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Where to begin? First and foremost, an enormous hello to you, whoever you are. My name is Amie, and for the next six months I will be chronicling the ups and downs of my accutane journey--from copious amounts of Aquaphor and feeling completely crippled after simple strength training to the absolute joy of not having to worry about my skin breaking out (I understand that, at this point, this last one is a looooooong time off).

I'm 19 years old and 16 days in to my first course of accutane (I got this started a little late, my apologies!). I've been through doxycycline, retin A, birth control, clindamycin, EVERY over the counter acne treatment you can try, and I'll always have little spells of improvement, and then the floodgates open. And that is never a pretty sight. So finally my derm okayed accutane! I've been a LONG time acne.org follower but a first time poster. I've lurked around the accutane logs for a while, but have never quite known what to say until now! Now, I can share all my musings in my own public forum.

Just the basics about me: student, swimmer, wage slave, shopaholic, MUNer, reader, Disneyland annual passholder, movie goer, frolicker, traveler, laugher. As I'm sure you can imagine, the list could go on and on. So, let the logging begin!

Day 16

To catch everyone up to where I am, I'm starting on 60 mg/day of Claravis and well in to the throes of my initial breakout. But before I get in to that, I only have one question. What sick, twisted fool designed the packaging of this product? Not only do I wonder if its really necessary to put a pregnancy warning over every dose, but honestly, how many layers of plastic/paper/weird sort of aluminum foil/paper hybrid do they have? I laughed aloud when I opened the packaging, and then cried as I tried to claw my way in to my first dose.

Anyways, back to my skin, a few of the angrier spots that came on my cheeks are clearing up, but my chin looks as if it's going to be a war zone any day now. I know I'm barely starting, so just mentally preparing for what's to come.

Lips=Sahara Desert. This blog could very easily turn in to me singing the praises of Aquaphor (hence the title). My lips started drying around day three (I live in Denver, so 0% humidity is not helping at all) and I have been using it obsessively ever since.

Nose/Chin=Strawberry Fields Forever (in the worst possible way). Blackheads seem to be slowly but surely heading out. If not, they are just hanging out much more visibly than they ever did before. Awesome.

Cheeks=not much to report! Recovering from a couple nasty, nasty spots but other than that unexciting (which is good).

Forehead=mirror. It still seems so oily, which makes no sense whatsoever. Not much of a breakout at the moment, though, which is nice.

Rest of self=crippled from a pilates video. I have never been this sore from a 30 minute workout in my life. Other than that, no other side effects that I've noticed!

I'll get some legitimate acne related pictures up here eventually, but right now all I have for you is a picture of how excited I am for my Happy Meal/Accutane to do its work! Thanks for reading!

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Edited by amieable

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Good luck Amie. Its a definitely a roller coaster. Im sure you've picked out a lot of good advice on these boards. Ask anything and you'll get an answer 99% of the time. Best wishes to you on a smooth course. Keep us posted.

Love the title of your log :)

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Hello! Welcome! I just finished my first month. Your log is absolutely hilarious, I love the writing style, keep posting please. :D

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SClippers: Thanks for the tip! I found an ENORMOUS tub of Vaseline lying around in the bathroom (sort of a strange thing to just have just hanging out, but I'm not asking any questions) and slathered it on and it worked marvelously.

Treasurecat: Thank you! I'm glad to hear everything is going well, and I hope things continue that way [:

Goodz: You're definitely right, I'm so glad I poked around the boards before I started! I feel like I'm pretty well equipped to take on the behemoth that will be the next five months and ten days. And thanks!

brighteyed: Thank you!! I'm glad you like it [:

Del: Gracias [: (thank you was just feeling too repetitive!)

mercyunbound: Thank you! I definitely read your Accutane log before I started my course, so thanks for that too!

hop3: I hope your first months of accutane is going well! And thanks for stopping by.

