Do not believe anyone who tells you you can *never* get botulism from a "cosmetic dose" of Botox. It's not true. I am sitting here typing this; I have botulism, and it is brutal. Having your face wrecked ( and it is wrecked) is one thing; having your entire nervous system, yes including your stomach and digestion, breathing, metabolism, cognitive abilities and sex hormones destroyed is something else again. This does happen, it has happened to me, and there is NO cure, and no medicine that will fix it. I will have to wait, potentially years, for my body to heal the damage on its own.
People like me show up in the ER. We don't know what's wrong. No one else knows what's wrong. It is possibly meningitis. The arms don't work, there is hemiparesis, the entire head is paralyzed and it is confusing at first to begin to realize the paralysis is descending. My paralysis went into my arms and took my hand and finger dexterity. I could not type or sit up for many weeks. It went into my psoas muscles, my spinal cord, and paralyzed my vagus nerve.
We're given medicine that is hugely contraindicated in a case of botulism because even if we wonder out loud if it could be the botox we'll be told no,that's impossible. Eventually we'll end up in the neurologist's office with dysautonomia, postural hypotension, tremors ( which will be named "anxiety" even though it's the effect of a strong neurotoxin), painful muscle spasms, migraines, occipital neuralgia, gastroparesis, bladder and bowel emptying issues, what feels like arthritis, vertigo, hearing loss, loss of taste, loss of smell, fasciculations, intractable angioedema, chronic kidney problems, and all the rest. Anxiety, racing heart, convulsions, double vision, strabismus. Wow, all the "side effects" listed on the tin that the doctor told you were impossible to contract via a botox injection.
The neurologist will treat the symptoms if possible. Some just have to be managed with careful living. There is no cure.
10 to 150 thousand dollars later, you will realize that no one can help you and they don't know why it happened and they don't know what is wrong. The person who injected you will insist, even though you are standing right there quite *evidently* partially paralyzed and poisoned like a rat in the web of a spider -- that "botox doesn't do that."
Botulism doesn't "just go away." People with systemic botulism poisoning take a year to five years to recover, but the damage to the body is so catastrophic and longlasting eventually it does not matter if you have recovered or not. There is no going back. It's very realistic to lose your job, your relationship, your savings and the entirety of your lifelong health to this toxin. Botox also has subclinical symptoms -- you know those "flu like symptoms?" It's botulism. Other things -- sudden hot flashes, night sweats, gastrointestinal dysmotility, sudden asthma...this is all systemic botox poising if you are getting injections. You'll go in for your top-up and call a week later, wondering if it's the poison that was just recently injected into you that is making you sick, and the "nurse" will tell you that is impossible.
No it isn't. But it will be way too late to do anything about it.
I am going to be sick for a long time. Maybe for the rest of my life. I hope that is not true, but it is absolutely possible, just like it's absolutely possible to be irreversibly poisoned from a cosmetic botox injection. The problem is that when the toxin goes systemic, it tricks you into thinking you are getting better only to present a relapse months later, and then months after that. Why is there a relapse? Because the toxin has damaged the CNS and as it is trying to make sense of its paralysis it keeps switching over functions to other neurons and then switching them back again when they seem functional. Pain is referred, symptoms are dormant and then start up again. All systems in the body are permanently weakened. So I, and people like me, will always be less functional, and chronically ill. It is a life cut short.
When your entire head is paralyzed all the cranial nerves are under enormous stress. In my case, the paralysis caused massive swelling at the back of my head and caused cerebellar damage. I still can not taste food. I still can not smell anything very well. I still can not hold my head erect for long periods of time.
I did not get the care I needed because there was no acknowledgement that such a thing could be possible.
I became chronically ill from a botox injection on September 28, 2014 after partial catastrophic flaccid paralysis. It is worse in a way than being murdered. I have been terrified, bedridden, in terrible pain, unable to work, unable to drive, unable to think or plan the future because there might not be a future, really, for me, that does not involve navigating a chronic illness. What has happened to me does not just go away. In fact, it will never go away.
Believe it. And believe it could happen to you.