It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moms & Botox: What's the Deal? Or, Botox is Relatively PainLESS (and Botox Day is Like Christmas)

I've been meaning to post this since October when Tanis posted about Jumbly's botox appointment. She called the post The Steel-Toed Boots of Motherhood. I read it and thought about other moms that have written about botox, like Ellen and Kathryn. All three of their children have cerebral palsy, all three write about their children's botox appointments with angst, and I wonder why. I am somewhat flummoxed. I thought I wrote a post over a year ago, Botox Day: It's Like Christmas, but apparently I never did. OK, I don't know anything about Christmas (remember, I'm Jewish), but as my appointment gets near I start counting down the days.

In her next post Tanis writes that the day of the appointment was a soul crushing day for her. In 2009 Ellen wrote about being scared for Max. I don't know why Max's doctor puts him under general anesthesia for botox, I've never heard of that. I have heard of using conscious sedation for little children, like what was done with Ellie.

Kathryn thinks that people who think botox is not painful are out of their mind [look at the picture below, it's a teeny, tiny needle]. Jenni and I must be out of our minds then. Kathryn, have you ever had botox? How do you know? She seems to think that the pain produced from a botox shot is 100x worse then a tetanus shot. No, Kathryn, it's not. Tetanus shots are worse. To me, botox shots hurt about the same or less then a flu shot.

I understand that these kids are 7 and 8, and that when I first started getting botox regularly I was 20. I did have botox a few times when I was somewhat younger and unconscious, during surgery, but doing it that way makes it hard to determine whether improvements are from botox or surgery. I also had botox once when I was 18, although hardly any, I think just in my thighs and opted for the numbing cream.

I fully support the use of numbing cream, conscious sedation, distraction like bubbles or I Spy books, or sheer bribery like ice cream, money, or a trip to the toy store for little kids. I might suggest calling in a child life specialist. Getting upwards of 8 shots is a lot for a kid to take. I would have been a wreak at 7 and 8. But for the last five years I haven't opted for anything for pain management. Botox is my pain management. It's a g-d send. I just don't have the patience for EMLA. Having to wait for paratransit to take me to/from my appointment tries my patience enough. Waiting for Emla to kick in might put me over the edge.

OK, OK, I'm being rather misleading. Botox is injected all over my body every 6 months. I get it in 8 muscles, and because they are rather large muscles my physiatrist spreads the shots out and injects more then 1 spot. Of course I feel it. Of course, just like getting blood drawn or a flu shot, my natural CP reaction is that my whole body tenses up even before the needle even hits my flesh. Try telling someone with spastic CP to relax. It ain't happening.

Fortunately, I was told by Dr Gormley, of Gillette, that in the case of botox, tensing the area actually makes it easier for the physiatrist to find / access the correct muscle. Score one for spasticity! Of course it hurts when the needle is in my flesh, but as soon as it is out there is no longer any pain. It doesn't linger. I don't walk out of the hospital in pain. There is some very minor discomfort, but as my current physiatrist suggests, going for a walk afterwards not only helps work the botox into your muscles and helps it to take effect sooner, it also makes that discomfort go away sooner. What do you do if you can't walk? I don't know. Ask your physiatrist.

I always wonder why my doctor always has this look of guilt or something on her face when she is giving me botox. I'm sure the look on my face isn't pretty. I do always utter multiple OWWWs during the appointment. But I always wonder why she doesn't focus on the tremendous amount of pain that she is saving me. Or why she doesn't focus on the giant smile that I'm sure is plastered on my face most of the times she walks into the room. She's there to give me BOTOX! I'm a botox junky. Dr. Alter is one of my favorite people. She's totally got me strung out on the stuff :-)

She should hear the way I talk to other people anticipatorily about botox, with that smile on my face. Or maybe I should tell her that in the weeks leading up to "botox day" I go to bed thinking about botox the way most Christian kids think about Santa Claus (I think I have told her that actually). I'm sure little kids getting botox don't think of it this way, but I know of at least one other person my age (coincidentally a patient of Dr. Gormley) who looks forward to it, although I'm not sure if she looks forward to it as much as I do.

So I wonder why these moms look at botox with such angst, while I look at it as somewhat joyous in a way. Yes, I am injecting diluted botulism all over my body, almost from head to toe (from shoulder to calf), and yes, I'm fully aware that botulism in it's pure form is a lethal form of food poisoning, having done a report on it 8 years ago for 11th grade chemistry class. But the pain I otherwise have, especially from panic attacks, is unbearable. Although I'd like another option, I've rationalized the food poisoning. Why can't mothers?


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