Day 19

Just as I suspected, my chin is slowly but surely descending into madness. At least I saw it coming...? It's this very odd and unpleasant combination of dry skin/breakout/complete unwillingness to cooperate with any sort of makeup coverage. Even after relentlessly slathering on pounds and pounds of moisturizer (I'm using enough to provide the protective equivalent of a ski mask) this one little spot seems determined to disobey. I am sort of at a loss of what to do (my mind is just screaming to slather Aquaphor everywhere, but a) that would be incredibly messy and b) I'm not sure it's as much of a universal solution as I make it out to be). Any recommendations? This may just be one of those things that I should wait out, but I thought I would see what everyone else had to say!

Other than that, no new side effects to report. I died once again while attempting to work out (funny how I always start out with very ambitious running goals and slowly but surely slow down the treadmill speed and subtract minutes off my original time). I tend to blame it on any number of things (Accutane, altitude, what I had for breakfast, the weather, the air quality of our basement, the song playing on the radio, anything else that I can vaguely tie to running in my chain of thoughts) but I think, possibly, I may just be completely and totally out of shape.

Thanks for stopping by! I promise I will have some pictures up soon, but I'm attempting to find a working camera to take said pictures with. While I really applaud PhotoBooth for its stunning image quality, slightly fuzzy, Chat Roulette-eque photos are not quite what I'm interested in.

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Have u tried emu oil or jojoba oil for th dryness? I have some at the ready! Some people mix it with their moisturiser. Have a look on the boards, there is quite a bit of info on it!

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Del XX: I haven't tried either yet, but definitely going to check in to them, especially after the incident I'm about to relay XD

Day 21

The side effects department of my life is starting to get exciting. Face is same old, same old, but the rest of my body seems to be slowly, unhappily catching up. Yesterday I was just merrily driving along, dancing and singing along to the radio (read: making a fool of myself) when something stopped me mid-trashy song lyric. Somehow, before I left the house, I failed to notice that I'd turned into lizard woman somewhere in the hour after my morning shower. Other than terrible, terrible sunburns (like the one I had when I was nine and convinced I was impervious to sun and didn't need sunscreen at an outdoor swim meet) my skin has never been so peel-y in my life. It was oddly only on the upper part of my right arm, but was still alarming nonetheless (actually, probably more alarming that it was only in that one spot because that made it look even weirder).

I was also on the way to meet a friend for lunch, was horrified at the prospect of people seeing the state of my arm, and was utterly unprepared for this. The only lotion-esque things I had were moisturizing foundation and a tube of Aquaphor. So, in true MacGyver (or maybe closer to MacGruber?) fashion, I spent the next twenty minute furiously squeezing out Aquaphor (cheaper than foundation) and rubbing at my skin, all while driving 70 mph down the highway. Good times, Accutane, good times.

Lesson learned: Lotion is coming everywhere with me now.

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Hello Amieable (I love your name)! I'm liking the sound of aquaphor. The closest equivalent that I can think of that's available in Australia is Cetaphil, which is nowhere near as exciting sounding as Aquaphor (even the name sounds way better). I also chuckled a few times while reading your entries. Your writing style actually kind of reminds me of Kernel.Panic's. Since you mentioned that you were a long-time lurker, I'm assuming that you've already read her log. If not, you totally should since it's a hilarious and very fun read! Good luck and I'll be checking in. Keep updating. :)

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I definitely turned into a lizard woman on Accutane. My arms were flaking and my hands looked like I had some skin eating disease. It was horrible! I HIGHLY recommend CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. You can find it at most drug stores now but the stuff is incredible. I put it on three times in one night and my arms were completely normal by morning.

