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About ME:

I'm a 24 y/o female in grad school.

I would say I have very mild/moderate acne, I do get occasional and painful deep cysts that are typically not evident on the surface. Mostly they stay so deep they can only be noticed by firm pressing. I also struggle with a terrible blackhead problem, some I've had for years that are so clogged I feel like my body has "quarantined" them off and they remain, deeply engrossed within pores that have grown the size of three or four, unchanged and resistant to any type of extraction. I also have a massive problem with oil, in any given day I feel like I could fill up my gas tank with the amount of oil my sebaceous glands secrete.

You can argue I'm not a suitable candidate for Accutane, as most of my friends will say. But acne is acne, oil is oil, my problems have still negatively affected me emotionally, lowered my confidence and given me relentless anxiety for years. I shouldn't have to live with my skin problems anymore than somebody who has a more visibly obvious case of problems, should I?

I've been through everything (minus laser, which my derm has told me will not benefit me until I've cleared my acne), I've tried all the holistic methods, the oil methods, the water only methods. I've spent hundreds of dollars on "celebrity" status products. I've gone through the battery of prescription options, consistently and patiently-- including Accutane.

My First Try with Accutane:

Last December I had concluded I had suffered enough. I decided it was now time for me to take the plunge and try my final resort. I weigh about 115lbs (~52kgs) and was initially placed on 40mg/day. Within the first week my oil was gone and by the tenth day most of acne was completely cleared (my blackheads where starting to surface as well). By that time however, I had noticed a severe change in my mood and attention. My vision became slightly altered, despite my frequent application of eye drops. I couldn't think, focus, study. This was bad, as studying is pretty much my life right now, and if I don't learn the things I need to learn this could mean a patients life! I was constantly tired and weak, and no amount of caffeine or adderall would rescue me.

So I stopped after 2 weeks. Everything went back to normal pretty quickly after that, including the oil, acne, and emotional anxiety that goes along with that.

The plan was to finish school and then consider trying it out again.

BUT, I can't wait any longer. Especially as we have begun our dermatology courses, I'm fidgeting in my seat trying not to feel uncomfortable as intensely magnified pictures of acne and related skin problems are displayed on the powerpoint screen during our lectures. I look around and notice not a single other person in my class struggles with the skin problems I've been genetically doomed with. Under those fluorescent lights you can't hide a thing.

I went back to my derm and told her my concerns. Together we decided to give it another shot at a lower dose (30 mg). If that's too much I'll try 20mg. Anything. I won't sacrifice my mental clarity for clear skin, but I'm willing to start low and go slow if it can be avoided.

At this point I've determined the potential risks are worth the lasting benefits. I've given it a lot of thought, a lot of research, and a decent amount of time to decide this.

So, soon enough...

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Im preparing to start on Accutane as well. This will be my first time. I've researched that fish oil will be beneficial, but what dosage do I take?

Also, you stated there is a supplement you are considering for mental clarity? (Sorry if I mis quoted). Rhodiola rosea - what is that??

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Hey

I'm just about to start my second round of accutane too at age 20 in my second year at Uni, just started a new log. We're debating whether to go private (which will cost a fortune, more than last time because I have to have a preg test every month according to new EU regulations which means a consulation fee each time!) or whether to go by the NHS which will cause a delay of up to 13 weeks. However this means I will be on tane during winter, not good as I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Anyway, hope all goes well, I know what its like trying to study while still wanting clear skin...Im a trainee teacher and the kids will ask what all the red marks and lumps on my face are...its a tearjerker as you're never quite sure what to say.

Hope all goes well, keep us posted!

Ness x

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Good luck! Your situation sounds similar to mine (i.e. not a lot of visible breakouts, but lots of things brewing under the skin). I can sympathize with you!!

I am a 28 yr old female, around 50 kg and just started my 5-month course today. I'm starting at 30 mg of Sotret and will move up to 60 mg in one month.

The next five months will go by fast. . . .it will all be worth it in the end. Stay positive!!

