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Hi Kim,

I feel your pain in waiting anxiously for an inevitable inflamed pimple - particularly when you know it will most likely leave a scar. I have gotten a couple of large pustules (thankfully I don't get cysts) that have scarred during my 12 weeks on tane. They aren't super bad but still they are scars and I hate getting them.

I am trying to take a pragmatic approach to them and look at the long-term results rather than the short-term. The goal of taking the course is get remission which means no more scars...ever. Unfortunately during the course we will probably get some scars. This is the pain we receive for the potential gain.

I also remind myself that over the last 10 years I have accrued more and more scars so if I wasn't on tane I would be still getting scars - with no chance of remission or halting this process. Tane could save me (and you) from spending the next 10 years slowly (but surely) accruing more unwanted scars.

Best of luck and keep your eyes on the prize.

JJ

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Meg, it's totally like acne PTSD. I swear, even during the nine years I was clear, I would worry about every tiny itch, and I sometimes had acne nightmares that it all came back. Sadly, they sort of went like my current reality. It's pretty hard to have your faith shaken this much. I thought I was an Accutane success story. I knew my acne was temperamental and would come back a bit off the pill, but I really thought Accutane had 'cured' me of this nasty, painful, cystic crap. Now I've sort of lost that trust and it's scary. But maybe what I needed was this second course and THEN permanent remission, right? I can hope - or at least try to.

BUT! On the happy side of things - no actives for a couple days now! My evil cheek beast just shriveled up and died - it was all bark and no bite apparently. Super thrilled about that. It is so lovely to wash one's face without it feeling like some sort of obstacle course - trying to avoid things that might burst or leak or some scab that might rip off.

I think I probably still have a few little guys coming, but things have slowed A LOT, and my skin feels different. I even think the redness is a little less now that some areas have had a bit of heal time.

Hope everyone else is doing well too.

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So it's like this eerie calmness before a big storm. I'm like 'why did everything suddenly get so strangely NICE, when moments ago it felt like the world was ending?' I am just waiting for a sudden zit tornado.

So, fear is at an all time high, but I have had the best skin I have had in ages this week (mathematically speaking, my fear levels are exponentially related to my hope levels).

I had a couple moments where I was taking my makeup off spots that have suffered badly lately, and I was rubbing away, wondering why it wasn't totally coming off, and then realizing it WAS off, and my skin just isn't as red as it was. How fab is that?!

I still have a few little cloggers around, but they are very small and so far inactive. I think it's likely some will rebel - that I am not quite yet at the consistently clear place, but I will take sporadically clear for now and LOVE IT. I feel so much more 'like myself' again. It's like having the freedom to think about other things that are actually enjoyable to think about.

Day 75: Clear from Sunday until now (Thurs night). Started having short moments of clear a couple weeks ago, now onto longer spells. I think there is a trend here. Knocking on all wood seen and imagined.

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Sounds very promising Kim. Happy for you, fingers crossed for continued progress.

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Well, the hope-crushing-elves heard my joy and brought me a nice new whitehead the morning after my last post. As per usual with the 'Accutane whiteheads', it couldn't keep itself together when I washed my face, and drained out. Sheesh, you'd think I wash my face with sandpaper or something, but I really am VERY gentle!

Anyhoo - that was the end of it and it does not hurt and is healing fine now with just a tiny red mark left behind.

So TAKE THAT hope-crushing-elves! You cannot mess with me now that things are going so well!

Still a lot of PIH of course, but DAMN is my face ever smooth!

Day 78: I really think I am approaching the good phase of this drug. Still super on track for day 100 clear. No actives right now, and only that one all week. Super yay!

Thanks for all the support - I really think that one of the reasons I didn't mentally break down as much as I did the last time I fought the acne battle is the support I have had on this forum, and not feeling so alone. It has meant so much to me.

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so stoked for you kim! you hung in there like a champ, you deserve this. im not doing so well but it makes me smile knowing you are seeing clear skies and skin~

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Happy for you Kim, hopefully smooth sailing for you for the rest of your course now.

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Okay - I am going to say this very quietly so the zit-elves don't hear me: Since the zit they brought me last Friday (only lasted a day), I have been clear.

