Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Botox and Therapy

Well on the 14th I had my Botox injections. When the medical receptionist called with an appointment reminder, I told her I'd be there with bells on.

When something hurts you when you are already hurting, why get so excited about more pain? Mainly because I know that relief is coming. The idea of needles stuck in muscles and moved around; in and out, a little to the left or right until the most irritating static comes through a speaker on the EMG no one's idea of a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. It can take a couple of minutes to find the right spot and that's for one shot.

The whole time I'm practicing my Lamaze deep breathing to keep all my muscles from contracting. After all, it's in my best interest to make sure the neurologist hits the right muscles which are spastic. This go around we are up to 400 units. At over $100 an injection, I really need her to get it right. Otherwise I might as well flush cash down the drain.  It's $100 for just the medicine part. The EMG, supplies, and doctor's fees isn't included in that. One round of Botox injections cost $6,500 billed to my insurance company four times a year.

Once again. I'm thanking God for the cap on my maximum out of pocket expense on my medical insurance. It was one of the first things I double checked on our policy after Obamacare took effect. The only change I saw was our monthly rates increased. Surprise, surprise.

Anyhow, getting back to the injections...
Fifteen injections and a hour and half later, I thanked my doctor and told her it hurts so good. I laughed when I said it. She knew what I meant.

Although I read through the precautions and side effects each and every time before I sign the consent form for the injections, this time was different. Although it was on the sheets I signed, I had never to date experienced them.

I developed severe charlie horses in my leg at the injection site. The only position I could move my leg into to stop it was to lay flat on my back, elevating the leg and bending the leg to a 30° angle. I'd have to hold my leg in that position for 20 minutes, any shorter the cramp would come back. Now my sleep schedule is shot full of holes by giving my husband morphine every two hour, but this was ridiculous. Luckily this only lasted twenty-four hours.

The other thing was a low grade fever. Just high enough to make me feel achy and yucky.  Oh yeah, and hot. As if summer time temps and humidity in southeastern Georgia wasn't hot enough. Compound this with the fact, I'm allergic to aspirin, Tylenol, and Motrin you've got a thoroughly bad situation.

Before my stroke and my husband's health started its serious decline, I could soak in a cool tub to bring down a fever. Yes, I do have a walk-in tub I could use, but really don't have the time to soak long enough to bring down anything. I resorted to big chucks of ice and a basin of water to make cool compresses. When the basin was filled with water and before refilling it again, I would go into the tub and pour it over my head. No sense in wasting ice cold water. Eventually, my fever broke completely the next day. But before it did, I was miserable. No energy but having to do everything for myself and my husband. Achy to the point where it hurt to move any part of my body including my eyes. Of course having Fibromyalgia doesn't help either even though it is mostly controlled by medication..

But that only lasted through the weekend. Now the Botox is kicking in and I started therapy again. I'm as excited as a kid with a new puppy. By getting therapy just as the Botox is getting into my system good leaves us months to work with my arm before the spasticity kicks in unlike last go around with a couple of weeks before the spasticity kicks in.

I needed some hope and optimism in my life. I've had some pretty hard knocks as of late. It feels great to have something to look forward to instead of dread. Everybody needs a bright spot occasionally to restore and instill good in their life and this is mine. Not that I expect to regain the use of my arm in a few short weeks, I know that may still take years, but it is the possibility of  regaining the use that I can strive for. When I related to my neurologist about my hand opening in therapy she was genuinely surprised and excited for me. After all...

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Sorry about the side effects. But glad the shot and the therapy will be timed well with each other this time.

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