So this week I return to my doctor for a checkup, and explain that the acne is spreading down my back and towards my stomach. She advises me to take antibiotics, and writes me a prescription for 50 mg Doxyhexal tablets. The first pack of 25 is to be taken twice a day, with each packet thereafter taken once a day, at night. I am not a fan of using antibiotics when they're not strictly necessary, for obvious reasons, so I am somewhat hesitant to do this. I must admit she freaked me out when she suggested I try the antibiotics for six weeks, and then if I don't see a change she would give me a recommendation to a dermatologist who may consider Roaccutane... No thank you! My acne is not nearly severe enough for me to consider that at this stage.
The tablets are to be taken "with a glass of milk or food". Milk? I thought that calcium can impact the adsorption of antibiotics, so may try to limit dairy in the few of hours before and after taking the dose. The other instructions are to take the tablet with a full glass of water (and daily increase water intake is recommended), avoid lying prone for at least 30 mins beforehand (to avoid damage to my oesophagus- wow, scary!), avoid sun exposure, and avoid taking iron preparations within two hours of each dose.
Really, really bad face day (~45% coverage). Yesterday I got another one of the weird burn blister-thingies, this time on my nose, right there for the world to see. Yay! As well as this, I also have a delightful new addition to the "What in the world is that?!" folder, with some kind of a weird infection thing in the corner of my mouth, which almost looks like a cold sore. ...Except I know it's not, since I've been extraordinarily careful (and darned lucky!) to avoid cold sores my whole life. And in truth, I think I know what caused it; yesterday I noticed large white (gland?) things, probably associated with dry skin, and I scratched them, probably causing infection. Despite only applying the Edpiduo to my chin, nose, between the eyebrows and forehead area, other places are experiencing dryness (e.g. my lips are very dry these days, and weirdly enough my eyelids too!). Chest and back look much the same (about 65% and 90% respectively), with a couple of big sore spots on my back that I'm trying to leave well alone. So at the moment I'm quite disheartened by everything, so I fill the script for the doxy, and take the first dose in the evening.10/09/2011Doxy is making my stomach a little funny, but I'm finding that eating something directly before it (as simple as some Vegemite on dry wheat crispbread) beforehand, and heaps of water during and after taking it helps a lot, and limits it to what feels like very mild heartburn. For me the biggest impact is having something to eat for breakfast with it, as I am not a morning person, and can only stomach coffee in the morning usually. This is where my increased appetite from the Pill is actually helping, since before I would not have been able to stomach food! On a side note, before I started the Pill I weighed 52 or 53 kg, and since starting I've put on three (3!) kilos... in the last two weeks! Since I was jogging regularly beforehand I was pretty slim so am not too worried, but I would like to be able to get back into the jogging for my mental health (I sleep so much better at night after wearing myself out).
The corner of my mouth is healing, but my face is still a disaster zone (~40%). I've got new pimples across my forehead, one on the edge of both eyebrows, and a few in my hairline on each side of my face. I also have a lovely huge pustule on the side of my nose, which I'm trying to leave alone... but it's so big...! My chest has seen a surprising improvement, and is down to about 60% coverage. No big lumpy spots any more, and the only fresh spots are pretty tiny, which is great! Redness almost gone too, with some of the scars maybe-possibly-hopefully fading. My back is still pretty bad, with scarring (ugh!). It's at about 85%, but there are still fresh infection sites, some of which are sore.
Pretty similar today. Face is still bad (35-40%). My forehead is still breaking out, so I've got fresh sites as well as scarring (yay!). I couldn't stand it anymore, so disinfected a needle and relieved some of the pressure from the pustule next to my nose, which appears to have an underlying nodule, joy. Chest is still looking pretty good (still probably at about 60% coverage), with only one or two new sites. My back, although very difficult to see in the bad photography, is on par with yesterday (about 80%?), and is still getting new pimples. It gets itchy, so I'm trying really hard to resist scratching it; I can see where I have scratched one I get a breakout of little spots around it. Easier said than done though, when scratching is such an automatic reaction!
So I'm pretty stressed with my research at the moment. I have this massive deadline looming in a matter of days, and I find myself on here blogging instead. Whoops. In a way I guess it's therapeutic; even though I'm pretty sure no-one else reads it, it's a way for me to put my progress on paper and organise my thoughts. I'm trying to be better with my diet (well at least I'm eating more fruit), although the stress eating of chocolate (...it's there & it's easy) is probably not helping. Not that chocolate is bad for acne, per se, but I'm sure the sugar, fat and lack of nutritional value doesn't help! Jogging really helps my mood though, I feel so much more in control and self-confident after a decent jog. I've been considering getting a gym membership since it keeps raining here, so that I can exercise every day. I'm short of time though, so that may have to wait until I finish this project thing.
Okay none of that had anything to do with acne, whoops! So still having bad-face days (are there anything but?). I had my supervisor comment the other day that she's never seen my face so "red". Gee... Thanks? Haha. But I am pretty peel-tastic at the moment; not sure if it's because maybe I did a more thorough job of the retinoid/BP cream, or perhaps because I did a pretty thorough wash with pHisohex, which dries my skin out a lot. Okay probably both, come to think of it!
I'm going to add some photos about the delightful drying effect of retinoid/BP creams, as well as the usual progress update ones. Acne-wise I think my chest is probably down to about 50% (most of that is scarring and healing), with no new breakouts (sweet!). The community on my back is still happily multiplying away, with the spots decreasing in intensity and density towards my lower back. I would guess my upper back is at about 80-ish percent, towards the small of my back there's about a 10 to 15% coverage (probably an overestimate on actual areal extent, but it's all qualitative anyway, so oh well!).