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NYgirl83

Time to get clear! (26yo/F/60mg)

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Hi everyone! I'm Amy, I'm 26 1/2 and I live in NYC. I've fought with acne since I was 11 years old. I've never had small tiny bumps and whiteheads, but instead have been blessed with cysts and under the skin pimples.

When I was a senior in high school (almost 10 years ago, yikes!!) I went on my first round of Accutane. Things were a lot different back then. I never had to sign anything, there was no discussion about side effects, I only had to do 1 blood test (in the beginning) and I promised not to get pregnant... which seemed to be enough to satisfy my derm!

The accutane worked wonders for me, I was clear (minus very minor breakouts during my periods) for a solid 2 years. Then the acne started to creep up on me again. It never got severe until recently. but I'd usually get 1 giant cyst per year (and I mean GIANT), and the rest of the year I'd just have minor breakouts (which never seemed minor to me in retrospect). Unfortunately, acne had already taken its toll on my self esteem and I was never comfortable being make-up free around people (even my family). I'm extremely tired of feeling ashamed of red marks on my face and cysts, and long for the day when I can walk around my apartment makeup-less and not worry about what my roommates think!

My skin broke out severely this summer. At first I blamed some new mineral makeup I was trying out (I've always used liquid), but now I think my skin just changed. My derm wanted to put me on Accutane but I didn't have health insurance through work because I was a freelancer. I finally became a real-live full-time employee on November 1st and have full coverage now!

I signed up for IPledge on November 23rd, had my first blood test on Dec 23rd and then got my prescription from my Derm on Dec. 28th! Waiting has been the worst part!

He assigned me to Claravis 60mg (for reference I'm 5'7 and 134lbs) --- the pharmacy had to order it, so I came back the next day. The pharmacy still didn't have it, so they gave me Sotret 60mg instead. I guess it's all the same anyway!

It's Dec. 29th right now and I have the pills in my hand but I'm going to wait until January 1st to start taking them. I do want to enjoy a glass or two of champagne on New Years Eve so thought it better to wait 3 days then to screw up my liver right at the start!

Recap:

Name: Amy

Age: 26 1/2

Pills: Sotret 60mg (30mg twice a day)

Start date: 1/1/2010

I'm so excited!! Photos will probably be up tomorrow!!

UPDATE --- Thought I'd take some pre-'tane shots!! Apologies if you're grossed out by spotty faces, boy have you stumbled on the wrong website.

These photos were taken with my macbook cam so quality is not the best, I think it actually just makes my skin look red and not bumpy! Some marks are just that, left-over red marks that will fade with time, but some are nasty cysts. Tried to get some weird angles to show the bumps, but it's tough!

Notice that my chin, nose and forehead are relatively clear --- usually like this. My adult acne is all on my cheeks which is the opposite of what I had before my first round of Accutane (8-9ish yrs ago)!

-Amy

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Edited by NYgirl83

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Hey amy- I'm also on my 2nd course now (after 5 years). here's to clear skin in 2010! I will be doing my toast on NYE with sparkling water- staying hydrated and whatnot:)

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were you on a low dose before?? and how long was the accutane course???? lol its funny, i also put off starting my accutane for a whole week for the christmas season drinking :D

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Hey amy- I'm also on my 2nd course now (after 5 years). here's to clear skin in 2010! I will be doing my toast on NYE with sparkling water- staying hydrated and whatnot:)

@curly - YES, 2010 will be a good year :)

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were you on a low dose before?? and how long was the accutane course???? lol its funny, i also put off starting my accutane for a whole week for the christmas season drinking :D

@raskolnikov -- haha I guess we had the same idea about the alcohol + holidays! I just figured that waiting 3 more days wouldn't kill me, even though I feel like I've been waiting forever!!

Honestly I can barely remember my first round of Accutane. I just remember it not being a huge deal at all -- I think all the research I've done and all the hoops you have to jump through now has made anxiety levels about the drug so high!

