Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Botox, Grammy, really?

It's not what you think.  I'm not receiving botox injections to make me look ten years younger.  Hey, I earned this face, wrinkles and all, and I would never change its character. However, I do get botox injections every three months to temper a condition I've had for over twenty some years.  It's called cervical dystonia with tremor.  Without treatment, my head and neck would constantly pull to the right.  The muscles that control these areas would constantly contract involuntarily making it difficult for me to retain balance, concentrate, and perform even the simplest of daily activities.  There is a high level of pain involved as well.

With said treatment, all the involuntary contractions are eliminated and the pain is virtually non-existent.  Since the muscles are relaxed, some of the tremor is also gone.  Yet some remains.  My grandchildren often ask why I go like this... shaking their heads from side to side mimicing me. I tell them I always hear music and my head is simply keeping the beat. They find that to be an acceptable answer and think it's cool to have a grammy who hears things they don't! Of course, as they get older I will educate them about cervical dystonia, answer their questions as honestly as I can, and assure them that research is being done that will eventually find out the causes and cures for this ailment.

I searched for years to get answers to exactly what I was suffering from.  I went from doctor to doctor and none of them could explain what my condition was let alone offer any viable treatment.  Then I decided that I had to be my own advocate.  I went on the internet and researched until I found answers.  I ended up at the Cleveland Clinic where a fellow by the name of Dr. Benjamin Walters had been treating cervical dystonia with positive results.  That was five years ago.  I now receive my injections at UPMC in Pittsburgh.  Dr. Valerie Suski has taken over where Dr. Walters left off; she's just as capable and a lot closer to my home so that treatment is both effective and convenient.

Whatever ailments you may have or might be in your future, remember doctors are only human!  You know your body better than anyone.  You must become your own advocate!  Take the bull by the horns and change your own destiny.  I did.