Category Archives: Featured Story

Botox used to relax my esophagus pre surgery.

I started having an issue with food and liquid going past my esophagus into my stomach about a year ago.  Food would get stuck and liquid would refuse to go down.  My body would hiccup to help move it along or it would eventually go down with quite a bit of pain.  Finally, nothing seemed to be going down and I was waking each night literally drowning in liquid and food.  My doctor sent me to get an upper GI.  The diagnosis was “Achalasia”  my esophagus was literally closed and turned up into what is known as a birds beak.   I was admitted to the hospital and had an upper endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.  The Gastro told me that I had to make a decision right away whether I wanted to do a “Botox” treatment or surgery.  I asked if he could explain both and he said he didn’t have time.  Later that evening I was being taken to do the “Botox” treatment.  I was told that since it was Memorial day weekend that there wouldn’t be anyone available for the surgery and that the Botox would relax my esophagus until the surgery could be performed.  No explanation on how it was done exactly or any info on side effects or future care or concerns.  Within a couple of days I started to have confusion issues.   By two weeks after the injection I was having pretty serious memory and confusion issues.  I was extremely fatigued and dizziness was starting to be more frequent.  I thought these symptoms were from lack of food and possibly dehydration.  There was some food and liquid going down but not what would be considered usual.  I work with Senior Citizens and know as a fact that quite often major surgeries have been shelved for folks over 80 due to the fact that anesthesia can bring on dementia.  I personally have known quite a few over 80’s that have had anesthesia induced dementia.  So I thought that the problems I was having was from lack of nutrition, liquid and having anesthesia two times in one day for the “Achalasia” confirmation and treatment (Botox).  I scheduled my surgery, called a “Heller-Myotomy” for a little over 3 weeks from the Botox treatment.  I had an event that I was putting on that needed my attention before I could take the time off.  It ended up being the most stressful event of my entire marketing career.  I couldn’t figure out how to organize anything.  The day of the event I was so stressed, dizzy, confused, fatigued and was so filled with anxiety I didn’t think I was going to make it through the day.  After the event, which was a fundraiser, I couldn’t even add up a stack of checks that needed to be turned in before I was off for a couple of weeks to a month for my “Heller-Myotomy”.   Before I went in to the surgery the Anesthesiologist came by to see if I had any questions.  I told her that I was very concerned to go under anesthesia again due to the extreme confusion and memory issues I was experiencing since the two times three weeks earlier under anesthesia.  We decided since I couldn’t eat or drink I needed the surgery.  After the surgery I was extremely fatigued.  Slept a lot, had dizziness and still had pretty severe confusion and memory issues.  I thought they would go away as I healed.  2 weeks after surgery I was still experiencing all the above symptoms but my body was healing fine.  I was on a liquid diet for 30 days but I was getting my nutrition and calories so I didn’t think the fatigue, weakness, dizziness was still connected to the surgery.  About 3 weeks after my surgery and about 6-7 weeks after the Botox injection I started having speech difficulties.  Slurring and confusion on which words to use.  Even stuttering at times.   I feel the surgery for the “Achalasia” was a success.  The symptoms that I have discussed earlier are all over the map.  Some days I feel like I am coming out of it.  Maybe a little more clear, especially in the afternoons, not as fatigued, dizziness will lift although the memory issues don’t seem to lift much.  Then the next day I am trying to work and end up laying my head down on my arm as I try to keep my eyes open and concentrate on the task at hand.  Then the dizziness reappears, and the confusion and weakness along with the speech problems are just as bad if not worse.   I have had a CT scan,  every blood test available, even a spinal tap to try and find out what is causing these symptoms.  Nothing to be found.  My doctor thought I had an adrenal crash and after treatment from doubling my hormones we found that that wasn’t the case.   My surgeon has referred me to an Endocrinologist and I am waiting for an appt. with them.  The surgeon is convinced that I need a different general physician and wants me to meet with the Endocrine specialist.   My daughters father started looking into Botox, botulism poisoning and finally found this site.  I was experiencing such severe depression that I have never had before this wild ride that I literally thought I was losing my mind and asking for prayer from all who knew me to help me deal w/the depression and other symptoms.  When he told me he found this site, I broke down crying.  It lifted the huge dark cloud that had been hanging over my head for quite a while now.  It isn’t gone completely but I can breath just knowing this is real.  I am not crazy, imagining these symptoms.  I am going to do the 5 step detox tomorrow that is suggested from a site about the botulism poisoning.  I am willing to try it to see if I can function enough to do my job.  I may lose my job soon if I can’t find a way to be able to get behind the wheel of a car again, safely, and on the road.   I feel blessed to have found this site and I will keep all posted on my journey and will cherish all your input and wisdom.

