Botox Diary: First Treatment

Friday, 13 March 2015

A little while ago, I mentioned that I had been approved as a candidate for Botox treatment for my chronic migraine.  I had my first round of injections this past week, and - knowing how incredibly anxious I was, leading up to my appointment - I thought it might be an idea to start a 'Botox Diary' series, so that I can share the process with you step by step - and perhaps I'll be able to help out some other "Nervous Nellie's" out there, who are most likely Googling frantically, the way I have been for the past couple of months!

I am notoriously guilty of consulting "Dr. Google", on just about everything, which is never a good idea - especially for an already very anxious person, like myself!

As soon as I was given the approval for the treatment, I jumped straight online and found as many forums, message boards and blogs on Botox as I could.  Of course, the majority of what I found was quite negative - because really, who ever posts anything positive on those review boards?  It's usually people who have had a bad experience, that end up posting to warn others.  The logical part of me knows that, however the anxious part of me just can't stop reading, and in turn worrying about every little thing anyone has ever said!

The main things that concerned me were the stories I read about patients ending up with droopy eyelids, and/or being unable to lift their head after treatment.  There were also a couple of reviews that mentioned patients feeling worse, pain-wise, after the Botox.

I cannot even explain how terrified I have been over this whole thing!  I've laughed and joked around with friends and family about it - but I have also locked myself away and cried many times, purely because of the anxiety I've been feeling.  It may sound silly to most people, but anyone who suffers anxiety will be able to imagine exactly how stressed this has made me.

I decided the best way to go about it, was just to do it regardless of what may or may not come about.  I figured if I didn't go ahead with the treatment, I would always be wondering if this could have been the one thing that could actually have given me some relief!  So I opted to go to my appointment, ask every question I possibly could to the doctor about my concerns, and pray that he'd be able to set my mind at ease.

Image by Sarah G... used under Creative Commons license.

When I asked my doctor about the drooping eyelids and neck etc., he told me that he had experienced three to four cases of this happening, out of around two hundred.  He said it was very rare, but of course these things can happen, and I was required to sign a consent form before receiving the injections.

After discussing my recent MRI, different medications and possible side effects etc., I was asked to lay down for the first few needles.  Luckily, my fiancee had made sure he could be there with me, as he knew how terrified I was - so he held my hand while the doctor went ahead and started injecting my forehead.  I'm not going to lie - it hurt!  The needles themselves were not so bad, but the Botox really has a sting to it as it goes under the skin.  The stinging seems to last for a while afterwards also.  But the pain is bearable - and let's face it, the majority of people who undergo this treatment, are people who suffer chronic pain, so our tolerance is already reasonably high for the most part.

Once the facial injections were done, I was asked to sit in a chair and pull all of my hair up into a high pony tail.  Then the doctor started with the injections to the neck, head and shoulders.  There are thirty two injections in total for each session.  Ouch!

I felt quite tender, and a little bit sore in some spots for a day or so after the treatment, but not as badly as I was expecting.

It has been just over a week now, and so far I haven't felt any relief.  After about three days, I noticed that the skin on my forehead was feeling a little bit tight - nothing major, but enough to notice.  Also, I can't raise my left eyebrow, which feels quite strange and has made me a little self-conscious.  But apart from that, no bad side effects so far.  My head has been extremely sore though, but I'm unsure as to whether that has something to do with the Botox, or if it's just coincidence that it's been particularly bad this past week.

So, overall, this is where I stand a week after my first treatment:

  • No pain relief as yet, and pain is currently very bad
  • Slight tightness in forehead
  • Unable to raise left eyebrow
  • Neck is a little stiff and a little bit more sore than usual

So, at this point I don't have anything positive to report, but I'm still crossing my fingers and toes!  People react very differently to this kind of treatment, and my doctor warned me that I may not see any results at all with the first treatment - whereas some patients feel some relief within only days.  I have to report back to the doctor after two weeks, with a detailed headache diary, and from there I will have another round of treatment in three months time.

Here's hoping I'll have some positive things to report in my next Botox Diary post!

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