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Also, you stated there is a supplement you are considering for mental clarity? (Sorry if I mis quoted). Rhodiola rosea - what is that??
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I don't shave every single day, but I do quite often. It doesn't hurt, but the skin does dry out. Applying lotion while my legs are damp really helps. If I'm in a hurry and skip that step, I can tell. Itch itch itch!

Hopefully, the lower dose is all you need to jump start a successful course. We're all rootin' for you and we'll be here for support. :)

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Hi,

I too was scared of the side effects of acne. I started off with 20 mg and it's been a month now.

I have to say I'm happy with the results. My oil production is minimal and I dont break out as often. I say "as often" because I still do get the occasional acne especially around the ears area. But seeing that my skin is 10x better than a month ago, I'm pleased.

I've been considering to move the dosage up.. but since I'm still a student, I want to be able to focus. Right now the only side effect that is bothering me is my vision. After 2-3 hours of reading/staring at my pc, I get blurry vision. I have to take 10-15 min break to restore my vision. It's fine at home but in uni, this isnt ideal =\

I recommend you staying on low dosage like me for the time being. Good luck!

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Hello!

Just finished reading your introduction post and I have to say that those ADD drugs must be working because I would never be able to sit down and write all of that and I have never been diagnosed!

I did want to mention about the Rhodialo - I started this about a month and a half ago (about three months into my tane) and I think that it has really helped. I ran out a couple of weeks ago and I could feel that it had made a difference in my mood, mental clarity and general stamina. I have gotten back on it and really like it. It is subtle not like when you drink an energy drink but more like "hmm I am not so tired today" type of thing.

Mine says to take in the morning preferably without food - if I do that it comes right back up so I have to take it with breakfast and then don't seem to have any issues.

Good Luck on your course - I think that you will come to call Accutane as a "miracle drug" as well.

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NEWS FLASH:

We just received our clinical rotation schedules for August-December. Now just imagine, who/what/where would the absolute BEST place to be working whilst just beginning my course of Accutane?! If you said DERMATOLOGY, you win a brownie.

No, but for real, how perfect is that? Not only will I have access to all the drug rep freebie skin care products, but I'll be spending 40+ hrs/week with a guy who specializes in treating acne and prescribing this drug regularly.

I honestly couldn't be happier about it.

Now, if I can just make it through the life-sucking workload I have this month.

On a quick side note, the doctor I've been mentoring with on Fridays told me last week she takes flaxseed instead of fish oil because it provides the same omega acids. She reminded me of the toxins in fish, and then I remembered learning about how the parts-per-million get extremely concentrated within these fish through the food chain somewhere during my undergrad; however, my recollection is slightly hazy...

I haven't had the time (nor energy) to research this thoroughly yet, but was wondering if anyone else uses flaxseed instead of fish oil for the tane-induced joint pain? I would certainly like to avoid the fish oil if I could, the smell is something I could live without.

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Hello. I read your intro & skimmed through most of the other posts here. I thought it wouldn't hurt to share my experience with accutane so far. I've been on accutane for 2 months and coincidentally I go in for my 3rd prescription on July 7th (I think that is when you restart).

So when I got my INITIAL PRESCRIPTION, my derm specified the generic brand SOTRET, however, I had an allergic reaction that made me break out in HIVES. It really wasn't too bad: started on my forearms & by the end of the day was on my stomach & thighs & it wasn't really itchy at all. My doctor wanted me to go off accutane completely (she thought I was gonna have some fatal allergic rxn), but I begged her to give me another prescription for the name brand & she agreed to let me start at 40mg a day (I weigh about 140lb & she originally was gonna start me at 60mg). NO HIVES this time -I guess because the NAME BRAND ACCUTANE is much purer.

I guess I'm lucky or something because I haven't had too many side effects.

My SIDE EFFECTS: 1)dry lips, but if I'm diligent with the Aquaphor I can avoid that totally. (actually I need to apply right now!)