If I had to guess I'd say I never went higher than 60mg, but it's totally a guess, sorry! I don't remember going through an initial breakout like everyone here has, although my acne was pretty bad to begin with so the IB could have gone unnoticed by me. I was only 17 (to be young again! hah).

Amy :)

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Day 1: I just popped my first 30mg pill this morning, 1/1/10. A new year, decade and clear skin (hopefully!).

I'm supposed to take 60mg a day, but I'm a little nervous that the dosage might be high to start with. I didn't realize my derm prescribed this dosage until after I left, otherwise I would have told him my concerns. I'm 5'7/134lbs (which is a healthy skinny?), so I would have thought I'd start out on 30 or 40mg.

Only reason I'm worried? The dreaded initial breakout! I'm hoping it's not any worse than what my skin has been over the past few months (varying weeks of hide-in-my-bedroom awful skin to just tolerably awful skin). I'm doing my best to not freak out about my skin.

I'm also so confused about when to get blood tests. So my first blood test was on 12/23, and my derm appointment was 12/28. He actually had me take a urine pregnancy test right then because he thought I had taken my blood test about 2 days too early (not my fault -- Xmas got in the way and then the weekend!). So do I take my test 30 days from 12/23? I guess that's how it works, and I'll make sure to have a derm appointment 2 days after that. Unfortunately, my derm only has M, T, W and Saturday appointments and his hours on T,W's don't jive with my work schedule, leaving me only 2 options for visits -- M, S. Always so complicated!

Hope everyone's having a great New Year already!

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Hey Amy,

Lets stay in touch throughout this treatment. It is nice to know that someone else is going through EXACTLY what I am as far as treatment goes. Good luck and let me know how you are doing! and lets pray to not have a terrible IB... But at least if we do, it will be one of out last breakouts EVER! Happy new year,

Kevin

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Day 4!

So my skin hasn't hit the dry stage yet. I'm still doing everything I was before accutane.

My routine:

Once a day: St. Ives Apricot Scrub

Once a day: Cetaphil Face Wash or Philosophy Purity cleanser or Biore Warming Scrub

Remove makeup: Kirkland (Costco) Cleansing Wipes

Lotion: Cetaphil Moisturizing lotion

Spot Treatments: alternate between Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion and Tea Tree Oil

Every 3-4 days: Facial Masks -- Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask or Clean&Clear BP Mask

Blotting tissues for oil: Clean & Clear or generic brand

Drink 1-2 cups of organic green tea daily

The past 2 days I've woke up with a couple of tiny whiteheads -- this is soo weird for me. I never get whiteheads! I usually get cysts or just tiny red-under-the-skin bumps, whatever you want to call them! How disgusting is it that I'm actually excited to see whiteheads? I kind of feel like this means progress!!!

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I'm on day 4 with Accutane too. :) I haven't hit the dry skin stage yet either. I haven't noticed any side effects at all except maybe a few more whiteheads. I guess it IS a good sign! Haha! Hope this stuff works for you too!

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Hey!

I can't wait to see your progress! I'm almost 25 and know its almost embarrasing to have to worry about acne now! I just started planning my wedding for this year and I feel like every vendor I go see looks at me and goes "you look like your 13 with a face like that, what are you doing getting married" :P You look beautiful though with or without the acne and I hope your course goes great for you!

Good luck! :)

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Week 1 -- wow it's been a week already!

My skin is still bad -- actually I think it might be worse than when I started! But that's ok, I know it's all part of the treatment. I'm still getting a couple of tiny, baby whiteheads in the mornings (which don't bother me), but I've had a few small, pink, under-the-skin bumps pop up within the last week also (those I do mind!). I noticed that 3 of those pink bumps formed whiteheads after a couple of days, which used to never happen... normally I'd be stuck with them for way over a week. Small victory, but I'll take it!!

My skin is looking red and splotchy, it's just the red marks from my previous breakouts, which in all honesty, have always bothered me more than the pimples (well, normal sized pimples). I'm hoping they miraculously start to fade faster than the 6 months it usually takes for my skin to heal itself. Luckily I slather on that Revlon Colorstay foundation, concealer and powder and I can almost look in the mirror and not see the marks-of-pimples-past.

