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Female, 24, started accutane 7/Oct/'09

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Jezika

Please accept my apologies for the long absence. I've been trekking across the outer Hibridean islands on horseback for the past three months. That, of course, is a lie.

Well, I finished my accutane course as quietly, unceremoniously and discreetly as a 67th birthday. There was no fanfare, nor a specific moment I feel I shall remember forever. I was actually surprised when my final pill came, and I can't even remember specifically when that was.

Five times out of ten I look in the mirror and think, "Man, I still don't like my face, I still wear shitloads of make up and I still don't want to go camping," and then try to remind myself that only the red marks remain and these will fade in time. But I hear (read) other people talking (writing) about red marks, and when I see their pictures, their red marks are only a fraction of what mine are like. How long will it take for them to piss off? Seriously. Anyone? Anyone?

I actually wrote all of the above about a month ago. Since then, I can comfortably report that my red marks have been sloooooowly fading. My former bitterness over them now strikes me as having been a little over the top. After all, Jesus didn't walk on water on day one, did he? I think it's easy to continue to skeptical, but at the end of the day my life has entirely changed from the skin perspective. Yes, I still wear make up (lots of it) and I am still not entirely comfortable putting my hair in a ponytail due to fear of pitting and make up line being seen, but the biggest transformation was emotional. I don't feel defeated every day by the discovery of newer spots or worry about my skin looking like the Rockys. I can declare with 100% certainty that I haven't had a new blemish for this long since I was quite literally a child, and even with lingering red marks that feels damn good.

My biggest worry about finishing accutane was, of course, the acne returning. I couldn't imagine the oiliness coming back without the acne too. The oil did indeed come back, particularly affecting my previously adored hair washing schedule (I am back to washing once every two days), but the oiliness is much less severe and seems to have settled down now rather than gradually worsened. But most importantly, I've had maybe one tiny blemish since finishing accutane several months ago, which disappeared within and day and caused me no more than a pitiful wisp of worry. Of course, I say all this whilst not just touching wood, but laying and gyrating across a vast wooden table in a bid to avoid tempting fate.

I will post a picture update soon (I've been touching my face a lot so I don't feel it's looking as good right now as it could) as well a few more words, of which I have many, but right now I need to figure out what to do about my foster cat having just ingested two elastic bands and how to paint my nails given that I cut a giant gash into and through my finger and nail this morning.

Jezika

DAY 168: Photos

Just a quick one, peoplings, to bust out some photographs. I did some cheeky comparison shots too.

Left side

Right side

Then I thought, "I wonder if any of my scarring (pock marks, eugh) have gone down, so I took this photo (WITH make up on, please note).

Then I compared it to one I had taken a little over a month ago (also with make up on) at a time when I'd declared how bad it was, and thought, "Ooh, it's improved loads," before realising that lighting most likely played a significant part in proceedings. So I took another photo, but this time tried to get as much shadow on the bastardish craters as I possibly could, and then compared it to the photo from over a month ago, producing this photo. There still seems to be a difference in shadowplay, although I do believe I should have achieved some sort of award for my efforts towards trying to capture the very same angle. Either way, I would like to believe the scarring has improved. What do you think?

Oh, I just showed Pedro the before and after photos and he said, "Why one's which?" Oh, what a funny, funny guy.

Aaand, here are some other pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with acne at all.

Soup I made from heirloom carrots (some are bright purple) and potatoes.

Paintings my friend and I did to be auctioned off for a local cat rescue (mine are the ones on the right). Believe it or not, together we raised a few hundred dollars.

Screenshot of an awesome drawing game for the iPhone that I would urge everyone to try out. It's free and ridiculously addictive.

Jezika

Hmm. It doesn't feel like it's been that long since I last posted, but it appears it in fact has. Although compared disgustingly unbusy compared to many, it feels like I've constantly been doing things, important things, or doing a good load of well deserved nothing. Anyhow, you may remember I've been to Hungary to see family. How was my experience? Standard, I'd say. It was tricky remembering to take my pills outside of my normal routine, but taking my mini pill (that's contraception, lads, not a merely diminutive form of an average pill) at exactly the same time as usual regardless of the time difference was more of a... slag.

Whilst I'm on the subject of Hungary, I did have my highlights touched up there and my hair cut. I figured it would be much cheaper, and it was, even despite the hairdresser allegedly regularly featuring in a popular weekly women's magazine with her makeovers. She does make up and everything, so when she complimented me on mine (the elaborate eye-corner swoop is what I presume she was talking about), I admit it felt a little like having my ego stroked... then fondled... and teased... and maybe even caressed, firmly yet sensually (if that's even possible). I was somewhat taken aback, however, by the strange highlighting protocol, namely that I was silently expected to hold the box of foils, which were merely pieces ripped from your average household kitchen foil, and hand one to the hairdresser each time she was ready to foil me up. Unaccustomed to this, I failed almost every time, so I naturally explained my unfamiliarity with the process in an attempt to refute my dumbass appearances. Her response? "So how do they do it in Canada?" I defy any reasonable person to deliver the sentence, "Well, they usually have an equipment cart from which they kind of take the foils themselves" in a way that does not sound patronising or facetious. Well, let me tell you, she was aghast, and so were her colleagues, but definitely more about the wondrous other-wordly technique that I'd explained to them rather than my actual delivery. The most peculiar part of the experience, however, was when she pretty much straddled me whilst working on the front of my hair. I'm sure it's fun when you're used to it (and maybe drunk?), but I've personally never had a woman straddle me, so I admit I felt slightly stilted, but I guess the more perverse (and perverted) part came when she bid fairwell to a couple of clients/friends whilst still working on the front of my hair. Thrusting her pelvis and boobs even closer to my non-breathing face, she proceeded to heartily kiss these clients/friends right over my shoulder, which was the first glimpse I'd gotten of what it might be like to star in a pornographic film. It was... special.

Back on topic, I am mildly aware that I finish my course in, what, a few weeks' time? Sometimes I feel a very fleeting spurt of worry over my course possibly not being long enough (after all, I still have plenty of red marks), but then other times I just give my smooth face a good old stroke in the shower and welcome the warm, satisfied sigh of relief. Speaking of showers, our plughole has been clogged up for a number of weeks now to the point where I feel like I am bathing rather than showering. Enough, at some point, was enough, so I untwisted the stopper thing and went about clearing out all the hair and skank that was stuck down there. I apologise, potentially squeamish readers, but what I found down there could not have been human, even though I sadly know full well that it was. The amount of hair (my hair, God damn it) that I pulled out literally (LITERALLY) could have provided a VERY generous and rich head of hair to, say, a bald toddler. In fact, that toddler would probably have available to it the option of braiding or even dreadlocking. Anyway, I wasn't sure what to do with it, so for a few moments I was gulping back nausea and blinking away tears of disgust before I made it disappear down the toilet.

Right, okay, so I guess I should post a picture in case there has been some kind of magical change with my face since last time. Hmm, I don't know. Maybe I will take one tonight and post it tomorrow or something. I realised that in the past three or four months, I've probably had two or three small blemishes alone. That's pretty impressive, so hopefully these red marks will just sack themselves off sooner or later. Why do they take so stupidly long? And what are these ridiculous little inconspicuous lumps under my skin that have been there since the beginning of my torturous adventure with acne? Meh. I'll have to keep my eye on them.

Arrgh. Sorry about the crappy post. I feel tired and uninspired (although clearly not enough to avoid a nifty little rhyme, tee-hee... arrrrgh).

Oh, but on the bright side (for me), I got accepted to university! Yay! I shall learn once again! Aaaaaand not be able to have a real job again until I'm at least 29. Hey ho.

Jezika

140: Returned to country

Arrrgh. I feel like a turd that's been quietly decomposing behind a shed. I'm in the magical land of Hungary and have still not recovered from the nightmarish journey and jetlag, even though I arrived on Friday. All I will say is that I strongly resent British Airways, Heathrow terminal 5 security and human beings in general. Fuck it, that's not all I will say, because I am rarely able to pass up an opportunity to moan about something, especially when it's so moanworthy. In short (or at least as short as possible) my day started out on Thursday morning at 7:30am when I got up for work. I was only supposed to be working a half day because my flight was in the late afternoon. Having previously been a bit of a tit about taking time off, and therefore having been rather desperate for me to work right up until the point I would have to leave for my flight, my manager decided to hold back on work for me and send me home early. He claimed he didn't think I'd complete my work as fast as I did, even though he had said it should take me about an hour and it in fact took me longer. This is actually standard titishness on his part, much reminiscent of when I'd told him about my booked flight to Hungary in the first place (he told me it wasn't a good time to be taking off, even though I clearly wasn't about to cancel the $900 flight AND I'd told him I'd be booking it a month earlier). He's not a bad person or has anything in particular against me: he's merely a tit. Anyway, I was a bit annoyed because I obviously don't get paid if I don't work, and it's already a financial stretch to be taking so much time off as well as paying for the flights. Speeding up a bit here, my flight was delayed by three hours and the 400 year old British Airways jet had the least comfortable seats that I've experienced in my life, on or off a plane. The delays obviously caused me to miss my connecting flight to Budapest at London Heathrow, and naturally the next flight was in four hours' time. This time was spent having my tasty, unopened fruit drinks confiscated and disposed of entirely unnecessarily, in my opinion, by rude airport security staff, having my favourite nail varnish bottle broken (again, by airport security staff), causing it to leak into my handbag and all over most of my other favourite possessions (I only discovered all this later on) and having exquisite yet repulsively-priced designer clobber flaunted at me at every turn I took. I also had to face rude, petty staff at Boots, tried to wash nail varnish off all my belongings, which only left me with what looked like heavily blood stained hands, and then basked in the wondrous moment of receiving my period, which forced me to face the rude, petty staff at Boots all over again. Additionally, I left my scarf in Wagamama and stared longingly at people achieving MY dream of sleeping on the sofas in the only comfortable section of the Godforsaken airport and consequently taking up all the space. 40 hours after I woke up in my bed back in Canada on Thursday, I finally found myself in another bed on the other side of some ocean or other.