2) headaches -now this is weird cuz I started getting headaches just before beginning the accutane & I thought it was probably from allergies so when they continued I didn't attribute them to the Accutane. Now it has become a daily thing for me to get headaches & sometimes more than once a day so I think it may be the Accutane causing it now. Luckily they aren't that bad & I can keep going on with my daily life -just with some annoyance.

3) I think this is more a result of not being able to use a stronger cleanser, but now the pores on my nose have all filled with little blackheads. Really, I am the only one that can see these when I practically smash my face up to the mirror, but being a perfectionist, this really ANNOYS me. My derm says this is going to go away very quickly as I continue the accutane.

I found what you said about the difficulty in concentration really helpful. See, I'm studying for the MCAT right now (take it on July 8 -4 DAYS TO GO!!!). I never heard anything about a loss in focus from Accutane until I read your post. But now some things seem to make sense. See my SCORES on practice tests were steadily INCREASING with my study, but then I UPPED my DOSAGE of Accutane this past month (40mg & 80mg on alternating days) & my SCORES have DROPPED. When I go back to diagnose why I missed questions, a lot of them have to do with "missing important information" or "misreading the question" -mistakes I don't think I would have made if I were truly focused. So, thanks for your info -I think I'm gonna quit the accutane until after the MCAT. I would like to try the rhodiala(sp?) stuff, but don't wanna try anything new just before my test. I think I might try it in the fall when I'm finishing my prereq's if I still have a problem focusing.

As for your product list, I think it is awesome that you are getting all prepared, but my advice is to be optimistic & hopefully you won't get all those side effects. You know a lot of these things can be mental & if you think its gonna happen, you'll convince yourself that it is happening...

Oh yeah, so what good has Accutane done for me? I was an OIL FACTORY prior to starting. I used those Clean & Clear blotting sheets like 8+ times a day. Now I don't have to use anything -my skin is finally what the cosmetic companies term "NORMAL". My acne has subsided, but isn't completely gone: the difference is that I feel like my skin is purging all the sebum that has been stuck in my pores for so long (yuck!) I also like the way that my skin heals after the zit has burst. It's much like Differin: (I think this is because they're both derivatives of Vitamin A) the whole patch of skin where the zit was just kind of flakes away in one piece & it doesn't scar as much. (Sorry for all the gross detail, but I figure if you're a med student & have dealt with acne, you've seen worse & know what I'm talking about:-)

Ok, so I think this post has reached the length of your intro so I'll stop for now. Thanks for the info. & good luck (with school, rotations, accutane, life:-).

NEWS FLASH:

We just received our clinical rotation schedules for August-December. Now just imagine, who/what/where would the absolute BEST place to be working whilst just beginning my course of Accutane?! If you said DERMATOLOGY, you win a brownie.

No, but for real, how perfect is that? Not only will I have access to all the drug rep freebie skin care products, but I'll be spending 40+ hrs/week with a guy who specializes in treating acne and prescribing this drug regularly.

"HEY doc, my skin is really itchy today, and red, and peeling... what can we do about it?" "Oh just throw on some of this cream or that cream or let's try this"

I honestly couldn't be happier about it.

Now, if I can just make it through the life-sucking workload I have this month.

On a quick side note, the doctor I've been mentoring with on Fridays told me last week she takes flaxseed instead of fish oil because it provides the same omega acids. She reminded me of the toxins in fish, and then I remembered learning about how the parts-per-million get extremely concentrated within these fish through the food chain somewhere during my undergrad; however, my recollection is slightly hazy...

I haven't had the time (nor energy) to research this thoroughly yet, but was wondering if anyone else uses flaxseed instead of fish oil for the tane-induced joint pain? I would certainly like to avoid the fish oil if I could, the smell is something I could live without.

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Thanks for the advice! I actually spoke to my derm about getting a rx for name brand only, because although the active ingredient is the same; inactive ingredients vary significantly. I experienced this first hand when my birth control became generic and I started having GI upset.

HEADACHES. Yes, many people seem to speculate this is from the dehydration. I'm not 100% convinced of that, but drinking lots of water is a remedy sworn by many on accutane. I would suggest getting your eyes checked, though, as I found I needed glasses after all (as you probably know, vitamin A targets your eyes).

