Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Considering Botox (Part 2)

This is a continuation from Considering Botox (Part 1).

APRIL 6, 2013

I found out that my insurance has approved me to try Botox for my chronic migraines (I believe once between now and the end of August). My doctor's office called and let me know that they've found out that the Botox should be covered completely by my insurance (NO deductible and NO co-pay... covered 100%, done in office)!

What an enormous blessing! Of course, insurance companies change their minds all the time, so hopefully they'll hold true to their claims. But, I trust that God will provide, when / as He moves us forward.

I'm still not sure if I'm quite ready to set an appointment to start the treatment. I'm doing my due diligence in researching and familiarizing myself with the treatment itself, as well as possible outcomes... perhaps over-researching...

I find myself hesitant for several reasons:
  • I HATE needles! I know "they're just small needles," but they're still needles! It's hard for me to imagine being calm through the treatment, even after taking some anti-anxiety meds.
  • I'm concerned about the possible side effects / reactions that might occur. I may be variably sensitive to the treatment aspects of a medicine, but I'm overly sensitive to the side effects. I think what frightens me most is that there can be horrible reactions, and there's not a whole lot that can be done. You can't flush the system of the medication, or just wait a matter of hours of days for the medication to wear off. It's in your system for months, and it can affect every part of your body.
  • [Let me preface this by saying that I'm aware that this is illogical and incorrect] There has always been some comfort knowing that I haven't tried / exhausted every possible treatment out there. I know that I haven't because there are numerous different combinations of treatments. But, it's been somewhat comforting (however illogical) knowing that I have not yet tried Botox as a treatment. It seems to have a higher chance of helping than trying to go back through and find a balance of medications and side effects that's agreeable.
  • I need to get my mind right. There's a fear of it working (but side effects being really bad) or of not working (and exhausting yet another potential treatment option). This can really mess with the mind, and I know that I need to have my mind in a better place, so that I can give it a fair chance of working.
So, I find myself waiting and wondering if I'll ever know that it's the right time for me to try Botox. Will it ever feel right? I felt that having my neuro-stimulator implanted was the right thing to do, and at the right time... but, it hasn't provided the relief I'd hoped for (and actually experienced during the trial).

Can I handle another failed treatment right now? I know that's a negative way to think about it, but I have to protect myself from getting blind-sided by another failure. The same must be asked about having a treatment be successful - am I in a place that I can accept and grasp on to a treatment that provides relief? I know this may sound ridiculous to some people, but it's something that people with chronic pain really do deal with.

I was looking back to see how I was thinking and feeling prior to getting my neuro-stimulator implanted, and I came across something that I wrote. It fits NOW as much as it did THEN (primarily, the first link below)!
This post was written as part of the Health Activist Writer's Awareness Challenge (HAWMC).


  1. I felt many of the things you are feeling when I decided to try it. The first three times, the only side effect I had was a sore head from the injections for awhile. Injections #1 & #2 did give me some relief that was noticeable. It took awhile to kick in, gave me relief, then I had pain again while I waited the mandated 3 months for the next injection. Injection set #3 gave me the most relief. I was able to go visit friends, though not far from home, even a short drive was an accomplishment. #4 in December seemed to give me the most side effects. I had hot flashes and was really sick to my stomach for a day. I'm not SURE it was from that, but I'm pretty sure. I did not get any relief from that set looking back.
    That said, it was worth a try to me because of the possibility of getting relief. Similar to trying the numerous preventives that made me sick. I would say the side effects of Botox were WAY more bearable than the pills I have tried. It does hurt to get the injections, but what made a huge difference (tried it with and without) was a pretty hefty dose of anti-anxiety meds about 2 hours before injections. I know you suffer frequent, intense pain like I do, and I can say it was bearable compared to what I go through on a daily basis.
    Ultimately, you have to decide what you feel ok about and what you don't. I had bad diarrhea before the first time because I was petrified, and that was with 1mg of Ativan, but the pain wasn't as bad as the fear.
    I also felt the same way about my surgery because it scared me to death and the what-ifs of it not working after going through all of that. I am glad I did it, even though it wasn't a miracle cure. I'm thankful for the days I do have some relief. Will be praying God guides you to the right decision and gives you peace one way or another. Don't let fear be what stops you because it may bring you great relief from pain.