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maggipie: Thank you! I've also begun alternating between Aquaphor and Vaseline (just really depending on what's closer) and they both seem about the same to me. Vaseline may be a little thinner, and it comes in a jar instead of a tube, but other than that they work about the same! The point of that unnecessarily long story is that I don't know if they sell Vaseline in Australia, but if they do I highly recommend it! I'm not sure if I've read Kernel.Panic's log, but I will definitely have to check it out [:

mercy: As of now the lizard transformation has been kept at bay with copious amounts of lotion application, so I'm thankful for that. But, I will definitely be investing in some CeraVae! Right now I'm using Cetaphil Cream, and I'm not exactly in love with it.

Day 26

Well, I can officially say goodbye to what little dignity I had left. The inside of my nose reached Death Valley status, and I couldn't take it any longer. I just didn't think it would come to this so soon. But I accepted my sad, undignified fate as I covered a q-tip in vaseline and went to town (I'm hoping you can just infer precisely what occurred). Definitely unpleasant at first, but necessary. Taking one for the team (of me?). And honestly, the relief was absolutely greater than whatever small scrap of dignity I had left (read: lizard woman anecdote). Also, I'm hoping such dramatic measures will stave off any future nosebleeds. Do work Vaseline!

I also apparently have little to no self control, something I already knew that has just been reaffirmed. Seriously, each new cyst just SCREAMS "Pop me! Please!" And trust me, I try. And every time regret trying. It's a vicious, painful cycle, and I know nothing comes of it, unless I am trying to get my face closer to the shade of a tomato one zit at a time (I am not.)

In other news, I think I'm starting to lapse in to the joint ache stage of Accutane? Honestly, I really can't tell, because my one true talent in life is sustaining sports injuries (trust me, the list is impressive, especially with only 19 years of being on this earth and less than 10 of those years spent playing competitive sports). The newest one to add to the list is a strained Achilles tendon, but I know I can't blame that on Accutane (as much as I want to). It was a combination of very tight calves, running in old shoes, and a teensy bit of overtraining (really, could I have done more wrong in this situation? Runners World would be so ashamed) that did the deed. So that's meant spending the last three days in a brace, limping about like a peg legged pirate (which would be infinitely more awesome [though probably more inconvenient and definitely more permanent] than a black ankle brace). Anyways, what I was getting to is that I think my joint/lower back pain could be sports injury/Amie-is-an-idiot related and not Accutane related.

Last but (I hope) not least, I finally decided that posting a few terribly low resolution PhotoBooth pictures is better than posting no pictures at all. So here are a few snapshots of what's going on with my face! As you can see (I feel like a museum tour guide, "On the left, we have...), a few very angry looking cysts on both cheeks, which I'm hoping will clear up! This trend of cysts clearing up and then new/more painful ones popping up really ought to stop. Nothing too exciting happening on my forehead (still incredibly oily), so I decided not to push my bangs out of the way. What you can't see (and probably for the best) is that my nose/chin are an absolute crisis situation (oy, blackheads). Send in the Blue Helmets!

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The last is one of those shots you get every once in a while, where the lighting and effects and a heavy amount of luck come together to make your face look much less furious than it actually is, so I decided to include!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Thank you for dealing with how self indulgent I was tonight (this morning) with parentheses. Normally I have them marginally under control, but apparently I'm not on top of my game now. I'll work on it [:

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Edited by amieable

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Hi Amieable! Lol you're hilarious and oh your poor nose..have your tried applying nasal gel rather than vaseline inside of it? Unlike Vaseline, Nasal gel actually moisturises rather than just creating a protective barrier like Vaseline does. The brand that I use and recommend is Fess Nasal Gel. =D You're purdy btw. And keep smiling! It's only a few months until this ordeal is over for both of us, and we'll be left with spanking clear skin!

