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My Botox Nightmare

Oh, the lessons I've learned.

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Tara Jacoby
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Around any holiday — and any time for that matter — people want to look good. They want a complete refresh and maybe someone to say, “You look better this year than you did before.”

With that in mind, I took a trip to my local spa for a little Botox and whatever else I could find. I realize at my age, it’s a fight I can’t win, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I’m a complete cockeyed optimist when it comes to Botox — a true believer. Up until recently, I could say that. I truly never had any problems with Botox, but then fate decided it would give me two black eyes for Christmas. Not even one black eye I could cover with makeup, but two. Since my husband does not share my love of Botox or its price, I have never told him when I go for my little refreshers. I just come back happy and hopefully feeling better. He never asks. He just knows there are certain things I really need. Botox is my secret lover. This time, I couldn’t even pretend that my appointment was medicinal. I had two black eyes. He noticed.

The pretty, well-put-together woman doing the Botox shot was nonchalant when I sat down in her chair. She was a nurse practitioner who even tried to talk me out of doing the procedure, vowing fillers would work better in my end-stage condition. “I know I need a facelift,” I said, while salivating at the vial she was waving around. “I’m saving for it. Can’t you just do a little Botox?”

“OK,” she reluctantly agreed.

She landed up putting it in the sides of my eyes for crow’s feet and one between my eyes for good measure. I always make it a point to go to skin-care professionals for my Botox. When I lived in the South, we all got drunk together and some of the women got Botox from their friends who were nurses or wannabe medical professionals. I always said no to the Botox part of the evening because I didn’t want to end up with something like two black eyes.

It can happen, according to my friends who also get Botox injections.

“That’s just bruising,” said my sister-in-law. “It goes away.”

Does it? I thought. I decided only using a medical doctor for my facial procedures in the future might be a good idea.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about Botox,” agreed Gus Galante, M.D., who practices in Indiana. “If one person has a negative experience, some people use that as a measuring stick; thousands of people are doing well with Botox.”

Galante said he has been working with Botox since 1995.The normal cost for Botox is about $300 and it lasts about three months. If done right, there is a moment when you’ll notice you look really great — no wrinkles, just a younger look. Galante agreed with the younger look, but disagreed with administering drugs in a party setting: “It gives a bad name to a very excellent product.” 

“There are many people who use paraprofessionals,” he said. “A surgeon knows exactly where those muscles are, and ethically it’s not a great idea. There’s no real medical history taken and it should be determined if people are good candidates for the Botox procedure. People can give their consent and not understand what’s being done.”

For the record, my black eyes went away. Lessons learned.