Much Aloha for now,  Cathyann

Botox victim receives payout

copied from the above site

$15 million in damages awarded for Botox side effects


An American jury this month awarded $15 million to an Oklahoma City physician who suffered botulism poisoning after using the popular anti-wrinkle drug Botox – the trade name for botulinum toxin, type A, which has been described by the Journal of the American Medical Association (February 28, 2001, 285: 1059-1070) as “the most poisonous substance known.” The jury found that Allergan Inc., the maker of Botox Cosmetic, was negligent. Jurors voted 10-2 to give 48-year old Dr. Sharla Helton $15 million in actual damages. Her response to the negligence verdict:

“Hopefully, people will wake up to the real dangers. It’s a stepping stone for now for public awareness.”

Dr. Helton, an Oklahoma City obstetrician and gynecologist, complained of severe side effects after getting injections of 50 units of Botox in 2006. It was her fifth treatment for wrinkles. She eventually had to quit her medical practice, and stepped down as medical director of Lakeside Women’s Hospital in Oklahoma City because of pain and weakness. She says she is still debilitated by weakness but hopes to get back to practising medicine again in some way.

Her attorney, Ray Chester, said:

“We are convinced there are a great number of Botox victims that have not yet associated their symptoms and illnesses with their use of Botox. I think there are a lot of people out there who have been hurt by this product and maybe now they’ll have the courage to come forward.” 

A key issue in the Helton trial was whether Allergan gave sufficient warning in product labelling about possible problems from Botox Cosmetic use. The labelling in 2006 did not include botulism warnings.

Chester told jurors about Allergan in his closing arguments earlier this month:

“All they care about is sales. They were intentionally concealing this evidence.”

Allergan has clearly smartened up their warning labels since then. The Botox website now warns of these possible side effects:

  • problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing due to weakening of associated muscles – can be severe and result in loss of life; swallowing problems may last for several months
  • spread of toxin effects that may affect areas away from the injection site
  • loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness
  • double vision
  • blurred vision
  • drooping eyelids
  • hoarseness or change or loss of voice (dysphonia)
  • trouble saying words clearly (dysarthria)
  • loss of bladder control
  • trouble breathing
  • serious and/or immediate allergic reactions include itchy rash, swelling, and shortness of breath
  • loss of strength or general muscle weakness; if this happens, do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities
  • dry mouth
  • discomfort or pain at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • neck pain
  • drooping or swelling of the eyelids
  • dry eyes

Is it just me who wonders if the very real risk of suffering such truly frightening side effects from injecting a neurotoxin right into your face is enough to convince the average intelligent person that it might be better to just learn to love your wrinkles?

Allergan’s drugs and other products are sold in 100 countries via direct sales and distributors. Their first-quarter total sales this year hit $1.1 billion, with Botox sales, part of its specialty pharmaceuticals segment, increasing 11% to $331 million. The company’s Chief Executive David Pyott told the Orange County Business Journal:

“Botox, once again, has been the most resilient product through the recession.”

Allergan also sells implants used in breast augmentation and weight-loss surgery devices. But the company’s been working extra hard to boost sales of three blockbuster products, all ones that patients pay for out of their own pockets:

  • Botox for forehead wrinkles
  • its lower face wrinkle-filler Juvéderm
  • Latisse for growing eyelashes.

But even though over 10 million surgical and non-surgical  cosmetic procedures were performed in North America last year, those overall sales totals numbers are slightly down from previous years.

And it looks like there may actually be some kind of a Botox backlash in the works. The Huffington Post’s Darryle Pollack wrote an article this month called Plastic Makes Perfect: Has Cosmetic Surgery Reached a Tipping Point?

But I particularly support Pollack’s growing concern about the essential message that those who perform such procedures are sending us – both men and women. She writes:

“My major gripe is the message being sent: insidious insecurity invading every age group – girls at ridiculously young ages already obsessing over their ability to attract; young moms worrying about getting their bodies back before getting the baby home from the hospital. No one seems immune – even those of us who are older and wise enough to know better.”

Interestingly, at the same time, the spread of high-definition television coupled with a curious public’s trained eye has made it easier for us to spot a celebrity’s badly stitched hairline, hideously swollen lips, or botched forehead injections. The point is: like spotting a cheap toupé, we can all tell.

Coincidentally, the Wall Street Journal reported last year that as much as one-third of all Botox sales are from uses for which it has not been approved by the American Food & Drug Administration.

