Giving Botox a Try - Roseville, CA

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I start Botox injections tomorrow morning. I am...

I start Botox injections tomorrow morning. I am 49 years old, and have had migraines since I was 20 years old. I feel as if I've tried everything possible to alleviate these monsters. I get them 3 - 4 days per week. It is rare that a migraine lasts for just a few hours or even half a day. They generally last 24 hours, and often up to 3 or 4 days. I'm tired of supplements. I'm tired of medications. I'm tired of trips to the ER. I'm tired of life being interrupted. I also have lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. I need some relief! I am hoping and praying that this gives me some. I'm not afraid of needles, so I'm not too squeamish about that, but I am nervous about side effects. We'll see....

I will update very soon.

Today is Wednesday; I had the injections on Monday. Update

So far this hasn't been a terrible experience. I almost talked myself out of going when I read some of the very negative reviews the night before.

The day I received the injections (Monday), somewhere around 30 of them (I wish I would have asked exactly how many), I felt fine immediately afterwards. I went in with a slight migraine on the right side of my head, which is rare as I generally get them on the left side. The procedure had no impact on the migraine one way or the other. The RN, Sharon, was great. She is an RN in the Cosmetic Surgery Department, and that is why she was chosen to give these injections. She was very knowledgeable, pleasant, and patient. She answered all of my questions to my satisfaction, so I chose to go ahead with the injections. The injections hurt -- some like a bee sting, a couple of them a little more than that. The pain was most certainly not as bad as a migraine as some have said. I did receive a very small bruise next to my right eye - about 1/2" long, and 1/8" wide - very small. Sharon noticed it right away and applied pressure so it wouldn't get worse. It's really not too bad.

Fortunately, I am not squeamish or afraid of needles. I have to admit, it seemed like a lot of injections (though I was expecting that), and it made a weird crunching sound when the needle went in. So it was kind of gross. :)

Later that day, about 5 hours later, I felt VERY tired and a bit mild flu-like... similar to that feeling you get right before you realize you have a virus. The next day, Tuesday, I felt better, but the left side of my neck was sore and stiff. I figured it was probably because I had more injections on that side of my neck. This morning, Wednesday, my neck did not hurt, BUT my whole neck is VERY STIFF! It's not very stiff from side to side, only when I need to point my chin downward. It doesn't hurt, though, unless I really push it. I've been doing slow stretching exercises today for my neck and warm compresses. It does seem to help. Hopefully this will be better shortly. (I almost always get a headache from a sore or stiff neck, but not today.)

Hopefully, that is the worst of it. Sharon took time before the injections to find out about my migraines and was careful to inject the Botox only where I have pain, but also mindful of keeping the injections on my facial areas symmetrical. For instance, I mostly have pain on my left side, and down my neck on that side as well, but rarely ever past the bottom of my neck or into my shoulder. So she gave me more injections on that side of my neck and a little lower as well (same for my scalp/head), but she made them all equal on my face.

Here is a very interesting detail Sharon told me that I need to share, as some were complaining that the injections did not last the entire three months. She explained that they know they do not last that long. The injections cannot be given any sooner as our bodies would build up immunity against the Botox, and once that happens, it would not help at all. So we have to wait that three months for it to continue to be effective. She also encouraged me to come back for the next round even if this round didn't work 100%. She noted that with other patients the subsequent treatments seem to work better. She has been doing these injections for a number of years and has so far not seen any nightmarish adverse reactions. She says sees/hears mixed reactions as to the efficiency of the injections. Some say they have decreased migraines, some say they are more manageable, and some have only a rare migraine.

She of course gave me warnings about having trouble swallowing or trouble breathing -- this should be a 911 call. She told me I might feel a little flu-like within a couple days and I might notice a stiff neck as well. She told me to keep my head up for the first four hours, not to let my chin drop. Of course I followed all recommendations.

So far, so good. I will keep posting with my status until it's time for the next round.

The photo shows the small bruise next to my eye. The coloring on the rest of my eye is just a combination of bad bathroom lighting and a little eye shadow. The actual bruise is circled in red.

It's Been One Week Today

Well, it's been a full week. So far I am very happy.

The worst of it was the VERY stiff neck for three days. The day after the injections, the left side was sore and stiff, but the day after that my whole neck was so stiff I could actually feeling it pull in my lower back, and I couldn't put my chin down. I did some easy, slow stretching and applied heat which helped somewhat. The third day, it was back to just my left side being pretty stiff and a little sore. By the fourth day I was back to normal.

On the fourth day I noticed a small bruise on the inside corner of my left eyelid. I'm still not sure if it is related to the Botox or not, but my doctor told me to mention it to the nurse the next time. It's slightly sore, barely noticeable, and still there today.

So that was the worst of it. I would trade that for migraines any day.

What's great, and the best of all is that I have not had one single day of migraine since the injections. This has not been the case for YEARS -- so many that I can't even remember how many! I am THRILLED! Again, the minor discomfort up front is completely worth this! I am hopeful that this will continue to be the case for at least two months.

The funny part: My eyebrows have arched. What makes it funny is that I barely have any eyebrows anyway. It doesn't look bad, just different than before. I wish it would pull up my darn eyelids with them! :-)

It's been six weeks since the injections - much better!

Well, I've had 6 1/2 migraine days since the injections, and only one of them was a real doozy. The others were very minor, and all but one went away easily with my Imitrex nasal spray. The one that was pretty painful, well, it turns out I was also getting some kind of virus. I think this is excellent compared to 20 - 25 days of migraine in a month pre-Botox.
The downside was the neck pain I endured the first 3 weeks. It wasn't too bad at first, but by the end of the first week it was quite painful and tiring. My neck was very stiff and painful, especially at the base. If I didn't sit correctly, I could feel it pulling down into my back, and by about 8:00 p.m. I was DONE. My heating pad helped some, but as soon as I took it off it was right back to pain. At this point I was seriously reconsidering going back for my next round.
Now at six weeks, the pain and stiffness has considerably diminished. I still have some stiffness and not much pain at all. It is tolerable, and way better than a migraine.
I have also heard from some friends about their Botox experiences, and three of them all say that it all gets better with the subsequent rounds. So unless there are some major changes in the negative between now and when I'm supposed to go back, I will go back and see about even better results.

Oh - one more positive!

I almost forgot... my forehead is wrinkle free, my crow's feet are diminished, and (the funny part) my eyebrows are even raised!

Just had second round of injections

Well, the last two weeks of the first round were rough. I had a migraine about every other day at least. But the RN warned met his would happen, so I wasn't surprised. I just went back 4 days ago for my second round. I told her about the neck pain I had the first couple weeks, so we just didn't do any injections in my neck this time.

Other than the neck pain with the first round, I am pretty satisfied. I was averaging 4 migrain days per week prior to the injections. Post injections, it was more like 1 per week, and I also noticed that the migraines I got post injections resolved quicker with medication than before, and were less severe.

So, overall I am satisfied.
For-Shing Lui, M.D. / Kaiser Permanente

I have only seen Dr. Lui once. We had a very good, informative visit. He spent a lot of time with me talking about my medical history, assessing my migraine status and talking to me about Botox. He told me everything from the history of Botox, side effects, successes, etc. I had very few questions once he was done.

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