Not long ago, my two daughters and I had some photos taken. And while I loved some of them, I noticed some things about my face that I really didn’t like. I looked so tired and drawn, like my face was “falling.” A lot of it was simply age (hey, I am 47 and counting), stress and life. But it also had a lot to do with the medications I take as my ongoing maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer (I am in remission, hooray!). One medication is Dexamethasone (or Dex), a steroid. For some, Dex causes “moon face,” which makes one look swollen and puffy. For others, it causes muscle and fat loss. For me, I’ve lost fat tissue in my face (and everywhere else!), which makes me have that “tired” and “drawn” look.
A face life was far too invasive and drastic. Looking for a quicker fix, I researched Botox, which seemed relatively simple and, in comparison, cheap. So several weeks ago, I asked my oncologist if I could finally Botox. I actually tried to do this two years ago but I had just completed two back-to-back stem cell transplants for my cancer. With a brand new immune system, my doctor said that my body wouldn’t be able to process it so the answer was no. But this time around, he said yes!
I had a friend who did Botox every four months and I got a reference for Michelle in Salt Lake City (www.botoxbymichelle.com 801-792-0424) and off I went. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I didn’t get nervous at all until I arrived. Once I did, I thought, “Wait a minute, I’m about to get poked by needles in my face with botulism! Oh.My.Gosh.” And then I reminded myself that after three years of cancer treatments, this had to be a cakewalk.
First, meeting my Botox nurse was awesome. Michelle, like me, is a divorced single mom raising two sons. We are just a few years apart in age, and I felt like she was my kindred spirit. We chatted as much as our 30-minute appointment would allow and I feel like I’ve just met a new great friend. Plus her studio was peaceful, fresh and beautiful, a very nice place to be.
Second, Michelle is beautiful, but not in an “overly processed” way. I asked her what she does to look that amazing and she said a little of everything. Well, sign me up, I thought. After all the medications, abuse, and stress I’ve endured, I need help. But I wanted to ensure she wouldn’t go overboard. I wanted the results to be subtle and natural. After a chat, we decided to inject just my forehead. Freezing up the muscles in my forehead would help lift my eyes without making me look frozen. (A little side note: What I got was similar to Botox but is actually incobotulinumtoxinA, which is supposed to be a better product).
Third, the process was quick and relatively painless. It wasn’t as relaxing as getting a facial or massage but it was far less painful than a Brazilian Wax! Michelle cleaned up the area where she was going to work, took out a vial attached to a tiny thin needle, and poked me several times. I can’t say I loved it but on a scale of pain being 10 (my Brazilian Wax) to 0 (a pedi), I give it a 2. All done.
Michelle told me that it would take a day to take full effect. We also talked about other things I could potentially add another time– like fillers around my cheeks to help replace some of the fat I lost from the Dex medication.
A day later, wow, what a difference! I purposely didn’t tell anyone that I had any work done. The next night, we were playing board games with my parents and my dad said, “Wow! You look so awake tonight.” Then the real quizzing began. I needed to know if he thought I looked weird. He didn’t know what I was talking about. I finally confessed that I had Botox done the day prior. He was horrified. Why would I do something so vain? To anyone who asks me that question, if you put on any makeup or color your hair, well, then we’ve all got some vanity going. And if I feel a bit more confident, then that is a choice I don’t regret. After the chat with my dad, I went to my true critic– my 14 year old daughter, Morgan. I asked her if I looked different. She stared at me for a long time and shrugged. “I got Botox!” I told her. “You did?” She looked at me closer and smiled. “I can’t believe you did that! But you actually look nice.”
It’s been several weeks now and I love my new look. I plan to get refreshers every four to five months. When I try to scrunch my forehead or chin, that area does feel paralyzed a bit. I sort of enjoy the tight feeling and think I will miss it when it starts to ebb. Otherwise, I don’t think about it much. I do feel more awake and refreshed when I look in the mirror and, yes, more confident. Was it worth the $550 price tag? Absolutely.
Now I need to decide if I will go for the fillers. If it’s subtle, perhaps. Ok, I confess- I already made my appointment for a few weeks out. I know that it’s hard not to get addicted to these treatments so I’ve promised myself that this is it.