The Halfway Point — Migraine and Botox Diary
Having the opportunity to try Botox for my chronic Migraines has been an interesting, enlightening experience. As an advocate I’m used to being the person who has tried something, telling readers everything I know about it from my experience. This series is different though. I’m talking about it as it’s happened, and sometimes my readers know a lot more about it than I do!
After my second week and the realization that I was having some unintended side effects, I learned very quickly how to overcome them. I paid more attention to my posture, I rested for little bits frequently throughout the day, and I concentrated on using my head, neck, arms and shoulders *on purpose* to help strengthen them gently. I even began sleeping on a horseshoe pillow to help support my neck, and things seemed to be going really well. I feel like I conquered my side effects. :)
Now that I’m at the half-way point, I am pleased with my improvement.
In the past my Migraines included some incredibly brutal facial pain. In fact, the facial pain became so bad that I was almost never rid of it. Sometimes the strikes of what feels like a sharp knitting needle being stabbed into my face, made me wince and put me to bed with a heating pad and in tears. My doctors called it Tic Doloreaux — Trigeminal Neuralgia. Once it became fairly constant, it was like being stabbed dozens of times per minute in the same place, for months on end.
Eventually it involved my eyeballs and felt like being stabbed directly into the eyeball — excruciating. The pain started years ago on one side of my face around my ear, jaw line and teeth, then spread outward from there. It was intermittent and rare. At first.
At its worst, it even involved the nerves inside my ear and down my throat. I usually Migraine on my left side, and that was the side I usually had the facial pain. If I Migrained on the right, the pain was on the right too. Sometimes the neuralgia hit before the Migraine if it was a right sided affair. When I had pain on the right side of my face, I also had pain on the left side. The left side was relentless — it just never let up.
I was very delighted to report to my doctor on week three, that the facial pain was getting better. I actually had periods of time where there was no stabbing pain. What a relief!
My Migraines changed. I almost always Migrained on the left. Pretty soon I was getting “micro-Migraines” on the right in addition to the Migraines on the left. They lasted only minutes to an hour or two, then they were gone. They didn’t necessarily turn into anything full-fledged and nasty.
Before long, I was finally getting some relief on the left side, and Migraining instead on the right. Some people may think this is out of the frying pan and into the fire, but I was ready for even a moment’s relief on my left side. Eventually my Migraines were happening about 30 percent on the right, and the rest on the left. I had few that were double sided killers. Those that were bad were really bad, but there were fewer of those beasties.
Having any kind of relief on the left side after so many years of constant pain was remarkable to me.
Yes, I still Migraine every day. But things are different. It’s difficult to describe just how they are different, but I feel that they are somewhat better. I had prayed for more, much more, but I’ll take what I can get. The effects from Botox injections tend to be cumulative over about 3 cycles - the period of a full trial. So, this is the beginning of a long journey, but one I’m still happy to be on.
The facial pain is not with me constantly anymore. It still hits me during a Migraine, but the last week I have had facial pain without the pain in my throat. That too is an improvement. I still occasionally get stabbing in my left eyeball, but at least it’s no longer a constant battle.
When it comes to planning vacations or other events where travel is required, how much does migraine factor into your decision-making?