I could go on, but I'll spare you. I feel headachey, weak, and only just got over a sore throat, something I most likely picked up on the plane as a result of a chorus of people sneezing throughout the entire eight hour flight to the bloody UK. Anyway, I knew my mineral foundation would hold up much better than my old oil-based one used to, but I hadn't anticipated how dry airplanes are. This caused the area around my mouth in particular to gradually become more and more flakey and thus insightly. I had a fantastic idea of buying some make up remover pads at Heathrow and reapplying the foudation in the toilets, but then I remembered that I'd placed only my concealer in my hand luggage. I decided to just reapply the area around my mouth with the concealer, but even after 10 minutes spent in the cubicle fiddling, poking, preening and toying with my face whilst listening to the only other occupant of the washroom vomiting wholeheartedly, my face looked only about 2% less grotesque. The concealer is dry, you see, and the make up remover pads weren't moisterised (and, like a fool, nor did I have anything even vaguely moisturising with me).

Missing out some family related happenings (that I may mention some other time) and flashing forward to now, I was just writing this on my brother's laptop in my grandmother's kitchen when someone rang the doorbell. I was poised to pick the laptop up and take it upstairs to avoid being seen sans make up (even though it's 19:30ish and I usually wear make up every day), but my mum then assured me that it was only the milk lady dropping off some... milk and will not be coming inside. Fine. I stayed put and carried about my business. But lo and behold, the bloody woman only bloody came in, didn't she?! I turned to my mother upon hearing her voice drift into the house, narrowed my eyes and mouthed "Thanks" as coldly and guilt-inflictingly as I could, even though it entirely uncalled for. So in came the milk lady, clocking my shameful face, my green track pants, purple tank top and black fleece with giant white stars all over it, and wore an expression that I was unable to decipher. Or perhaps I was too aghast myself to read it accurately. Either way, it's not every day you see a spotty wizard-chav in an old lady's kitchen. I made a speedy, if not rude, getaway and have resumed my writing in the safety of an upstairs bedroom.

In other news, my auntie, who's 33, told me that my skin definitely looks a lot better. She told me that I no longer have little bulges coming out of my skin. She told me that, in fact, I had little bulges going into my skin, before giving a slight chortle. She was referring to the pitting, and whilst I know spectacularly well that she was not being mean and wouldn't have said it like that if she thought it looked bad, it was a little disheartening to have its presence confirmed by a third party. Arrgh. She had some crazy shit happen to her face last year that caused huge, weeping pustules all over one side of it and resulted in deep indentations, which later disappeared so miraculously that her face today looks like a 3 month old's arse cheek (in a nice way). Her secret? She bloody visualised perfect, smooth skin real hard every single day for a number of weeks, and away went the pitting. That's correct: I said visualised. Visualised. Or visualized, depending on what floats your boat. Amazing. Unfortunately, I'm not one for immense concentration during most activities, so I can easily imagine my mind wandering to meringue pie or the most recent episode of The Bachelor within moments of beginning the "visualisation". Perhaps I'll develop stamina for it at some point, but I think for now my pitting is limited enough for me to quite possibly be able to pass it off as an outcome of a shark attack: an admired and universally respected cosmetic accessory, if you will.

Till next time, peoplings, which I hope will be soon.

Jezika

DAY 127: Final derm visit

DAY 127

So I had my dermatologist appointment today. I reckon I had no more than about 70 seconds actual face time with the geezer, but hey ho. I wanted to give him an accurate impression of my progress, so I'd loaded up my before and after pictures (straight from this log) on my phone in preparation. Showing him was like showing every single co-worker pictures of your newborn baby. He pretended to care, but did no great job of masking his disinterest. Not rudely, though, he was just clearly pressed for time. In response to my 'before' picture, he said, "Oh yes, I remember that all right," and grinned cheekily. He definitely wasn't being sarcastic either. Hmm. Anyway, he prescribed me another 6 weeks' worth of pills and told me that I don't need another appointment or more bloodwork because my course will then be complete. I told him that I've occasionally experienced sudden short term dizziness over the last couple of days (by the way, I've been occasionally experiencing sudden short term dizziness over the last couple of days), but he didn't seem at all concerned. He said my cholesterol was slightly elevated (even despite my inadvertent mega fasting), but that it was nothing to worry about and was probably caused by the pill. About the scarring/indentation, he rolled his eyes good naturedly and told me not to think about it until six months after I finish my treatment. Just as I was leaving, he told me I was looking good. I told him he was looking good, too. I'm not sure if this is standard doctor/patient protocol, but it felt good at the time. Only seconds later did I wince at myself.

Opting to pick up my prescription from the pervy pharmacist rather than the incompetent pharmacist this time, I was again complimented on my skin. I'm pretty sure when I thanked him, I looked to the ceiling and very slightly fluttered my stubby European eyelashes, accidentally conveying flirty coyness. Typically, I have to go back later on in the week to get the rest of my prescription that they "didn't have" today. For some reason, I keep pulling facial expressions that leave the recipient of my gaze or any onlookers completely baffled by my intentions. Only yesterday was I crossing the road on the way home and attempting to shoot an "evil" at a car passing in front of me whose driver had lazily run a fresh red light. My attempt was this, but it unfortunately came out looking something like this, prompting the male driver to return a steely, pervy gaze. I'd forgotten to put lip balm on, you see, so my brain picked that split second to manually remoisten. I felt, and still do, like a penis.

Anyway, I walked about 400,000 miles today, so I was glad to get home. I'm going to put some fake eyelashes on and go out for some sushi, even though I don't eat seafood.

Jezika

DAY 121

I came home from work 25 minutes ago and spent the past 25 minutes prodding a giant turd in the toilet bowl with the loo brush in order to unclog it. Sometimes I wonder what I did in my previous lives to deserve these sorts of things. It has to have been pretty bad. Multiple murder, at least.

Now, in the unlikely event that anyone's noted my two week absence, and in the unlikelier event that anyone was concerned by it, I've managed to avoid ditches and death and have instead been incredibly busy doing things that are so important that I cannot even recall them. Idling and watching TV, probably.

On the acne front, I'm still baffled by how different my face looks post-wash to how it looks after it's been untouched for long periods. I think I've been so selfish lately with my photos that it's only right I share with you what I mean.

Post-wash photo

Untouched for long period photo

I mean, I'm actually quite happy with the improvement when looking at the second photo. Here's what that side of my face looked like at the start of my course. Not miraculous, I agree, but it still makes me feel slightly giddy with joy.

What doesn't make me feel giddy with joy, however, is this issue of scarring/pitting. A couple of evenings ago, I looked in the mirror and was shocked by this. Even more shockingly, this is me with make up on, albeit make up that's been rubbed off a bit. Only last week I watched an interview with the woman who inspired the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and I remember thinking, "She'd be really rather beautiful if she didn't have heavily pitted skin," which is an awful thing of me to think, and now look at me. Could karma be this efficient? Anyway, it really upset me, seeing my face like that. Then the next morning, it looked like this. What the fook? Is my skin mutating before my eyes? I think it must be down to the fact that I often rub my face quite hard in the evenings (strange as well as bad, I know), but I didn't expect it to make it look like this. In desperation, I started using Bio Oil on my scars. I have no idea whether I am meant to do this, and I'm sure some of you will gasp in shock at the idea of putting oil on my face, but it's worth a try. Mind you, using it to get some of those craters out is like putting it in my ear cavity and expecting it to close it up. Either way, I'm appalled. I really am. I'm also pretty sure these scars are from spots that inhabited my face a long, long time ago, as I've not had anything crazy-big there since I've been on accutane. Bleugh. It makes me sick. I better hold onto Pedro. No one will love me now. Just kidding. I do try to be more positive than that.

In other news, I have my dermatologist appointment on the 9th. I have no idea how he will gage my progress with my make up on, so I'm thinking of making him privy to my little snaps. Perhaps I should link him to this log, too, in case he fancies getting the real low-down. Ha. As if. Although, it would be fun if I had the guts to do that. I cannot imagine how he would respond to me insisting he visit my lengthy log and handing him a URL on a post it note. It would be mildly entertaining to see him looking awkward, but knowing my luck he'd actually check it out and strike up a conversation with me next time about the entry on my genitals. Pardon the pun.

It was my great grandmother's 101st birthday last week, and apart from genes, it would seem we have another thing in common: painful mobility. For some reason, I still get a joyous tingle when I'm duped into believing I've had glorious exercise due to the overall pain, and it's only soured slightly by the subsequent realisation that it's not my muscles that are hurting, but in fact my joints. Argh. That thought freaks me out a bit. Needless to say I groan and grimace at every opportunity in order to gradually build up a metaphorical flask of sympathy from Pedro that I can then redeem in the form of favours (not leaving giant turds clogging up the toilet will be a future one). Yet despite my compromised mobility, I've been to two weeks' worth of cuban salsa classes so far. Forced to dance with every man taking the class, I've already had more eyes on my breasts, sweaty, quivering hands on my shoulder blade and overly minty breaths on my neck than any woman should face in their lifetime. Still, it's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the far-off day when I actually look half decent doing it. What hasn't been fun about salsa, though, is being made to demonstrate my moves to the iPhone-prying girl on reception, who's been dancing salsa for years ("You shouldn't do cuban," she said. "No one really dances cuban these days." Not like me, that's for sure.)

In miscellaneous news, I saw Avatar a few weeks ago and really, really enjoyed it. The effect's worn off a bit now, but I did declare at the time that it was the best film I'd ever seen. I cried through it like a real champion.

