interesting... I had surgery for congenital facial paralysis at Loyola in 1972 - I allegedly had "Chicago's Finest" surgeon (forget his name - it was too long ago!)- surgery was an utter, complete disaster. The surgery's complete failure really hurt ... but I had already graduated from college and was becoming a teacher. I ultimately had a second 'smile surgery' in NYC, via NYU's "facial Paralysis Clinic" (I had 'done my homework' this time!)... Thoughts...1- Yes, a facial paralysis is hard to deal with (I *still* HATE to return to IL - I call it "HELLinois" because of what it felt like to grow up in ignorance and discrimination - truly "the only one")... but, like every other disability - you have to deal with it to move on. It may not change, so you have to! 2- No - there still is a life to lead - new folks w/ facial paralysis MUST learn to "talk about it" ... a facial paralysis is a disability, like spinal cord injury, visual impairments .... yes, it hinders communication - but if the person w/ facial paralysis learns to use voice tone, body language, etc., I personally believe others see thru the paralysis to the person within. My "smile" is most assuredly not 'normal'... but I can't recall any instances where strangers recoiled in horror, made snide remarks, etc. The GREATEST pain is in the ALONENESS - when you are convinced that no one else on earth has it and no one else knows or understands how you feel. I only with this clinic was available 35 years ago!