Thursday, December 3, 2015

Chronic Migraines

For over seven years I have suffered with chronic migraines. I have posted many blog posts in the passed about different methods of treatment. I have tried massages, physical therapy, chiropractor, Asian herbal and acupuncture methods, western medicine, and my latest has been Botox injections. Two years ago this time I stated with my first round and I was beyond nervous. I had heard so many amazing stories but with every good story comes a negative experience of story. 

I battled for awhile with medications and had some horrible side effects. I was on Topamax and that was one of the worst experiences. I briefly tried it when my migraines first started and had lost a ton of weight but didn't like the memory issues so I had stopped it to try other treatments. Years later my doctor suggested I try it one more time to see and he would slowly up my dosage. I started out on a low dose but before long I was having side effects. Started with a metal taste in my mouth, loss of appetite which is why so many lose weight while on it. Soda tastes flat and food has no flavor. The scariest stuff is the memory loss and confusion. I would forget where I was going when driving and even forgetting to pay for stuff while shopping at the store. My family noticed the changes as well and my husband told me I had to go off the medication so I went to my neurologist in tears explaining what had been going on and he slowly weaned me off the medication. Within a few days of being off the meds my migraines came back viscous. I would be laid up in bed sometimes for a couple of days unable to deal with bright light, sounds and being so nauseous I would be sick. 

My husband was talking to one of his coworkers who also suffered from migraines who told him about the Botox. I had read about it but never even thought about it because it was such an expensive treatment and wasn't sure my insurance would cover it. I was going to the ER some months twice a week for an injection and that would be after two days of suffering when I couldn't take it anymore. At the same time all this was going on I was battling with extreme fatigue, bloating, loss of feeling in my right side, tingling in my arms and legs, and other scary symptoms which led to a series of doctors appointments, scans, lab work and other tests. 

I finally went to my neurologist and asked about the Botox he wrote me a referral and my process of getting my insurance to cover it began. It wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be because I had tried for so many years so many different types of treatments which were all documented plus my amazing doctor called the insurance company himself urging them to allow me to try the Botox because it was really my last hope. I got approved and had my first appointment. I was scared because I hate needles and shots, it is a series of 32-36 injections to the face, head, neck and shoulders. I remember the pain being so hard that I was crying my first appointment then when I came home I was sore for days. I get my injections usually on a Tuesday. They do them every 90 days and some times I am okay within two days then sometimes it's 3-4 days of being sore before I can go back to my regular routine.  It is worth it. I will say that not every time is the same results. I have times when I make it almost the entire 90 days with a handful of normal headsches and maybe 2-3 migraines which is a life changer for me I use to get 2-3 migraines a week before the Botox. Other times I will get more or it wears off earlier which is what I am dealing with this go around. I have been having migraines for about a month and still have a couple weeks till my next batch of shots. 

I have shots here at home, it is similar to the Epi pen in looks but has immitrex. I also have a prescription for the medication they give chemo patients for nausea on the days I have a migraine because I end up super sick to my stomache. I can't even put into words how hard this is to deal with especially being a mother and having a job. I had to leave a few jobs because I was missing work often and felt bad, then have missed out on some of my kids school activities and their sports games or events due to the migraines. I have dragged myself out many times in pain feeling awful because I didn't want to miss out on their stuff. 

The Botox was a game or life changer for me. It has made things a lot easier and honestly is worth the pain of the shots and soreness for a day or two to be migraine free for pretty much 60-90 days. I don't have to take medication that makes me lose my memory or my mind. Many people think it has some type of beauty benefits because they relate Botox to being a cosmetic procedure but this style of shots does not have any effects on my face at all. I only get 6 shots on my face and the amount of the injections are way less than the cosmetic procedure doses. 

If you read some of my prior posts about the treatment I can report after 2 years it has been amazing for me and has really helped relieve my migraines. The occasional migraine that creeps in or the months the dosage doesn't seem to work as well as the other times, I have my injections for at home. Those seem to help a lot also but I am usually laid up for 1-2 hours after receiving the injections. I can not give myself the injection yet I have my husband or my mom do it because I am terrified of needles and afraid I would move before the needle popped out. 

I hope this helps anyone who is suffering with chronic migraines that may be considering trying the Botox treatment. Is it very important to first try several different treatments. I know my insurance company required the migraines to have been treated over several years and that I had tried multiple medications, therapies and diet changes before they would cover it. Also my doctor called the insurance company when they started reviewing my case to let them know how bad I had struggled and all the treatments I had tried out. Next make sure you find a good neurologist. I have spoken to a few people who have had the Botox done by plastic surgeons and other types of doctors, their stories were not so great. I also had a doctor who was in their internship inject me once and was in horrible pain for weeks after. My doctor is amazing, he does the injections so fast that you would never know it was 34 shots and he knows exactly were to go with the needle. He specializes in injections and migraines so he does this all day everyday. I have sent several people to him and they all have had amazing results. If you live in my area feel free to message me and I can give you his information, he is my life saver I always tell him every time I see him how much this treatment has helped me. I feel like I can live again without worrying what triggers my migraines, what I am eating and when the next terrible migraine is coming. 

Thank you for passing by and if you are suffering from chronic migraines, pain, fatigue, MS or any type of auto immune disorders don't ever feel alone. I know  how hard it can be and if you ever want to vent I am always here to listen or lend some advice. Life is short and it's crazy the things that can happen or hit you out of nowhere, I never even had headsches really before I had my second child then after she was born I started having the worst migraines ever. I still think it was a hormonal thing but now I really still don't know. 

Happy almost Friday and I know I am ready for the WEEKEND. Have a lovely weekend all XOXO


  1. I have been visiting Mississauga acupuncturist for some time. The staff is always very careful, very caring, and super professional. I went in for bursitis flare ups, and I haven't had one since starting. These people are very understanding.

    1. Red Strings,

      I love acupuncture it has helped me with a lot of different pains, illnesses and ailments. Thank you for commenting and sharing. I am happy that acupuncture has helped you. Have a great weekend xoxo