I have to complain about something, so here it goes!

I've been exhausted all week. On two separate days at work I could barely keep my eyes open, and even took a 1 hour nap when I got home at 7:30! Not sure if it's accutane related, but probably! Also, I'm sore. My back has a slight, dull ache... all the time! Hasn't gone away all week.

Ok, enough beyotching. I am NOT dry. I'm actually more oily right now if that's even possible. My lips are nice and moist from the aquaphor I've preemptively started to use, and my hands are smooth as a baby's butt thanks to my diligent moisturizing. Take that!

Confession time!

I'm totally guilty of self-doctoring myself. My derm gave me 60mg of Sotret a day. I was so worried that this dose would be too much for me to handle, so I've been alternating 30mg to 60mg. My first day I took 30mg, Day 2 bumped it to 60mg, Day 3 back to 30mg, etc etc. I know I should trust my derm, but I can't help myself! ha. I decided that at the end of Week 2 I'll bite the bullet and start taking my prescribed 60mg every day. For now I feel like my body is thanking me for easing myself into this drug!

Hope you're all doing well! It's friggin' freezing here in NYC. Wish I was somewhere tropical!

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Hey :)

For the back soreness, try a heating pad. I think I recommended it to Roxygal and it worked for her so you can give it a try too. Hope that helps :)

Good luck with the rest of your journey!

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Ugh I'm getting the back pain too. For some reason mine is all around my chest area also. It's sort of freaky haha.

Like you, it feels as though my skin is super, super oily. I thought that I was going to turn into a shedding lizard thanks to this stuff but it's the entire opposite this first week!

Hope it keeps going well for you!

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Hey New York!

Thanks for stopping by. Read through your log... didn't know you were on a second course of treatment. Love the "self-doctoring" part mostly because I pretty much TOLD my derm what to dose me w (after diligently reading through everyone's logs lol).

God... I don't know how people handle this not drinking btw... I feel like it's totally messing w my social life, because honeslty, I can't stand to be around all my drunk friends in a loud, wayyy over crowded bar when it's -8 degress and snowing in Chicago :boohoo:

You'd think they might be a little sympathetic and maybe.. idk, suggest a movie? bowling? anything other than the sole purpose being to stand around and DRINK?! Of course not... bitches lol Oh well, this is prob a MUCH needed break for my body.

Ok sorry, just realized I was venting on your log.. haha. I'll check back to see how youre doing! Good Luck!

-M

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DAY 11

Thanks everyone for reading :) I love reading everyone's logs and so I'm happy someone out there is doing the same!

No dry lips, no dry skin, etc. I shouldn't complain about that, but it's kind of like come on already!! Dry me out you stupid, magic pills. :boohoo:

I'm still breaking out on a daily basis. The pimples really aren't coming to the surface at all, but they just sit there under the skin taunting me. Will it pop up and say hello, or bury itself and leave me a nice pink reminder for a few months? Acne always keeps me on my toes!

My back pain has subsided for now. Thankfully. But I'll definitely try a heating pad if it starts up again, thanks @kimminz.

No bloody noses, but I do get a little bit of dried blood when I blow my nose in the morning. I've been putting the tiniest dab of moisturizer on the insides of my nose, and that seems to be helping.

@melis -- I know, I find it a little hard not to drink when I'm out with friends as well. I just usually order a soda or something so that I'm not standing around empty-handed!

The medicine is messing with my social life in the sense that I've totally put off going on any dates until I'm cleared up a bit, or off 'tane totally. I got out of a relationship in October and now can't imagine getting back into dating until I'm more in control of my skin. Also, has anyone tried NOT drinking on the first few dates? Um, not fun, I don't recommend it, lol. You need at least 1 drink in your system to go on a first date!

Question!