It feels like freedom and I love it so much. I have stopped wearing all black (attempt to camouflage self) and am no longer avoiding my friends at work.

It's funny, because throughout all of this, my lovely and delightful students haven't said a word about my sudden extreme breakouts (I taught them all music for five years before becoming their grade 6 teacher, so they only ever knew me with clear skin), or my chapped lips or anything UNTIL TODAY, when one of them asked me what was up with my hands. It has been really cold here, and my hand rash is a lovely shade of bright red. I just told her it was a long story, but not catchy and not a big deal, so not to worry. She seemed content with this answer and walked away.

I feel very fortunate right now. Fortunate to have such a great class, fortunate to have such great support from y'all on here, and fortunate that the Accutane seems to be finally starting to do its magic.

Day 82: Still going one day at a time, but enjoying most of them. Currently no actives to report.

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quiet celebration WOOOHOOOO!!! So glad that you are doing so well! and good on your kids for being so polite! Hope you can find something that works for your hands, soon!

Edited by PersnickityChick

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All I can do is smile when I read your last couple of posts! Yay Kim! And thanks for taking the time to keep us all posted even when you are doing well, it is so encouraging!

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Awesome to hear how well you are going. I hope to get to where you are now.

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Day 87 and still doing good!

Unfortunately, all day today I had this horrible paranoid fear that I was getting a cyst on the right side of my chin. You know how sometimes you'll get a weird itch/pain, and it usually ends up being a zit? Well I had a tiny moment in the car this morning where I thought I felt something, and then it happened again later in the day. Even though all the weird faces I was making to try and 'find it' did not seem to cause the pain to recur, I was super afraid all day and convincing myself that something horrible was happening. Came home, washed up, can't find ANYTHING and I looked pretty hard in the area I thought I felt something. So either it's some super deep evil thing that cannot yet be seen, or I am just suffering from TERRIBLE acne paranoia. I think it is the latter. I HOPE it is the latter!

Looking forward to the day that every little tiny itch doesn't cause me 10 hours of pure fear and horror.

But for now, I will take what I've got because it's pretty good. Clear for 10 days in a row! Woot woot!

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Hooray for you on being clear for 10 days! And here's hoping the "itch" just goes away. I find myself sliding my fingers over my skin searching for those little sneakers, and hoping that I don't find them. I guess that makes me a little paranoid too. :P

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Day 90!

Sooooo - there wasn't a zit in my itchy spot. it was JUST AN ITCH, ha ha ha!

Jess - I'm not a feeler, although I know a lot of people are. I just make all sorts of weird faces to try and identify what is going on. I try not to think about the possibility that people have seen me doing this - making some sort of spastic sideways frown or squishing up my nose to try and 'feel' where it is.

Because i am a dork who keeps track of everything, I recall that my last real zit was on a Friday, and that the Friday it was on was TWO WEEKS AGO!

For realz. I have not had an ouchy spot in two weeks.

I'm sure the world will still throw a few pieces of crap at me, but I think the worst is actually over.

Although it's still a bit depressing to take my makeup off at night because I still have redness and definitely a few new scars, I feel like 'myself' all day. So relaxing. I get to school and I'm EXCITED about what I'm going to teach.

So - to all y'all out there with nasty IBs, still breaking out well into the second and third month: DO NOT FEAR! THE END IS NEAR! The end of acne, that is.

I love Accutane right now. Like ode-writing love.

Edited by Kim28

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Yay! So glad that things are going so well for you! I have been assured that the redness WILL fade over time, after the course is finished, so hoepfully a couple months after you are done, you will have that beautiful skin that you are seeking! :)

I make faces sometimes, too. I looked up one time to find one of my kids staring at me with this completely bemused expression on my face. Turned out he thought I had been looking at him, and was trying to communicate something to him. Hahaha.

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Day 92:

How is that possible when it was day 90 a week ago, you say? Well, I have been without meds! What a PITA it has been. First, my derm canceled the day of my appt for emergency surgery. Then the pharmacy couldn't get a hold of her. Luckily the derm's office called with a cancellation. Then the pharmacy had to order the stuff, which took one day last time and three this time. So I went a whole 6 days with nothing. And GUESS WHAT!

NOTHING HAPPENED!

Just hoping that getting back on it won't cause something weird to occur.

