Saturday, May 26, 2012

Approval Process

It’s time for me to jump onto the band wagon. This has meant I’ve needed to switch my reading around a little bit. Although I still need to catch up on my blog readings and want to finish up on the book everyone is talking about (the book that is turning everyone different shades of red), I’ve had to start doing all of my serious researching on Botox.

I have been approved and should receive my first treatments during my next doctor visit in about a week. I like to know exactly what to expect so I’m trying to read up on patient experiences, what to expect in the office, what to expect after leaving the office and even read through some of the interviews my doctor did while he was conducting research on Botox.

My doctor had mentioned Botox during my first two appointments, but I kind of dismissed it as I was not ready to try it yet.  However, before I went back to him for my third appointment, I knew there would be no choices and this would be the route we would be pursuing. I really was not in good shape during that visit as my speech was horrible because of the latest medication increases which made me even more frustrated than normal.

As he started filling out the Botox application form, I was getting out the medications I had tried and failed at in each of the five classes my insurance company listed even though they only required me failing three classes of medications. I guess it was team work by my doctor and me without us even talking about it.

I have to say that I think our Migraine community is awesome! I was hesitant about starting Botox with this office for a number of reasons. With Botox seeming like the ‘drug of choice’, I had heard that the girl in my doctor’s office was very overwhelmed and difficult to get in touch with even though they ask us to touch basis with her. I had also heard that she NEVER gets back to you.

My reluctance to go with Botox was because I would not want to depend on a preventative if it may not be available when I needed it and because it can wear off before the next set of injections. I know what it’s like when I have titrated off of a medication that doesn’t work all that well and it’s not that much fun.

Before I went to that last doctor’s appointment, I reached out to someone in our Migraine community who also goes to my headache center and has gone through the Botox process. She gave me some wonderful helpful hints! She made me feel more comfortable about moving forward with Botox as I knew that would be the route I would be taking after my third appointment with my doctor.

First of all, I have to say, I respect when someone tells me like it is. My Migraine friend came out and told me that the process is as bad as it sounds with ‘Botox girl’ at our headache center. But she also reassured me that it was well worth it for her and that I should go through all of it to see if it works for me too. She said the first authorization would be the hardest and once insurance approves it once, then it shouldn’t be much of a problem. She advised me to call my insurance company to set up a case with them; to take control myself.

I know we both work hard at our normal jobs. We shouldn’t need to follow up or do a big part of Botox girl’s job. It should be like any other prescription medication we have, but it is a little different and we do want to make sure that everything goes through especially since we usually hear that insurance companies can hassle us a little more about getting this approval even though my doctor’s office typically sends through people for approval that over qualify for Botox.

When I called my insurance company, they were excellent! They set up the case and even told me they had my doctor’s phone number, fax number and everything else if they needed anything. They took my basic information and I tried to keep giving them more information – the same info I gave my doctor at the appointment, but they kept assuring me that they needed and would get that from the doctor’s office. I thought I would try to give them as much information as I could to make it easier on everyone.

I called Botox girl and left a voicemail with the case number and all of my information. After a very respectable amount of time, I did the same again. I have never heard back from Botox girl. I was warned by my Migraine friend to NEVER expect a call back from Botox girl. Unfortunately, my friend did not let me down. I have to tell you, my boss would not be happy with me if I gave this type of service to our clients.

I felt kind of silly, but I ended up calling my insurance company back to see if Botox girl had ever called in and where everything stood with my case number. Quite frankly, I felt like I was getting desperate enough that I was ready to postpone my doctor’s appointment. I know I am better off than I was medication wise before my last appointment even though my Migraines have not improved, but I did not want to waste my doctor’s or my time if my next option wasn’t going to be available.

Apparently Botox girl did get the Botox ball rolling, but she should call to give patients an update. If I could not get good information from my insurance company and if it was too late for approval (they require ten days), I would have changed my appointment and raised a bigger stink than I will now during my appointment.

My Migraine friend has since given me a few more helpful hints. She let me know that her first round did nothing for her Migraines, but her second round was like magic. She also mentioned that one of her side effects was that she has started to get carded again when she buys a beer at the bar. I’m not too concerned about that side effect especially considering my oldest son is only ten years younger than she is, but it would be nice to reduce my Migraines as I feel like I’m at my wits end right now and don’t know how much longer my boss can be as super as he has been.

I have a week to do more research (I’m a real detail person) on Botox and really prepare for my doctor’s visit. Maybe I’ll also find some time to continue reading the book that everyone’s been talking about and of course I have a lot of work to still catch up on.

Do you have any helpful hints or stories about Botox that will help me get ready?


Migrainista said...

I've had two rounds of Botox - each done by a different doctor - each very different from one another. Neither were helpful for the migraines though the first round gave my neck muscles a nice rest.

Hope that you find some relief from your treatment. Looking forward to hearing about it.

MigrainePuppet said...

Thanks, Migrainista. Your blog entries are still on my list to go back to before my appointment. I'm sorry Botox did not work too well for you.

DydyLouis said...

I think is very important to find one good doctor and use only his services because when it comes to cosmetic treatments a continuity is very important. Off course if you like how you was treated...A good doctor should have told you ( Migrainista) that this use of botox is still at the beginning and its effectiveness is not so high.
Before my botox Ottawa treatment I did a research to find one of the best doctors in the area and luckily I found the right one. What I appreciated was the honesty...he told me before the procedure that he's not 100% sure that my migraines will disappear after the procedure so it was up to me if I take the risk or not. I had it and even if I still had a few migraines, botox really improved my condition. I hope the next session will work better because I heard some patients had better results after the second session...