From skeptic to true believer

Initially, I feared Botox. The idea of injecting toxic bacteria into my body was counterintuitive. For years I had been ridiculing people for using Botox as a cosmetic procedure. The very thought of using it to treat migraine seemed hypocritical. It also felt superficial and vain. Yet over time, it became clear that preventive oral medications were not all that effective for me. Botox appeared to be the next logical step. I was able to overcome my initial fears by talking to lots of patients about their experiences. Considering the combined side effects of the personal pharmacy in my purse, concerns about the risks of Botox slowly faded.

These photos were taken during my third round of injections. Yes, it's really me and the guy in the lab coat really is my headache doctor. Huge thanks to Dr. Syed for being a good sport and to his anonymous medical student who graciously photographed the whole process.

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End results

I’ve had 5 rounds of Botox injections since December 2014. Between the fourth and fifth appointments, I was able to wean off of all other preventive medications. Thanks to the positive results, I no longer have to take any other preventives.

Side effects

  • Eyebrow and eyelid drooping lasted 24 weeks
  • Difficulty swallowing occurred briefly for a few hours after the second round of injections
  • Acne-like rash appeared after the third round and lasted 12 weeks

Therapeutic Benefits

  • Migraine attack frequency dropped from 15+ per month to 4 per month
  • Chronic cluster headache reversed to episodic for the first time in 15 years
  • Two brief cluster cycles of >3 attacks each lasting >1 week each
  • Attacks respond better to abortive treatment, rarely lasting more than 2 hours
  • Not one round of prednisone all year!
  • Not a single visit to the emergency room all year!

If I had to cope with permanent drooping eyebrows and a rash on my forehead, I’d still show up for my injections every 12 weeks. The relief I feel is so much better than any of the side effects I’ve had to face so far. This is the first preventive treatment in 41 years to actually work.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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