I've also been watching The Bachelor. It's the biggest, steamiest, foulest load of crap on TV, brimming with desperate, soulless individuals, but my God is it entertaining. I am secretly hoping that Gia wins, because I like her the most, but then I realise that the prize is Jake, and I struggle to understand how that can be considered a prize.

Oh, Pedro's home now, so there's my concentration gone. He just told me he bought some new mittens, before adding that it wasn't very nice of me to send him a text message starting with the sentence "Two days in a row now your poo's blocked up the toilet."

Jezika

DAY 106: Nasty floater

I went for my first ever PAP test on Saturday. It was absolutely MAGICAL. Just kidding. It was okay. My minky must have charmed the doctor though, because despite my having seen her several times before, it was only after she visited the magical cave that she asked if I wanted her to be my family doctor. I felt rather proud, actually. Also, in case you're wondering, I ended up going with the "au naturale" look, mostly because I hear North American tastes differ from those of the Europeans, and everyone knows that "au naturale" is the safe, conservative option. Besides, all that foliage adds an air of mystery, I feel. Wow, that's the longest paragraph I've ever written about vaginas, my own in particular, and believe me I write a LOT about vaginas. Just kidding. Anyway, Pedro saw the doctor straight after me for different reasons, obviously, and the first thing she said to him was, "You're a lucky guy." Just kidding. But it feels so liberating talking about vaginas...

Acne acne acne acne. Well, it's still hanging around, but whatever. I'm sure it will be fine in the end. I usually worry about tears taking my make up off, but even though I cried pretty much all the way through The Lovely Bones on Saturday night (despite having read the book and therefore knowing exactly what to expect), my make up remained unchanged. Even if it had come off a little, the monstrosity beneath it was definitely at bay enough not to even be noticeable. Why my make up couldn't remain in tact the day it shocked the woman in the elevator, I don't know, but such is life.

I am still quite reluctant to put any photos up just yet because I truly feel it won't be doing my own perception of change any justice. It's remarkable to think that for endless years I'd accepted that washing my face daily would entail skimming over dozens of variously sized bumps on my skin, yet now it's smooth all over. With the exception of a few small, mysterious under-the-skin bumps that hang around for ages, that is. But the change is extraordinary. I can't believe there was a time when I contemplated slicing off those nasty protrusions that clung like miniature breasts to my foundation laden skin. Thankfully my better judgement prevailed (only due to the fear of awful scarring, mind) and hopefully I will never have to go through that kind of thing again.

When I look at my crater-like scars in the mirror, I wonder whether they're noticeable to others. Do they glance at me just for a fleeting second longer than they would at anybody else, registering the pock marks the same way I do others'? In the book that I'm currently reading, the character mentions a horrible man she knew who had ghastly pock marks that reflected a former acne ridden face. A tiny part of me felt resentful. I don't think my own scarring looks hideously obvious, but I doubt you'd have to be blind not to notice it.

Speaking of blindness, I'm pretty sure the vision in my right eye has deteriorated. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my right eye's abilities have paled in comparison to my left eye's for a number of years now, but I'm pretty sure it's gotten worse recently. I also wouldn't be surprised if indeed my left eye has got worse too, without me noticing. I also have this annoying floater right in the focus of my vision that chases my gaze like a manic puppy. I'm sure I've had floaters before going on accutane, I just think it's annoying me more now. Apparently they're permanent, which makes me scoff because I just do not understand the whole thing. If I stare at one spot in the distance, the floater starts slipping down below my focus of vision, therefore it can apparently move, so how come it always comes back to where it's most annoying? Is it just the membrane that it's on slipping down with gravity? Who knows. But in any case, I could choose embitterment over the deteriorating vision, or I could choose to accept that I probably would've needed some sort of vision aid anyway, and be done with it. I think even if God had appeared in my living room a year ago and said, "Okay, Jezika. Fine, you want clear skin. Here's the price: you're going to have to wear glasses or contacts and have dry skin for a while. Oh, and for good measure, I'll throw in a nice floater or two. What do you say?", I'd obviously take Him (or Her) up on His or (Her) offer. I mean, honestly, who wouldn't choose wearing glasses (a common, societally accepted thing) over having acne?

Anyway....

See, this is why I don't use eye drops. Apart from the whole process feeling like I'm murdering a small part of me, my eyes feel dry again less than ten minutes later. I'm not sure why they're feeling so dry today. Usually they're like the Sahara first thing in the morning but then I'm fine for the rest of the day. Oh well, it's hardly a huge burden.

That's it for now. I'm not feeling hugely inspired plus my feet are cold and I have so much housework to do (no captioning for me today). On Sunday Pedro and I resolved to do a thorough cleaning/tidying up of our tiny apartment, so I stuck to my end of the bargain by sorting through my mountain of clothes in our bedroom, hoovering the entire apartment and scrubbing more ominous looking stains from the bathroom surfaces in order to make the whole thing sparkling clean than I care to even think about. Pedro did a "man's job" on the kitchen (only 5/10 on my own scale, although he deems it a 10/10), moved all furniture to the middle of the room, folded up the rug and took his belongings off the new shelving unit and placed them messily on top. That was two days ago. It's still looking the same. I sent him an e-mail this morning pretty much saying this, and how he HAS to finish it tonight because it's looking much worse that it did before. He responded by telling me that there's a method to his madness and that moving the furniture into the middle of the room now helps us move them all to new locations. Move them all to new locations? What new locations? Our apartment is less than 600 sq feet! And when does moving furniture to new locations count as tidying/cleaning? Men are unbelievable. And to think Pedro's actually one of the good ones, all things considered. *Sigh*.

Off I go to tidy...

Jezika

I was determined to write something on day 100, and then on day 101 as a consolation prize, but in the end I couldn't garner the effort to write on either, no matter how fancy-looking the numbers were.

Speaking of 101, my great grandmother turns 101 on the 26th. I am making a card for her because you just cannot get cards with 101 on them, or at least not reasonable looking ones. Have I mentioned before that my great grandfather on the other side of my family lived to 102? Yep, that's right, boys: great genes.

Regarding the whole fat argument, I've settled for most often taking my accutane pill with a Ferrero Rocher. You would not believe how much better something like that tastes when feelings of guilt are replaced with feelings of necessity. Firstly, there's a fair amount of fat in one of those badboys, but I also reasoned that it's pointless me eating/drinking a whole load of fatty stuff with the pills anyway, because a piece of chocolate or something similar is still a fair chunk of your daily allowance for fat, so they can't be expecting us to take our pills with something much more fat rich. I hope I'm right, anyway.

I'm afraid the rest of this post isn't particularly acne related, other than mentioning that I went to get my bloodwork done today, so feel free to omit this bit and carry on with your life if you so choose.

I've kind of been off work since Wednesday. Captioning was running a bit dry, so we were all put "on call". As I'm freelance, this means no money, so piddly poo-pants to me. Taking advantage of my first day off, I looked after our friends' dog on Wednesday, which I was incredibly excited about. I've only very seldom had a dog in my charge, so this was like a special treat. Our friend dropped him round in the morning and I instantly had my lie-in disrupted by this creature snuggling under my duvet and forcing me to be rigid and mindful in bed. If you know me, you'd know that I frequently squeal with the gusto of a truckload of decibels when Pedro even so much as sits on our duvet with jeans on, therefore you could say that I felt somewhat uneasy having a dog in my actual bed. But I let it slip because the poor fella was probably a bit confused and, after all, he's allowed in his owners' bed so he wouldn't know any better anyway. I was warned in the morning that he had diarrhoea, so all day I was on the lookout for invisible signs that he needed a crap. I was busying myself with certain activities, and whatever I was doing, he'd perch as close to me as possible or follow me the second I got up. It reminded me of an ex boyfriend who stalked me after I broke up with him. This dog had the same shifty eyes, too. Anyway, so we went for a long walk to a pet shop, where the guilt of being slightly repelled by his needy behaviour forced me to buy him a little blue sweater. The woman in the shop looked like an animal lover, but she almost choked him by violently tugging at his leash when trying to put on the sweater. I felt so bad that I wanted to cry, but not assertive enough to do much about it. The fact that I wanted to cry makes the whole event sound terrible, but I in fact cry at an even broader definition of "everything" than usual these days. My digital photo frame sometimes shows a pesky default picture of two fake students in their graduation gear with big smiles and confetti falling around them. When I see it, I weep a little. Gosh, how proud I am of those accomplished fictional graduates. Anyway, so I guess my point is that after a day of looking after this dog, I'm wondering whether I have it in me to have my own dog. I certainly didn't enjoy the awkwardness of people watching me as I decided whether or not to even bother pretending to try to pick up runny faecal matter from a small patch of grass. I had no idea what to do. What is the protocol in the case of diarrhoea? Surely you can't pick it up(?). But people think I'm being careless leaving it there, as they assume it's a solid turd, so should I be declaring its nature to passersby? It's a tough political system, I feel. And I just don't feel comfortable around male dogs. Most of the discomfort is to do with that pokey-out nub of flesh and hair they've got going on in their crotch area that cleverly conceals their penis. My friend was holding said dog the other day, giving him cuddles and as such, when his penis unexpectedly popped out. It was awkward for us all. And the cause was a big mystery. He doesn't even have testicles. Weird. But then I don't like to think of female dogs having vaginas, either. I'm not sure why I discriminate, because cats have genitals too, of course, but cats seem to be able to conceal them a lot better, even when they're squirming around on their backs. Not to mention cats rarely smell bad. And they purr. I was waiting for this dog to purr and felt like I was letting it down when it didn't. I was then constantly looking for tail movement, and it felt weird to be thinking about it so much. Does this sound weird to you? Hmm.

