Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Bring on the Botox

Part of why I haven’t been writing much, part of what has me feeling particularly blue, is that I have been suffering from a particularly bad stretch of migraines. For the past few weeks, I’ve had migraines that have lasted for days on end. On a pain scale of 1-10, they rank at about a five: bad enough to make me feel miserable, but not bad enough to take a vicodin and go to bed. It’s gotten so bad that I wake up each day in fear of getting a migraine. And the slightest twinge over my right eye or pinch in the back of my neck makes me panic. I spend my days being careful not to do or eat any of the things that can trigger a migraine. It’s not a fun way to live.

A week ago, a four-day, middle-of-the-road migraine exploded into one where the pain went all the way to 11. It lasted for 36 hours and included bouts of vomiting and pain so bad that I considered having B take me to the ER in the middle of the night for stronger meds than what I had at the house. I spent two days in bed in a vicodin haze with an ice pack on my head. Once the migraine ended, I felt hung over for a full two days afterwards. It was awful.

I recently had an appointment with my very odd neurologist, and we discussed some preventative medications. Unfortunately, I’ve taken lots and have yet to find one that controls migraine without making me feel lousy in the process. There was the stuff that made me throw up lots. There was the stuff that lowered my blood pressure to the point that I couldn’t stand up without blacking out. There was the stuff that made me lose a dangerous amount of weight. There was the stuff that raised my heart rate so much that I couldn’t run. And then there was the stuff that made me gain tons of weight AND put me at risk for having babies with terrible birth defects.

So now I’m exploring having Botox injections again. Last year I went through two rounds of injections – one with four shots, one with six. Because using Botox for migraines was then considered an “off label” use of the stuff, my insurance wouldn’t pay for it. Each round of injections cost several hundred dollars, out of pocket. Unfortunately, I didn’t see enough of a benefit to justify the expense, and I didn’t go back for any more injections after the second round wore off.

Now, however, Botox for migraines has been approved by the FDA. They are for people who have at least 16 migraines a month lasting four hours or more. I can do that, easy peasy. The approved protocol calls for 31 injections to the forehead, scalp, back of the neck and jaw. You read that right – 31 shots.

It’s a sign of just how bad things have gotten, migraine-wise, that I am considering doing this, especially given my fear of needles.

My doctor’s office is in the process of confirming that insurance will cover the injections. And if they do (please dog, let them cover it), I will be making my appointment. With any luck, I’ll end up with a very smooth forehead and fewer migraines.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.


B in Austin said...

Fingers and toes.

ckh said...


And the verification word is Swoot.

Avril said...

I used botox only for excessive sweating. I was very lucky to find one of the best botox Toronto clinic where their best specialist took me and he did something that amazed me: I said I want this and that and before the real job he explained me everything about botox injections and about the side effects, how long this will last....everythingg. Needless to say the treatment was a success, but now I tell everyone who lucky I was to find such a good and dedicated doctor:)

Alexandra said...

I think you absolutely have to go with this.

I do get migraines. but only one every 10 days.

Still, a twinge anywhere sends me into a panic.

Because when they hit: I am worthless.

The vomiting and the pain and the disorientation and the inability to even open my eyes.

I CANNOT imagine 16 or more a month.

I canNOT.

Woman, you have to go for it and I pray it works.

THis is too much: 16 a month?


Just incredible.

Susan said...

I hope that the insurance meanies are nice on this one.

Baino said...

Yeh I hope they cover them. My daughter wants laser surgery on her eyes but it's not covered here since they consider it an experiental procedure, ridiculous. Whatever works Heather, whatever works.

Anna Lefler said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your migraines! As someone who requires hospitalization for a hangnail, I totally sympathize.

Here's hoping the Botox does the trick!



Holly said...

I had a migraine last week- the first one in four years- and it wiped me out for the entire day. So sorry you're going through this! Really hope this treatment works for you.

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