Belinda Hayle says the worst thing about her situation is knowing that she chose to have the treatments that led to her pain and paralysis.
As The Sun reports, the U.K. mom-of-two was a successful semi-permanent make-up artist who could boast celebrity clients. She told the Sun, “I featured in Vogue and even briefly appeared on ‘The Only Way is Essex’ myself. I was flown all over the world to give masterclasses too.”
Belinda Hayle was left with facial paralysis and now struggles to speak, eat and even smile after a simple botox injection went wrong… pic.twitter.com/jvlJrAwJx1
— This Morning (@thismorning) August 8, 2018
Since she was in the beauty industry, Hayle felt pressure to look good. That’s why she started getting regular Botox injections at the age of 35. She explained to the Sun that, “I was proud of looking good for my age and having anti-wrinkle jabs was just a small part of my beauty regime, no more serious than getting my nails done.”
But after 10 years of successful Botox treatments, something went wrong. One day in April 2015, Hayle went to get her Botox injection but found it was much more painful than usual — so painful, in fact, that they had to stop the treatment.
In an interview with This Morning, Hayle said the pain was, “very unusual,” and that she went home feeling like she had the beginnings of the flu. When she woke up, she couldn’t move her face. She told This Morning:
“I went to bed, woke up the next morning, and my face was just all over the place. … Everything felt wrong, and everything was sitting wrong. I didn’t recognize what I was obviously looking at […] everything had dropped and was pulling, and just an overwhelming tiredness and drastically feeling unwell.”
Hoping that it was just a bad reaction to the injection, Hayle waited for the pain and lopsidedness to pass. After a few days it seemed they had, but then the discomfort returned.
Hayle says that about 10 days later, she began feeling fatigued and easily confused. She developed a tremor and became so weak that she couldn’t hold the tattoo pen she used for work.
The pain sent Hayle to the hospital on multiple occasions. Doctors eventually diagnosed her with fibromyalgia, but Hayle told the Sun she was unconvinced:
“When I looked into it, it just didn’t seem to fit what was happening to me. I felt like I was dying.”
While researching online, Hayle learned about Botox poisoning, which perfectly described the symptoms she was experiencing. She was furious that she had never been warned about the condition, especially when some of its victims had been suffering for years.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Botox injections utilize the microbe that causes botulism — a form of food poisoning — into the body in order to cause temporary muscle paralysis. The treatment is most commonly used to reduce wrinkles but has also been used for excessive sweating, lazy eye, and chronic migraines.
Botox is considered safe. However, it is possible for the botulinum toxin to spread to other parts of the body, causing botulism symptoms like muscle weakness and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Doctors advise against using Botox if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Hayle found a specialist who confirmed that the mom was suffering from botulism. Three years after her bad Botox treatment, she says she’s still suffering the effects. She told the Sun:
“I’ve been left with permanent facial paralysis. I’ve just had plastic mouth guards fitted to take the pressure off the nerves in my jaw and help me swallow. I’ll have to wear them all the time for the next three years, aside from taking them out to brush my teeth.”
Hayle occasionally suffers seizures and has difficulty with speech. She says that her business and family have suffered as a result of her conditions. She told the Sun that she no longer sees clients:
“On a good day I might manage the hoovering or to walk the dog. But some days I can’t even get out of bed. I still can’t nod my head, I’m constantly exhausted and I occasionally collapse to the ground in pain.”
Though she knows her reaction is unusual, Hayle wants other people to know that Botox isn’t as risk-free as advertised. She told the Sun that she’s still adapting to a life that’s radically different than the one she imagined a few years ago:
“I once feared losing my looks. But that’s nothing compared to what I’ve been through instead. This has devastated me. The hardest thing to deal with is knowing I chose to have Botox. I did this to myself.”