On the heels of such a terrible migraine and the Botox follow up I thought I would talk about what Botox is all about. Two years ago in February I got my first injections and I’ve had them every three months since.
They have always worked well for me, however, as time has passed the shots work better and better. I take two different medications for my migraines because Botox doesn’t make them all go away. I continue to get some occasionally and one of those medications I would routinely fill every six weeks. I filled it six weeks ago and I’ve barely touched it. I have a full bottle.
Here is a photo of my neurologist who has nearly perfect reviews. His name is Dr. Ravi Shah.
I know. It’s a terrible quality picture. He doesn’t have a professional photo, how weird is that? I think this was cut out of a office snapshot or something. Anyway…here he is. He’s very GQ. Funny, so is my Celiac specialist. Suppose that has anything to do with the amount of money I’m paying for their services?
He is as good as the reviews say. He’s nice, he listens, he’s friendly, he always tries to fix whatever the problem is, and he goes out of his way to make sure I have meds…even if they’re samples until he can get me hooked up with what works. I have no problem getting an appointment and when I do have a problem he fits me in to fix it (I’m expressive, occasionally the Botox would freeze my eyebrow in “hey Baby, how you doin’? mode).
His specialties are neurology and psychology.
Yeah..I know. I’m screwed. Pretty sure he’s got me figured out.
A little of my history. I’ve been getting migraines as long as I can remember. I remember having headaches when I was very little and my mom was always trying different things to figure out how to help me. I finally figured they were migraines when I was 18 and was in the emergency room. They told me my “headache” was a migraine. Once that diagnosis was made my life got easier…if you could say that. Right?
Things to know about Botox
- Botox does not help if you get episodic migraines or fewer than 15 migraines a month.
- If you’re going to try it, settle in to give it two or three tries. Mine worked well the first time but each time it got better and continues to improve.
- the cost is high. My insurance covers some of the cost so I am left with the cost of the actual vials which right now are about $600+ per vial. My doctor uses two vials on me. I also pay for my doctors visit which is $227 a visit. If my deductible is paid up then hey…this is no problem. If it’s nowhere near paid up then this comes out of either…
A: my health fund or:
B: my own sad little pocket
As you can imagine, my choice to do this was discussed with my husband at length and we processed the cost/how well does it do it’s job- factor at length and continue to review it every few visits.
- Botox (the brand name…) offers a Botox credit card that credits you BACK if you do the work. The work being paperwork. After I got my first treatment they gave me the paperwork. I signed up on the Botox website and filled out the information including uploading the last Botox treatment information. They sent me a credit card loaded with $240 on it that was “refunded”. I can use it on anything medical related. So the next treatment I can use it on the Botox or I can use it on the office visit or I can use it on another doctor’s visit. It just has to be medically related. I think right now I have nearly $500 on it. There is an expiration date of six months I think. They may have changed that with the new update.
- I see him every twelve weeks and as the time winds down my head reminds me it’s happening. As it wears of, I get more migraines. That twelve week cycle is very tight for me.
- I am still on Topiramate (generic forTopamax) as preventative medication and I also have Fiorinal and Cambia to actually treat any migraine I do get. He’s tried taking me off Topiramate and my migraines increase significantly enough that he’s leaving me on them for now. He did decrease the dosage (after the eye twitching episode a few months ago) but otherwise everything stays the same. I take 150mg a day. 50mg in the middle of the day and 100mg at night.
- The Botox for migraines is diluted before it’s injected. It’s injected in approximately 31 locations across the head and neck.In the photo on the left, my injections are way at the top near my hairline, not down so far. Because I’m pretty expressive, he dots two tiny little injections in the far edges of each eyebrow to keep me from flirting with people I don’t want to flirt with.The photo in the middle is pretty accurate though one of those injections is square in my temple, a prime spot for migraine pain.The third photo is also fairly accurate though the two injections at the bottom of the neck are much lower.
- Does it hurt? yes. It hurts me for sure. Here is my experience- the shots are short…like two seconds. Short bursts. They aren’t deep, they are just under the surface. But they burn and on my right side-oh my gosh. Like it’s startling sometimes and then I’ll just burst into tears. Because my migraines are 100% on the right side of my body, Dr Shah told me I would feel more pain on my right side for probably everything. That side would just be more sensitive. Well he isn’t kidding. I had noticed that before he told me and it couldn’t be clearer than when I’m getting these shots. They weren’t too bad the first time I got them but as time goes on they are more painful. I’m sure Dr. Shah loves to have me show up. I’ve passed out twice and I’ve nearly thrown up twice. I am a good time. For the record, I’m his only patient to do this. Also, he has offered me a scrip for Valium if that would help relax me before the shots but I have to drive after so I just deal with it. He has other patients who take it, I just choose not to. On a scale of one to ten, the left side hurts like a..4 maybe? The right side, depending on the situation, feels like a freakin’ 7 or an 8. Two seconds of a burning 8. Then he massages that spot to make sure the Botox disperses. The whole thing takes maybe ten minutes on a good day, twenty minutes if I have to stop.
Getting Botox on the same day you have a migraine is not a good idea. It might be best to reschedule as the pain is a lot to deal with. Totally.
- Side Effects: The nitty gritty.
1. Headache– I always thought this one was random. How would I know? #alreadythere
2 . Facial loss of movement– I don’t think so. The first time I got shots my eyebrows ventured out on their own and that’s when I went back and he fixed them. I didn’t look too weird, just always intrigued…LOL. But right now I’m scrunching up my forehead just fine.
3. Eyelid drooping – yep. my eyelids do seem to be a little droopier after 2.5 years. I’m also older. Good makeup? Lots of smiling… I can’t imagine getting it in other spots. Mine are so high on my hairline. Who knows what it would do to your face. 🙁
4. Lung inflammation– nope…but I’ve heard about it and it doesn’t sound fun.
5. Neck pain– neck pain being the most common complaint. 9% of the Botox test group complained of neck pain. I have never had this.
6. Muscle stiffness and weakness– how would I know? #thankyouceliac
7. Muscle pain and spasms – how would I know? #thankyouceliac
8. Pain at injection site – I have this for a few days after my shots and only in a few places. Sometimes I have small bruises in some of my injection sites but again, only a few.
9. High blood pressure– migraines are the only thing that raise my blood pressure. I still have low blood pressure.
- Who to see about Botox: I was sent to a neurologist in my care circle. I still researched him. This was not something I wanted to take a chance on. I wanted to make sure he was a neurologist with years of experience treating migraines. Not everybody can do this. Just because somebody does Botox doesn’t mean they can work with migraines. It’s a delicate specialty. Your corner Botox cosmetic aesthetician is not who you go to, even though it would probably be cheaper. And your general medical doctor is also not who you go to. You need a specialist and you want to make sure he has credentials. Do your research.
- Botox is totally worth it for me. I will continue with it as long as I have these great results.
Great sources for Botox