    1. Heather, thank you for being so open about your experiences with Botox. I feel glad I did the surgery for my neurostimulator, even though it hasn't provided the expected relief. I think the fear with the Botox is a lot because I'll be awake during the injections. But, you're sooo right, I shouldn't let fear be what stops me! Thanks, hun.

  2. I understand entirely why this is such a difficult decision.

    If you ask, I think most clinics will provide a topical anaesthetic cream at the places where the injections are given. It may help reduce the slight sting as the needle enters.

    I've also seen practitioners who use ice to numb the area and then immediately inject in that spot.

    It has also helped me that the doctor who gives me my treatments is very personable and chats during the procedure. She belongs to my denomination, so mostly we talk church. It makes the time pass and before I know it - we're done!

    I'll be thinking of you and praying as you make this tough decision.

    1. Sue, thanks for the recommendations. I'll talk to my doctor about them. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

  3. I wish you God's peace in your decision to have or have not. I suffered from chronic migraines for almost 25 years, and I tried every medication offered, did chiropractic, acupuncture, had my palate adjusted, did alternative medicine treatments, physical therapy and Botox. It was years ago when Neurologists were just beginning to try it on their patients and insurance did not pay. All this to say it could be very different today, but then it was no big deal, not painful but like a quick sting each time. The only thing I will mention is to expect the injections in the back of your neck to feel very different than those on your face! My doctor failed to warn me and the unexpected quick ouch made me jump a little! Dealing with migraine disease is far worse than trying Botox, so I hope this helps if you decide to do it. Blessings.

    1. Valerie, thank you for sharing part of your experience. Especially to expect the injections to e different. I'll probably have to try to be very mindful to not be jumpy.

  4. Hi Jamie, I have had several sessions of botox injections and initially I didn't feel much relief but then I went to a different doctor. She was wonderful! He gave me ice and topical anaesthetic and that really made a world of difference. This doctor believes in taking the holistic healing in things and explained that botox is actually a very "clean" drug. Whatever side effects you would have would disappear in 3 months. I have mentioned before how I was going to the Ontario Migraine clinic and guess what....I've been migraine free for 5 weeks!!! It is nothing short of a miracle. I have spoken to the ladies that are getting treatment there and they have been suffering with migraines every day for 15 yrs and are finding relief. I would tell anyone who can get the treatment to do it because it definately worked for me and I know it will work for others. I really hope Jamie that the botox will work for you and you will find what works for you to become pain free. May God bless you!

    1. Margaret, I'm so very happy that you've been migraine free for so long. That's amazing! I'm so happy for you, and I thank your for sharing with me.

    2. Hello! I had my stimulator implanted last October and have been having chronic migraines again the past couple of months. I am on day 7 in a row today. I was wondering if it was possible to receive Botox with the stimulator in place. Did your surgeon give the ok?

    3. Tara, I'm so sorry that it's taken me so long to respond to your comment. I truly apologize.

      My surgeon and I spoke a while back, and he said that I was okay to get Botox injections (or acupuncture, etc) - just to make sure that the doctor doing the injections knows that I have the neurostimulator, where the wires are, and that they can call and speak with my surgeon if they need confirmation or further information before doing them.

      I hope you're feeling better than when you posted. I'm sorry that your stimulator isn't offering the relief you need. I know how that goes. I would definitely recommend you speak with your doctor / surgeon about the possibility of Botox, if that's a treatment you're a seriously considering.

      If you have anything else I can answer or help with, please let me know. I'll do better to be more timely. :-)



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