Botox

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So it has been 4 days since I went to my neurologist and had the Botox treatment done… so far so good.

I am not going to lie I was beyond terrified of doing the Botox procedure but as I mentioned before nothing else had worked for me.

And to only make things more terrifying my co-worker and I decided to look up the medication guide and patient information sheet on Botox.. you know if was ONLY 36 pages long; and well I decided that it would be a super awesome idea to read every page of it and freak myself out even more.. honestly not my finest moment.

I felt that I had to educate myself because although I trust doctors for the most part I literally just met my new neurologist a week prior to my appointment and we hadn’t really discussed all of the crazy things that could happen, or how to prep myself for the injections.

I remember when the nurse called to schedule the appointment as soon as I hung up the phone I was already having second thoughts about doing it.. but why? I mean potentially this was the cure that I had been waiting for, why was I so scared? I mean I know WHY, but why really? The unknown is a rather terrifying thing and anyone who says otherwise is probably a big, fat liar pants.

The night before the procedure I was so nervous I decided to engage in some retail therapy and stress eat Panda Express.. good ideas all around, and if you tell me otherwise I am still sticking to my thoughts that these were amazing activities to partake in.

I had a hard time falling asleep the night before I had to go in.. I expected this. The morning I had to go in, I got up and took my time getting ready; as if this would delay what was to come, I half expected to talk myself out of going. I threw my most attractive outfit on; leggings and a sweatshirt, with no makeup and headed downstairs. My granny being the worrywart that she is decided amongst herself that I would be in no condition to drive home after having the injections; the way she was acting you would think I was having a lobotomy done, or something serious for that matter. Granny tends to make me more nervous, butttt I let her drive me.

When we got to the hospital I was still nervous, I got checked in and as soon as I walked into the waiting area the nurse called my name. I remember thinking crap I didn’t even have time to sit down and prepare myself for this. Thankfully she just wanted to take my weight and vitals. I have to say I love the nurse in the neurology department, I wish I knew her name, but really she is awesome. She was telling me she remembered talking to me and thinking it was funny how nervous I was because she said that on certain days of the week they have a Botox clinic; cosmetic purpose, and they always have more people than they can accommodate. She said people are lining up to get the stuff to fix their wrinkles and what not and here I was nervous about getting it when it could be my saving grace. She even told me people fake having headache to the extent that I have them just so they can try and get Botox for a cheaper price (a price their insurance would cover)…. oh some people, if there is a will there is a way.

When the doc came in I started asking him a bunch of questions; you know the usual, how many people have you killed, how many faces have you messed up, how many patients do you do this to, etc. After a little talking he proceeded. Took an alcohol wipe and started wiping my face and neck. He wiped all of the 20 places he was going to inject.

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The Botox website says that for migraine uses they recommend 31 injections; for whatever reason my neurologist does a total of 20. I intend on asking him next visit why he doesn’t do the full 31. I received 6 in my forehead, 4 in each side of my head in the temple area, 4 in the back of my head and 2 in my neck. I must say that it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined at all. The most uncomfortable ones were the ones in the forehead and it wasn’t so much the needle going in as it was the Botox going in.

After the injections were done my forehead looked like it had been attacked by mosquitos but I was assured that the lumps would go down in about 30-45 minutes (they went down quicker). I was advised to not touch, rub, or wash my face for a few hours, that it would be okay to do so in the evening. Rubbing, touching or washing could cause the Botox solution to move in other parts of the face and cause uber sexy droopy eyes or a lopsided forehead. Being the paranoid person I am when it comes to stuff like this I decided I would wait to do anything to my face until the next morning, no washing,no touching, no make up.. nothing the last thing I needed was to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

So far everything is going okay. The day of the injections I had some shooting pains in my neck at the site of injection. Friday and Saturday I had some shooting pains in my right temple area where I would normally have my migraines but those lasted only a few minutes before they dissipated. My face isn’t lopsided and my eyes aren’t drooping, I do feel tightness in my forehead but that is about it. If Botox works I will receive these 20 injections every 12 weeks; next injection date is May 13.. fingers crossed that this stuff does the trick.

Side-note..  I kind of felt weird walking out of the office looking like I had been attacked by mosquitos and I mentioned something to granny and this little old man sitting a couple chairs away from her told me not to worry that his wife looked that way too when she came out. We got to talking and he said that his wife has been doing Botox for migraines for about 2 years and in those 2 years she has had a total of 1 maybe 2 migraines in that time span. This bit of info made me feel hopeful, and I cared a lot less about my mosquito forehead. Can you imagine what it would be like to be headache free? Well I mean a lot of you surely can, but I can’t, I don’t remember what it’s like to even have a week without some sort of head pains.

But hey that’s all for now, I will keep you updated on how the next 12 weeks go.

Cheers to 4 days headache free

r

2/16/14

Goodbye to you

For 10 years I have lived with migraines; not headaches, migraines… chronic migraines. Sleep days at a time, every sound in the world is a thousand times too loud, every scent makes me nauseated, the sensation a vampire must get from being in the daylight migraines.

