“I assume you have the Botox?” the secretary asked.
My heart jumped into my throat. Already my anxiety level had been high. I had been told to expect that the treatment would be painful and possibly cause a vicious migraine after the treatment. So I had cleared my schedule and found someone to care for Ty so my Mom could drive me to the appointment just in case I couldn’t drive home.
“I didn’t know I had to bring the Botox,” I said as calmly as I could. Meanwhile my mind was racing. I had gotten paperwork from the migraine clinic when I left. Had I missed the part about bringing the Botox with me? Was this all my fault?
“Well,” said the secretary impatiently, “clearly we won’t be able to do the treatment today but I’ll talk to the doctor.”
I sank down into a chair in the waiting area and frantically pulled up all the emails and information from the clinic and the neurologist’s office. No prescription for Botox! I went back to the window and showed the secretary but she was unmoved. I sank back down into the chair devastated and cried.
The idea of using Botox as a preventative therapy for my migraines had been around for awhile. I knew a friend who had success with the treatment. When I first met with Dr Walker at the hospital, he was very confident Botox could help me but wanted to finish the course of drugs we were on first. When the preventative drugs failed, Botox was recommended but they weren’t sure how soon they could get me in. When I received the call that I could begin Botox in March, I was elated. I mean, who doesn’t want 31 shots to the head!?
All my hopes centered on the Botox. “If only the Botox works, Spring Break will be easier...” I tried to keep my expectations realistic. Even though the doctors were aiming for higher, I would be content with 50% improvement. “If only I can just hold on until the treatment, I might finally get some relief..”
The secretary returned from talking to the doctor and her demeanor had changed. When I saw Dr. Medvedev he explained that I was the first patient that had come over from the migraine clinic and they were still ironing out the process. That was why I hadn’t been told to bring the Botox. He assured me that he would do the procedure anyway. The procedure itself wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. All that was left was to wait 10-14 days for us to know if this round would work. In the meantime, I had a very smooth brow and I couldn’t arch my eyebrows properly!
It was in the wait time, I started to realize how I was putting too much trust in the treatment to work. The mere possibility that the treatment might have been delayed brought me to tears. As the days passed and my migraines were the same, I had to consider, what would happen if the treatment did not work? I’d put so much hope and energy into this solution but it might still let me down.
Is there something in your life you are straining towards to make life better? A relationship to mend? A change of job or finances? A new doctor or a new treatment? What happens if that one thing doesn’t work? What then?
On Day 10, the first day the treatment could take effect, I realized I couldn’t keep going like this. I had to find a way to be okay whether this treatment worked or not. I started reading in Philippians when Paul is prison and with the very real possibility that his life really might end. He says,
“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:18-26.
Paul’s eager expectation and hope did not rest on which way his life would go. He was at peace with either option so long as people would see Christ in Him. He wasn’t even sure which option he preferred! So I asked myself, “What if God can be exalted more through my illness at this time? Can I live with that?” If I’m honest, I would say that unlike Paul, I still have a preference. I know I would choose health over illness. Even though the first round hasn’t worked, I will try a higher dosage of Botox in June. I am also seeing a kinesiologist to work on my neck and shoulders. But if God can accomplish something in and through my migraines in the meantime, then I can accept that. God is still God whether I am healed or not. He gives me enough strength for every day. He is faithful and reliable. Unlike a treatment, He never lets me down.