How Botox Changed My Life with Chronic Migraines
I remember the exact day in April of 1994 when I experienced my very first migraine. I felt as though someone had taken to scraping every inch of my head with the tip of a butcher knife. I remember thinking, “I’m dying and I’m only 20 years old.” Little did I know that horrible feeling would be a constant presence in my life for the next two decades.
At first, I could easily take the edge off the pain by taking over the counter (OTC) medications. Unfortunately, when you take any medication too often, your body’s response begins to lessen, eventually to the point of ineffectiveness. That leads to taking prescription medication and it too, has its own issues - from various side effects to gradual ineffectiveness.
For those who have never suffered from a migraine episode, it’s really difficult to understand what migraine sufferers go through. Here are some interesting facts about migraines you may not have known. Based on the Migraine Research Foundation:
Migraines are the 6th most disabling illness in the world (more than 1 billion suffer)
Every 10 seconds in the US, someone is taken to the ER for head pain
Over 4 million people (including myself) suffer from chronic daily migraine
More than 90% of suffers are unable to work or function in daily activities
A huge misconception is that a migraine is a headache with far more intensity. Um, no, it’s not. Folks, migraines are viewed by some doctors as a genetic neurological disorder. Sometimes the pain is so intense that you actually vomit. There have been times when I’m in the grocery store then suddenly lose all peripheral vision within moments and have to stop where I am because I can’t see. After the panic of sudden vision loss ceases, it then becomes a race against the clock for me to get myself home to the heavy meds locked in the safe to take at the onset of the migraine and pray that I caught it in time. If I don’t catch it in time, it turns into a 2 sometimes 3 day event for me.
I am not a physician, nor do I claim to be an expert on anything migraine related, but after twenty plus years of suffering, I finally decided to consult with a neurologist as a dear friend of mine said visiting hers made a world of a difference.
I had no idea what to expect, but after a lengthy “interview” and discovery process, the neurologist determined I would be an ideal candidate for Botox Treatments. Botox? Um, I’m all for looking young, etc, but I wasn’t sure how I felt with voluntarily messing with my face by injecting something into it. More importantly, I wasn’t sure how much it was going to cost and if Insurance would cover any of it as Botox is considered cosmetic and voluntary.
Once our insurance company gave the thumbs up, the first treatment (especially if your deductible isn’t met yet) is pretty pricey. After consulting with John, we decided it was worth a shot.
The day of my appointment, I woke up really nervous. I had no idea what to expect. I had never had Botox done on my face for aesthetic reasons, so this was all new to me. Well, Mrs. “I have a high pain tolerance” almost hyperventilated. Those needles did not feel good at all! And they poked me from my temples to my forehead, all around my head, down my neck and my shoulders. It seemed to take hours, but in reality, it didn’t even last 2 whole minutes. So much for being a tough migraine suffer.
I was told I may not notice a difference after the first treatment although some say they do.
Well, the first thing I notice the next day when I woke up was I didn’t have a dull nagging throb in my head like I did most mornings. It was truly a foreign feeling to me. Then the day after, I woke up feeling the same way - with no throbbing. Then the following day and so forth. I went almost 10 weeks without even the dullest of headaches. It was a clear game changer for me. I was actually able to enjoy my life without having to worry about getting a migraine. I am now in my third year of Botox treatments and I STILL nearly hyperventilate every single time they administer it. I will tell you, I have learned to find discount coupons, rebates, etc. to help offset the cost for that first treatment of the year before our deductible is met as it is expensive and not something everyone can a) qualify as a candidate for or b) afford to do.
For those who would like to explore their options with Botox, I am including a link for more information: BOTOX FOR MIGRAINES
For those who may not be a candidate for Botox but would like to learn more about dealing with migraines, I have included a link as well: TIPS FOR MIGRAINES
Obviously, as mentioned before, I am not a physician in any way, but am only sharing my journey with you. Hoping this post has given you some insight.
If you have questions about my experience, feel free to leave me a comment or question.