Botox

So…

Migraines.

I went today to get botox which we hope will help prevent my migraines. I have several friends who did it and had excellent success. The rate of people who are helped who have migraines similar to mine is really high. It’s basically my last resort – hoping it helps because I can’t take the pain anymore. Also, it will help the small forehead wrinkles I have started to get, and don’t think that isn’t a bonus.

Here is how my appointment went: I wasn’t really nervous until about an hour or two before the appointment, when I was sitting quietly at my son’s therapy and had an entire hour to think about it. I texted my husband that I was nervous and he said “well, it can’t get worse.” Which is very true, and honestly helped me feel better.

I had to RUSH from therapy to the drop in day care to the Dr office – basically driving 10 miles over the limit the whole way and hoping to not get stopped. I got there just as I was supposed to be checking in and ran in all disheveled and needing to use the facilities. 

After all that, the MA checked me out, made sure my blood pressure and stuff was ok, and told me the doc would be right in.

The pain intervention clinic I am going to is at the University Hospital, so the main doc has a bunch of Residents that help him. Some kid that looked about 19 came in to explain the procedure and tell me what the side effects could be. Actually he only told me one which was that since we were doing some in my neck, if they happened to give me too much my neck might have a hard time holding up my head. If that happened, just let him know next time. LOL. I asked if there were other side effects to worry about and he said not really.

I signed away my life.

Then the main doctor came in. The interesting thing about this guy is he is the doctor over the department and other than his residents which do things like taking histories and explaining procedures, he is the only one who sees patients. Most departments there have several attending physicians. In this clinic he sees every patient every visit, does every procedure, and helps make every treatment plan. Either he is a control freak or he is an excellent doctor. Or both. My money is on both.

So, my main pain doc comes in and asks me to lie down and cleans off my forehead and the front of my hair line with some alcohol stuff. He tells me the injections are a combination of Botox and Lidocaine. I keep my eyes closed as he explains the shot will pinch, and then burn as the meds go in. But he hopes it will help enough to be worth it. I said I hope so too. I kept my eyes closed as he did my forehead and hairline – I didn’t want to see the needles which looked pretty long when he brought them in. I am not afraid of needles – and I’m pretty used to the pain they inflict – but watching them come at my face is just something I’d rather avoid. 

He starts the injections and I have to say a few of the first round DID hurt. Not unbearable pain, but pain nonetheless. It didn’t last long though. He took a break between the first 8 in my forehead and the “next row” up in my hairline to let the lidocaine help make those less painful.

In all he did 28 injections. Some on my forehead, some on my hairline, some behind my ears, some about 2 inches up into my hairline on the back of my head, some on my jaw, and some on the back of my neck. I think he hit all of the places I get pain from migraines. The ones on my jaw and behind my ears hurt the most.

I had to scrub my forehead before I left because there were little blood drops even though he wiped them several times. A few of the injections swelled a tiny bit like a small mosquito bite. On the way home I wasn’t feeling well. Mostly kind of weak and shaky and feverish. I think I will take my husband with me next time to drive me home. I wasn’t sure I would feel well enough to take my son trick-or-treating. Though, of course, I would have muscled through it, I felt better after about an hour and a half. The only longer term problem I seemed to have was some stomach upset. I read online that flu like symptoms is a rarer side effect, but a side effect nonetheless. I always get the rare ones.

Tonight most of my head and face is numb. The doc said that it takes about 3 days for the Botox to really kick in and that my muscles in those areas may feel strange to start with. 

I have another appointment in 3 months. It is a longer acting muscle relaxer, but it doesn’t last much longer than that. 

Next month we are going to try some injections on my chest – steroids and a “long acting local anesthetic”. Hopefully that will help the pain I have from my chest surgeries – my sternum never healing.

I will keep you appraised of how everything works. The reason I write about the medical stuff is just in case someone comes along and it can help them prepare or find a new avenue to try. Migraines have impacted my life like I never knew they could and I want to help others if I can.

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