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Sharing Faith and Courage: An Accutane Log

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#1 axtine8

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 01:34 PM

So I decided to hop on the bandwagon and create another one of these nifty little Accutane logs. I figure that if I'm going to be on this drug for the next 4-6 months of my life, I might as well enjoy it in some form or another (because I am most definitely NOT going to enjoy the acne/side effects part of it!).

A little bit about me: my name is Amy. I am 19 years old and I live in the most beautiful state of Utah. I was born here, raised here and I go to college here. It's kind of a legacy thing, I think. Plus, I think it's just easier on the majority of Utahns, because many tend to almost die of shock when they leave the state. To quote my dearest friend Nicole upon her trip to Italy last summer. "Oh my heck, people over here drink wine with dinner every night!" et cetera. Newsflash Utah: most of the world, contrary to what you may believe, is NOT Mormon. Haha

What else must anyone know about me? Well, besides my state of origin (which explains just so much, if you're familiar with it), I am also a college student which is essentially my life right about now. I will be a junior this fall. I have been an arts major for both years, but I switched. For the first one and a half semesters, I tried my hand (no pun intended) at being a Piano Performance major. However, I decided that switching over to Theatre Arts would be much better suited for me. I still have a ton of work, but I like it a lot better and my university experience has gone a lot smoother since then.

Anyways, back on subject. I have had acne since I was about 12 or 13. It used to be pretty mild and was nothing to worry about. It took a turn for the worse, however, this past January. In retrospect, I think it was stress-triggered. Combined with the fact that the antibiotics I had been on for the past 3 years lost their effectiveness, I broke out horribly. I had never had cystic/nodular acne before, but surprise surprise! I do now. It really ripped apart my self confidence and I struggled a lot. It seems silly to people who don't have to deal with it, but acne plays such a huge role. My friends (with plastic skin. I think you know what I mean...) have told me that I shouldn't let such a minor thing affect such a large portion of my life. But it's just not that simple, as you all know. I avoid mirrors like the plague, I have a hard time making eye contact, I don't like meeting new people, and makeup has ceased being fun and has started being my shield against the world. Some days, I feel like I would rather be tortured than go in public without "my face" painted on. I'm just looking forward to the days when I no longer have to bear this burden. Life is hard enough as it is without having to worry about a face full of zits.

Anyhoo, long story short: when it became clear that this was no short term ordeal and that I would be in it for the long haul, I took the necessary steps to get accutane. I expected my dermatologist to resist this idea, but surprisingly he suggested it even before I did! I got the go-ahead on May 19 and I started Accutane (well, Claravis 60mg) on June 21. No intense side effects yet, just vaguely dry lips and slight headaches when I don't drink enough water. Not even an IB yet, though I haven't breathed a sigh of relief about that one yet. Anything could happen in the next two months, but I have my eyes set long-term. By the end of this year, I will be acne-free and on my way to a fresh start on life!!! Wish me luck!

Amy



*** PICS ***

the first pic is of me during my freshman year, without foundation. You really don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

the second and third pics are of me a few nights ago, sans makeup. The sad part is that my skin is actually semi-good in these pics..s


EDIT 8/22/2010: Removed attached pics for privacy reasons

Edited by axtine8, 03 September 2010 - 04:05 PM.


#2 faithinhim

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:45 PM

Hi! I just thought I'd stop by your log and wish you luck! I'm also a junior in college. I do play the piano--and take lessons at college, but I'm actually a math and education major.

I started Accutane in January, and I'm almost done. I'm so happy with my skin now, it's unbelievable. Accutane has definitely been a life changing experience. I really hope it does the same for you.

I definitely understand how you feel. It's really discouraging to still be dealing with acne in college. I remember looking around my classes and noticing that everyone else in the room had perfect skin. Well, I don't have to even think about that now, and it's GLORIOUS!



If you ever need someone to talk to, just send me a message!

Good luck again! I'll be keeping up with your log!

