botox shot in the female cheek

“Let’s shut the video off. I want to do a little medical history before we begin the injections.”

That was esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr. Philip Miller.  I was sitting in his comfortable, green leather chair in his medical office in midtown Manhattan. Dr. Miller was next to me on a stool. The bright light from the video camera was shining in my eyes. I barely noticed.  I had only one thing on my mind: Botox.

I had just finished interviewing Dr. Miller for the second in a series of videos about looking your best after 50. My partner Felice had met with Dr. Miller a few months earlier, completing a very informative video on how to lighten brown spots. This next video is all about Botox. We had just finished the introductory portion of the video; it was time for the injections. Someone had to volunteer to be the patient, right?

I jumped at the chance to be in the hot seat, “take one for the team” so to speak, get rid of a few wrinkles for the cause. I wore a black dress, so you couldn’t see me sweat as he brought out the needles.  The price of beauty, I kept telling myself.

“Ok. Sure. Go for it. It’s medical history time.” I told him.

Dr. Miller’s assistant, Stephanie, pressed the off button on the video, and the bright lights went out. No cameras, of course, while we were taking a medical history and getting the consents signed. Dr. Miller turned his gaze to me, looked at me intently.

Any history of Diabetes? No.

Heart disease? No.

Asthma? No.

Arthritis? No.

Neurological disorders? No.


I almost said “no.” Really, I almost said “no.”


“You have a history of cancer?”

“No. I mean yes. I have cancer now. I was just diagnosed. I have breast cancer.”

A heavy silence filled the room.

“Sorry, I forgot. I mean I sometimes forget that I have cancer. Should I have mentioned that?”

“It’s ok. How are you feeling?”

“I feel great.“

I explained all about my cancer. I explained how the Grand Pubah of mammograms missed the cancer on a yearly mammogram. I explained how my primary care physician found it on a routine breast examine. I explained that I have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, that there were two spots they found on the right breast.   I explained that I was on Tamoxifen, and that I would be going in for a unilateral mastectomy in late October. The doctor listened to all of it carefully and empathetically.

But suddenly, as I was telling him my story, a million questions ran through my mind. I know it is safe to use Botox cosmetically if you have cancer (there is more concern with neurological disorders), but was it right?

What was I doing here at a plastic surgeon’s office getting my face injected when I have so many more important things to think about? Billy Crystal’s character, Fernando Lamos, kept running through my mind.

Just because it is safe, I wondered, should I do it?

These are all questions I had asked myself months before, of course. Once answered and the decision made to go forward, I promptly put them out of my mind. Now that the needles were filled, and I was in the chair sweating and talking about my cancer, I started second guessing. I was sweating so much I thought I might slide right off the chair. There was still time to bolt. Get another patient to take my place.

I took a few deep breaths. Relaxed.  Thought about why I had made the decision to do this in the first place.

At the beginning of the summer, a friend of mine who had a mastectomy suggested that before my surgery I go in for a manicure and pedicure. “You want to feel as pretty as you can when you come out of surgery with one boob less, with drains hanging out.”

“Good advice,” I thought.  But I always take things to the next level.

I decided I would add a Keratin treatment to the mix.  Then I decided on the Botox.  Certainly, the cancer had given me a few extra lines.  The way I saw it, I was just fighting back.

Botox was exactly what I needed before my mastectomy.

“Can I still have the Botox even though I have cancer?” I asked meekly.

You will have to watch the video to find out.



Is It Ok To Get Botox When You Have Cancer? was last modified: by

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