Sunday, November 1, 2015


Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can cause death by paralysis in both humans and animals.

So, the first person to have Botox administered therapeutically was probably pretty close in the dire level of desperate as the first person who ate raw oysters because they were hungry. Proving, yet again, people will do whatever they can to survive intact.

It took four years of constant pain following an automobile accident and brain surgery, as well as trying literally everything else, from exercise to acupuncture, to reach the point of not merely approving, but literally begging for, Botox injections. Four years to get the medical recommendations to line up with the insurance approval for this desperate attempt at reducing pain.

Multiple cc's and 31 varying injection sites, including my face, head, neck, back, and shoulder-blades, was difficult. (The injections directly into the scar tissue of my brain surgery incision site were rather beyond description.) 

Willingly enduring momentary pain in the hopes of achieving some semblance of longer term pain relief is something survivors face far too often.

Botox injections did not stop the pain, but they did change the pain. Botox moved it. Botox altered it. Occasionally lessening the sharp stabbing, but spreading a deep, exhausting, continuous, painful ache. (Possibly pain that was there from the time of the original damage, but overshadowed for the past few years by the more severe piercing pains.) 

In my case, secondary injections three months later, hold the rather elusive hope of medically expanding the pain relief by allowing the damaged muscles and nerves the chance to heal through paralysis, due to being unable to tense up in response to the constant pain which further damages them.

Pain is different for everyone and constant pain changes people. It massively alters how we interact with others, how we approach life, how we view ourselves, and how we imagine the future. It changes, and often destroys, our dreams. Pain can affect literally every choice we make in our lives. It drains the quality of our lives and is a crisis in itself. Pain causes a surreal level of desperation, which is lonely and isolating. 

Pain touches every part of who we are, how we are, why we are, and what we want. Suffering sucks.

We have to try. We need to do whatever we can to survive and heal. We have to fight for every avenue that might help. We must endure pain sometimes to feel less pain later. Even if that pain is multiple needles to the face.

Hang on tight. It is not an easy ride. It is traumatic. But, any dark route which has the chance, no matter how slight, to lead us into the light is worth the journey. We have to believe that.