One interesting thing I noticed - on the last day before I finally got my script filled, my lips stopped being dry. So I guess now I know how long it takes for that to go away after your course is done.

Anyway - despite a strange week in regards to this journey, things are still amazing. No zits for three weeks now. THREE WEEKS! Still waiting to see what will happen with a couple little blackheads I have, but seriously, this stuff is MAGIC!

What is the strangest to me is how much my personality changes. I think this wasn't so noticeable the first time because it was a slower process. I had been sad for so long that it took a while for the new me to emerge after Accutane. This time my acne was pretty mild until I decided to try to attack it with topicals and it became quite severe very suddenly. I had been that depressed, scared person before, so it was easy to jump right back into this when it happened.

Then, as quickly as it emerged like pure evil in October, it has suddenly disappeared in February. Because I had developed an acne-free personality over the past nine years, it was easy to jump back into that, too.

Everything happened so suddenly, and brought back so many things from my past, that it seemed like my two personalities were so much more evident to me this time.

I don't suppose there is a 'real me' because everyone is a product of their circumstances and environment, but DAMN, I sure do like this me so much better.

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Day 95ish?

Still doing good! Yay!

Holding strong with the no actives thing, and nothing under the surface that's really frightening (I do have one little clogged pore I keep waiting for, but I think it might never come??!!)

One sad thing is that the clearing leaves the scars. I know it will get better than it is, but it makes me notice my other scars more - the ones I still have from nine years ago when I was a bit more of a pickery type. I learned my lesson on that one (hence the scars), but my IB was so crazy this time it has definitely left some damage, and when I inspect it I see all the old damage too. I scar quite easily. Yesterday I was a bit down about it, thinking 'well before it just looked like I was lightly chewed by a large dog, and now it looks a bit like I've been mauled'. So, I am smothering myself with self pity a bit, as it later occurred to me that I have no right comparing myself to people who suffer from dog attacks. Alas.

I had always considered looking into scar treatments before, but I sort of got used to them and accepted them in a 'no one is perfect/battle scars' kind of way. After my course is done and I've had a few months to heal, I think I might look into it more. My derm is always so down on it, though. She says most treatments are very expensive and mostly ineffective, and the chances that you will experience weird lightening of the skin is high. There's always second opinions, though.

But, all that aside, I am so excited to not be hurting and living in fear. It is fucking delightful.

Edited by Kim28

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I have read that many people have much better success talking to plastic surgeons than dermatologists when it comes to scar treatment. They are typically more familiar with newer, more effective technologies and are more skilled in applying them. Don't lose hope!

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I have noticed a lot more scars, too. I mean... I haven't had an IB, but I am suddenly noticing scars that seem to have been hidden before. And ones that were small seem bigger, for some reason. nd of course the large ones seem humongous.

Meg, I'd never have thought about the Derm v. Plastic Surgeon thing, but it does make sense. My derm is married to a plastic surgeon, so now I am very curious about her take. :P

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I want a derm that is married to a plastic surgeon, lol! What an awesome deal!

My derm actually sent me to a plastic surgeon once before at my request. My derm is an opinionated lady - she was against my switching to Absorica, but she is also always one to listen to you, and let you try what you want if she thinks it can't hurt. So she told me the plastic surgeon wouldn't be able to help me, but I could go anyway. I did, and lo and behold, he said "I can't really help you". Their take is that the type of scars I have are best treated with lasers, but that the lasers cause skin lightening (apparently especially if you get a tan it is really noticeable), and in their opinion it is not worth it for the scarring I have.

It's a whole different boat now, though, so I might go again. It's also been ten years, so maybe all the new technology will wow me. But I doubt it. Ten years later and still back on Accutane, so nothing really changes.

BUT - Now for my happy moment!

Still no active acne. I discovered today that since I missed all those pills, my day 100 pill is now the 23rd, which is my son's fifth birthday. So we will be having a party anyway - and it will have so many awesome meanings! Beautiful perfect child, made it to day 100, and clear for a whole month by that point. SUPER yay.

Thanks for all the support, Jess and Meg. Jess I hope your back is hanging in there, and MEG - SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS I AM ALL CAPS LOCKING OUT OVER HERE!

We are emerging like butterflies! Or something like that, anyway. :)

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