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PaulH85

Sometimes, It's Hard To Keep On Hoping

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I’ve noticed a number of new people signing up to the Org recently as they start a course of Accutane. The common story seems to be that they’ve tried all the other antibiotics and, even if their acne isn’t severe, it hasn’t cleared up that way and so Accutane has become a feasible option for them. We also have one or two long time members of the Org who are now starting Accutane as well and it inspired me to give it another shot.

I know I’ve talked about some of this before so please excuse me if I end up repeating myself...

At present, I’m seeing a therapist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in an attempt to gain some confidence and self esteem – things which have been totally absent from my life for the last 13 of my 26 years. From the moment my acne started and I was bullied through school, I lost all confidence, any sense of identity I may have been starting to form at that point, as well as many of my friendships because I hid away. That theme has continued right up until present day and in recent months also cost me my job. So, I can safely say that I hit rock bottom and had to figure out how to pick myself up because I’ve already let so many years pass by and I don’t want to lose any more time.

Inspired by the many Accutane logs here, the amazing progress people make and the wonderful results they see at the end, I went to see my doctor this morning to ask for a referral for the dermatologist. I guessed straight away that the doctor knew I was there about my acne because that’s the only reason I’ve ever been. He really studied my face and said it looked good. Right now, it’s pretty good, which is why I found it within myself to go there today in the first place. It’s always been that way and I don’t suppose I’ve ever done myself any favours in that respect because the doctors can only base treatment on what they initially see. It’s just that I’ve never been able to face them when my skin has been bad. Although it’s acceptable right now, the last two months have been bad and I had two breakouts which were amongst the worst I’ve ever had. During those times, I never left the house. So roughly 20 days out of a period of around 60, spent hiding and being brought to tears because of my skin. Not good.

I attempted to explain all this and how the acne comes back stronger after antibiotics; I explained about the confidence and all that; the lack of control over my skin; the fact that it cost me my job and I’m receiving therapy. I I pretty much broke down by the end of it. Throughout the whole thing, he kept cutting me off and seemed to trivialise a lot of what I said. When I mentioned Accutane, he flat-out said that he, nor any other doctor I may go and see, would refer me to the dermatologist because my acne is not severe enough. He said the dermatologist would not see me as the acne does not fit the criteria in terms of severity, so no doctor would give the referral. I guess we clashed over our definitions of what “responding to treatment” is. To me, it would be to fix the problem. To him and the other doctors there, it means bringing it to a level which isn’t so bad and then accepting whatever is left of it.

He really tried to scare me about Accutane, told me that there will have been at least one person in the UK this year who will have died from taking it. True or not, I have no idea, but he really attempted to undermine the knowledge I have gained here and all the first-hand accounts I have read. I was determined not to leave there empty handed though, I had to walk away with something for my efforts. There had to be at least the slightest sign of hope. Having established that I would not get to see the dermatologist – either on the health service or privately – we set about looking for other options. I told him straight that I would not just go back on the same things I had taken before and literally demanded that he find me something else.

In the end, he concluded that a daily 100mg dose of Doxycycline may work. It’s difficult to make a direct comparison to other medications where strengths are concerned but, in terms of potency, this is at least three times “stronger” than all other doses of medications I’ve taken over the years. I’m taking double the recommended dose for acne, too. In fact, 100mg is actually what they use to try and treat malaria, so I think my refusal to accept the same old medication did actually push him to go to the more potent end of the scale. Can’t believe how I had to pretty much plead for it though.

Ironically, in the end he wished me well and wished me good luck with the therapy. I couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t see the clear connection between the therapy and the acne, but there you go. So, instead of going on an Accutane-paved journey and being able to share my experience in a log and all that, it’s Doxy time. Six months on, then three months off, until the acne stops coming back. I’m sad about not getting what I wanted and knowing that it’s never going to happen that way for me, but I’ve just taken my first Doxy so time will tell if maybe this huge cloud will have a silver lining in the end. Now, I just pray that I can get the skin I can be happy with because I know I’m not strong enough to function properly otherwise. I wish I was, but I can at least try and learn. At this point, quite literally trying to put the little pieces all together in order to try and create a life for myself so that I can actually live instead of watching the world go by and wishing I was happily a part of it, I’m going to need to function properly more than ever. I hope the Doxy and the therapy give me the tools and the strength to do that.