I swear I'm not an idiot and they should probably come and take my Masters Diploma away for this, but can you guys help me figure out when to take my next blood test / make my Derm appointment?

Stats:

--First blood test: 12/23

--Derm prescribes accutane: 12/28

Do I take my next blood test 30 days after 12/23?

When can I see my Derm for a new prescription? Does it have to be exactly 30 days after he last prescribed it? Or can I go a couple of days before the 30 days?

Thanks! I really don't want to F up the ipledge! ha

Edited by NYgirl83

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DAY 11

Do I take my next blood test 30 days after 12/23?

When can I see my Derm for a new prescription? Does it have to be exactly 30 days after he last prescribed it? Or can I go a couple of days before the 30 days?

Thanks! I really don't want to F up the ipledge! ha

hey, very nice log.

as for your question, i was on accutane awhile back. you can go in a couple days before the 30 days. when the pharmacy gives you your monthly prescription, a full 30 days must have passed before they will give you a refill. i actually think doctors recommend going in about a week before the 30 days end. that way when your prescription ends, you can go right and refill and don't have to miss any days :)

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hi NYGiRl, thanks for following my log. hope our journey to this thing will be going to be smooth...heheheheh.

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Day 14 -- 2 weeks done! yay.

Sooo unhappy with my skin right now. Must stay positive, must stay positive!! I'm pretty sure this is the initial breakout in combination with me getting my period in a couple of days. Within the last 2 days, about 5 cysts have formed under the skin and about 3 of them are clearly raised and saying hello to the world!

The weird part??? 3 of the cysts are on my chin. I never get pimples on my chin! (well, very rarely). This is why I'm convinced this is the big IB caused by the drug. Also, I have a few barely noticeable pimples on my forehead which is another rare acne location for me. My cheeks are my usual break-out zone, and those are pretty much business as usual -- red and bumpy, but nothing I can't handle.

I confessed to you all that I was alternating my dosage between 30mg-60mg-30mg. Well, for the past 5 days I've listened to my Derm and taken 60mg every day. I'm sure this is partly to blame for the IB.

I'm trying to be happy about the IB because I know it will soon be over, and maybe it's better to get it over with early on? Also, I'm anxiously awaiting my derm appointment on 1/25, so only 10 days until I can get some of these suckers injected, w00t!

I should also note that I don't have any pimples on my back. I've never struggled with bacne, although I would get the occasional cyst on my upper back (by occasional I mean 1 every couple of months). Before accutane, I realized how bad my acne was getting when I saw that I was getting a lot more pimples on my back. As of now my back is clear, and I can't really imagine getting an IB on my back, so it's nice to think that my back is now clear! One small victory, but I'll take it!

I also desperately need a haircut but chickened out today. Why you ask? I really don't want to sit in the salon for an hour and stare at myself in the mirror under those harsh lights. I know I'm not alone in this, as I've seen others say this as well. I'm going to try to go tomorrow, but might wuss out again as I'm having a bad skin day (or life!). I have to remember that acne does not control my life! And since my skin is bad I should want my hair to look nice, so that might be motivation itself!

Stats:

Skin is still not dry -- slightly oily

Lips are slightly chapped...it is the middle of winter in NY so that's not really a shocker

Occasional headache, might be unrelated

Sleeping habits have been all over the place, exhausted one minute, then can't sleep the next

No back pains or joint pains

Slightly bloody in the nose, but no full on nose bleeds to report

Majorly breaking out on face

=I will try to remember to add photos tomorrow!

Edited by NYgirl83

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Yes, stay positive! It does get way better. I've been breaking out on my chin too whereas I also always break out on my cheek.

I'm avoiding getting my hair cut too but mainly because I'm afraid my hairdresser will thin my hair out too much as it's already starting to thin. I'm sure your skin isn't as bad as you think and maybe a haircut will make you feel better about yourself.