On Thursday I was planning on going and getting my bloodwork done, which is overdue by a week, and then getting some more contraceptive pills. This lull at work happened at a good time in that respect, because I would not have had time to do both on Saturday morning, which is the only time they're both open at the weekend. Then I got a phone call from my boss at 10:00 saying he has work for me, so I instead made the 5 minute walk into work and earned a good bit of money captioning some weird kids' programs before finishing at 6:30. Today I was on call again, and just as I was about to leave to get my bloodwork done, my boss called again with some work. I gave in and went into work, finishing some annoying teen drama in record time before I went off to the lab. I hadn't eaten all day up until then, you see, because I wanted to actually fast for the blood test this time. In contrast to my usual 2 hour wait over weekends, I was in and out in approximately 4 minutes. Impressive. I was going to treat myself to a Starbucks, but then I had the biggest strand of fluff attack the inside of my eye and I couldn't get it out, so I decided to take the streetcar all the way home (quicker, plus don't have to put up with the painful eye darting when watching out for other pedestrians navigating the streets). Of course the streetcar took 20 minutes to arrive, by which time I would've been nearly home anyway, and by the time I got on the streetcar, the fluff had magically vanished from my eye. What a waste of $2.75. Entering my condo building, I helped open some doors for a young woman laden with many shopping bags. She was polite and thankful. As I got out of the elevator on my floor, she spontaneously asked me if I lived in a corner unit. God knows how she knew this, as only four out of 14 units on each floor are corner units, but I was impressed nonetheless. I turned to face her before exiting the elevator to confirm her assumption, and she looked at me for a moment in a slightly strange way before saying, "Cool". I now realise that I've made this little story seem as though something crazy is going to happen, like she's Pedro's secret lover and has just figured out that I'm his primary partner, but there's no story of such a nature, I'm afraid. When I got into my apartment and looked in the mirror, I saw that my entire right eye was smeared in patches of mascara where I'd been rubbing it because of the fluff. In fact, the black blotches were so intricate-looking that it could almost have seemed that I'd carefully painted them on deliberately. I looked like half a panda. Oh well.

Deary me, I see I've been larking on about feck all again. I do apologise.

Jezika

I realised something truly quite beautiful over the weekend, a change I thought would never happen. My conviction was so strong, that the thought never even crossed my mind that the reality might be otherwise. This doesn't even directly relate to my acne, but is joyous all the same. You see, I've just realised that the foundation I've been wearing since I switched at the beginning of my course does not cause my face to be bleached electric white in photographs. Guys, this really is something. Having studied photos of myself in a dark bar situation from over the weekend, where the use of a flash was necessitated, I was astonished by how glorious my face looked. Without the flash compromising the effect of my foundation, my face simply shone a luscious bronze, with my cheeks pronounced by the excessive blusher that I use. Okay, I may be going a bit over the top and seeming narcissistic here, and of course the fake eyelashes probably did improve the overall appearance, but at the very least, gone are the days of looking like a resurrected corpse in flash ridden photographs. I should really find some photos to demonstrate my point so that you can compare and contrast for yourself.

OK, these aren't the best examples, but here's one from last year when I was still wearing the evil, fascist foundation. And here's one from the weekend. I know you can't see my neck in the second one, but trust me, it is definitely not looking darker than my face. Also, the old foundation only looked pale in photos that were taken with flash. Otherwise my head looked orange.

Ooh, and in other extremely fantastic news, I bought a humidifier. I was a little disappointed that it's not one of those warm steam ones (I actually don't know whether warm steam ones even exist, but it certainly sounds wonderful in my mind), however it makes my nostrils feel better all the same. I've also noticed, on a separate note, that my mouth corners no longer get sore. Did I tell you that I don't moisturise at night? Well, I don't, and I have a feeling that I'm one of the few who don't.

In even more extremely fantastic news, Pedro arrived home on Sunday. He came bearing gifts. One of them was a Tiffany necklace. We did our Christmas late, you see, so we could have it together. I gave him some fake sports gear for the Wii, some cheap chocolates and some cheap underpants. Look, I'm not made of money. Besides, the underpants are indescribably better than most of his existing ones: I recall an incident from last year where I accidentally put pictures on Facebook of Pedro playing with our foster kittens in his underpants with a fair sized hole in the crotch area through which his ol' chap was slightly poking out. Unfortunately for him, it seems that EVERYBODY loves kittens, so by the next morning, I had over 50 comments on the photo album. Only two or three mentioned the willy shot, but one can only speculate as to how many saw but refrained from commenting. Anyway, Pedro also got me a book of monkey portraits by a famous photographer. I f*cking hate monkeys. Pedro knows this. He thought it was funny. It wasn't funny, it was hideous. And as much as it was a wondrous occasion to have him back home, I could see the lustre fading a touch once he fell back into all his usual little habits within mere minutes of arriving home). I'd asked him to keep a new shelving unit surface free of objects after having found his British cell phone there, only to find his keys and some receipts there a few hours later. I gave him a gentle reminder and removed them again, but then the next morning I found his keys, his phone, some receipts, his wallet, a book and a water bottle all on the same surface. Incredible. Truly incredible. And that's in addition to him forcing me onto the final 3 inches of my side of the bed and kneeing me repeatedly in the kidneys throughout the night. Sometimes I honestly ask myself who thought it would be a good idea for two human beings to share a sleeping space, and how it became so widely accepted as the norm. Surely it dates back to when we were naked, shivering neanderthals, in which case we should have discarded such behaviour a long, long time ago.

Ooh ooh ooh! I went to a beginners' hip hop dance class last night with my friend. It was great to finally be getting exercise, but it was not a pretty sight looking at myself lanking about in the mirror. With my silly long legs, I looked like a spindly harvestman bouncing around the 'hood. I also felt a bit troubled trying to do body rolls and stroking my hair and body provocatively (as per instructions, of course). My friend and I are going to try kickboxing next week, although I'm pretty sure that kind of physical exertion will quite literally break me.

I promise I will post some naked face pics soon (ooh arr), but at the moment I feel it's rather amazing how different my skin looks in my own eyes than in the eyes of a camera. I am certain of a marked improvement in the redness, but my camera doesn't seem to confirm such a thing. Still, my confidence prevails.

Happy evening, fine people.

Jezika

DAY 96: Yes. Yes, it is.

DAY 96

So I'm sitting on the train on the way to my mum's up north and thought I'd pass the time by writing to my fellow acne sufferers. I normally sleep on such public transit, but these bloody trains all have deceivingly uncomfortable head rests (that is, they deceive you into believing that they are in fact comfortable). After a short period of sleep on board one of these bad boys, I jolt awake violently but rigidly, fully convinced I've entered rigamortis. Anyway, I've obviously positioned myself so that nobody can possibly pull one of those peering-over-the-shoulder numbers and read my acne related ramblings in font size 8 (the most inconspicuous of reasonable font sizes, albeit necessitating a hell of a lot of squinting of my own).

^ I actually wrote that yesterday. I must have looked like a right idiot getting my laptop out in the first place. I always feel self conscious with my Mac, as if people think, "Oh God, there's another nob-end ostentatiously flaunting their Apple products". To make matters worse, as soon as I'd finished writing the above, the bloody thing froze and no amount of waiting resurrected it. I shut the lid and opened it back up again, but still nothing. I had to switch it off by holding down the power button (I've always felt that it's a dirty, forbidden action, even though I've never personally suffered from bad consequences). Anyway, I gave up in the end as I already felt like a bit of a tit. I then got out my book in order to demonstrate that I also enjoyed the finer things in life (I cleverly hid the title, which would have betrayed my intentions). Why I care what strangers think is beyond me, too, so you're not alone in that judgement.

I realise that I've so far managed to avoid talking about acne, so I guess I better start. Things are pretty much the same. I think the name of the game now is giving time for these red marks to fade. On the trickier side of things, taking my pills has become so second nature that I often forget whether I have taken them or not. There is a small chance I may have overdosed somewhat on Thursday night. I had some friends round and I remember going to my handbag to get my pills, but can't actually remember whether I'd carried through. An hour later, I really did take a pill. Possibly again. I'm not sure what 120mg would do to me, but I definitely had troubled sleep: slight headache, tickly throat, stuffy nose, but there's a tiny chance that could have just been caused by my cold.

In other matters, using Photobucket is working out quite nicely. It's far easier to use than I'd presumed. I especially get tickled by their ads for personalised mugs, keyrings, mouse mats and suchlike. I particularly love the way they superimpose my photos directly onto small pictures of these products in the ad to entice me further. I mean, what an excellent idea. I would've been totally sorted for Christmas: each friend and family member would have gotten a lovely mug with a delightful acne shot on it to keep and cherish forever. Check it out.

So as I said, I'm at my mum's. Her partner's daughter is also here on holiday from England. She's pretty much my age and also lived here for five months last year. She's an interesting character. Her personality is very much reminiscent of the iPhone-invading receptionist that I was writing about the other day. Anyway, we used to go out with mutual friends a fair bit whilst we were both living at my mum's at one point last year, and this was obviously when I was facing a fierce battle with my acne. I'd be caking my face in make up that would still not conceal the giant boulders on my skin, surprisingly, and she would moan about a small zit by her mouth that she asked me to take the time to photoshop out of pictures in order to put on Facebook (I cannot say no to anyone. I really am a walkover). Anyway, yesterday she had a whole cluster of pimples concentrated in one small area, and while at first I felt sympathy, I couldn't help but subsequently feel none other than distinct smugness afterwards, for this time it was me that felt comfortable with my face (in make up). This was a very terrible thing of me to think, and I am rather ashamed, but Lord help me, I cannot control my feelings.