GOOD LUCK on the MCATs. It's grueling. 8 hours from what I remember.... Although I took it the last year it was offered in pencil/paper format so the electronic version may allow it to be much quicker. I don't know if your a big caffeine user or not, but I certainly am and they don't permit beverages in the testing center. That almost killed me, but I brought coffee beans from startbucks to chew on throughout the day which helped mildly.

In my opinion, stopping the accutane before the exams are probably going to really boost your scores. I was taking finals when I stopped, and I remember my pharm final was TERRIBLE. I just couldn't get my brain out of that "haze" --I remember calling poison control because I was so desperate to see what I could do to up the metabolism and get it out of my system asap. Three days was all it took until I bounced back to my normal self, but I had only been on it for 2 weeks.

Let me know how it goes!!

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I have suffered from acne for years. I have tried Differin, antibiotics, topical remedies. I have always been leary of any drug but especially a powerful one like Accutane. There has got to be another way, I have always said to myself. So, I finally went to a holistic naturopath. He recommended eliminating gluten (and reducing or eliminating dairy). After talking to him, I did some research. If you Google "Gluten + Acne," some great info will come up. There is a webpage created by someone who tried Accutane 3 times. The writer explains that the drug would work, but once off the drug, the acne came back with a vengeance. She decided to quit Accutane (because of the effects it would have on her liver).

And then she decided to try a gluten-free diet. Within days, her acne was gone and it never came back.

I decided to go gluten-free. And I, too, found out that it works. My skin cleared up. And my asthma is gone also. My thinking is also incredibly clear. Without drugs.

I did some more research. It turns out, gluten causes inflammation in sensitive people. My skin and my bronchial passages had been inflammed for years.

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it sounds like you have the same skin type problem. i'm six weeks in, and accutane is doing wonders. i'm acne free. now, all i'm waiting for is for my deeply clogged pores to clear out. i have very stubborn clogged pores with gunk instead of regular blackheads.

i was scared about how accutane would affect my concentration because i have to study a lot as well for nursing school, but it hasn't affected me too much. i'm still getting As even now that i'm taking 15 units for the summer. i'm sure you'll do fine tooo.

good luck!

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Hi stellar88,

Thank you for stopping by my journal/log or whatever you want to call it. :) I am so thankful I am not the only one concerned about the hair side effects. I felt so vain writting that....

So far my hair has done okay (but it's only been 9 days), all I can do is to continue to moisturize it daily, drink plenty of water (which so difficult to do) and take my Biotin vitamin. Have you studied or heard if Biotin truly helps hair/nails?

I will definitely check out the website you recommended. I am happy to hear your hair is healthy. I think curly hair is way underrated, but that's my personal opinion... :whistle:

It's so interesting that you brought up nails, b/c I was just thinking about the effect of The Pill on nails. I hadn't noticed too many people commenting about brittle nails, which I found odd. Especially since this medicine dries out everything else I figured your nails would be affected too.... Unfortnately my nails have always been brittle, so I haven't noticed any change in them. I try to keep them cut short so no one can tell how terrible they look.

If I notice any visible changes I will let you know.

I read through your introduction and most of the other post on your page. It's so funny b/c I kept thinking my journal/log was waaaay too long (and it truly is but it doesn't matter because I can't help it) and no one was going to read it. When I read your journal/log I felt like I had found a kindred spirit. :wavey: You write as much as I do. Plus the whole part about the ADD.

Honestly I can't help it. I'm just long winded and I have a million topics going on in my head, but that only happens when I write, usually when I actually speak to people I have very little to say.

How Odd! :think:

I believe yesterday was supposed to be perscription day. How did it go? Keep us posted on your journey.

Again thanks for stopping by my journal!

CrimsonandCreamDiva

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So I've had this script around now all week, it was rather tedious and inevitably inconvenient to get apparently because I have a "weird dosage" (per my derm) but I finally found it at Walgreens.