In an inexplicably ballsy move, Allergan actually sued the U.S. government in October, saying a law forbidding it from giving physicians information about illegal, unapproved off-label use violates the company’s right to free speech. For the record, it is illegal for drug makers to market medicines for uses that haven’t been approved for safety and efficacy by the FDA, but doctors are actually free to prescribe drugs for off-label usage as they see fit.

And meanwhile, back in California, Allergan now plans to appeal the $15 million award in the Helton decision.

What do you think?

Article 2: What happens if the toxin spreads?

If the toxin does spread into the bloodstream and diffuses into body tissue it is particularly attracted to the membrane nerve endings of the peripheral nervous system.  We are extremely lucky that the only portion of the body that the toxin cannot spread is the Central Nervous System – the toxin molecule is too large to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

At this stage there is a bilateral (two-sided – left/right sides of body) attack on the cranial nerves.  Our 5 senses are controlled by 12 pairs of cranial nerves.  So I think at this stage lets look at the Peripheral Nervous System and its function:

The areas outside of the brain and spinal cord are controlled by the Peripheral Nervous System.  This system is divided as follows:

Sensory portion – sends nerve impulses from the sense organs to the CNS

Motor division – sends nerve impulses from the CNS to the muscles or glands

Ok so now we also divide the Motor division into two separate areas known as the:

Somatic Nervous System – takes care of activities that are consciously controlled and usually involve the skeletal muscles – also contains many of the nerves that are part of reflexes that act automatically.

Autonomic Nervous System – controls bodily functions that are not consciously controlled.  It’s overall function is to maintain homeostasis balance in the functioning of the bodily organs and systems.  This system is further divided into two parts:

Sympathetic – usually speeds up action or activity and controls organs and systems when they are stressed by environmental factors. (effects things such as dilating pupils, inhibits flow of saliva, accelerates heartbeat, dilates bronchi, inhibits peristalsis and secretion, conversion of glycogen to glucose, secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline and inhibits bladder contraction)

Parasympathetic – regulates activity when the body is at rest and its action is normally to slow down activity. (effects things such as inhibits pupil dilation, stimulates flow of saliva, slows heartbeat, constricts bronchi, stimulates peristalsis and secretion, stimulates release of bile and contracts bladder.

After Botulinum poisoning the head and neck are the initial starting point and the symptoms include double vision, difficulty in seeing with blurred vision, problems with speaking and swallowing and droopy eyelids.  Depending on the amount of toxin consumed/injected and the immune system of the person will vary the progression of the symptoms and any paralysis.  The brain is not attacked so the person is still alert and aware of what is happening.

Botulism is not a common disease so many Dr’s will have had no experience with diagnosing it.  This leads to no diagnosis or mistaken diagnosis such as Myasthenia Gravis, stroke, tick paralysis, shellfish poisoning or Gullian-Barre syndrome.  Once the toxin attaches to a nerve it will be a long time before that protein toxin will be broken down and can release that nerve – recovery usually involves the growth of new motor axon strands that attach to and REINNERVATE previously paralysed muscle fibers – unfortunately this is a LONG process that usually takes weeks or even months :( to complete in adults.

Information obtained from ‘Botulism’ – Author Donal Emmeluth

So as you can well imagine the symptoms can be numerous and varied due to the complexity of the Peripheral Nervous System – the one bonus I take from all of this information is that the PNS can REPAIR itself……..even though some of us have to wait many many months at least we eventually achieve recovery.

So my questions are:

What causes the toxin to spread in some and not others?

Or does it spread in all of us but some have stronger immune systems?

Does the preparation/dilution of Botox effect it’s ability to spread?

Does the amount of Botox or where it is injected make it more likely to spread?

On the Allergan website they state ‘No DEFINITIVE serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect associated with dermatologic use of BOTOX/BOTOX cosmetic at the labeled dose of 20 Units (for Glabellar lines) or 100 Units (for severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis) have been reported’

First of all define ‘DEFINITIVE’ – does that mean it has to be linked in a lab to the Botox injections?  So they get, for example, 10,000 reports of extreme side effects but none of these people have been asked to have medical examinations by Allergan for specific links – or they have submitted a report to Allergan but Allergan haven’t responded so of course there is going to be NO definitive link.

I must say though that at least Allergan have attempted to outline side effects and also make it clear that a medical history and clinical management from a Dr is essential – so really the weakest link appears to be the people injecting us.  If they have not taken your medical history and explained these specific risks outlined in the Allergan document then they are being unethical and compromising their duty of care?  Why is that we trust people who want to inject us with a toxin?  Why are people allowed to inject Botox without a prescription, clinical management or a medical history evaluation?????