So, on that note, I applaud those who have been lucky enough to get Accutane. Not that it’s something to be really pleased about, as I’m sure everyone would rather they didn’t have to take it or deal with any of this in the first place, but still, I’m glad so many people here are able to go down that route, take control in that manner, and get the results they truly deserve. Even if I can’t go down that route, I will always make time to support and learn from those who do because I admire it so much. It’s difficult not to feel hard done-by when I know that there are people taking Accutane who have milder acne than I do, but I also know that it’s not a competition and that they have every right to try, so that’s cool. I’m rambling now, guess I just wanted to process this. Thank you for listening.

:)

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Paul, I'm really sorry that your doctor refused to give you Accutane. I still stand by what I said about finding a different doctor if you feel he is undermining you. He's there to support you, not patronize you. That being said, if your skin isn't terrible at the moment, I honestly believe that doxycycline will help you. It's very effective in milder cases, even persistent ones. If the higher dose doesn't work at all, then at least you have that to bring back to your doctor. It bothers me to absolutely no end that they want you to just grin and bear your acne because it's not at a level that is bothersome to them. Any level of acne is bothersome.

I think some people here shouldn't actually have been given Accutane (I've seen some incredibly, ridiculously mild cases in logs here... mine is obviously not the most severe, but you have seen the pictures of when it has gotten ugly, so I don't personally feel that I am one of them) but they must have gotten fairly lax dermatologists, or they really, really nagged their way into it.

I know there's not a huge amount I can say to make it better, but know that you have my support.

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I am so sorry your doctor refused to give you the help you wanted. I hope that the antibiotic works for you. I've been to two appointments with my doctor in the past week and both times I've asked for Accutane and both times she's said she doesn't feel comfortable giving it to me because of my history with depression, so she put me on Minocycline instead, which I am feeling completely miserable about. I feel like not giving me Accutane has a higher risk of worsening my depression than giving me the prescription would. I did get a referral to a dermatologist, but I live in Canada, so it doesn't mean much - doctors can prescribe Accutane here just as easily as dermatologists can. What you said here is I think what's really hardest to cope with:

It’s difficult not to feel hard done-by when I know that there are people taking Accutane who have milder acne than I do, but I also know that it’s not a competition and that they have every right to try, so that’s cool.

Edited by mm97

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I know there's not a huge amount I can say to make it better, but know that you have my support.

Likewise! That in itself honestly does mean a lot, Elle. Thank you.

I'm not especially down because of not getting the referral, I think it's just the idea that I'm supposed to accept it won't happen. I could go to any of the doctors here in Sheffield and none of them would write the referral because the health service's dermatologist wouldn't see me as it's not severe. There really is no other way of getting it so I'll have to do without. There are others in the UK who got it on the health service so I know it can happen, I guess I just end up wonder why not for me as well.

Then again, maybe I should focus on being thankful that it isn't so bad. Any other issues regarding confidence and all that are separate and it's just something I'm going to have to keep trying to fix.

And as far as the treatment is concerned, the doctor did actually give me lots of warning about the dosage which I have never had with the other medications, so I guess this dosage is noticeably more potent than whatever else I've tried. That's a good sign maybe. Perhaps I need to try and put my hope in that. I can at least be positive, take care of my diet and all that, stick with the meds and build up my confidence and things as I go. Nobody else is going to make any of this happen, I've got to do it myself. I don't especially like not having anyone around me to make things easier as I go, because it seems so hard trying to go out there by yourself and not come across as a complete oddball, but I can't give up.

:)

I don't know - I think the issue is hope. As you said, it's hard to keep hoping. It's extremely frustrating to be refused something you think could be the cure to all of your problems. It feels cruel. But what if it isn't the cure? What if antibiotics work for you this time? Have hope. Even if it wasn't what you wanted, try to think of the antibiotics as though they will work. It's easier said than done, but we have to stay hopeful. You will be acne free. Because it's been so long and you deserve it. Maybe it won't happen tomorrow, or a week from now, but it will happen.