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jennyband: Thank you! And I go to school in Los Angeles, so basically I just throw obscene amounts of money at Disney (read: a very sizeable chunk of my graduation money last year) and they print me a little plastic card! Anecdote: I look absolutely possessed on my pass because the first day we went, I was deliriously sick, but still determined to go with mah friends. And when I mean delirious, I mean I was wandering around the parking garage in the middle of the day, looking for my car to get some serious pain killers while incoherently muttering on my cell phone to my best friend (who was in Denver). I was a mess. Good luck on your course too! I'll be checking in [:

faithinhim: Thank you! I have definitely lurked your log, and you look INCREDIBLE. Makes me excited for what's to come [:

maggipie: Thank you [[: I actually didn't even know nasal gel existed until this moment, and I am so excited to hear it does (it's the little things, right?)! And I'm typically a pretty smiley person, so I will do my best to keep that up! I am so excited for the end of these months, I'm sure it will be well worth it. One of my good friends was on Accutane, and in her words, after you are finished "Your skin is glowing." So excited for that day! I'll keep checking in on ya!

Day 33(ish)

Month one of Accutane is finished! Ba ha ha, how bad is it that I am one month in and already losing track of the days? Too much of my mind is occupied by song lyrics. If I could just clear those out, I would have a gaping chasm just waiting to be filled.

Anyways, nothing too much to report on the acne front. On the Blackhead Front (capitalized because this is war), Accutane is kicking some serious butt. The blackheads on my chin and nose are quickly disappearing, and both already look undeniably better, which is incredible. At the same time, on the Whitehead/Cyst/Nodule front (all lumped together, for the purposes of simplicity) my face is currently France, and the acne Nazi Germany. Which makes Accutane the United States? You know, with the delayed response yet eventual victory and freedom and everything. To clear things up (because that was such a convoluted metaphor, but it's 2 in the morning and I'm insisting it stays), I keep almost clearing up, and then my face will explode into red, angry spots. I understand it's early on, so I'm just trying to be patient.

Other than that my skin has been a teensy bit flaky (a 12 year old today noticed that I was wearing foundation because "it looked really powdery." I'm beginning to think I should just leave the makeup off, but slathering on foundation every morning is practically etched into my psyche). But no progression of the lizard woman (i.e. no flaking, peely skin on my arms), so that's comforting.

Actually the scariest bit of news this month is that my cholesterol has SKYROCKETED. Or so it seems. My total cholesterol went from 164 to 204. Eek! Drastic cholesterol numbers call for drastic measures, so eating habits are changing this week! I've already begun eating more vegetables and fruits (and oatmeal for breakfast! Clearly Quaker markets that well, because oatmeal was the first food that shot to my mind in the derm's office when I found out my cholesterol had gone psycho [maybe I should have been paying attention to whatever she said next?!]), and am trying to only drink water (though a glass of lemonade and an iced skinny vanilla latte may have slipped in somewhere..no idea how those happened). Also, exercise is going to become a daily routine (which it has not been as of late!). I will begrudgingly get up half and hour early to work out, because my heart is sort of important, and as fun as hypertension sounds I'd really rather not. Anyone have any suggestions on good, low cholesterol meals/recipes? This eating healthy phenomenon is a teensy bit new to me (years of swimming spoiled me, having to worry about eating enough food rather than too much XD).

Overall, I feel like I'm doing well! No other side effects, thankfully. Though I did cry at a moment in Across the Universe (which is definitely not the saddest of movies). Crying spell, or just me being over emotional? Probably not Accutane related. And probably the latter, seeing as I am the audience member who cries when anything remotely sad (and occasionally extremely joyous) happens (to gauge this for you, Titanic had me in tears four times, and Toy Story 3 may or may not been one of those situations where you sit in the movie theater and try not to inhale through your nose because then everyone can tell you've been sobbing your heart out silently so you end up doing a very strange, Darth Vader-esque breathing thing to compensate for the lack of oxygen coming in through your nose and everyone knows then anyways). Away from my rambles and back to Accutane, haven't reached the point of bashing into walls because I have no night vision or being crippled by joint pain (though if the latter could get me out of work... [just kidding!]), and I'll take that as a good sign!

