So I am about to finish day 14 and it seems as though I am about to have a break out. I have had perfect amazing skin for two weeks and I fear it may all be coming to an end. This is discouraging but I know this will pass. Have to see what happens. As for symptoms and side effects, the worst to date is the scalp. Oh my god dry scalp. It subsided today but two days ago it itched so bad I made my head bleed. Dr M. prescribed a foam and I have yet to use it. Ill wait to see if it gets to be as a bad as it was.
Ok so I know I am behind and hopefully will catch up since I just decided tonight to write this. Here is what I hope to accomplish: hope. Hope is a four letter word I hate to use, however, after doing all the research and reading that I did, I realize that it's all any one person who ventures in to this medication has.
I have been on the CDC, the FDA, acne.org, pharmaceutical websites, webMD, Wikipedia, personal blogs, conversation posts etc. I even read the ruling on the judgement against Roche.
Here is what I found: the majority of the information is negative. You have to dig and dig and dig, to really find any beacons of light. Well I hope my writing and notes provide that. I am day 13, and I do not have an initial breakout, nor did I have one in the 12 days preceding. If I can figure out how to post the pics, you will see red blemishes that are a result of me trying not to scratch my face but even to lightly do so, causes it to flake and turn red.
The point is: if you are scared, like I was to start this drug with all the negative publicity, then know that you cannot determine what is going to happen to you and you have to come to a point where you say to yourself: maybe I wont have a horrific break out. Maybe I wont get nose bleeds. Drugs react differently in everyones body. We cannot measure our side affects by other peoples side affects. What I can tell you, is everyones experience is different and if one person gives you hope that their experience was not catastrophic or horrific and it will help you to end 15 years or more of emotional pain, then this will be worth it for me. I am not trying to be the poster child for Accutane because it still scares the hell out of me, but I am trying to disseminate information because I am bothered by the fact that Accutane has become the black sheep of drugs as if the 15 million people it helped are insignificant.
REALITY: ITs a STRONG drug. IT'S used in chemotherapy for skin cancer patients. If you had skin cancer would you say I am not going to do everything possible to eradicate it? I think people think of pimples as something you can run out to the drug store, get some oxy pads and cure. Its a joke.
And so it begins:
Days 1-7: WHAT DID I EXPERIENCE? WHAT DID I DO? WHAT ARE MY REGIMENS?
Day 1: I got horrible "D" - need I say anymore? Otherwise all was fine
Day 2: I decided to take on water as my friend. I am an avid water drinker. I work out 4-6 times a week. Run half marathons and did a full. So in general I drink a lot of water and eat well. I eat lean proteins in fish and chicken, all veggies, nothing processed, no soda, no tea, no coffee, supplements etc.
Day 3: I started to get dry lips. However, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR LIPS START TO GET DRY TO USE AQUAPHOR. Start right away. Your body is trying to combat a drug that is treating you like the Sahara. ITS DRYING YOU OUT.
Day 4-7: Skin began to get dry and lightly flake. However, I still wore make up, and in fact was told on numerous occasions that my skin was looking better than it had in months!
FACE WASH: EXUVIANCE
MOISTURIZER: Mario Badescu Oil Free SPF 30
EYE CREAM: Mario Badescu
Week 1 I was averaging 3.5 liters of water a day. I owe my lack of peeling and clear skin to this. Additionally, I was working out. I kept my life as close to the same as possible. I cut out all ALCOHOL. For you social drinkers, I know this isn't easy, but again, google it and read other peoples experience. To me, is it worth the risk of getting sick or having a break out for that night out. I physically found that being on the medicine, I had no desire to drink. Now, that may change in light of the fact that I turn 30 while on this med.
So I am not sure if I am doing this right but I hope my intent is purposeful and helpful in writing this blog. I remember going to the dermatologist at 15.5 for the first time (currently 29). My sister who is six years older than me had already been on Accutane (approx 1991) but I have no recollection of it to this day. I do however, remember how bad her acne was. It was everywhere. When I went to the dermatologist he said my acne was not "bad" enough for Accutane and his answer was to put me on OrthoTricyclene. My skin immediately cleared. After years of being on birth control I went off and within a couple of years my skin freaked out. I thought I had beat it, however by age 25 my face was worse than ever.
So at 25 I was toggling with Pro Active. That worked for about 3 years and then skin started to battle again. I went to my OGBYN and a dermo and their solution was to put me on birth control. At this point, I had been off of birth control for about 8 years and it was trial and error. Some made me crazy, moody, homicidal and at one time I thought suicidal (kind of kidding) but suffice to say I did not like how I felt.
Shortly after my 29 birthday (Jan 10) and during training for my first full marathon I sought out a new dermatologist because my skin was now the worst it had been in 15 years. Her solution: BIRTH CONTROL AND TOPICALS. I started the new birth control regimen and it started to get worse. I asked my derm if I possibly had an allergy to soy. Something did not make sense. My face looked like an acne allergy. She basically said I was crazy. So I stopped all SOY products and my skin moderately cleared. I went to a chiropractor and he confirmed that I was extremely susceptible to Soy. I know it sounds kind of hocus pocus but if you did the test I did, you would see the affects that certain foods have on me and it was confirmed.
So, next I found my final dermatologist. The funny thing is, I wasnt going to see him for my skin. When I stopped the soy, like I said it improved, I was convinced I could get it under control. I had been doing monthly facials and being vigilant about my face. So he walks in to the room and says, "So I am seeing you to prescribe you accutane?" To which I responded, "ughh, I am here about dysport (like botox)." So he gave me my dysport, but he also gave me a 30 day doxycycline and topicals to start right away.
And that was the end of the beginning.
We will call my derm Dr. M (in case it violates rules to name him). He was very honest, up front and transparent about Accutane. He answered all my questions and even gave me answers to questions that I did not necessarily think of right away but may have thought of later. It took me two months of pondering before I found myself back in his office still scared from all the reports and problems with Accutane.
And after reading and reading and reading, and still to this day researching websites I said what do I have to lose? I am almost 30. If I want to have kids I wont be able to have any of my creams or medicines. I dont want to spend several years with pimples on my face through my 30s. Additionally, the antibiotics made me sick daily.
So, finally I did it. Put myself through the crap with IPLEDGE, blood work etc and I was on my way.
Week 1 to follow....and pictures