I really really want to just start this process... but I'm going to be patient and wait until Monday night (after my first board exam) before subjecting my body and possibly mind to potentially toxic amounts of vitamin A.

I took an incredibly hot shower tonight and had my final "picking" session. Each time I get brave enough to turn on the second (bright!) light in the bathroom it just keeps getting worse. I was so shocked tonight that I even took pictures, although too chicken to post anything just yet.

I rarely get cystic acne, but tonight I had two, gigantic.... not even cysts.... more like abscesses (which I suppose in all technicality any pustular acne could be considered) but it was terrible. Even I was grossed out to manipulate such a disgustingly large pack of dead neutrophils. Ew.

Have you studied or heard if Biotin truly helps hair/nails?
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WEEK 1.

My skin is pretty clear, which is more likely due to my tanner OD-ing last week than the accutane, but I had to get a decent color on my skin before I was banned from the sun for the next six months or so.

I feel slightly more achy and this morning it took a longer time than normal for my mind to wake-up. I've been making 2-3 green smoothies/day and I think it's really helping. PLUS, the great thing is that I throw in about a tbsp of flaxseeds to get my omegas --which in my opinion is much more effective (and safer) than taking supplements.

My eyes are really dry, oddly enough they started feeling dry before I even started. I think I may be experiencing some type of rebound effect from using artificial tears too often. Sometimes I use the gel eyedrops and I like those, but because I can't really feel/assess how much is going into my eye I put in way too much; it's really goo-ey but it seems to work.

My vision is ? I'm wearing my glasses much more often now, which is nice to hide the fact I have blonde eyelashes and mascara is no longer an option with my frequent eye drop use.

Off to class... only two more weeks!

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So... quick update. My skin feels really hot, similar to the sensation after getting a sunburn. Its not red and not dry at all... mostly on my arms, thighs and ankles. wtf?

And about this whole water thing...

I am having issues keeping myself "hydrated" --I have to keep a pretty steady amount of coffee coming in throughout the day to prevent my normal drowsiness during class. Any break in this "drip" causes me near painful sleepiness, reminds me of how you feel when you have to wake up early and go to work the day after a night full of liquor.... painful.

So, to combat this, I try to slam a gallon or two from the time I come home until bedtime. This results in me waking up four or so times a night to pee. Not good when I'm already sleep deprived. Jeeeeeeze, I've barely started and I can already find 1o4353598 things to complain about. I'm probably the worst person to talk to if you need some convincing to start this stuff.

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My body aches in the worst way and my head feels so heavy. I'm going to do some yoga later today to see if that helps.

Last night I "dry brushed" my body lightly with a natural sponge for about 10 minutes. Then I used a little bit of almond oil and massaged it all over my skin & scalp before jumping into the shower. My skin glowed! It's not dry yet, but I'm starting to feel slightly itchy. I retired my bodyshop body butter and used some plain old Lubriderm and holy wow, it worked much better than I could have expected.

I'm breaking out pretty badly... all of the bumps that have been on my face for months-years are starting to change, getting a little redder, some surfacing. I know I'm going to have a terrible IB, my pores have been so clogged for so long, but have been unable to come through and clean themselves. I've just been avoiding brightly lit mirrors to prevent myself from going into maniac pick mode.

Yesterday I discovered Epocrates is now finally available for my iphone!! (just the free prescription version) I've been using pepid on my palm, but since it was free I downloaded it anyways. I was really bored in class so I used their formula to calculate my cumulative dose I'll need to complete my course. Turns out, I would only need about 25 mg/day X 15-20 weeks to meet the minimum.

I may just go ahead and take my 30mg every other day for the rest of the month now. I am concerned about the fatigue and malaise that has already seemed to hit me hard right before finals. I'll have three weeks off in August, so I'll probably use that "down-time" to catch up with my doses. If my body freaks out and decides it wants to rest for three weeks, I'll be free to sleep all day if I so need to. Plus I have two weeks worth of 40mg left over from the last time I tried to take tane.