#3 HereComesTheSun:)

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:50 PM

Best of luck with your course! You're very pretty, acne or not, and I can tell you have a great personality from your intro. Keep your head up, you'll be clear soon!

:)

#4 OursFan

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 07:20 PM

Welcome! You'll be clear soon. Good luck with your course! smile.gif

#5 brandish

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 05:44 AM

you're freaking cute
good luck on tane, im approaching 3months post-tane and i only get the occasional pimple so hopefully it stays like that. I'm also 19 and i wish i took accutane A LOT earlier since now i got scarring, but your skin doesnt actually look too bad, so I can imagine your skin clearing up as good as new smile.gif

#6 axtine8

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 01:41 PM

Day 11

Faithinhim: thanks so much!! I've actually read your log (um, does that sound creepy? That I knew who you were before you knew who I was? Haha) and I really enjoyed reading it. Logs like that give me hope that my time on Accutane will be just as productive as yours was. And as for college, I'm assuming we're right around the same age seeing as we're both juniors? I'm turning 20 in August.

HereComesTheSun: let me start off my saying I love your screen name. I've auditioned using that particular Beatles song several times, and it's brought me nothing but good luck. : ) ... And I've read your log too. Wow, I'm sensing a pattern within myself here. lol

OursFan: Thanks! IT means a lot to me. And I'll definitely need the luck.

Brandish: Why, thank you! I've never been called that before! I'm flattered. : ) But do trust me, it's actually a lot worse than it looks in the pictures. MacBook cameras diffuse everything, but one of these days I'll work up the guts to post a pic from a regular camera. (And btw, I saw you were from Australia. It is #1 on my list of places I want to study abroad this spring!)


Hello all!

So I'm just feeling a bit down today about my skin and I figured another lovely log entry might just make me feel better! My skin definitely took a turn for the worse in the past few days. I don't know if you could call it the IB because it's no worse than what it used to be before I had my acne facial done two weeks ago.

I thought that if I had extractions and a glycolic peel done right before I started Accutane, it would eradicate or at least minimize the possibility of and IB. My skin looked fantastic for about a week, and now it's back to the same old, same old. Who knows? Even though it feels like I'm back to square one, maybe the facial did wonders. If I hadn't have had it, maybe I would be covered in cysts right now and these are only the select few that managed to make it to the surface. The pics I posted yesterday were from the day before my facial. I just might post some new pics tonight, if I can work up the courage.

Ahhh, it was so nice for those few days to not worry about zits. I could have realllllly gotten used to that feeling, but as the ever-amazing Robert Frost wrote, "Nothing gold can stay." I just keep telling myself that I have a few months left of this, and if Accutane keeps its end of the bargain, I should have lovely skin just in time for the holiday season. And all those annual family pictures. wink.gif

Nothing much else is going on today. I half convinced myself to lock myself up in my room and wait for my skin to go down over the weekend. But then I gave myself a stern talking to. Then, I went for a nice long bike ride around town and met up with one of my professors whom I will be a Teaching Assistant for in the fall. We're redesigning the class (it's a Shakespeare course. Be jealous. haha) and she wants me to be very involved in the process. And now, I'm back at my apartment seriously contemplating biking to the library so I can check out the Indiana Jones movies I have on hold.

On another personal note, my sister got ENGAGED last night! Why is this important, you ask? Well, there has been a running bet in my family about which of the three sisters will get married first. Joy, my eldest sister, was the front-runner until she decided to go on a mission for our church, which means she is officially off the market for the next year and a half. So then it turned to Abby and me. And the kicker is that the guy she's engaged to has the same last name as our mom's maiden name. Our mom gave all of us her maiden name as our middle name. For privacy's sake, let's just substitute it with another Swedish name--say, "Larson." Now, my sister will be Abby Larson Larson. HAHAHAHAHA. When I realized that last night, it pretty much made my week. I laughed so hard, mainly because all I could think about was the character Wilson Wilson from Tim Allen's 90's show, Home Improvement. smile.gif

Anyway, I think that is all for now. But knowing me, I'll be back very, very soon. I just can't seem to stay away from this site for very long.