I sometimes browse boards beyond this website about accutane and often come across people enquiring about it. There is always a handful of responses from people that think acne is superficial or that one simple and usually idiotic thing is clearly the answer to everyone's acne problems. The best one I saw went almost word for word like this: "Accutane has been deregulated in the US because they were getting sued so much for making people sick. It's a terrible drug. I don't know why you'd want to take it, especially for just acne. If you want to get rid of acne, just wash your face in lukewarm water with soap twice a day." Well, well, well. There's not much point commenting on this one because I'd most likely just be echoing everyone's thoughts, but seriously... Arrrggh. On another page, I read an otherwise seemingly lovely Christian woman's response saying that people should not be so affected by something that's not a real illness, that doesn't actually make you sick, because it's just a superficial cosmetic issue and others have real medical conditions. I think "be happy and feel lucky" was her well-intended message, but even so. I didn't have to provide my own backlash because plenty of others had already taken it upon themselves, satisfyingly. I wouldn't even know where to start with that one, but my God could I have a field day. This thing would turn into a bloody essay. Anger. Anger. Anger. This is terrible. I must calm down. Anger is a useless emotion. Whew. Right. Peace, calmness, happiness. Yes. Yes. Kittens. Kittens and cat. They're making me feeling better. Aaaaand here's one now: cat. I hide behind cats. That's just what I do.

As highlighted by somebody in response to my other log, I realise now that I've never fully explained my England/Canada situation. This is why I could never write a book, as much as I'd love to. Well, apart from not having the time, that is. I always miss obvious little bits of integral information. Anyway, in case you care, I was actually born in Hungary and moved to England when I was four. A little over a year ago I moved to Canada. My mum emigrated from England a couple of years before me. So that's that. I'm confused about my identity. British-Hungarian? Pedro thinks I'm English, but I have no English blood in me. I say I'm British rather than English, but he disputes that. And what if I become a Canadian citizen? Arrrgh. WHO AM I!?!??!!?

Jezika

I'll start with some mild positivity.

Looking back at my initial photos, I see now that the people who've been saying my face has improved weren't just being polite after all. That first picture of me with make up on looks like I firstly slathered a thin layer of honey on my face, rolled in variously sized breadcrumbs, then trowelled foundation on top of it. This is an alarmingly accurate description, as can be evidenced if you take the time to look back on my first few posts, although I personally wouldn't, because I'm too lazy to even link you to it. But the point is that with the lack of magic of 3D in photographs, my face just looks red, red, red and the surface texture is not being conveyed quite as--

Sorry, sorry. I have the Jay Leno Show on in the background and my God is it distracting. He's interviewing some girl who I've never before seen in my life and who seems to be trying remarkably hard to be funny with her answers. Ah, she's apparently called Snookie. Snookie? Who is this Snookie? Anyway, I am going to have to switch the TV off because that man's bizarrely shaped head is causing my thoughts to drift.

Ah, that's better. So blah blah blah my skin is still really red with scars, which reminds me of another thing, actually. I have seen a number of people on here commenting that their scars fade after the treatment. At first I was a picture of glee upon hearing about this, but I was soon sobered by the realisation that these people were all probably referring to red marks rather than indentations. Before I had a shower a few evenings ago, my reflection greeted me with shock (I was shocked too, not just my reflection) because my right cheek was quite simply littered with what I can only describe as *vomit* pock marks. I don't mean it was covered in vomit, you understand, but at least such an unfortunate situation would be repairable, unlike this horrible scarring. And that's when I realised that I am probably going to become "one of them". You know, the ones who carry their haunted acne past with them for the rest of their lives, like Satan's branding. Eugh. It quite honestly made me feel a little queasy, but then it rather interestingly looked a bit better the following evening. I think if I touch my skin a lot it gets worse. Still, looks like it definitely means dermabrasion for me, which is FANTASTIC when you have a freelance job and need time off to recover. Not to mention I may be a penniless student by then. Bleuggghhhh.

WARNING: FOLLOWING MATERIAL RELATES TO ACNE NOT EVEN IN THE SLIGHTEST. NOT EVEN A WHIFF. AVOID IF UPSET BY THIS OR MERELY UNINTERESTED.

Ah, yes, speaking of studentism. Studence. Studention. Ahem. Speaking of being a student, I fear I may have misled you by saying last time that the whole university thing was a "long story". I recognise upon reflection that when people use that phrase, it is usually to indicate that the story is interesting, whereas my story skims more along the frivolous side of proceedings as far as stories go. But alas, I shall attempt to regale you nonetheless...

So it is true that I have indeed applied to university here in the city that I live in. I have applied to two, in fact. You know, the whole basket and eggs routine. After finishing college (education up to the age of 18, for those unfamiliar with British patterned education) in fair England, I was actually planning on going to university. I applied and everything, but it was not to happen. My official line is that I decided not to go because I was unconvinced that a degree in pyschology would open the kind of doors that I wanted opened. Coupled with the enormous student loan I would carry around with me like a Christmas muffin top, I decided that it wasn't worth getting into so much debt for a degree I was not sure about, so I decided to wait until I was properly decided. This was just as well, because my grades didn't qualify me for any of the universities I applied to anyway, but I try not to focus on that when in conversation with people I do not know too well. I'm not sure why I applied to top universities only. I guess I didn't anticipate that young humans with external genitalia, vehicles and kind words would have a stronger appeal than text books and essay writing. I didn't try hard and still did well at secondary school, and I was foolish enough to think I could carry on doing that. Anyhow, it wasn't the end of the world (although I did believe it would be in 1999 - some years before that, I'd watched a program on Nostradamus, and his end-of-the-world prophecy scared the living shit out of me. When I expressed these feelings to my mother, rather than tell me it was a load of the garbage that it was, she bought me some Smarties and told me that if we all die, she'll "hold onto my little soul". Thanks, Mum. Imagine what it's like coming to terms with never reaching your 16th birthday. No wonder I went crazy with "extracurricular activities" after that*), and in fact I spent the next five years progressing with a career in financial services, which ended up earning me some useful qualifications and very decent income, but my God was it bloody awful.

Drawing back to the story, at 24 I now feel that if university doesn't happen now, it never will. I feel like people judge me for not having completed higher education. The most embarrassing situation, which has reared its ugly head several times, is when a person straight up asks you what you went to school for (being British, I am still a bit uncomfortable saying this because I know we don't really refer to anything over the age of 16 as school). I would probably find some enjoyment in watching the person squirm and redden when they learn that I don't in fact have a degree, be it not for my utter shame. And that shame is because I just know that most of them are thinking that I must be stupid or lazy or unambitious, or even a delightful combination of the three. OK, so some of those maaay be true, but nevertheless, they're making assumptions that lead to me feeling inadequate. It's not their fault. Also, I know plenty of people who didn't go to university and are very intelligent and very successful, and equally people who did go to university but were never considered particularly bright, but my situation is about how I feel about myself. I think more so in Canada, too, employers disregard resumes showing no higher education for many job opportunities. I've been told on several occasions by people over here that if you really want to guarantee you'll get anywhere in a career, you have to at least do a Masters, because most people already have a degree. So what does that say about me? On paper, not much. I'll try not to bore you much longer, but the other reasons I've decided to apply this year are that I've reached a kind of dead end with the things I am happy doing careerwise and do actually need further education to be in the area I truly want to be in.

Bugger. I am so sorry, but HERE is my ACTUAL story: so I went to Pedro's Christmas party a few weeks ago and we got talking to the boyfriend of one of Pedro's female colleagues. I believe he is 30 or 31 years old and has been travelling back and forth between Scotland and Canada, for he is doing his PhD at St Andrews. In case you aren't familiar with St A's, it's a remarkably prestigious university and was also the choice of Prince William (I know a few others who went there, actually, and they're all hideously clever. Oh, not that I know Prince William. These other "normal" people I actually do know, though). Anyway, this PhD guy seemed very friendly and seemed to ooze charisma (though not quite in the sexually attractive sense) as he delivered anecdote after anecdote of his travels around the world as well as his teachings. Heavens, he knew at least seven times more about my Eastern European homeland than I do. I was just nodding along to the things he was saying like one of those dogs with its head on a spring. That fervent nodding indicated transparent, undeniable ignorance, but nevermind. I try not to let losing face bother me in these situations. Anyhow, we all chatted and before long he asked the dreaded question from Pedro and I: "So what did you guys study in school?". Yes, Pedro, I thought, keep talking about your marketing degree. Yes, mention your honours. Yes, it always makes the partner look better when they're with someone reasonably clever. But bugger me, could I avoid the question? No. So I delivered my standard line and then added that I'd just applied to uni to start next year, and I must say he was rather encouraging. At one point, however, I was talking about high school grade requirements for my course, expressing my concerns, at which point he asked what grades I got at A Level (grades at age 18). "You must have got A- in each subject at least?" he asked good naturedly (shit! Why isn't this a real word?!). I told him I got two Bs and a D (the D was for human biology, if that will gather any more sympathy). His next words I remember clear as day: "Oh, well, I don't mean to be a prick but there's no way you'll get into your first choice university." All right, so I know the first one applied to was a very good one, but I easily met the minimum requirements for British patterned education. I thought I at least stood a chance. But bursting and subsequently pissing on my bubble further, he told me that they set those requirements low so that they can't be accused of elitism. *Sigh*. Nevermind. I should still get into the other university, but it's a shame. Mind you, I was speaking to a 22 year old pilot over the weekend who said he applied to the same first choice university as me to do a different course and his requirements were much, much higher, plus he had to write an essay for the application process. Surely the elitism argument falls apart there? He also claims that the course I applied for has thousands of students in the first year, so they do really accept anyone, only to kick out those that didn't do well enough in the second year.