My lips are starting to get really dry so I decided to start drinking my coffee out of a straw. Hopefully this will minimize any staining of my teeth, too, because I think there was a post somewhere around here about bleaching your teeth on tane as probably not a good idea.

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WEEK 2:

My face is disgusting. I don't even want to leave the house... I always knew my pores were pretty clogged, but holy h this is insane!! My skin is far from dry... it actually seems much more oily than it ever has, but my lips are starting to chap and I have really bad dandruff --something I've never had before in my entire life.

I'm still only taking 30 mg, mostly everyday... but I've intentionally skipped two doses when I start to notice I'm dragging ass that day. Only two more weeks and finals will be over, I plan on loading up my doses to catch up.

I also read on here about Aleese, the BC I'm currently taking....

Sounds like this may be causing my recent breakouts that prompted me to jump back on tane in the first place! Honestly, I think I may just go get an IUD. It doesn't seem like my body can deal with oral contraceptives very well. I don't know. I feel like a little old lady with all the pills I take in any given day now.

Seriously, my scalp itches so bad I feel like I'm going to yank all of my hair out.

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sooooo... I'm pretty bad at keeping track of my days, errr day 20 or something?

MY skin still looks like a nightmare. By far, the worst it has ever been in my 24 years of life. The way my vanity sits next to the window hits one side only and I couldn't control myself, I went a little crazy attacking that side. Much to my dismay, that side is still scabbed (scabs much, much larger than the actual acne) while the other side has cleared from that days crop. It's terrible. Really and it's not getting better but much much worse. It's not limited to my face, either. All over, I'm breaking out and I've never had body acne before. Deep and painful and yeah I'm pretty much miserable.

And tired. All the time. Today I just finished two weeks of finals and in the process completely depleted this months worth of adderall to keep me awake long enough to learn the bare minimum. That's alright though, I don't really need my attention for the next few weeks and I'll be happy to sleep the days away.

Typical dryness, although I've been OCD with moisturizing my skin since forever, so not an issue really.

My mood sucks too. My boyfriend and I have been fighting a lot and I always feel overwhelmed, frustrated and psychotic during our arguments. They seem to always lead to crying, now, too. I'm not sure if it's the stress were both under or the accutane (or both) but no matter the etiology I hate arguing.

I'm going to load up on as much as my body can handle before my next derm appointment, I really just want to hit my minimal cumulative dose and be done. effff this.

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I hope good effects kick in soon also. You are bright and gifted my friend. Take a few minutes each day to sit somewhere quite or look at nature, listen for birds singing.

The 20's were some of my hardest years...I understand. Now that I am in my fifties I wish I had taken the time when I was younger to do what I love doing now. When my brain starts to jumble up junk (yes it is junk) I walk away sit somewhere quiet outside for at least 10-15 minutes. After I re adjust I go back to my work refreshed.

The big question I ask myself is this… will that person or group be at my funeral supporting my family?......yea that changes my perspective.

Blessings and Hugs to you

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Yesterday was my second derm appointment, so this marks month 2. Still breaking out pretty bad with acne bigger than ever and in places that I usually don't have problems with. My derm asked about the dosage as well as my experience thus far and I had to admit I was pleased with taking it "slow" and keeping the dosage low (30mg).

However, my AST was raised one point above normal. A little worrisome, but she said we will just have to monitor it for now and she wasn't going to withhold my prescription. I decided to stop taking nyquil so I'm hoping that will help. I just moved to another city which took a LOT of my energy and sleep so maybe just possibly my body is feeling a little "stressed" and that could have contributed to the problem. This also kept me from eating as healthy as I normally do, considering we didn't have the kitchen unpacked and ready for groceries until two days ago. I don't know exactly what I can do to keep this enzyme down, but I plan on researching a little about it later.

My mood is what I would say as irrational. I did something about two weeks ago that I never in my life would have considered. It was a purchase I made, and so far has been the best decision I have done for myself in a long time. Seriously, a natural anti-depressant and now could not be happier with such a ray of sunshine in my life!!!!!!

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