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I have the same problem with the 3 cyst breakout on my chin... It's funny that we are at the exact same dose and time in our treatment, and experiencing very similar breakouts. My skin looks pretty bad too... I'm really trying to stay positive, but it is hard when i look like i do. But come May, that story will be very different for both of us! Good luck, and lets try and stay positive

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Day 16

I know I just posted a huge update on Day 14, but I thought I'd add in some new photos!

To update you, I'm definitely experiencing my IB right now. I have about 5 or 6 cysts that have arrived over the last 5-6 days. 2 of them are what I'd consider medium sized (none of my huge monsters ones, knock on wood). The others are large, but are deep under the skin and are not really visible to the naked eye when I have make-up on. I'm really hoping that those kind of heal themselves without coming up for air.

These cysts are all in places that I NEVER break out. My chin (sort of an inch below my outer lower lip) and around my laugh lines/lower side of my nose. The cyst locations are perfectly symmetrical too, giving me an odd, bumpy look.

I'm impatiently waiting for my next derm appointment on 1/25, that day can't come soon enough. I really want to get these suckers injected now, but I'm holding out for the 8 days until my appointment. I just kind of want to see what happens with these, whether they will go away faster than usual, etc.

I have to say that my face actually hurts. The cysts are painful! Ouch. Can't wait for these to go away. For now I'm icing them for a few minutes a day and that helps a tiny bit.

Some good news, my nose blackheads are doing that weird peeling thing right now. I never had much of a blackhead problem, only have some on my nose, but they're all purging themselves from my nose now. yay!

On the emotional side, I finally got the courage to get my haircut -- Take that acne anxiety! The pretty hair is helping slightly with my self-esteem right now. I do want to hide out as much as possible, but having 2 roommates and having to go to work full-time makes doing so a little difficult.

Photos: You'll see that my forehead is clear as usual, I think there might be one non-pimple pimple on it, but pretty clear. My chin has 2 big cysts, I have 1 on each cheek, 1 on the side of my nose, another coming in on the other side of my nose, etc etc.

-Amy

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Edited by NYgirl83

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Hi NYgirl83, thanks for the welcome post on my log. :)

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one having weird sleeping patterns! I fall asleep exhausted and wake up in the middle of the night after about 4 hours of sleep and can't fall back asleep! I'm on day 4 as of today. :( Hope this passes soon.

Congrats on you new haircut. :)

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Thanks for following my log NYGirl. Great log you have going on in here. Looking forward to the next update.

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DAY 21

I can't believe I'm up to Day 21 already -- whenever I see Day 21 in people's logs I think it sounds so far into the treatment... but really it's not!

I'm breaking out still -- shocker, I know! What amazes me most is how quickly these cysts pop up. This morning I was kind of happy because two of my noticeable cysts had gone down a bit in size and are definitely on the way out. A few hours later I touch my chin and realize that I'm getting two cysts right next to each other... these came out of nowhere. They're decently big, but they're sort of along my jawline which makes it semi-easy to hide thankfully. Also, I have my dermatologist appointment on Monday so I'll be getting these buggers injected! Monday can't come soon enough.

I'm pretty surprised still about my lack of symptoms. My skin isn't dry and my lips are still ok. I did notice that I don't have to use my blotting wipes in the middle of the day at work, when I'd typically look like an oil slick if I didn't use one before the 'tane. So I guess I am slowly drying out. My lips are dry, but only a -it's-the-middle-of-the-winter kind of dry, not accutane dry. Once in a while my joints hurt, but it's not often and doesn't last long. I have a pounding headache tonight, but it's probably unrelated.

I have to say that I've been pretty emotional this past week. I am currently PMS-ing, so that's part of the problem. I did break up with my boyfriend a couple of months ago and I'm still a little sad about that. I've also never been single this long -- it's almost 4 months of single-dom now! I've been in relationships for the past 7 years with only a couple of single months in between. I really think this is adding to my mood swing. I'm not blaming the pills and I'm by no means THAT emotional. Just a good cry every so often.

I'm getting my blood work done tomorrow, on Day 22 and my derm appointment is on Day 25... gives me a little time between getting the prescription and picking it up!

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