So I don't know what to believe, but one thing this experience has done is made me realise what huge worth I put on intellect. Regardless of whether I am or am not the generally agreed definition of intelligent, I still find myself secretly adoring those who are way up there in that department. I understand completely that, just like physical attributes, there's a lot, lot more to a person than their academic capability, and furthermore I've encountered people that do have these traits and yet lack in other areas that are important to me, such as common sense or ability to connect emotionally, or even humour, and I cannot imagine a functioning relationship with these types of people, but I still can't shake the envy. I was very shocked by what this PhD guy had to say, and quite frankly intimidated by the power of his intellect, but then I climbed into bed with Pedro (nothing kinky) and cuddled up to my lovely, intelligent hunk of a man and realised that what is inside him is not a person that will achieve a Nobel prize any time soon or cure male pattern baldness, but there is a man who makes me feel loved, who's honest about his feelings, who laughs, cries and loves openly and who is my best friend. And that's when I decided that I don't want to be with or be like a great professor (although it's still impressive), because Pedro and I feel like equals, and if that means I'm equal to him, well, I'm really rather pleased with that. Apart from the horrible feet, that is. Men's feet should definitely not be that odorous.

Whew. Sorry about that. That was a long 'un, but at least there was no false advertising from my previous post. Oh, by the way, I've applied to university to do psychology. No need to be told about the last six years of my life that I could have saved, thank you very much...

To reward you for your patience in reading this post, here's a Youtube video that I today enjoyed. Make sure you have your sound on:

* This is not to say I was a ho-bag.

Jezika

DAY 86: (continued)

Okay, so I just took some photos on my Photo Booth thing and the lighting is completely different with the weird white screen flash thing (i.e. not flattering and inconsistent with the rest) so I am going to show you the pictures from two weeks ago instead (the ones you should have seen) and I will retake current ones... some.. time... soon...

Left cheek

Right cheek

Frontal beaut

Enjoy.

Jezika

DAY 86: Santa Christ

I think the most important thing to note here is that this morning I looked in the mirror properly for the first time in a number of days, and like a cheap, predictable, low budget film, smiled a slow, emotional smile at my reflection. Don't get me wrong, I still look like a nasty troll, but to my astonishment, the red marks are noticeably fading. This is the last phase for me, really, because the red marks have always been the most stubborn and soul destroying of the lot. As for the fact that I'll most likely end up looking like Bryan Adams with my scarring, let's leave that for another time. Mind you, it's not like Jesus came in the middle of the night and sprinkled me with healing dust, but slow progress is better than no progress, right? Yeesh, I've been dealing with this shit so long, what difference will another 6 months make?

Speaking of Jesus, it still intrigues me that in Hungary children believe it is in fact Jesus and not Santa Claus who selects and delivers presents at Christmas. Jesus Christ? I mean, wow. I'm struggling to picture him (Him?) so modern and down with the street tech to satisfy today's consumer market, but I must admit that the thought of it is pretty comforting, in a weird way. It sort of reminds me of the film Hamlet 2 where Steve Coogan makes Jesus all sexy and rock 'n' roll in his play, justifying it remarkably logically. But I just can't seem to shake the image of my 5 year old half sister catching our father laying presents beneath the Christmas tree and uttering feebly, "Daddy, y-- You're Jesus?"

Just to go off topic some more, my own opinion on the whole Santa thing as a child was the epitome of scepticism (hate these differences in British/Canadian/US spelling). Until, that is, my parents managed to magic a tree into an otherwise empty room while my back was turned for mere seconds. Then I believed. Many, many years later (perhaps only a few years ago), my mother revealed that a child gets easily distracted, leaving plenty of time and opportunity to manoeuvre (there's the spelling thing again) any number of objects into a room entirely undetected. Perhaps that is why they were also so successful at keeping their secret lovers under wraps.

Anyhow, returning to the subject matter, I realise that I should probably be sharing some beautiful acne images with you, but God damn it it's so hard to summon the energy and willpower. I can't believe how lazy people are these days, even if that sweeping statement sweeps me right along with it. It's the fear of having to think, you see, which I am so ashamed to admit, not least of all because I've recently applied to university. "Oh, to grad school?" you ask? No, thank you, not everybody already has a degree these days. Well, everybody except me. Gosh, it is a long story. A long, long story, in fact. An even longer story, I warn, if I am to include the bit about the PhD kid that I felt ruined my life with a mere few words some weeks ago. Let's see, it's 11:03pm. I've already written a fair bit and I doubt you good people come here to read about such wildly unrelated topics, so maybe I'll save it for next time. Oh, it's a good 'un though *looks shifty*.

To finish off my divergence streak, I have been suspecting for some time that I have a varicose vein. A friend of mine, who herself is an owner of a stray varicose vein, told me that I'd know if I saw one because I'd shit myself. I'm hoping she doesn't mean literally, but either way it's pretty horrifying. So far I've felt little fear and definitely no surprise turds, so I'm hoping I'm in the clear, but you never know. I hear they sometimes even kill people. Honest. I'd be shocked myself, but what doesn't kill you these days?

Anyhow, my side effects are seeming much more at bay than before. The only exception is my eyes, which between the hours of midnight and 8:00am are clamped shut due to dryness to the point where I'm starting to believe that my eyelids in fact grow together while I sleep. In the mornings, I fumble around the side of my bed for my alarm, drink of water and useless birth control. It stings even when I squint, but after performing the alphabet in morse code via profuse blinking, things become better. Eye drops are still out of the question. They are bloody awful and bloody scary.

Right, I may just figure out this Photobucket thing while I at least have the willpower to sit at my laptop. I thought being without Pedro would be boring, but it's like a new lease of life. I actually quite enjoy my own company. No wonder Pedro's with me.

Jezika

DAY 83: Blah blah blah

Maaan, I've felt in a daze all day. Not sure if I'm coming down with something or whether it's some bizarre type of hangover with no other symptoms. Not that I drank bucket loads last night, but I certainly had a couple of glasses of champagne. Or possibly more. Considerably more, actually. But anyway, the point is I felt fine. I know some people resolve to stay away from alcohol whilst on accutane, and I usually do too, but come on, it's Christmas. Well, was, but let's not worry about the particulars. To disgust the more saintly of you out there even further, I actually swallowed my accutane pill with some of the good ol' champers. I'm figuring it doesn't matter so much when it's a classy drink.

I'll keep this short because I am feeling a bit funny, possibly like I'm having a fever coming on, but I was just going to tell you about the unsightly cyst on my cheek. It infiltrated my otherwise smooth skin zone yesterday and sloooowly grew over the past 24 hours without me noticing (mostly because I was asleep through the majority of said growth). I wouldn't say it's ruining my life, but I would say it's made me realise a) what I put up with all those months ago when shit was 15 times worse and b) how I will find facial imperfection less and less acceptable as my course progresses. In fact, it reminds me of some other people's logs in which they write that they were increasingly disheartened by each blemish that appeared late on in their course, even though the average person may find that kind of thing normal. It almost makes me nauseous to think what ran through people's minds when I used to go into work each day with dozens of bulbous lumps on my face back in London. No wonder the ugly pensions guy dumped me in favour of a blonde Aussie barmaid. Her skin was like creamy Dove soap. Well, who'll be laughing in 3 months' time? Just kidding: I'm not really bitter. Anyway, this beast looks like it's forming a whitehead, which I usually pop without a moment's thought, but this time I will have to exercise restraint because I don't need another meteorite crater on my face.

OK, so when I feel better and can be arsed, I'll write something half decent and also put some long overdue photos up.

Jezika

DAY 80: Merry Christmas

DAY 80

Bloody hell, day 80? Anyway, Merry Christmas to all the acne sufferers reading this. To non-acne readers, I wish you no merriness because your lives should be merry enough as it is. And why are you reading this, anyway? Shouldn't you be spending your time frolicking in sunny meadows somewhere, laughing in a sickeningly carefree manner and greedily accepting compliments from all and sundry about your flawless complexion? Pleughhh.

So things are going OK. I'm not worrying too much about my progress because I'm sure things will be fine and there's really nothing to moan about. I really don't know what all this fuss over accutane was about. I cannot comprehend now how I'd spent so many years regarding this drug in such a bad light. It was like I saw it as a cute puppy with hundreds of horrible spiders crawling all it. Now it's like the spiders have turned into tasty M&Ms and I'm just having one big puppy/chocolate orgasm. So to speak. Uh, anyway...

People continue to say that my skin is noticeably improving. This is all very well and flattering, but an annoyingly perceptive part of my brain keeps pointing out to me that their comments must mean my acne was noticeably bad in the first place. Meh, whatever. I guess it's one of those things where you break up with a guy and your best friend tells you she thought he was an ugly weirdo anyway and you kind of wish she'd told you that before, but it doesn't matter anyway because you're no longer with the ugly weirdo. Or it may not be one of those things at all. Who knows.

I've noticed my "nose treasure" has decreased. I can now pinch my nose at any given time without experiencing immense pain caused by its sharp contents. This is just as well, because I don't get paid to stalk off to the toilet every hour to pick my nose, although it's strange to think that out of 2.6 billion people on this earth, probably not a single one of them gets paid to pick their nose. Gap in the market, perhaps? Hmm...

Oh, remember that creepy pharmacist guy I was writing about before? Well, I went to a different pharmacy to get my prescription the other day (I tried to tell myself it was because this one was in a more convenient location at the time, but let's not kid ourselves: I just wanted to avoid the creepy pharmacist) and karma truly punished me for being an awful, pharmacist-persecuting person. I waited an entire hour for my prescription. The pharmacist guy at this particular location spent 15 minutes typing more characters into his computer than I swear it would require him to write a thesis on string theory, and then sent me away to wait for the prescription. Pedro went to pick his own prescription up straight after me in the line up/queue (for the mystery rash which, by the way, was absentmindedly diagnosed by his obnoxious derm as psoriasis) and was asked if he had insurance, I later learned. I hadn't been asked myself, so when my drugs were ready to pick up, I anticipated the $600 bill and asked them to confirm that this was going under my insurance. The guy (a different guy, but equally incompetent) began scolding me for not having mentioned it before. Pah! Oh, yes, how unreasonable of me to think that because I'm registered with Shoppers Drug Mart and because they did in fact have my address details on their system at this branch, they would also have details of my insurance plan, particularly considering I never had to mention it repeatedly in the past. Anyway, they said they would have to process it all over again, and of course the insurance thing wouldn't go through for another 30 minutes, whereas Pedro's was almost instant. They suggested that I pay in cash and then claim it back from the insurance company. $600? Ha! Surrrrre. So it worked in the end, but I was not a happy bunny. Oh, they also didn't have enough in stock so made me go back a few days later to get the rest. After that experience, I'd happily sit down for a cup of tea with the creepy pharmacist guy at the other branch for an entire hour and chat about my acne and birth control. I'd possibly even let him touch my leg, in fact.

