Amy Purdy


My Botox reaction and what's working now!

I questioned sharing this story for many years and I have decided to share it now because I realize that I find healing when I share my journey with others. Especially when I can help someone else on their journey.

Many of us want to age well, we want to like what we see in the mirror, and we want to feel as good as possible as we move through life. At 44 my health and wellness are a top priority. If you happen to be on the same journey, I want to share some options with you.

Little known fact: I used to be a skincare professional. In my 20’s I was an esthetician for some of the top spas in the country. Today, I am still passionate about skincare, especially as I get older.

What I’m about to share is my experience. It is not medical advice, and I am not a medical professional. This is simply my experience.

Warning! This story IS LONG and gets a bit crazy so buckle up!

Ever since I was a little girl, my eyes have always been sensitive to the sun. This means I squint a lot and in my 20’s I began developing deep lines between my brows. We call these lines “11 lines” because they resemble the number 11.

It didn’t help that I was a competitive snowboarder for over 10 years and in the sun nearly every day. Even with tons of sunscreen, the heavy squinting in the sun started leading to headaches and heavy wrinkling between my brows. I didn’t like how it felt or what I was seeing in the mirror, so on my 30th birthday I decided to try Botox.

And in all honesty, it felt like a miracle!

I loved it! Relaxing my forehead muscles made a huge difference. Headaches were gone, lines smoothed out, and I looked much less concerned in the mirror.

From that point forward every 5 months or so I would get the smallest amount (about 15 units) between my brows, and for 7 years it continued to work wonders.

That is, until things came crashing down.

In 2017, I got my usual amount of Botox between my brows and two weeks later, I woke up with what felt like electric shocks running down my arms. I waited a few hours to try to understand what I was feeling and as the day went on, the sensations and pain got worse. I immediately went to the ER.

They took my vitals and blood, and everything came back normal, so they sent me home.

Over the next few days, the pain in my arms got worse and eventually it hurt to just lift up a fork and feed myself. Then weakness set in, not only in my arms but also in my neck, it felt as if I could barely hold my head up.

This was a HUGE deal because, not only was it terrifying, but I had just returned to the US Snowboard Team and started training for the 2018 Paralympic Games. Suddenly, for no known reason, my arms were in severe pain and not functioning normally. Something was seriously wrong!

For the next few months, I experienced many other symptoms, including: buzzing feelings, heavy sweating and severe chills. I went to specialists and doctors around the country, and had tons of bloodwork and tests, I even had brain scans looking for MS or brain disorders, all trying to understand what was happening to my body. I walked away with zero answers! All my tests came back normal, I didn’t have any autoimmune disorders, but my inflammation markers remained elevated.

This entire time nobody connected what I was experiencing to Botox.

I laid in bed for a month in severe pain, with no answers, no hope, and absolutely terrified</b that I was going to deal with this for the rest of my life without any help or support. My arms got so bad that my husband had to wash my hair for me. If I tried to lift my arms, they were so weak they would quiver.

And then one morning, I looked in the mirror and the muscles in my arms had visibly atrophied. I went from having extremely strong muscular arms to arms that felt like they were slowly becoming paralyzed.

After months of knocking down doors, I was finally referred to a Neuromuscular doctor at the University of Utah who gave me a diagnosis: Brachial Neuritis.

Brachial Neuritis is the inflammation of your brachial nerves that run from your cervical spine down to your fingertips. It’s a disorder that can be caused by your immune system reacting to a virus, flu or bacteria. To put it simply, instead of your body fighting the foreign protein, your body accidently fights your brachial nerves instead.

At that time, we still didn’t know that Botox caused the disorder, but at least I had a diagnosis.

Because it had taken so long to get a diagnosis, my treatment options were limited. All I could do was go on a high protein diet to help my injured nerves heal, have a lot of patience, do daily physical therapy, and hope that my arms would slowly regain function.

After 10 months and a very slow, scary, and painful recovery, I finally felt like myself again.

I was grateful that I healed enough to follow my dreams and compete in the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. I even came home with two medals! But, most importantly this random, scary ordeal was over!

Since we never determined the cause, exactly one year after the episode began, I decided to try Botox again.

I got the smallest amount between my brows (just 10 units) and within hours I began feeling electric shocks down my arms and a day later, I woke up with severe ringing in both ears. It felt as if I had been plugged into a light socket. My nerves were literally freaking out and I could visibly see the muscles twitching in my arms and shoulders. So, I rushed to the ER where they gave me a megadose of IV steroids, which thankfully, knocked down the reaction within 24 hours.

Very long story short, I’ve spent years searching for answers and trying to understand why my body suddenly reacted in this way. I even went to the Mayo Clinic, and we still don’t have a clear answer of “why” except that neurotoxins break down the connection from the nerve to the muscle, and for some reason, suddenly it happens systemically for me, even with the smallest dose.

Through all of this, I’ve also learned that I’m not alone. There are Facebook groups with thousands of other people who have experienced similar reactions to Botox.

I’m not sharing this to scare those of you who use Botox (Believe me, I understand why you use it!) but stories like mine, don’t get told enough. Although “rare,” reactions do happen, even when most doctors and injectors say it’s perfectly safe.

So, NOW WHAT? Well, I’ve been on a mission for years to fine alternatives! 

I'm sharing what I've tried and what I've found to actually work!

Check your inbox for the details and a discount code so you can try my absolute #1 alternative to Botox.

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