TTFN! (as Tigger would say)

Amy

Edited by axtine8, 02 July 2010 - 02:15 PM.


#7 Angela1985

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 08:06 AM

Hi Amy!
I just finished reading your posts and you seem like such a sweet girl! I was laughing so hard when I read about your sister's soon-to-be last name - hilarious!
I'm on day 4 today so you're a little bit ahead of me, but I'll definitely keep checking in on you to see how your progress is going. Maybe your experiences will give me a bit of a heads up on what to expect smile.gif
Thanks for posting pics of yourself - it's always so nice to compare before and after pics of people on accutane..I just haven't had the courage to post ones of myself yet confused.gif
I know exactly how you feel about wanting to stay inside for a while! I promised myself I wouldn't hibernate until Christmas, but I really really want to haha. Hopefully we'll both have gorgeous skin for the holidays smile.gif
Anyway, best of luck and I'll keep in touch!

#8 hop3

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:15 AM

Hi Amy!
Good luck with your course... I will be reading your log to see how you are doing...

#9 axtine8

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 03:31 PM

Day 14, beginning of Week 3

I’m back for more. I couldn’t stay away very long, half because I’m bored out of my mind and half because there are actually new things to report on. It’s weird how things can suddenly pick up within a few days. I have a handful of new side effects. Let’s see if I can remember them all…

• More hair than I’m used to blows out when I’m drying my hair. I’m not alarmed. Yet.
• My scalp is slightly itchy. It’s not bothersome. I think I just have to get a new shampoo/wash my hair less.
• Sore throats in the morning when I wake up
• Sneezing attacks (I guess I could chalk this up to allergies, too)
• Nothing is healing quite right. Every mark (pimples too) leaves a shiny pink scar instead of going nicely away.
• Dry eyes = contacts are a pain
• Lower back pain, only when I lie down though.
• Annnnnnnd… that’s it. There’s probably more, but I can’t remember.


Anyone who is thinking of starting Accutane, please don’t let these scare you!!! I know it seems like I’ve worked up a major list here, but they don’t even bother me. These side effects aren’t a constant part of my life. I don’t have back pain 24/7—it’s just a twinge when I lie down. I drink a glass of water and the sore throat goes away. I occasionally scratch my head, but I’m not being driven insane, et cetera. It means Accutane is working! Honestly, I’d be more worried if I didn’t feel something because then how would I know that the meds are doing their job?

The face is going onto one of its semi-clear streaks. It better stay this way—I’m leaving for a family reunion tomorrow morning and I don’t want to have to explain anything to my extended family. We love each other to bits, but I don’t think they’d have a problem asking me why my complexion is so… well, you know.

No one in my family has acne, which makes this even more difficult to understand. I always thought acne was primarily genetic. I mean, how else could some people not wash their face in a month and have a pristine complexion while others are so diligent about their regimens and still break out daily? I guess there are just so many factors that no one understands yet.

I’ll report later this week! Talk to you all soon!


Amy

Edited by axtine8, 05 July 2010 - 03:48 PM.


#10 tidalwaves

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:12 AM

hey! thanks for the comment on my log. i will definitely be reading your log, sort of to give me a heads up on whats to come for me as i'll be a bit behind you in my progress lol. anyways, ur a ta? in toronto ta's are usually older than 19, doing their post-graduate (i guess), so thats awesome! i'm taking a shakespeare class in the upcoming school year and i'm actually really scared because it takes me awhile to understand it :S but i think its a good course to take and learn more about so i'll see what happens lol..
good luck with everything, and i'll check back smile.gif

#11 breanana

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 10:58 PM

Hey! Good luck!

Your skin seems pretty similar to mine. So did your side effects.