Only one way to find out. Maybe further down the line if this didn't work, I could re-evaluate and try again. Or come to Canada and get it really easily. wink.png

I hope you get to find some answers and what works for you eventually, too. Nobody really deserves to be held back by acne or to have to put up with it for any great length of time. It's not like it's the worst thing in the world and I'm sure there are so many things we should be grateful not to have to deal with instead, but it's still hard to get through sometimes

Edited by PaulH85

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sorry to hear you've had such a hard time with you're doctor, from what you've said it seems like he just isn't taking acne seriously as a condition and especially the emotional effects of it. All you can do (or any of us) is just hang on and keep hoping and trying. Everybody has a reason why they've got acne, some is hormonal, some is diet, some is bacterial, everyone has their own specific cause of having acne and need to find the root of the problem and then proceed in battling the cause. Obviously it's easier said than done and it's a search that could take years but you just have to hold on to the hope that one day you can be in a better place than you are now, with or without clear skin. I know it's a cliche but it's true that you never know what's around the corner, you could go out one day and meet the girl of you're dreams, find a brilliant job etc. If you feel that accutane is the way to go then just keep trying, that's all we can do is just keep trying to find a way out of this condition. Don't know why but suprisingly i'm in a positive mood today lol, hope it lasts. Good luck with you're current medication.

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And as far as the treatment is concerned, the doctor did actually give me lots of warning about the dosage which I have never had with the other medications, so I guess this dosage is noticeably more potent than whatever else I've tried. That's a good sign maybe. Perhaps I need to try and put my hope in that. I can at least be positive, take care of my diet and all that, stick with the meds and build up my confidence and things as I go. Nobody else is going to make any of this happen, I've got to do it myself. I don't especially like not having anyone around me to make things easier as I go, because it seems so hard trying to go out there by yourself and not come across as a complete oddball, but I can't give up.

smile.png

I took Doxy for a few months and it worked fairly well (my acne was only mild though so it was always hard to tell when antibiotics were working..). I don't want to dishearten you but I don't think it's too different from the other antibiotics like oxytetracycline etc. I'm not an expert though so take what I say with a pinch of salt lol. Good luck! ps. I have been to Sheffield to swim a couple of times at Ponds forge a few years back. :)

Edited by matt f

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Funny you should say that, Matt, as I was thinking pretty much the same thing. I mean, I always thought those antibiotics were all along the same lines.

From what the doctor explained though, each one varies in terms of potency, so it's not the case that 100mg of Doxy would be the same as 100mg of Oxy. The drugs themselves have different strengths so the equal dosage doesn't mean equal strength.

What I gathered from the quick math lesson the doctor gave was that the strength of Doxy I'm taking is as least twice as effective as all the antibiotics I've taken in the past. I didn't really believe him at first. I was happy to be proven wrong, of course, but I just really wanted to make sure I was getting as much as I could out of him, given that I knew by then that Accutane was off the table. and I certainly wasn't going to be fobbed off with the same old stuff I've taken before. So I had him look up my file and show me what I've taken before and what the doses were. He showed me what was essentially an A to Z of medications and my basic grasp of what he explained told me that yes, this dose of Doxy is certainly far higher than anything I've done before.

One week since I started my course and my skin is doing so well. Taking it at face value - no pun intended - I can only assume that the Doxy has played a significant part in this. I know what my skin is like when it's just going through a good phase and a breakout is around the corner. This isn't it. Now, it feels like this is actually clearing up from the inside rather than it just happening to look good on the inside. The skin tone is evening out, the dryness has gone, it's not oily, the odd tiny patch of reoccurring eczema I've had for a while has vanished, everything seems to be coming together really nicely. I know it's early so I won't get too carried away, but I hope it continues like this. smile.png

Believe it or not, despite having lived in Sheffield all my life, I have never actually been to Ponds Forge. I'm not a big swimmer to be honest, which I guess is the main reason for that. Maybe one day, if I ever get myself into gear, start working out, then look and feel good, I may well be more inclined to do things like swimming. Until then, my shirt stays on and I stay out of the water! lol.gif

Edited by PaulH85

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I like how a lot of these doctors-- who have no problem giving women butt implants or unecessarily sucking out 2 ounces of fat on some models thighs-- say we should learn to live with acne.

saywhat.gif ******! Thats because said doctors probably have never had acne.

If treating acne is 'cosmetic" and "uneccesary" then cosmetic surgery like implants is bogus.But they do itf or a lot of $$. Not that I think along those lines but you see my point.

Anyway Paul, nil desperandum, keep on looking around and just let the doxy do its thing for now. I know things will work out for you in the end <3

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Try listen to the song Keep Holing on by Avril Lavigne or Glee. I prefer the Glee version. I listen to it when I'm feeling down about my acne which has been happening alot.

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It's hard to keep hoping, but be thankful there is hope and keep striving for it. Look around you and realise you are fortunate enough to be a healthy individual with shelter and food on your plate, placing you high among global standards of living. I know - I sound like I'm preaching, just keep your head up man! Hopefully, one day we all reach our goals.

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