Speaking of birth control, without insurance, my silly birth control pills would have cost $94. $94! I say! For a month! A month! Truly, truly, truly, I am shocked, Canada, that not more of you are going out and getting pregnant in sheer protest of such blatant extortion. Over $1,000 a year for birth control?! What?! It's almost cheaper to have a child (don't quote me though). Oi, Britons, stop moaning about the NHS. This is another thing I'm adding to my list of things to do when I get around to changing the world. So far on this list, I have: giving gloves and socks to all homeless people in winter, changing the inheritance tax rules in the UK so that a person's first property is IHT exempt (maybe the one they've held longest?) and now making oral contraceptives free worldwide. Oh, and throw sanitary towels, tampons and panty liners in there too, while we're at it. What is interesting though is that you'd think more people would have unwanted pregnancies here on account of the cost of oral contraceptives, whereas in the UK where all this is covered by the National Health Service, you'd expect to find fewer occurrences, but I actually believe it's the opposite. A discussion on possible factors would be quite lengthy, so I'll spare you.

On a personal note, Pedro flew back to England yesterday for three weeks to spend Christmas and New Year with his family. Despite the night before having deposited several small puddles of unwanted fluids on the toilet seat and producing my set of keys from his jeans pocket after I'd spent 20 minutes turning the apartment upside down looking for them, I actually started missing the guy only hours after he left for the airport. It just won't be the same sleeping alone in a bed where I don't get kicked and farted on. I didn't even get the poor guy a Christmas present, even though he got me several. To be fair, we are going to do our own little Christmas when he's back on the 10th. Plus any time I suggested something to get him in the shops, he'd tell me that he would definitely like it, but not to worry about getting it because then it will no longer be a surprise. Well, it turns out that he expected me to slyly buy these things when he had his back turned in the shop, but I'm seemingly not as good at picking up on subliminal vibes as I'd previously thought. He actually managed to make some sneaky purchases for me, part of which were for my secret santa present (we were doing this with our group of friends in the condo and he happened to get me), although his powers of discretion leave something to be desired because I saw everything he bought me several times across the following days. He had the last laugh, however, because come the secret santa exchange, I actually thought his presents were from our friend Ronnie, which obviously prompted me to do the awkward glance across at Pedro thing where I try to subtly indicate that Ronnie had bought me the exact same cheap pens and plastic puppy motif cups that Pedro had bought a few days before that. Needless to say Pedro didn't respond to my awkward glances and soon it was revealed that I'd thought Ronnie had got me the exact same presents by total coincidence as Pedro, even though I'd seen Pedro buy them and obviously knew that we were doing the whole secret santa thing. Not my finest moment, but still, the night was fun. If you're still reading this paragraph, you're a very lovely, patient person and I really hope good things will happen to you in life. And that you find something actually interesting to do now that I'm done.

Blessings and kissings and lovings to you all.

Jezika

DAY 69: FFF Milk

So, Pedro and I regularly squabble about milk. The problem is that I like the good stuff, the real stuff, you could say: the 2% milk, straight out the cow's udders, so to speak. Pedro, on the other hand, wouldn't even notice if I watered this type of milk down with 2 parts water, 1 part milk, because he likes it quadruple-super-skimmed to the point where it barely even retains enough qualities to class it as milk. The second part of the problem is that milk at our local supermarket is truly the cheapest when bought in bulk - 3 x 1L bags. This stuff lasts us for several weeks, so whoever wins the milk fight forces the other one to be stuck with what they deem to be crappy milk for the next two weeks.

Well, Pedro is a fairly easier character to strip of his trousers, metaphorically speaking, so I often find myself getting my own way in most matters. My latest persuasion technique was to say that I needed fat in my milk to take my accutane with some mornings, because as we all know it is fat soluble. That won me a fairly decent compromise as he agreed to "downgrade" from his 0.5% milk to 1.5% (or something like that - I'm not sure when all this milk malarkey became so annoyingly mathematical). Fair enough. Great. I wasn't happy, mind, but at least it didn't taste entirely of shite.

Anyway, so I went away to my Mum's a few weekends ago, and over that weekend Pedro made a milk purchase. Fair enough. For the following two weeks up till this weekend just gone, I'd frequently been putting that milk in my coffee in the mornings and making a latte to take my accutane with. I didn't even have breakfast: I just waited until late lunchtime to eat (not because I'm dieting or think it's in any way healthy, but because I am lazy). So imagine my initial surprise, anger and then onset of violent thoughts when it emerged that the milk I'd been drinking was none other than fat free milk! Fat free? FAT FREE? Fat f*cking free f*cking milk? I'd even checked the plastic bag it came in a few days ago to see if it was out of date because it tasted so rancid, but of course it's because it was FAT FREE F*CKING MILK. Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous. Should this even be legal? Should this even be sold as milk? It's bloody fun free milk, that's what it is. Or just milk free milk. I don't understand, I really don't. Anyway, even besides the laughable existence of fat free milk, the real issue here was that I'd been taking my accutane most mornings with zero fat in my stomach (and I did check the label - it really is 0%/0g fat, the bastard). A part of me died inside whilst my exterior was experiencing more liveliness than ever in scolding poor Pedro. Honestly, he is such a silly man. He told me in his defense statement that he thought he'd treat himself (treat??? With milkwater???? Pah!!!) whilst I was away for the weekend. F*ck me, did he think I was away for 13 weekends in a row with that 3L of "milk"? Anyway, I eventually forgave him, more because there was nothing I could do than because I actually wanted to forgive him, but nevermind. *Sigh*.

Are all men this silly, or just mine? In conclusion, upon seeing my reaction (I'd opted for resigned, quiet shock rather than the traditional outburst of rage), Pedro gave in and agreed to let me water down full fat milk for him in future. Seriously, you should try it. It tastes just like skimmed milk, you get more for your money, and if you use 1 part milk and 1 part water, it's half the fat. Great result, although it still tastes like shite.

And whilst I'm in a ranty mood, I want to moan about Bert's Bees lipbalm. Well, after having run out of my Dr. Watkins lipbalm, which I'd initially thought would last forever (you never notice how far you're twisting it until you find you can twist no more and you gasp in shock), I bought the Bert's Bees one as well as a random other brand that claimed to also be 100% natural and pomegranate flavoured. My qualm with Bert's Bees lipbalm is this: it's solid, dry and boring. It's just hard and waxy. It's like smothering a candle all over my lip. Furthermore, what's beeswax doing in lipbalm anyway? A two second glance at search engine results is further mystifying, and it just seems so random to me, like just because it's natural, it's suddenly the best thing for you. Really, who cares if something's made with all-natural monkey thistle or what have you, as long as it doesn't contain the bad shit? Okay, okay, I know, I know, it probably has benefits, but I did say I'm in a ranty mood.

On the no-bullshit acne front, last night in the shower I realised that all in all, my face is mostly smooth and bump free, which certainly couldn't have been said two months ago. I am therefore suspecting that I'm taking the transformation somewhat for granted. Despite my derm's lack of enthusiasm, people have commented on an apparent visible improvement, so I'm not at all unhappy. On the other hand, I strongly believe that the scarring on my right cheek is worse than before, so I will seriously consider correcting that at the end of my treatment if it's still bad.

Jezika

DAY 66: (continued)

Sorry about that last post. I just felt the need to get it off my chest and in its own dedicated space.

I've now popped the beast and it's still a big lump but now has a shiny weeping plateau on top of it. Lovely stuff. Rather picturesque.

In all seriousness, I'm not quite as tormented by it as I make out, but it was one of the reasons I left the Christmas party earlier than some this evening. Oh, and at the party I was chatting to that receptionist girl I wrote about before as well as other people, and she was talking about how a lot of her friends ask her to apply their make up for them. She offered to help out with another colleague's make up, and whilst doing this commented that "some people need a lot of make up, like Jezika", before declaring it a joke. I'm certain she was joking and did not at all mean this bitchily, except I know that on some level that's absolutely impossible, because (of course) she's seen my glamorous acne photos on one of her iPhone scimmying* rampages.

I have to pick up a new prescription of accutane tomorrow, as well as more BCP, which means another visit to the nosey male pharmacist. I actually deliberately timed this for the weekend in the hopes that he won't be setting up fort there on Saturday, but from what I gather, he does in fact live underneath the checkout area in a cupboard full of light medication.

Speaking of BCP (birth control pills, for those having seen this on other logs and wondered whether it was the new LOL [men] - I usually try to avoid acronyms, but meh meh meh shoot me), I am beginning to very seriously suspect that the contraceptive action of the mini pill is actually not at all to do with the hormones it contains, but rather the fact that it destroys all love-making opportunities by causing you to constantly menstruate. I said as much to my derm on Monday, and he told me that that was "actually quite funny". Unable to decide whether that was a compliment or whether he was surprised because of my usual lack of humour, I just stared at him unblinkingly before he hoisted his feet up onto his desk and told me to not get pregnant, please, and wrote me my prescription. Odd man. Anyway, I believe I make a very good argument. There's almost no point being on the pill. And this always happens with every mini pill I've tried. It's just rude. And unfortunately I have very few other choices. I might just sack off the BCP altogether and double up on the Durex every blue moon.

