Saturday, May 1, 2010

Botox Part II: The Aftermath

Remember when I got Botox? Well, I decided to take daily notes of my side effects and pain levels so I'll be able to look back with a critical eye when the time comes to decide whether to try it again. Skip to the end if you aren't interested in the daily moanings of a migraineur, I won't be offended:

Day 1: Woke up this morning with a little tenderness at a few injection sites, but no noticeable changes yet. My head still hurts, so situation: normal.

Day 2: Oh, hello migraine, have you come to beat the living expletives out of me? I see you have! Also, my forehead is a little frozen. I caught sight of myself in the mirror while crying and I looked so odd. Probably not to someone who didn't know me, but my eyebrows usually go all crinkly when I'm upset and now they are largely unaffected by all attempts at scowling. My usual tender spots on my scalp are mostly pain free, which is really freaking cool. Unfortunately, my overall pain level is the same. 9.5 was the peak of the day.

Day 3: I am tired and achy all over. It's like a migraine hangover combined with the day after a serious workout and a touch of the flu. My neck is particularly sore, but I was warned about that, since the tensest muscles are now paralyzed, other muscles are compensating and they are really not used to the strain of holding up my massive head. Shoulder massages have never felt so good. My head was at an 8 at its worst today, which isn't unusual.

Day 4: Still sore, but less so. Bending and reaching are even more triggery than normal, and I am having more dizzy spells. But my pain is still about average, from a 3-7 out of 10, depending on my activities and mood. I'm taking it really easy, no bending, reaching or lifting that isn't necessary. Talking is more tiring than usual, too.

Day 5: My neck is still sore. My headache is totally normal, at a steady 4 in the morning, with spikes up to 8 every time I bend or reach, which I can't avoid anymore as the dishes and laundry are piling up. Moving too quickly is making me dizzy, but I get that as a migraine bonus/aura sometimes, so I don't know for sure what it's tied to. The tender spots on my scalp are coming back, particularly above my temples. My usual throb and ache on the back of my head is lower, and somewhat angrier. The standard thrum on the sides of my skull is milder overall, but the spikes are stabbing more sharply. I foolishly searched 'botox didn't work migraine' and got 38,300 results that are at best disheartening and worst, terrifying. I closed that window. Ice, theracane, medicate, repeat.

Day 6: More of the same. My head feels floppy. Like a poorly made marionette. Of all things.

Day 7: Today, any bending is impossible. My neck feels so weak, the muscles are exhausted.

Day 8: My daily head pain, migraines, and scalp pain are all pretty much back to pre-botox. My neck is still sub-functional, weak and stiff. Daily shoulder massages from my dexterously talented boyfriend are keeping me from going homicidal. Except now I have a cold, too, so lock up the sharps.

Day 9: The neck pain is worse, and it's a lot stiffer. I'm stretching every hour or so, not because I am diligent about my health but because if I don't, my neck scrinches itself up into a tight, tense rope of rock and that really. hurts. my head. I want to wash my hair, but it's currently impossible. This cold I've captured has rotten timing, I feel simply awful today. But at least it's not the flu. I'm watching a lot of Merlin on Youtube, as immobility is the key to happiness right now. And here's another ass-kicker of a migraine. Faaaaaabulous.

Day 10: Mild migraine, floppy head, sinus congestion that's making my ears pop. I feel like a bobble head. I'm ready for my neck to go back to normal now. Please. I'm going to start pmsing any second, too, so something's got to give. Or my head might finally explode.

Day 11: Same

Day 12: My neck feels a tiny bit stronger today. But I still cry whenever I empty the dishwasher. And now I'm coughing, so my head hurts and I have no idea what month it is, so I can't possibly form a coherent sentence about my pain level. I need more cold medicine. Or less.

Day 13: Feeling less sick today. Everything else is the same and I am frustrated.

Day 14: The cold is fading, and my neck feels a little stronger today. Short bursts of activity are tempered by long, extended, rest breaks with lots of pillows for head support. But I wore myself out anyway and am non-functional by midday. 8. If not for my continuing neck weakness, I'd never know I'd had Botox.

Day 15: Same.

Day 16: Small, but noticeable improvement in neck function today. And I have never been so grateful for anything ever.

Day 17: More small but noticeable improvement. For the first time since day two, I'm now able to bend without immediate pain.

Day 18: Bad migraine day overall. A wild guess says that the botox was totally ineffective. At least I tried.

Day 19: Another hard day. I'm just so tired. I need a low pain day so bad right now, I can hardly see straight. Yet my forehead remains unaffected and smooth. Creepy.

Day 20: Medium pain day. Better, but still not good.

Day 21: Three weeks after Botox injections, I finally feel like a person again. I'm able to do dishes and laundry without it ending in tears and I may actually go for that walk I've been daydreaming about.

So, it's back to normal, besides the lingering neck weakness. My head feels just like it did before the Botox. I've read that two treatments are recommended to confirm success or failure, but I'm not sure yet if I'm willing to put myself through this again. It depends on how desperate/optimistic I'm feeling in three to six months.


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Understand the desparation. I had an occipital nerve injection once that was supposed to help/last at least for two weeks. Lasted two HOURS, and didn't help anything. I was so sad.

I was hoping this was the ticket for you...sorry it didn't work out. Maybe you should see a headhunter, and get your skull shrunk to a more manageable size before you try again! Less neck wobblies! :)

Migrainista said...

This is very doctor keeps offering botox to me but I have lots of misgivings. A big one being the cost. I'm sorry it didn't work for you!