Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Botox: 9 Days Later

It was nine days ago that I got my 19 injections of Botox for my second round of treatment. I find that  an amazingly long, and yet very short time, those nine days. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Last Monday, April 1st, I wrote a series of three blogs on how I'd had Botox back in December, what my story with it was like, and some phrases that were on my mind immediately after the injections. 

The last phrases that I wrote down were: 
This is only my second treatment, but so far the differences between this and last time that I've noticed are:
  • not as dramatic a drop in pain
  • injection spots more tender
I hit "Publish" on those phrases roughly four hours after my injections. Well, these two snippets of thought were going to be all too important when the fifth hour arrived with hellish pain. Each injection point burned and hurt. None of this soreness or tenderness.  No, instead it was as if barbed wire dipped in acid was wrapped around my skull on the circumference where the injections had been, and the acid was burning a path through my pierced scalp and into my skull. 
This was no migraine, I knew that. I stayed up rather late, waiting for the burning pain to dissipate, and when, it didn't, tried to sleep it off. Only I couldn't lie my head down because that made me start to feel as if I were going to pass out from the pain. I was up the majority of the night, and finally managed to catch 1.5 hours of uncomfortable sleep near dawn. That was it though, and when I woke, the burning pain was a  high 9/10 even though my migraine was only a 7/10. 

When it became obvious on Tuesday that the burning wasn't going away, I called Dr B, my neurologist who had given me the Botox, and let him know that something was drastically wrong with my reaction. Dr B called back remarkably quickly, and called in an Rx for a five day course of prednisone to shock my body back into sync. Well, the prednisone didn't help one whit and so he took me off of it on Thursday after only my fourth dose of ten. We basically decided to see if the burning was a temporary negative reaction to the Botox, and that I would begin to see improvement later in the week, but I didn't. 

I've been at an 8/10 - 9/10 burning headache for nine days now. Mind you, this is not migraine pain that I'm talking about right now. This burning pain is very different than a migraine, and I know this. I still have my constant migraine going on at the same time as this new reactionary headache, but the migraine's mostly been behaving itself at a mid to high 7/10. 

On Sunday, I ended up in the ER because of the still-acidic burning points. I had Dr B's recommendation of asking for a shot of Toradol, and I did receive that in my IV cocktail that evening. I was positively delighted when the headache, after a fast injecting of Fentanyl, dropped to a 7/10. However, that much relief lasted only 16 hours, and then I was back at a 9/10 on Monday. 

For right now, our hopes of getting a hold of this negative reaction to the Botox lies with my taking the maximum does of OTC Benadryl. Dr B put me on this protocol last night, so I'll give it a few days and then see how I'm reacting and whether I need to call Dr B back and ask for more help. As of now, I'm attempting to reserve judgement and am trying to think of only the Sunshine and Skittles parts of life. 

Whatever the results I have with the Benadryl protocol, I'm 99.98% sure that this negative a reaction to the Botox injections means that it is now off the table for future treatments. There is no way that I want to repeat this acidic burning on my skull every three months, and, yes, I'll put down the Skittles long enough to admit that this depresses me greatly, as I had such a wonderfully positive reaction to the exact same injections in December. I hate to think that those days of 5/10 migraines will become a thing of the past again so soon.

But right now, I'll just let tomorrow take care of itself.

Skittles and Sunshine, Gretchen. Focus on the Skittles.


  1. OMG, I'm so sorry you've reacted this way. I had a series of Botox for my migraines in Dec 2010 and all that hurt was the shots themselves-all 31 of them. I'm scheduled to get another treatment next Tuesday on April 16th and now after reading your post I'm scared and want to call it off. I hope you recover and get well soon. Sending you prayers.

    1. 31 shots? Wow! But on a more serious note, I'm only one case. My neurologist has many patients using the Botox treatment, and I'm only the second who's ever had a negative response. My body, and especially my brain, tend to overreact to *any* stimulation. So instead of just having a mild reaction, my body will go flying off the handle and lose control. It's just how my body works.
      I strongly recommend that you continue your treatments, especially if you've been getting them for so long, and they've been working. If you want, you could address your concerns with your doctor before the next round of injections, but I wouldn't think that you'd have a reaction like mine.
      I thank you for your prayers. I've gotten a prescription of oxycodone for short term pain relief, so I'm not suffering as much.

      Gretchen R.

  2. after 9 days really sometimes it broke out and sometimes it is good but most of the time if fails and do some damage to the skin. so hope for the best.

  3. I am having the same reaction and couldn't figure out why. I am also experiencing asthma, fortunately it is my allergy season so I am already taking an anti-histamine and it seems to be helping with the symptoms. I am down from feeling on fire the first day to smoldering the second. Thank you for sharing this, I have not found anyone else having this similar experience.


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