I have a very busy and exciting couple of weeks coming up; an ENORMOUS music festival this weekend, to which the tickets cost approximately the value of my soul and I'm sure will be worth every penny, and getting ready to move back to LA to start school again! And that also means Disneyland trip in a week and four days! Hopefully all this is not too taxing on my skin? I'll be sure to let you know!

Hope everyone is doing well! Thank you for indulging in my late night ramblings/short novel about my skin and life [:

Edited by amieable

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hi there!

Really enjoying reading your log! As for the cholesterol, take omega 3 fish oil each day and eat:

* oily fish

* avocados

* nuts and seeds

* sunflower, olive, corn, walnut and rapeseed oils and spreads

* vegetable oils

Ive been eating really badly the last week or so and I know I really need to eat better and exercise more to keep my levels down. keep us posted!

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If my history classes serve me correctly I think the U.S entered the war beacause Germany took out one of their supply ships from their submarine (otherwise they wouldnt have even joined in to aid france etc) . Super nerdy yeah I know. So like yeah the accutane can be like the U.S running in to help you out because its angry.

:]

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I have to start off by saying that you have the BEST NAME EVAH! My name is Amy too. We just spell our names differently, but what's the big diff? I also won my third grade spelling bee with the word 'amiable.' So I think it's safe to say that you're pretty awesome. :lol:

Anyway, just wanted to wish you luck and mention that we have the same dosage. And your acne looks really similar to mine. Hopefully we start clearing up really quickly. I can't wait to see how your course turns out. Please, keep updating! I love reading your posts-- you're hilarious!

All the best,

Amy

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just wanted to drop by & wish you good luck on your treatment! as mentioned your hilarious, i enjoy your log!!! keep us updated....and woohoo for disneyland :]

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Del XX: Thanks for the advice! I will use any excuse to eat more avocado, so this is perfection! I'm making little to no progress on working out, but this week has been pure chaos, so hopefully it gets easier once things cool down!

Jxr: Ba ha ha, thank you for adding logic to my very convoluted wee-hours-of-the-morning metaphor [: Also, I have had lengthy conversations about my favorite historical figures with friends, so I'm absolutely okay with a little history nerdiness.

axtine: Why thank you! I'm excited to meet another Amy/Amie [: The only difference I can think of is that you probably didn't get "ARNie" from substitute teachers, which is not really something for you to be jealous of, haha. To add more odd similarities to the mix, I was a completely spelling nerd in elementary and middle school. I was actually a member of Semantics Club, and competed at the state spelling bee! Clearly, I was just the epitome of cool in my youth. It looks like my skin is already clearing up a little, so I hope the same is happening for you!

teepster girl: Thank you! Glad to find someone else who loves Disneyland [:

Day 37

DISCLAIMER: I'm guessing like 10% of this entry will actually have to do with my skin, and the rest will be completely and totally unrelated to my face. Continue at your own risk [:

I am in an absolutely marvelous mood, so I figured it would be a good time to update all of you! Seriously, I am about to poop butterflies I've had such a good weekend. Quick update on my skin (*cough*what this log is actually supposed to be about): nothing new to report IN THE BEST WAY! I still have some big spots chilling out/maxing/relaxing all cool, but I'm hopeful that soon, they will be on their way out. I also am nursing an interesting, sort of splotchy/modern art-esque sunburn, but that will probably tan. Except the burn in the part in my hair, which has made doing anything with my hair very daunting and unpleasant. Also, I've been having a wee bit of a problem with dandruff/dry hair. I'm using Head and Shoulders Daily Care at the moment, but it is not being too helpful...any suggestions?

Moving on to bigger and better things, my weekend was absolutely marvelous. The reason I have a sunburn is because I spent all of this weekend in the sun, with my best friend at Mile High Music Festival, a two day extravaganza of music (probably gleaned the music part from the title, but just to be safe). The combination of sun and backpack meant a wee bit of sweating, causing my sunscreen to rub off and leave a sunburn in the shape of my backpack straps, but those are little sacrifices that I'm willing to make for such an incredible weekend. Like I said earlier, I practically had to sell my soul to get tickets, BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT! Because my brain is sort of going into overload (and has been for the past two days) I'm going to break it down by days.