TEN YEARS… I cannot even begin to actually fathom how long that time span is, I mean yes I can but wow I can’t believe its been that long.

Today (fingers crossed) is the last day that the pain in my head will control me and my life. Tomorrow is a new day; tomorrow is Botox day. I will elaborate.

The past 6 years I have dealt with a neurologist who has tried everything under the sun to help get my headaches under control; let me help you understand what I have been through.

No processed meats, hot dogs, lunch meat, salamis, pepperonis, anything that is cured or has sodium nitrate in it.

No cheese (the saddest thing ever); no brie, no bleu cheese, no feta, no cheddar, no jack, no melty deliciousness that makes everything taste just a little better.. I am restricted to cream cheese and cottage cheese, although I loosely follow the cheese restrictions, I do end up paying for it later.

No gluten… umm Hi do you realize that gluten is in EVERYTHING, obviously bread, beer, crackers, pretzels, cereal, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, flour, pasta.. the list is forever long. Pretty much EVERYTHING in life is a byproduct of wheat and has some form of nasty gluten in it. The only good thing about reducing gluten is the effect that it was having on my body; bloating, digestion problems, etc. (If you are interested in the effects that gluten does have on an individual check out the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, you will be surprised and possibly disgusted by wheat by the time you finish the book)

No wine! Going to Italy and not being able to drink wine was possibly the most tormenting thing in my life.

No alcohol in general, because it has gluten in it and because of the way that breaks down.

Let’s see I’ve been on countless preventative medications:

Topamax (makes you forgetful.. I went to work one day drove all the way there and forgot my shoes.. who does that?)

Propanolol, Elavil.. these little babies mess with your blood pressure and I would get dizzy and sometimes faint from bending over and then standing back up straight

Nortriptyline.. taken at night but made me feel like a zombie in the morning

Keppra… oh this one way my favorite! I had anxiety attacks, depression, crying for no reason, restlessness at night, killed my appetite.

I have tried Chinese herbs, a widely available herb called FeverFew, no caffeine, acupuncture, chiropractic services, yoga, regulated sleep schedule, less stress, no being on a computer too long, wearing glasses..

I LITERALLY have tried everything short of standing on my head underwater surrounded by sharks, but hey if you told me that it had the slight possibility that it would cure my headaches or at least make them less frequent I would try it. Sad but one million percent true.

Over the years everyone and their mother has suggested things to try from putting potatoes on my forehead to asking god to forgive me for my sins, because after all my migraines are a punishment from god and not a medical condition (let’s be honest I don’t want to have a god debate so I just smile and nod when people suggest this)

At first I really appreciated everyones advice and suggestions but eventually it got to the point if one more person wanted to tell me what they think I should do or what they do to help their headaches I was going to punch them in the face and run away the other direction screaming. I promise you my migraines are nothing like anything that someone with mild headaches has. Quite frankly my headaches are so bad that the team of neurologists that I work with haven’t had someone with a case this bad in “they can’t remember how long”.

Ohhhh I forgot to mention the preventative medications never worked, they all had a placebo effect on me.. my body is highly resistant to medications. For those of you unaware of the placebo effect, it is taking a medication or a treatment and it working but only working because you have willed it to work, and the efficacy of the treatment fades away in a short period of time because the medication or treatment was never actually working in the first place.. awesome!

Also medications to help with the episode I was having didn’t work and if they did it barely took the edge off. It was like having your finger slammed in the car door and to take away the pain of that someone punches you in the face. Not exactly what you want when you have a migraine, I want no pain not less pain. I tried EVERY migraine medication available; Relpax, Imitrex injection, tablet, nasal spray, Maxalt oral disintegrating tablets, as well as the regular tablets.. the list goes on and on.

So tomorrow is the day that I hope all of this fades away.. tomorrow is a new chapter of my life, and hopefully the chapter is migraine free… 31 injections (YIKES!) in the face, head and neck every 12 weeks to stop this craziness that I have lived for so long. Although I am terrified out of my mind of the what ifs.. I can only keep an open mind about what tomorrow morning will bring.

Today I am at a pain level of about 3 (on a scale of 1 to 10) everyday is either a 3,4, or 5 these days. I am on dayyyyyy 30 something of headaches, today I say goodbye to you migraines, goodbye to all the pain, tears, barf and fun you have caused me. Good bye to having to cancel on family and friends, good bye to missing my workouts, good bye to feeling sorry for myself, good bye to missing work, good bye to having to listen to people tell me what they think is causing my headaches, good bye to spending more of my life in bed than the average 26 year old female, good bye migraines kiss my butt.

Tomorrow is going to be a new, great, amazing, spectacular day.. I am trying to remain optimistic.

So please friends the next time someone tells you that they have a migraine and you suggest that they take a Motrin/Tylenol (or whatever works for your little headaches) remember that they are thinking of the 100 things you could go do with that Motrin, nicely put take a hike with it.

Dear Migraines, I am breaking up with you.

r

2/12/14