At the ripe age of 28 I had my first Botox injection experience. Terrified and excited all at the same time, I walked through the doors of the local plastic surgeon’s office. I had been referred to his office by one of my good friends – and despite my desire to walk right back out of the office and never look back, I started to fill out the paperwork in their posh, sexy waiting room. As a newcomer and one of the younger patients waiting to be called into the back office, I felt guilty and a little vain meeting the surgeon and the nurse injector to complain about my subtle forehead lines. But a little context to how I got there may help to understand I was there for all the right reasons.
Years of sun damage and too much money spent at the tanning salon (yes, I know it’s wrong!) I have found myself waiting on people who will help me correct all the damage I’ve done – how did this happen? I thought I was “too young” to start seeing lines left in my forehead when I smiled for photos. My descent into a slight obsession towards fixing these lines all started when my friend from college was looking particularly “smooth” one day. Her forehead wasn’t shiny but without imperfections, and my curiosity got the best of me. I asked her if she started using a new lotion or makeup (we both love to spend our hard-earned money at Sephora – a hobby in which we continually get disappointed by products that have flashy labels and outrageous, youth-generating claims). She simply said that she didn’t need any fancy anti-aging creams anymore (that wouldn’t work) because she had Botox injections done two weeks prior. She was so matter of fact about the treatment that I had little to say in response other than the fact that it looked great – then the wheels started turning. I researched into Botox and the world of “neurotoxins” that temporarily paralyze muscles. It all sounds really scary, but as I read more the paralysis that is caused IS temporary – for most 3-4 months – and it has been studied extensively. Botox side effects are well known based on my Google searches and are relatively uncommon comparing other people’s journeys online through their blogs or video blogs. I even suppressed my fear of needles and gore to watch a few videos of doctors and nurses performing Botox injections, and was surprised at how simple it seemed. I began to remember, as I continued my online research, TV and magazine ads that talked about Botox for migraines and Botox for overactive bladder. It was all coming together that Botox and other neurotoxins may actually be safe, and with the help of my friend’s bravery, no longer taboo. Recalling my research and completing my medical forms, before I knew it I was called into the back office to start my journey.
In the comfortable exam room with subtle 90’s pop music playing in the background, the nurse injector with perfect skin came into the room and began her questioning. I admitted to all the skin mistakes I’ve made in the past and the things I’ve tried, finally honing into my main concern: forehead lines. She was attentive, responsive, and warm – I was instantly comfortable. She explained everything she was going to do, the risks of Botox, what to do before and after the procedure, and reviewed cost. The surgeon then came in the room, I think to confirm what she was going to perform on me, and he too was kind and exhibited his utmost confidence in his nurse. Knowing I would have to spend between $600 and $700, I was ready to move forward at that time, and she even mentioned that my friend (who referred me) would be receiving some sort of credit towards her next procedure (how nice!?).
As the nurse began to prepare her tray of equipment she first applied a clear ointment (some sort of numbing material, she explained). She asked about what I did and small details about my life to make me even more comfortable as I saw the items being placed elegantly one by one on the paper-covered tray. I watched intently then she made the motion to put on her gloves and reach for wipes to clear away the numbing ointment. The wiping felt somewhat weird – different than what I would have expected – and that must have been because my forehead was numb. How cool! She used an alcohol wipe to clean the area and took out a colored pencil (probably medical grade?) to mark specific areas on my face that she stated would be the areas where she would inject the Botox. Within minutes the injections were over with only a slight pinching sensation each time and I was done. What I remembered from my research was that I wouldn’t see it right away, rather I would have small raised bumps for a couple of hours where she injected – and that was in fact what happened. She handed me a small ice pack and smiled warmly when she led me to the check-out area for payment and follow-up.
I made an appointment with the nurse again for 4 months out, hoping that this would be as successful in ridding me of my wrinkles as I had hoped. About 5 days later, it seemed like all at once, I was driving and felt a peculiar sensation of force acting against my eyebrows. I was squinting (because I always forget to wear my sunglasses) and it just felt different, so I looked into the rearview mirror and noticed my eyebrows weren’t moving together like they usually do creating the wrinkles between my brows. This was it! It started working! All I could think was how scary it felt but how amazing that it actually worked!
Days had gone by with less and less foundation being used and more and more pep in my step, and my first big night out was with my friend. I wanted to see if she would notice before I said anything, but I couldn’t contain my excitement and blurted out across the street as we met each other at the restaurant’s front door, “I got Botox!”. She and I hugged, we looked at one another, and knew from then on we were both hooked and loved the way we felt.