Day one we saw Donavon Frankenreiter, ALO, Nas and Damian Marley, Keller Williams, Keane, Phoenix, and Jack Johnson. All of them were absolutely top notch (Jack Johnson played for almost THREE HOURS [29 SONGS!]) Even though I love Phoenix and Jack Johnson, I'd have to say set of the day goes to ALO. Maybe it was the gnome in pilot's goggles perched on the stage, maybe it was the incredible crowd, maybe it was that I am absolutely infatuated with Zach Gill. Whatever it was, it was too great for words. Clearly, I loved every minute of it (that is what she said). I think they win champions of the weekend, because two days later Barbeque (listen here!) is still pleasantly stuck in my head. Other highlights included the lead singer of Phoenix climbing up the scaffolding on the side of the stage, Keller Williams singing about the Kings of Leon concert that was cancelled because of pigeon poop, and pretty much everything about Jack Johnson's performance. We ended up standing 10 hours out of the 11 hours we were there, and the car ride home was probably one of the most pleasant sits of my life [[:

Day two was comprised of Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Tim Reynolds & TR3, Ozomatli, Train (I begrudgingly watched them and sang along to Hey Soul Sister because we were staking out for the next band which was...), WEEZER (!!!)[i WILL EXPLAIN THOSE EXCLAMATION MARKS IN A MOMENT], and Dave Matthews Band. More excellent music from all, but the real gem of the day was STANDING IN THE SECOND/THIRD (when the band came on these sort of combined) ROW FOR WEEZER. Please bear with me as I act like a (possibly delusional) 12 year old at a Jonas Brothers concert, but RIVERS CUOMO SANG [directly] TO US. He came off the stage during Island in the Sun, stood right in front of where my friend and I were standing AND SERENADED US. There was extended eye contact, people. [i totally understand if you think I'm completely nuts/delusional right about now, because I would think the same if I had not BEEN THERE AND EXPERIENCED THE MAGIC.] They also played MGMTs "Kids" and Poker Face, during which Mr. Cuomo (mah new best friend) donned a blonde wig. Incredible. Only to be followed by more incredible in the form of Dave Matthews Band.

Such a good weekend spent with the perfect concert companion, followed by shopping today and BUYING (what I presume to be) ALMOST THE LAST PAIR OF SUFJAN STEVENS TICKETS makes the last three days filled pretty much exclusively with joy. Nothing short of incredible. Thank you for bearing with the excessive amount of capital letters and exclamation marks and general excitement in this post! I hope you all had weekends that were just as phenomenal as mine was [:

Edited by amieable

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Day 39

Just a quick update for you guys, mostly because I have a picture to post!

My eyes are starting to dry out, making my contacts rebel for the hours I force them to dwell in my eyes. Hooray for eye drops! I also think I got some sort of friction burn from this weekend. We got handkerchiefs/scarves (whichever you prefer) drenched in ice water to cool us down, and I used mine as a neck-kerchief a la the cowboy. While at the time it was marvelous, it has led to what is quite literally the most itchy experience of my life. Copious amounts of hydrocortizone cream seemed to quell the beast, but it was horrible for the ten minutes before the idea even struck me.

Anyways, this picture is from a couple weeks ago, and my skin is a little less angry at the moment, but it gives a pretty good image of where I'm at! Both sides of my face are going through pretty much the same suffering, so you can just imagine what the side not pictured looks like [:

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Thanks for stopping by! My life explodes in to chaos in the next week (packing up all my belongings and driving back to school in California!), so I'm not sure if I'll be able to update. Hope you are doing well, whoever you are!

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