My face has already started to clear up and it's only been a month! I'm sure yours will do the same soon too. Watch, beginning of week four things will start to balance out.

smile.gif

#12 axtine8

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:36 PM

Day 18

Angela1985: Thanks so much! I'm glad someone else thought it was just as funny! smile.gif I've been reading your log too! I'll definitely keep up with it.

tidalwaves: haha Yeah, I'm a TA. But it's only for a 2000-level course, and I took it last semester. I've worked with the professor before during productions, so that made it a lot easier to get the job. I'm stoked to be in the class again! I just love Shakespeare. I haven't nailed a major role in any production yet, but my dream roles are either Ophelia from Hamlet or Desdemona from Othello. I think I'll just keep on dreaming... lol

breanana: Thanks! I can only hope it starts to get better soon! Clear skin cannot come fast enough for me!



Just got back from my big family reunion this morning. My skin behaved for the most part. I have a really annoying mini-cyst on the bridge of my nose. I can see it when I concentrate on it. Aren’t those just the worst? I avoid mirrors as is. I don’t want to be able to see zits without even looking in a mirror! I also have one on my left cheekbone, one above my left eyebrow and one on my forehead (which is rare for me). The rest of the skin on my cheeks is just all around bumpy and unpleasant looking, even if there are no active cysts. The majority of my acne is right below my eyes around my nose. I rarely get them on my jawline, lower cheeks or forehead. That’s how I know it’s not hormonal. Isn’t hormonal acne around the mouth and jawline? Yeah, if my entire face matched that area, I wouldn’t even need to be on Accutane. What in God’s name causes acne right below the eyes? It’s so frustrating, because the skin is so delicate there and it scars so easily. IT shouldn’t even be acne prone, because it’s so non-oily there.

Speaking of oil…. As I have been reading logs here, I have come to realize something. Even though I definitely have cystic/nodular acne, there is one thing I don’t have. I do not have crazy, absurdly oily skin! I never retouch my makeup. I never look shiny during the day, etc. I remember I used to. During my junior year in high school (back when my skin was pretty much acne-free thanks to erythromycin pills), I would always have to sneak off to the bathroom to blot my face with those nifty Clean and Clear blotting sheets. The blue ones? You might have seen them before. I don’t know when I stopped being so oily. I guess it’s one of those things that no one ever really misses. Either way, I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with that anymore. Acne is hard enough as it is.

Now I’m just looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend. My older brother Neil and his wife came over for dinner tonight with their new baby girl. Her name is Sariah. Isn’t that just about the loveliest name? Like the name Sarah, but pronounced “Sah-RYE-ah.” : ) You’d think I’d had enough of my family. haha We just spent three days at a reunion. I had a pretty good time, considering the fact that I probably only talked to each individual person once or twice. My family is so huge it’s not humanly possible to be close with all of them. It was for my dad’s side of the family. He has seven siblings, each of which has at least four children. They are all married, so their spouses count. And then there’s my family. So… 35 cousins + 2 grandparents + 14 aunts/uncles + 7 people in my family = 58 people. Most of the kids are younger than me, too. And what inevitably happens is the younger children are pinned on the older children while the adults go off and be social. I love my cousins, but oh my. I was so overwhelmed. wink.gif

Edited by axtine8, 08 July 2010 - 08:49 PM.


#13 Guest_CynthiaS_*

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:33 PM

Hey Amy! Your face is so pretty, I can't wait to see Accutane let that sunshine show through =) Not to say you're not pretty now, I just know how acne can make us feel like we're hiding behind a mask, a face that's not ours. Got your log tracked now so I look forward to keeping up with your progress!

