Longtime California Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, has been in Congress for more than three decades. On the other hand, pop star Justin Bieber, 29, has produced several big hits since bursting onto the music scene in 2009. So what do they have in common? They both have a rare condition that causes facial drooping.
Both Bieber and Feinstein have been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. The neurological disorder can cause facial weakness or paralysis, leading to slouching, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also lead to ear pain and hearing loss.
“It’s because of this virus attacking the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and causing paralysis in my face. This eye doesn’t blink, I can’t smile on this side of my face and this nostril can’t move,” Bieber said.
The same condition affects Democratic Senator Feinstein a year later.
“The senator previously disclosed that she had several complications related to her shingles diagnosis,” her spokesperson told CBS News following Feinstein’s absence.
Shingles is a condition also caused by the same virus as chickenpox (varicella zoster). In Feinstein’s case, it was this outbreak that led her to having Ramsay Hunt.
The 89-year-old senator was visibly struggling to hear questions during a recent interview, CBS reported.
According to NORD, the rare disease affects approximately “5 in 100,000 people” each year.
Anti-inflammatory drugs designed to reduce pain and swelling help treat the condition.
Helps manage emotions
How to deal with a diagnosis
While taking time away from the spotlight to focus on his health, Bieber practiced facial exercises. His efforts helped him cope and regain muscle movement.
In March, he shared a happy Instagram Story showing off his ability to move his face again.
“Wait for it,” Bieber asked, moving his eyes from side to side and smiling. Improved facial movements show that the pop star has made great strides in dealing with this rare condition.
London Town with my baby Hailey Bieber pic.twitter.com/mL8jjaMo6l
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 13, 2021
As for Feinstein, the senator has reduced her schedule in recent weeks to focus on her health.
Anxiety, fear, sadness and depression are all common emotions that often follow a diagnosis of illness or cancer, nurse practitioner Jessica Perreau tells SurvivorNet.
“We absolutely want to make sure that these are treated appropriately, and that we make sure to minimize anxiety and depression as much as possible, and provide good coping mechanisms and medication if necessary,” said said Perreau.
If you find yourself struggling with emotions following a diagnosis, SurvivorNet experts recommend seeing a counselor or therapist.
Counselors and therapists can offer advice and strategies for coping with your new cancer diagnosis, can validate your concerns, and ultimately just give you someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through.
Support groups can be made up of close relatives and friends. These groups can also be made up of people who share the same type of cancer or disease.
Most importantly, support groups help you share and validate your feelings while dealing with a diagnosis. For actress Selma Blair, who has multiple sclerosis, it’s this validation that has helped her enormously to cope with her condition.
Sometimes, if it becomes necessary, your oncologist may also be able to prescribe medication to relieve anxiety. Most of the time, an effective strategy will incorporate a combination of therapy, support groups, and medications to help you cope with a diagnosis.
WATCH: Mental Health and Wellbeing.
How focusing on mental health can help
Bieber took time off the stage to focus on himself and his sanity.
“I wish it wasn’t, but my body is telling me I need to slow down,” Bieber said in his Instagram post.
“I will use this time to rest and relax,” he added.
Bieber shared several photos of himself spending time with his wife and adorable dog while focusing on his physical and mental health.
The term mental health refers to both our emotional and psychological well-being. Our mental health can affect how we think, feel and behave. Certain triggers like stress, traumatic events, or changes in your physical health can affect your mental health.
It is important to keep an eye on your mental health and, if necessary, seek treatment. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional therapy, because while it may be helpful (even life-changing) for some, it doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
In order to keep your mental health in check, it’s important to be aware of the signs, which can be subtle, that something is affecting your mind. These signs include:
- A change in eating or sleeping habits
- Loss of interest in people or usual activities
- Have little or no energy
- Numb and/or hopeless feelings
- Turning to alcohol or drugs more than usual
- Atypical feelings of anger, upset, or upset
- Yelling/fighting with loved ones
- Experiencing mood swings
- intrusive thoughts
- Difficulty performing daily tasks
These symptoms can be very varied and vary greatly from person to person. Everyone deals with difficult situations differently.
However, if you feel unusually sad, nervous, or are no longer interested in activities you once enjoyed, know that there are many treatment options and healthy ways to help you cope.
Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.