If they were anything like me I went to multiple health professionals and they had no idea and told me to wait it out – even if they did think there was a link how could they prove it???? Where were they going to send me for Botox lab tests?  My doctor couldn’t find any tests for Botulism………… So really the word ‘definitive’ is a COP OUT!!!!!!! So consumers BEWARE!!!

I would also like to discuss the point that they have specifically stated exact unit amounts – 20 and 100 – does this mean that they have had links for 18 units or 105 but this has been omitted from the pamphlet???? I don’t know what do you think?


Article 1 – What does Botox actually do to our nerves?

If you are in the first stages of Botox side effects you will be very sensitive to any information that increases anxiety – this post is not meant to increase anxiety and I am still positive that we will all recover from these symptoms.  This is meant to increas awareness and assist people with informed decisions.

I will be creating some articles on Botox/Botulism – I would like to share some information and would love some feedback.

Botox once injected blocks the release of an important chemical from the ends of the nerves in muscles.  When a nerve impulse is sent by the brain this is not received by nerves that are effected by Botox and thus they can’t respond.  This block is caused by Botox preventing the chemical acetylcholine from being released and reaching the cell membrane – it does this by destroying the site where the chemical would bind.  Botox acts as an enzyme – it doesn’t get broken down and carries out the same action over and over again – thus it only takes one or two Botox molecules to completely inactivate a nerve ending.

Thus we get paralysis of the injected muscles.

This information was obtained from ‘Botulism’ – Author Donald Emmeluth

We are told that Botox is isolated to the injection site but it does say on the Allergan website:


See full prescribing information for complete boxed warning.  The effects of BOTOX and all botulinum toxin products may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with Botulinum toxin effects.  These symptoms have been reported hours to weeks after injections.  Swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life threatening and there have been reports of death.  The risk of symptoms is probably greatest in children treated for spasticity but symptoms can also occur in adults, particularly those patients who have and underlying condition that would predispose them to these symptoms.

(you can find this info at )

Ok – so Botox is an S4 drug.  It needs a prescription before being administered.  Which means you need to be clinically managed by a Doctor – this means they need to have your COMPLETE medical history and have informed you of the possible side effects of this drug.

Were you informed????????????????????????????????

So my question is if Botox is not isolated to the injection area – if it somehow spreads throughout the body – what will happen?

Part 2 to follow……..



Update to web site

Hi everyone,

We are trying to add a subscription feature on the web site, where you can all get a daily message which will show everything that has been updated on the site.

I will really like to get your feedback on this feature, maybe once the web site gets HUGE (we hope),  this might become unworkable,  but I think that for now its a great way to help keep everyone updated with what is happening on the site.

Please be patient with us while we fine tune this feature.

Please let us know if you can think of any way that we can improve the site.

Thanks – Cameron

Big frown at Myer’s Botox plan

THE prospect of Myer selling Botox has drawn a large frown from women’s groups and body-image experts.

The retail giant has confirmed women could get a dose of wrinkle therapy in its latest grab for shoppers.

Medical experts warn Botox – a chemical injected into the face to smooth the appearance of wrinkles – must be medically administered because of risks.

Melinda Tankard Reist, a women’s advocate, feared it would put even more pressure on women to worry about their appearance.

“If Myer starts supplying Botox, it will represent the mainstreaming of a beauty industry practice once the preserve of Hollywood celebrities,” she said.

“A corporate such as Myer adding Botox to its retail lines helps disguise its true nature as a toxic poison.

“Given its mainstream availability, more women will feel pressured.”

Victorian Women’s Trust executive director Mary Crooks said it would feed women’s obsession with body image by making it seem normal to reverse ageing with an injection.

“(Myer boss) Bernie Brookes should look at the facts – almost one in 10 Victorian female adolescents has an eating disorders, close to 50 per cent have high levels of depression,” she said.

“Why not do something that actually gives females a proper sense of self-worth and self-esteem?”

Botox costs about $330 for 20 units to smooth frown lines and up to $450 for crows’ feet.

It is believed the service would be run by a separate company at Myer’s Bourke St store.

AMA Victoria president Dr Harry Hemley said Botox was safe when medically administered but warned there were still risks of infection and other side effects.

As retailers struggle with a downturn, Myer has introduced weight watchers’ clinics, waxing, optical eye testing, tanning and other beauty treatments.

A spokeswoman said Botox was still being considered and could not confirm the cost or who would operate the clinic.

“Research has shown it’s something our customers want,” she said.