Botox. A name within cosmetic circles for erasing embarrassing wrinkles.
Embarrassing. A matter of opinion or perspective.
Opinion. This is mine–on Botox.
This past week I had a personal experience with Botox and my conclusion? I LOVE BOTOX.
Over a year ago, dystonia began to creep into my muscles–unwelcomed, I might add. My doctor began discussing the use of Botox.
Now, Botox was not created for Parkinson’s disease. Botox has been known and used for people who want to look younger by having it administered for the purpose of removing unwanted/embarrassing wrinkles. I don’t have that issue–wrinkles. Unwanted ones anyhow. I earned mine by either laughing with my kids or being concerned over them or squinting by enjoying the sunshine. I’m keeping them.
Botox is a poison. This I did not know. It is a trade name for the neurotoxic protein (toxic should tip you off regarding its potency) known as botulinum toxin. This toxin is produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria and is linked to food poisoning and yet, somehow, somewhere, at some time–in a faraway lab–some living animal was injected with this poison and came away looking years younger and voila – it was introduced into the cosmetic world to treat brow furrows, wrinkles, and facial creases. And in all fairness, it was also used to treat uncontrolled blinking and lazy eye. In addition, besides the use of Botox for cosmetic reasons, it has been used to treat cervical dystonia, writer’s cramp, and several other conditions that become a struggle to those wanting a pain free life.
Botox then, is used to relax the contraction of muscles by blocking nerve impulses. Since muscles can no longer contract, the wrinkles relax and soften.
As I said earlier, my doctor began talking about the use of Botox almost two years ago and when he first mentioned it, I was surprised. My experience with this poison was merely cosmetic and definitely not personal. I didn’t know it was sometimes used to treat dystonia. Until now.
I met with my MDS (movement disorder specialist) this past week and he had the injections ready (I did not know this was going to happen, although at my last visit in August he did elude to the possibility). Before administering the injections, I asked exactly how this worked, and he gave me basically the same information as the resources I consulted. Simply put, he said that the Botox works by blocking the neurons that tell the muscles to tighten up and make you miserable.
Taking residence in another exam room, my doctor inserted the needle for the first injection. Honestly, I thought there’d be one injection in the arm – you know- like a flu shot. I didn’t realize it’s administered at the direct spot of pain. That quickly explained why he had two needles. After about ten injections into my neck and shoulders, we went back to where my husband was waiting in another room. After about half an hour, my doctor asked if I could feel a difference yet. I answered in the affirmative, although I wasn’t sure if it really had. I wanted badly to believe it was so and did feel as if my neck muscles were a little ‘looser’.
The next day, we headed for home. On the way home, as my husband drove, I was looking out the passenger window and saw a Blue Heeler herding a flock of sheep out in a field. I turned my neck carefully to the right to watch him and was surprised it was so easy. For two years, I have increasingly been careful of how I turn my neck and my back and how I lift my right arm to reach the other side of my body because of the severe pain it causes due to the stiffness I experience.
There was no pain as I watched the dog do his job. There was some stiffness, but nothing like I was used to.
Now, let me tell you about this morning.
I got up as usual. The way most normal people (with PD) get up–slowly. You never quite know how you’ll feel or how fast to take the exit to the floor. I went into the bathroom and proceeded to have my shower and was amazed at how easily the joints in my shoulders were moving. I decided to try to move my right arm and see if I could reach over to my other shoulder. Yesterday and for at least the last six to nine months, I have not been able to barely lift my arm high, much less across my chest without severe pain and definitely not past that point. This morning–I could.
I stood there, thankful for my doctor’s wisdom, knowledge and experience. I stood there, thankful for a God who gave wisdom and direction to researchers who discover this stuff. And as I stood there, I was even thankful for the little wrinkle-free animal that showed positive results.
My doctor said that it should peak (the Botox) on the third day. This is day two. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s miracle will be. Cartwheels, maybe?