LoCash Singer Preston Brust Reveals Longtime Struggle With Bell’s Palsy: ‘I Count My Blessings’
LoCash have been on a professional high recently, as they've been out promoting a new single, "Beach Boys," that they got to record with the actual Beach Boys. But in a new interview with People, LoCash singer Preston Brust reveals that he's been privately dealing with a health struggle after a recurrence of Bell's palsy left the right side of his face paralyzed in December of 2021.
Brust tells People he knew what had happened immediately when he looked in the mirror to find his face paralyzed, since he was first diagnosed in 2009. Though he's still recovering nearly eight months after his most recent attack, he says it's comforting knowing more about what to expect.
"I count my blessings. I'm getting stronger every day, and I don't worry about it quite as much — especially the second time around," he states. "It's like, 'OK, we got through this once, we can do it again. We know this is going to be a long journey, so pack your bags — and let's roll, let's do this.'"
Brust — who makes up one-half of the country duo alongside Chris Lucas — was first diagnosed with Bell's palsy in December of 2009, after an incident that left him shaken.
"I was brushing my teeth, and all of a sudden I looked in the mirror and there was toothpaste just coming out of the right side of my mouth — all down my beard and onto my shirt," he recounts.
Brust rushed to the hospital, fearing he might have suffered a stroke. He had never even heard of Bell's palsy before he was diagnosed. He admits his initial reaction was that he didn't want anyone to see him in his condition, but he got back to work with Lucas' full support.
" ... Chris had my back, and I didn't want to stop working," he says. "I was like, 'I'm letting LoCash down if I don't go out and work and tour.'"
Brust says he never fully regained all of the strength in his face after his first battle with Bell's palsy, even though doctors told him he should recover in six weeks to three months. When he experienced his second attack in December, he admits he felt like all of his work and progress was "down the drain."
"Everything I had worked to gain back, the strength, was gone," the singer says. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' I remember waking up my wife [Kristen] and telling her Bell's had hit me again. We just hugged for a few minutes, and I didn't want to let go because I knew when I did, my next journey was going to begin, and the only way [out] is through."
Brust had already learned how to disguise his condition on stage by placing mics at certain angles, wearing sunglasses and staying out of the spotlight. But even though his condition is not painful and does not affect his voice, he admits it still takes an emotional toll.
"You can find yourself in a dark place," he acknowledges. "I try to tell myself, 'Don't look in the mirror so much. Don't stand there so long and worry about it. Just walk away and blow it off and don't let it win that day.'"
Brust says he's especially thankful for his solid support system, which includes Lucas, his wife Kristen and their two kids: 6-year-old daughter Love and 4-year-old son Legend.
"I'm surrounded by so many great people," he notes. "My wife reminds me that she thinks I'm handsome even on the days when my face ain't working at all. And when we're onstage and there are thousands of people's hands up and everybody's jumping up and down and they're singing… somehow I forget about it while I'm out there."