#14 Angela1985

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 09:01 AM

Hey!!
It's funny..nothing is really itchy yet except my scalp..maybe it's too early for me to be dry? You are about a week and a half farther than I am, so I guess itching/flaking is in my near future - greeeat...
I'm glad you aren't experiencing any real adverse side effects - that's great to hear!! smile.gif
Oh, and I was really happy to read that you do the cortizone shots too!! I feel so much better when I find out that I'm doing things that work for other people too smile.gif
ttys

Edited by Angela1985, 09 July 2010 - 09:03 AM.


#15 axtine8

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 02:46 PM

Life-on-Accutane Lesson #38: DON'T PICK YOUR FACE...


... or you'll end up like me. Seriously. I have seen multiple people post multiple things about how sensitive our skin is on Accutane. I took it half to heart. I guess it's just one of those things you can be told a million times but still have to experience for yourlself. I picked some zits last night. BIG BIG BIG mistake. I now pretty much look like I have about four cigarette burns on various parts of my face. DON'T DO IT! It's so not worth it. Please.

End rant.

Edited by axtine8, 09 July 2010 - 02:49 PM.


#16 Guest_CynthiaS_*

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 02:48 PM

Oh nooooo oh man I know exactly what you're talking about I'm sorry... I was disappointed when I did the same thing!! You should try calling your dermatologist and asking him/her to give you a couple of samples of Biafine. You won't believe how fast those spots will heal up!

#17 axtine8

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 04:55 PM

Day 22

After the skin picking disaster a few days ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t pick anymore! And I’ve done quite well, which is why my face is looking tons better. I have an appointment with my dermatologist on 7/21 to get my second month’s prescription for Claravis, so I’ll post updated pics on that day. : )

I had a pair of papules on my right cheekbone that went away all on their own this morning in the shower. And I had something on my lower chin that was shaping up to be a monster of a cyst, but I zapped it with my Zeno. It’s a 50/50 chance with the Zeno: sometimes it completely stops a pimple in its tracks or it doesn’t do anything. Either way, I have nothing to lose, because those sore bumps under the skin would turn into something ANYWAY. I think it did some good because now I can feel it coming to a head. It’ll be gone in a day or two, I think. Hmm… aside from my skin’s all-around bumpiness, redness and blotchiness, there are a few minor zits but I don’t know about any other major cysts. Usually I have 3-4 on my face at a time. I think I can feel one forming directly under my left eye, so I’m going to be really gentle with that one.

Should I not be using facial masks? I have the Refining Mask leftover from my Proactiv days, and I have a medium sized tub of Queen Helene’s mint julep masque. Some people say that it will do my skin good, but I’m afraid of over-irritating it. Input?



Well that’s it for now. Since I have been terrible about uploading pictures of my skin, I’ll leave you with this little baby. It's a picture of my eye. My roommate Shelby and I went to Holi (the Indian Festival of Colors) at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple back in March. She’s a photography major--- she was totally in her element, what with all the fantastic colors.

By the time we were done I looked like a rainbow had vomited all over my face, but I was thrilled because the powder completely covered up all my zits! It was one of the only times this year that I’ve been able to walk around completely confident. She finally got around to processing the pictures last night so I thought I’d share one with you guys!


Don't you wish we could just walk around like this all the time? hahahaha

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by axtine8, 12 July 2010 - 07:55 PM.


#18 Hello2032

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:22 PM

Wow cool pic! I have used that proactiv facial mask while on accutane and it didn't irritate me at all. I guess we should note that I've put a lot of things on my face over the years so it might just be really numb to any kind of treatment but I doubt using that would cause any problems smile.gif

I was thinking of getting some of my cysts injected, what kind of experience did you have with that?

#19 hop3

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 11:41 AM

oh the zeno! i agree, 50/50 is about right. sometimes it just completely takes care of it and sometimes nothing... i didnt even think about using it now, but it guess... why not?

#20 calabi

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 09:52 AM

hey!
I just wanted to wish you the best of luck with your course and let you know your great attitude with life is contagious. I really enjoyed reading your log so far and will be back. Hope you keep the same positive attitude throughout your course.

Also,I love the story about your sister. Very funny!