Woman Details How Botox Left Her Paralyzed From "Rare Complication"

Martha Stewart Admits She Uses Botox and Fillers

Botox isn't always worth giving a shot.

At least, that's been the case for author Alicia Hallock, who was hospitalized after a "scary" experience with the cosmetic injectable.

"I ended up having a rare complication from my Botox injections for my migraines," she revealed in a Feb. 17 Instagram. "It spread to muscles in my neck and now it's created many issues. My eyelids are droopy, causing a lot of pressure, blurry vision, and dizziness. The muscles in my neck are essentially paralyzed so I can't lift my own head."

The 35-year-old also developed dysphagia—a condition that makes it difficult or sometimes impossible to swallow, per Cleveland Clinic—which she said has been the most challenging side effect.

"I experienced a couple of days where I was choking on sips of water and even my own saliva," she continued her post. "I've had 6 tubes shoved down my throat to get up all the mucus that's stuck in my lungs and throat. I can barely talk."

photosCelebs Who've Denied or Spoken Out Against Plastic Surgery or Cosmetic Procedures

Botox, which is a form of botulinum toxin type A, is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum—the same toxin that causes life-threatening food poisoning, per a study cited in the National Library of Medicine. 

And although Botox is FDA-approved to treat chronic migraines (in addition to other medical conditions), the brand discloses on its website that potential side effects include blurred vision, drooping eyelids, loss of bladder control and difficulty swallowing, speaking and breathing.

Alicia Hallock / Instagram

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While Hallock noted her doctors haven't seen this many adverse reactions to Botox in a person, the brand warns on its site that it may spread from the area it was originally administered.

According to a 2019 medical review, found in the National Library of Medicine archives, "Botulinum toxin can spread to a distance of 30–45 mm from the injected muscles to adjacent muscles. Paralysis of the wrong muscles leads to dysphonia, dysphagia or dystonia."

Hallock—who received the botulinum anti-toxin 10 days after the initial injection because she waited "so long" to get checked—explained that her symptoms might take months to subside.

"Unfortunately, no matter how much therapy and time I put into this recovery, a lot of my healing is simply going to come with time," she detailed on Instagram March 3. "Time for the Botox to fully wear off, and for things to become functional again. Only then can I learn to reuse and build those muscles."

Alicia Hallock / Instagram

Despite her long road ahead, the Beautifully Broken author celebrated a few milestones in her recovery. "My swallowing is getting better and better!!" she shared in the post. "I've been able to drink one Ensure Clear drink daily, which means instead of 5 tube feeds everyday, I'm only on 4!!"

Woman Details How Botox Left Her Paralyzed From "Rare Complication"

Hallock is also more mobile, noting that she's able to do 10 minutes of exercise on a stationary bike, walk a quarter of a mile and walk up and down a row of stairs.

"I am stable enough to walk around my room and the hallways on my own, without the aid of a nurse or family member!!" she explained, before adding, "I can actually hold my own head up again without the c-collar on!! Only for a few minutes before it becomes too tiring and overwhelming, but it's a baby step in the right direction."

After nearly three weeks in the hospital, Hallock finally returned home and reunited with her loved ones.

"This is the most mentally taxing thing I've ever been through," she expressed, "even more so than my lung surgery I think. I feel devastated for myself and my family that all this happened, but I also feel incredibly blessed to be here still and so proud of myself for walking through this how I have."

While Hallock's situation isn't typically the norm, she isn't alone in sharing her experience with injectables. Keep reading to see what celebrities have said about their treatments.

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