Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Posts tagged ‘Botox’

The Grass Is Always Greener

I do want Botox but not to make me look better.  I do want shoes to make me look great.

I remember going in for a Botox injection.  I was excited to see the results.  I knew there may be some reaction and slight pain around the injection site.  I understood the fact it may not give the results I was seeking.  I understood this, but as the saying goes “no pain no gain”.  Never in a million years had I thought I would be this willing let alone excited about a procedure to alter my body with a toxin.  I never knew how much I would look forward to the day I went in to have my first Botox shot.

Botox injection

Botox…I never thought I would get Botox because I do not believe in altering my face.  Yet, I had never known Botox had been proven to help stroke survivors.  I doubted it would work.  At first, I could not comprehend how tight muscles could be aided by something that could kill if it was given in incorrect dosages.  Botox shots were injected into two muscles in my stroke affected leg: the posterior tibialis muscle and my flexor digitorum longus.

We went directly home after the shots.  The possible reactions included weakness, drowsiness, flu-like symptoms and extreme tenderness.  I knew I did not want to be out walking around when all, or any, of those hit.  I was amazed when I woke up the next morning to find it had not only worked but worked beyond the expectations everyone had voiced.  I was ready to hit the malls or at least a shoe store.  I spent that morning dreaming about buying a pair of high-heeled boots that would go halfway up my legs and tie with straps.  I  never had boots like that nor wanted them, but suddenly I was in a mood of, “I have to get these boots NOW!”  The Botox had not only mentally altered my perception of my appearance, but it also made me feel that I was suddenly physically enhanced!

The shoes…. Before my stroke, I despised shoe shopping.  All I ever wanted to wear were my comfortable old shoes with the soles nearly worn out.  I never looked for anything more until I could no longer wear anything grander than these tennis shoes.  If I tried to walk in anything else now, I lose my balance with the first step and fall over.  Now I really want all sorts of crazy, wildly impractical shoes

It is said the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  Did you know this is a true statement?   It appears to be greener because when you are standing on your own lawn and looking down, the color of grass is distorted by the dark soil you are looking into.   When you look across the fence, you only see the blades of grass above the ground.  Therefore, you will not have the pure green color distorted into a lighter shade.  When I look at high heel shoes that bring together an elegant or sophisticated outfit, I do not remember the feeling of pinched toes or aching arches.  It is something other people own.  I see something I cannot have.  If I were able to wear stiletto heels, I would not want them just as I never wanted them before.

Sometime I need to step back and remind myself there was beauty in my Botox shot.  It was not a beauty that made me look younger; rather, it was beauty that took away pain and made a morning walk less challenging.  There is beauty in an old pair of comfortable tennis shoes.  It is not a beauty that compliments my summer sundress but a beauty that allows me to walk without twisting my ankle.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  I am now standing on the neighbor’s lawn I used to judge.  I used to feel strongly against the use of altering chemicals being injected into a body.  Botox made a positive change to my stroke-altered life.  I used to reject anything but the comfort my old, worn tennis shoes provided.  Now these shoes are the only ones I am able to wear, and I am left longing for the dress shoes I cannot have. I am now seeing life from the neighbor’s yard.  There are dark spots here I never noticed before. Yet, there are beauties I used to judge too harshly.  Yes, it is true grass is always greener on the other side of the fence regardless of what side you are currently standing on.

Botox: Beauty in Stroke Recovery

My Botox injection

I have spent years being appalled by the idea someone would choose to have themselves injected with toxins.  Ironically, I made a choice to do just that last week.  In light of continuing research with positive results in stroke patients and suggestions from doctors, it was my turn to be injected.  I had two shots of Botox put into my lower left leg this past week.  One shot went into the posterior tibialis muscle.  The other entered my flexor digitorum longus.

I received these shots from a neurologist at Loma Linda hospital in Murrieta, California.  That morning was filled with negative anticipation.  I had a lot of fear.  I feared more damage would be done to the stroke affected leg.  I had fear the muscle would become too weak, and I would not be able to walk out of the office independently.  I feared my hyperreflexia, overactive and overresponsive reflexes, would cause me to kick my leg up and dislodge the needle from the doctor’s hand.  I had fear the shot would not work as quickly as it had on previous stroke survivors.  Most of all, I had fear I would not notice any difference whatsoever.  Thankfully, within twenty-four hours after the shot I was able to note I had nothing to fear.

In my medical challenges, I have gained an immense amount of knowledge.  Like so many other individuals, life experiences have taught more and given me a deeper understanding than any school course I have ever taken.  For example, if I had ever heard someone say “we need to watch your tone”, I would have thought they were implying I was speaking rudely.  I now know they are referring to my spasticity.  I understand this is when my leg muscle, for me the posterior tibialis, is constantly contracting.  This is why my leg is often cramped.  I have trouble walking in the morning when I get out of bed.  This is why I have nearly fallen over every morning for seven and a half years as I take my first few steps.  I never before understood the flexor digitorum longus was a specific muscle near the back of my leg, nor did I know this muscle overworking was to blame for my toes constantly curling.  This caused difficulty walking in anything other than bare feet or tennis shoes.

My most recent lesson in stroke recovery was that Botox can allow these uncomfortable, sometimes painful, irritations to disappear at least temporarily!  I had hope for relief, but I never allowed myself to dream of how quick and how complete this relief would be.  The following morning after the shot I took one step.  I took a second step.  I waited and grabbed on to my dresser. I took a timid third step.  Nothing!  I let go and moved my leg around.  I could not believe it.  I walked down the hall and up again.  Down once more and again back to my room.  No pain or stiffness at all.  Not for seven and a half years had I been able to get out of bed and not experience a need to brace myself.  Later that day I put on a pair of dress shoes and did not feel discomfort when I began to walk.  I had feared a lot when I went in for that shot twenty-four hours before.  Maybe one thing I feared most was the unspoken fear to hope for amazing results.  It was these amazing results I woke with the next morning.

I never quite understood why someone would want to alter their appearance through an injection that had the potential to kill in a large dosage.  I have the mindset wrinkles are earned and a story is told by those lines upon our face.  An old proverb states, “Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul”.  I do not understand why someone would diminish that beauty with an injection of Botox.  In truth, I may never understand this elective surgery.  I did find though that something changed rapidly with my own choice for Botox.  The pain was gone with new morning’s light.  The simple tasks I could barely allow myself to hope for after eight years were now mine without effort.  No, I do not want my face altered or my aging process slowed; however, I am very grateful for the beauty pain free mornings have offered.  Botox has greatly improved my stroke recovery.  To me, that is beauty.

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