28 June 2016

What's Your Poison?: Botox for Migraines

Head in Hands migraine chronic pain
This guy feels my pain

I have a longstanding history of chronic migraines.
Ruthless migraines.
They were the first symptom of my Lyme disease and unfortunately, they've stuck with me just like the Lyme disease has.

I have suffered from migraines since I was around 15 or 16 years old--but back then, I thought it was normal for everyone to have a headache every single day! Of course, my migraines were nowhere close to being as severe back then as they are now.

Several medications have helped here and there, but nothing seems to be the one.
I've found Imitrex to be a complete savior when one of those migraines comes around that just completely knocks you down. The only thing that would save you would be sleep, but the pain is so bad you can't sleep. In those cases, Imitrex pretty much saves the day.

If you suffer from migraines like I do, you know it's not "just a headache."
It can range somewhere in-between a feeling of being in that scene from Psycho to pulling an 18-wheeler truck from chains attached to your forehead. Yeah, I went there.

When you're in that much pain daily, you'll do almost whatever you can in your power to take the pain away. Right?!

My neurologist had actually suggested Botox a while back but I mildly brushed it off, thinking oral medications should and would work. Then I basically forgot about it--mostly because I just didn't think insurance would pay for it.

But on my most recent visit, as I came stumbling in with dark sunglasses covering my sickly face, about to vomit over anyone or everyone due to the massive migraine I was experiencing, she turned me again to the idea of Botox. This time, I couldn't say no. Especially when insurance decided they would pay. Even though you usually need to have Botox treatments 3-4 times a year, I would STILL take that over medicine that was barely even working 1-3x day!

When I first saw the eye doctor, he was pretty straightforward and thorough as to what would happen with the Botox procedure.
He even drew me out a little chart showing me where the Botox would be inserted. I don't know why, but I found this oddly reassuring before I went in for the procedure a few weeks later. I felt prepared. Like, "Yep. Gonna get some needles here. A few there. I'll be good." I guess it was because my eyes were going to be closed and for the most part, I'm so used to seeing  what's going on with a lot of my medical procedures. I know this was NOTHING compared to what I've gone through before, but when anything is near my eyeballs, it freaks me out a bit.

Now. You're probably wondering. DID IT HURT? 

To be honest, I figure it really depends on where exactly in your face you are getting the shots. For the most part, around my eyes and forehead, it just felt like someone tweezing my face. Some places were a little more painful...it wasn't quite like a bee sting...it was more like a fire ant bite.
The worst for me was around the arches of my eyebrows, actually. You know where you can press down on your eyebrows for sinus relief, and when you do, it really hurts but at the same time it feels really good? Yeah well this just really hurt.

So...what about relief, right??

It's been about a week, the time frame of which the eye doc said the Botox would probably kick in. A family member asked me the other day if it had been working and I started to tell them I didn't know yet, but then I realized I hadn't had a headache or a migraine the past two days. I have no idea if it's a coincidence or not yet, but I'm excited to see! Fingers crossed, I'll keep you all up-to-date on this journey of mine...

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