Roxy Jacenko: "Bell's palsy is something I hadn't heard of 'til now."

Last weekend 33 year-old former Celebrity Apprentice contestant and PR Guru Roxy Jacenko took to her Instagram account to share that she was suffering from Bell’s Palsy – a mysterious medical condition that affects over .02% of young women globally each year.

Jacenko, who is expecting her second child with banker husband Oliver Curtis this month, posted a headless shot to Instagram with her daughter Pixie (yes, the adorable and successful two-year-old) captioned “Headless shots for the moment — with my buddy @pixiecurtis — bells palsy is something I hadn’t even heard of till now. Let’s hope I shake it soon. Xx”.

Since Roxy posted the picture, a lot of people have been asking – what exactly is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy seems to affect mostly young people of both sexes and according to Better Health Victoria, the disease more likely to affect pregnant women – particularly those who are going into their third trimester or final weeks before their due date.


While nobody knows why Bell’s palsy occurs, it is often referred to as ‘a face stroke’. The disease weakens the muscles on one side of the face, usually due to swollen facial nerves, due to infections or autoimmune responses.

Dr Brian Morton, chair of the counsel of general practice for the Australian Medical Association (AMA) told that he believes young people are more ‘susceptible to infection’ due to stress.

Roxy, who in the last year has appeared on Channel Nine’s 2013 Celebrity Apprentice, written her second novel, and launched the career of her two-year old daughter told Mamamia that she is now ‘on the mend and almost back to normal’.

I was very lucky that the steroids reacted swiftly as did the acupuncture and its really very minimal and unnoticeable now – I can see it, but I doubt many other would notice unless I pointed it out. Gives you a fright that’s for sure – I am glad my Mum and Husband phoned for the doctor when they saw it.

Although there is no known cure, Roxy told us that she was treating her Bell ’s palsy with medication and acupuncture.

Call me crazy – and don’t think seeing your face look crooked isn’t confronting but I guess I look at it and whilst it bothered me, I also rationalised it.  I mean you look at people with illness such as cancer and you think – well heck, my face is a bit wonky BIG DEAL – it’s not making me sick, it’s not life threatening and with medication and treatments such as acupuncture and Bowen therapy – its FIXABLE.

There are a lot of people around us who this isn’t the case for and they are suffering serious illness which can be terminal – whilst Bell’s Palsy is not pretty it’s just one of those things and you can either sit and feel sorry for yourself, or get on with it!

Editor’s note: While Roxy Jacenko was able to recover quickly from Bell’s Palsy, others are not quite as lucky and live with the illness for many, many years. For those sufferers, “getting on with it” isn’t really an option and our thoughts are with them.

Do you know anybody who has suffered from Bell’s Palsy? 

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