxing Day last year.
The 46-year-old, who is from Glasgow but now lives in London, headed to A&E and ended up being kept in for two weeks.
Joe’s symptoms have left him struggling to move his mouth to speak and unable to close his eyes.
Medics initially thought the step-dad had Bell’s Palsy but now suspect he has lymphoma in his central nervous system.
Joe told the Record: “I was at the cinema with my wife Rachelle on Boxing Day when it felt like part of my face went completely numb.
“I realised I couldn’t close my eyes and it was sore when the wind hit my eyeballs.
“It was terrifying. The doctors thought I had Bell’s Palsy.
“That day I ended up in A&E and didn’t leave for two weeks, I haven’t been able to close my eyes since without tape.”
“My life has completely changed, I struggle to speak and I’m in a lot of pain.”
Trainee detention custody officer Joe said he first suspected something wasn’t quite right when he uncharacteristically dosed off during a shift as a volunteer Santa before Christmas.
He added: “During a shift as Santa I fell asleep. A friend jested, ‘look Santa’s having a rest’ but in hindsight something must have been wrong then.
“In the days after that I noticed I had an issue with my balance and then I started to suffer shoulder pain, headaches and my face felt a little numb. I was sleeping more than usual too.
“I’ve never had any health complaints and I’m not one for going to the GP unless it’s serious so left it.
“My boss actually sent me to the doctor on December 23 when he noticed how off my balance was.”
His GP diagnosed Joe with Bell’s Palsy; a temporary weakness or lack of movement affecting one side of the face, and sent him home with steroids.
The step-dad said he felt ‘too run down to cook Christmas dinner’ but things took a turn when Joe’s face partially paralysed on Boxing Day.
Joe, who used to do 10k runs and volunteer for charity, says he is suffering body aches and issues with his sight now force him to walk using a cane.
His inability to close his eyes means he must wear sunglasses during the day and tape his eyelids shut to ‘stop the pain’ or go to sleep.
After being admitted to hospital, Joe underwent two CT-scans, an MRI, two lumbar punctures and a bone marrow biopsy.
Initial test results showed elevated white blood cells in the brain, spinal fluid and blood, and enlarged lymph nodes in his neck, groin and gastric junction, while his spleen was twice the size it should be.
Doctors have warned him he may have a rare form of cancer – and he is now awaiting test results for a full diagnosis.
Joe, who hails from Glasgow’s Govanhill area, moved to London to be with his sweetheart, Rachelle, 44, in June last year before the couple tied the knot in October.
The besotted newlyweds had forked out for their ceremony just two months before Joe was struck down by his symptoms.
With Joe now unable to work, wife Rachelle has launched a GoFundMe page to cover the couple’s living costs and hopes to pay for specialist surgery unavailable on the NHS that will enable Joe to close his eyes again.
More than £1,500 has been raised so far, leaving the couple felling ‘totally overwhelmed’.
Head to Joe’s GoFundMe page to donate.
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