My Breakup with Botox
It was about 2 years ago that I began my relationship with Botox. It was a quick break-up, but I wanted to share parts of my relationship with you anyway.
Living with Hemiplegic migraine and cluster
I live with two types of migraines - a more complex migraine, called Hemiplegic Migraine and "typical" cluster migraines, both of which began to affect my life in all aspects. It affected me to the point where I would miss work because my symptoms were so severe when I had them during and after, I could not drive and they prevent me from resting even for a few minutes.
Trying multiple treatment options
After trying several combinations of oral medications, combinations of different therapies like injections, abortive nasal sprays and several visits to the ER to help control my pain and symptoms, we finally decided to give Botox a try.
When it came to the day I was getting my Botox, we injected about 120 pokes into my scalp, my eyebrows, temple, the frame around my face, down my neck and towards the top of my spine near my occipital nerve is.
It was painful; while they do use numbing agents, it's very obvious where he was injecting, no matter how hard I tried to focus on other things. I tried meditating, I tried deep breathing exercises but nothing seemed to help. Although it went by quickly in about 10-15 minutes, it still seemed like a great length of time.
Before I left, my Neurologist noted that I may not see improvement until about 3-6 months, which meant more rounds of injections.
Feeling scared and alone
Within about 2 weeks, I noticed a change, but it was not good. I began to lose my vision in several spots of my eyes. Soon, it seemed to completely change. I do have other pre-existing conditions that cause dramatic eye changes, but I knew this was different. I rang my Dr.'s office and he requested that I go see an Ophthalmologist right away to make sure I didn't have any damage from my primary medical diagnosis of Crohn's Disease. I know how important eye changes can be from that disease, so I made the first available appointment. I felt scared, alone and kept thinking what this meant for my course of treatment.
Ending treatment after side effects
It was apparent after my exam that I was one of a very little percent that has adverse reactions to Botox injections. It was incredibly scary and although my doctor requested I try one more round, you couldn't pay me enough to try it again. I am normally a pretty patient person, especially when it comes to different types of therapies to try and resolve my symptoms for different ailments. But this? This was.. different. I will never remember being alone in the exam room and reflecting on what an awful experience this had been. My doctor had given me so much hope, and still to this day, my vision is affected. My script changes often and now, in addition to regular prescription glasses, I've had to begin using readers. At age 28.
I think I'll stick to nerve blocks.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?