Foley Reveals Personal Health Battle

He’s been criticized for not smiling at times when most people would grin broadly.    A writer called him “Mumbles” for not articulating certain words.  Another commentator said he talked out of the side of his face.    Now, Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley is revealing why he has trouble doing what many of us take for granted.  He suffers from Bell’s Palsy.

In an exclusive interview with Channel 3 Eyewitness News, Foley shared his battle with an affliction he’s been dealing with for 16 years.    In 1994  the then 42 year old  woke up one morning and couldn’t move the right side of his face.     A neurologist made the diagnosis and treated him with cortizone.    It helped, but the Bell’s Palsy didn’t go away. 

According to Dr. Peter Wade at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, most Bell’s Palsy patients fully recover:   90% will make a 90% within 3 to 6 months.   Foley falls in the 10% of patients who may have it forever.  

For the first year, Foley couldn’t blink his right eye.   In the first 5 to 6 years, Foley told me he saw tremendous improvement.  He could feel muscles in his face and feel nerves coming back to life.  Then the progress stopped without explanation.

Bell’s Palsy is uncommon, and can strike anyone at anytime.  It also happens quickly. 

Foley doesn’t consider himself a victim and decided to go public with his Bell’s Palsy only recently.  It had come to Foley’s attention that some people on the campaign trail were asking questions about why he “wasn’t smiling,” or why “one eye was open wider than the other,”  and so forth.   Due to the paralysis, he also has difficulty articulating certain words, particularly words with the letters “m” and “p.” 

 Bottom line is he can’t control the right side of his face.     Still, Foley has a sense of humor about it.   “I can’t whistle, and it drives me crazy,” Foley told me.

Here is the interview with Foley: http://www.wfsb.com/video/25033625/index.html

8 replies »

  1. “Foley doesn’t consider himself a victim and decided to go public with his Bell’s Palsy only recently”…

    He decided to go public because he’s struggling in the polls, and has nothing else to shake up his numbers… The politics of this are mind boggling…


  2. Pierce, that might be the case. Foley is being honest with something that is relevant to the campaign. How a governor candidate conducts himself is relevant to the voters and it explains something that I have been wondering about.


  3. Honesty in a campaign-according to some that needs to be punished. You’ll note he didn’t ask for an accomodation for a physical disability, say 5 points in the election.
    Also it doesn’t seem to have affected his financial success so it shouldn’t matter as governor.
    We do not need Malloy in there who will cater to the unions and not be able to cut a budget, but will raise taxes.


  4. I admire Foley for taking this step. If it was a dem making this announcement you’d all be willing to fall all over him/her with sympathy.

    I’m not a big GOP supporter, but if my party continues this sort of trash talk I will certainly vote for Foley.


  5. This is ridiculous. So, we are supposed to feel sorry for the millionaire who suffers from road rage, and oh, bell’s palsy? This doesn’t tell me a thing about how he’ll create jobs. Meanwhile, my neighbor was laid off a year ago, has no health insurance, and was just diagnosed with cancer. I think he would trade places with Foley any day. Many would feel lucky to suffer his plight with his money. Give me a break.


  6. Why is it that Foley revealing this condition as a response to questions about why he isn’t smiling or for people calling him “Mumbles” being interpreted as he is looking for your sympathy? Or that this is all meant to be a broad statement on how he will run Connecticut, create jobs, etc.? The two things are wholly unrelated and it makes it seem as if he every possible statement he makes of any kind, shape or sort would necessitate him also restating his entire campaign platform.

    The expectations of people on these matters are sometimes completely perplexing.


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