To: All those people with severe acne: Before Accutane was invented- My gut wrenching Story:
I was born to a theatre family- my mother was a dancer and singer, grandfather could play every instrument in the band, aunt was an actress, everyone in the family could play piano and loved to entertain their friends with piano parties every other weekend. Of course, this was during the golden age of the 1940's and 1950's where everyone drank, smoked and gathered around the piano and sang familiar broadway hits from Roger's and Hammerstein musicals. Nobody worried about drinking too much alcohol , smoking or anything else- life was a musical comedy- and to be lived as such- all with a happy ending just like the musicals.
My mother was a talented beauty- fantastic voice, long legs and a great dancer ( self taught) and her parents had brought her up with a love to perform- to play piano ( 10 years of lessons), dance, and sing whenever and wherever she could. Therefore I was groomed to following her footsteps with piano lessons, dance lessons, bridge lessons and encouraged in the love of musical theatre. I didn't have the raw talent of my mother, but I could play the piano better, had perfect pitch, and was a good dancer- I was feeling pretty good about myself and looked forward to a perfect future just like the musicals promised.
All that ended when my acne started with a big infected cyst on my chin in 5th grade. That was so traumatic for me- had to go to the doctor to get it lanced and that incident took me several months to get over the pain, scar and embarrassment of the incident. The full blown acne started when I turned 13 and the hormones kicked in. My whole face became inflamed and oily and I developed painful cystic like bumps- so my whole junior high and high school days were spent going to the dermatologist for treatment at least two times a week. All I wanted to do was hide- my dreams of singing and playing piano and dancing were gone. My mother had mild acne also and told me hers went away when she became pregnant and never returned- so I was not to worry.
The doctors tried to use everything they could on me- starting me on tetracycline and then sun lamps etc. but nothing seem to help- even the tetracycline only worked for a little while. The only thing I found that helped at home was getting sun tan- the sun seemed to dry up the acne a little- but of course I didn't know that the sun over exposure was going to hurt me later on.
Finally when I am a senior in high school the doctor finally came up with the last resort solution of birth control pills- as they had just been approved and had been found to reduce oil and clear up the acne - as they explained the body wasn't producing hormones anymore- and they were right. What they didn't tell me was that the pills were going to change my metabolism and make me ravenously hungry all the time. The birth control pills make your body think it is pregnant resulting in weight gain and making you think you are hungry- so I put on about 20 lbs in no time- but at least I had the clear skin. The dosage in the birth control pills was very high- as they didn't know what the dosage should be back in 1965.
There is a lot more to my story- the agonizing years of trying to lose weight, getting pregnant, and finally when I was 40 years old trying Accutane when it was first approved. Please write to me if you want to hear all the sordid details- Anyone who has lived after the Accutane invention is blessed- believe me- I will tell you the rest of the story- which I should make into a book or movie