That is all. I have so much social admin to do (making Christmas cards, making a Christmas present list, writing e-mails) so I better make a dent in it. Arrrgh. It's so much effort.

Hope you're all doing well. Lovings to all.

* Not a real word and not sure why I made it up, but hope you get the gist.

Jezika

DAY 66: This sh*t

Well, today's day count is almost the number of the devil, and it feels bloody fitting, too.

I mean, look at this shit. What is this shit? This is the kind of shit I'm putting up with at the moment. This shit's actually bloody attached to me. Can you imagine?

This shit.

Bravo, fate. Bravo for screwing me over with this shit on the night of the Christmas party. On the night where I had to sit under 2,000 watt lighting that makes this shit's shadow an entire conspicuous inch long. Bravo also, fate, for making my colleagues tell me mildly harrowing tales during conversation and therefore forcing me to bite my lip in sympathy and inadvertently show off this shit in its full, hideous grotesqueness. And who'd have thought that a nasty piece of shit like that could re-accumulate its revolting contents mere hours after having been drained of about 8 litres of the stuff?

I am scoffing and darting my eyes left to right in disgust right now, and you should be too.

Jezika

Day 62: I knew it

Well, I had my derm appointment today, and he said he would have expected more improvement by this stage. I knew it. Having him look at my face, even with make up on, was like being inspected by a pervy gynaecologist. It was most unsettling. He also noted that I was wearing a fair bit of make up. Well, I'm glad it looks so natural. Anyway, the good news is that my bloodwork came back fine despite my having eaten that sweet potato with butter and cheese beforehand. My liver function is fine, which is always good to hear, and my cholesterol was only slightly elevated. He did preface the slow progress observation with the statement that I am definitely on the right medication for my condition, so I guess that's heartening. Still, I felt somewhat sullen on the 3km walk home, the thought that accutane may not work running fleetingly through my mind. To cheer myself up, I bought a couple of canvases (or canvii, as I like to call them) en route. I snapped a cheeky photo a couple of weeks ago of a painting I liked in Home Sense and kind of copied it when I got home tonight. I'm not sure if this is legal or not, but if necessary, I will deny everything. In that respect, I have a very shady artistic past...

Anyhow, my weekend in Chicago went well, thank you for subconsciously asking. It was much, much colder than here in Canada, which was shocking and uncomfortable, but it was nice seeing our friends and a great city. The only hindrance my ailment posed during the trip was when Pedro and I had just woken up on Saturday morning and our friends suggested we all pop out for a coffee with them as they were already on their way out to walk their dog. Ha. Applying mak eup within mere minutes? No chance. Of course, I had to tell them as much. Awkward. I sometimes suspect I'd end up burning alive if there was a fire in our condo between the hours of 12:00am and 8:00am. It's not a laughing matter, you may be thinking, and I agree. I'm not laughing. I'm concerned.

Hmm, through lack of having anything interesting to write, I just picked a semi-dried up spot on my cheek. That'll be a gem to add to the collection of scars already located there. Meh meh meh. I also just peeled the skin from my mouth corners. It now hurts. Am I turning into a sadomasochist? I also have a sty in my right eye. My eyes were very dry in Chicago, almost to the point of developing small wounds on the insides of my eyelids. But then again, my friend had chicken grease fly directly into hers over the weekend, so life could be worse.

Well, I think I'll call it a day and hope I have more inspiration next time. Thanks for the support, guys. And LeadZeppelin, I'm glad you're in the same boat (which may seem like a positive gesture, but doesn't it mean I want to drag others down with me? Hmm...).

I'll leave you with a photo of me without make up on, if for no other reason than to look like this post has been somewhat productive. I love the fact that iPhones produce crappy enough photos to make your skin look 40% better. Happy printing and placing in wallets, peoples. :wall:

'Ello there

P.S. I absolutely hate seeing myself with no make up on. I look like a steak and kidney pie with stubby-lashed eyes. If I was a man and expected to lead a life sans make up, I'd be in serious, never-getting-laid trouble.

Jezika

My face is laden with spots. No worse than before starting my course, but certainly no better. Meh. Meh meh meh. Well, it's annoying, but I'm not feeling overly disheartened. In fact, I just read parts of amother person's accutane log from a few years ago, and there was no change at this point for her either, yet by the end of it her skin looked perfect, which makes me feel a lot, lot better.

The rash on my wrist is really vying for some attention at the moment. It's cranked its redness up a notch and has been widening its reach with increasing fervour. It's not itchy, just somewhat unsightly. It doesn't actually bother me, but I suspect other people may think I'm diseased or don't wash. Or that I have hand herpes. My mum told me off for not putting vitamin E cream on it. We were in her car at the time and she was about to pull up to the pharmacy to buy some there and then, but I told her not to worry and that we should just head on home because I was too lazy to get out of the car. Really, I am the least deserving person of having a fairly quick metabolism. If there is indeed such a thing as jinxing, I reckon now would be the time for it to be demonstrated. Watch this space.

I have this cute little pair of gloves that are pink and brown and have mitteny flaps, if you know what I mean. I've started wearing them because it's been a bit cold, but I don't think I can wear them any longer. They're really itchy, you see, which they never were before. It must be my skin being sensitive on this accutane, or thinning or whatever, but it's so uncomfortable and literally irritating.

A few nights ago, Pedro and I went out to see a friend's band play their first gig at a club/bar. We got back late so I was a little stressed out about not getting enough sleep before work the next day. One positive thing was that I thought I'd have to wash my hair before bed (I don't like getting up early to wash it in the mornings), but I found that it really didn't need washing at all (that's my new record of four days, by the way, and even when I eventually did wash it, it was more of a formality rather than necessity). Anyway, my phone needed charging, so because I left my mains charger at my mum's house, I plugged it into my laptop instead. It gave me some bullshit warning about some hub or other drawing too much power and therefore having been deactivated, and refused to charge my phone. I've charged the thing through my laptop many times before, so this really was frustrating. I restarted iTunes, restarted the computer, searched for solutions online, seethed, prayed and swore, yet still nothing worked. Despite having recently gone almost a year without a transportable telephonic communicator, the thought of having nothing with which to pass the soul destroying time on reception the following day was unbearable. Moreover, I was angry about the stupid, inexplicable hub deactivation thing. In the end I gave up and resolved to try and charge the phone via the computer at work the next morning: the morning that would arrive in five hours. I huffily turned the lights out and promptly realised I'd forgotten to put lip balm on. I searched through my handbag/purse that was beside my bed, but none of the 4,000 objects in there were my lip balm. I did, however, come across my old lip balm, the one with the evil sunscreen in it, which made me so bitter and resentful that I threw it across the room. That was the negative thing. I swore and sobbed. Pedro joined in with the former, asking me what the fuck I was doing. I calmly - but angrily - got out of bed and eventually located my desired lip balm on some table or other. Applying a generous coat, I climbed back into bed, closed my eyes and managed to calm myself. I'm not proud of my actions, but blaming them on accutane makes me feel better, as does the fact that I have so far not felt any temptation to perform violence on another person (is violence even something one performs?).

One last thing. It was my final day on reception on Friday (hallelujah) which means no more having to involuntarily share my mobile/cell phone with that other receptionist girl. Anyway, she came into work and moaned about a collection of spots that had sprouted on her face. I hadn't actually noticed, but once she pointed them out, I could indeed see several blemishes under her make up. I was going to tell her not to worry about something so insubstantial and that some people (me) have it much worse, but then I realised that she already knows this, what with her sneaky peek at my sexy acne snaps on my phone. Then I began to wonder if all this was a casual bit of karma, and that, I'm ashamed to say, brought me a fleeting wisp of satisfaction.

In response to a comment on my mirroring message board accutane log: A lot of people would say "Surely you'd rather cut out dairy and blah blah blah from your diet to get rid of your acne than take accutane", and to that I say no, I would not forego what I feel is my right to beautiful things like cheese and chocolate to get rid of my acne when a drug that they're labelling negatively is a very effective alternative. Of course, this is just me, and I agree that natural methods should definitely be favoured, but I've never been good at self-discipline when it comes to food. The way I feel is that if I deem my quality of life to be better post accutane than a lifetime of not enjoying certain foods, that is my business alone.

Jezika

DAY 49: Evil nose treasure

This week is my last week doing the much-resented reception cover. Although boring, my favourite times are when I get to sit there and do nothing because I've done all the little jobs and there aren't any calls coming in. At these times, I do a bit of surfing on my iPhone, play games, or send e-mails (it's all very discreet, you see). Last week I'd left my phone on the desk whilst walking around and carrying out certain duties, and when I came back, the other receptionist girl was playing on my phone. I was taken aback, but told her it was totally fine when she asked if it was OK. Fair enough. Whatever. Weird, but not a big deal. Anyway, today I did the same, and when I got back to the desk, I saw that she'd taken the phone out of its protective cover because "it looked better that way". I rolled my eyes inwardly. A little while later, I looked at my phone and found that she'd been looking at my photo album. The photo album that contained all my ghastly acne pictures. An entire, obsessive series of them. My face flushed and I wondered what she'd thought. I also suddenly felt awkward because she was sitting right next to me, albeit not looking at what I was doing. Luckily, I was able to quickly feel better, simply because she knows I am on accutane and so at least should have an idea of why I would be interspersing photos of my boyfriend and cats with dozens of close ups of my inflamed face. Mind you, she wouldn't think I'm writing a log, unless she looked at the internet history on my phone, but hopefully she'll think I'm just keeping visual track of my progress.

Still, I feel like I've been caught having sex or defecating in public. Or like I've been writing my innermost thoughts in a diary and then somehow had it stolen and published internationally. And the thought of someone who doesn't even know about my acne potentially seeing my photos is utterly devastating, yet I pass my phone to anyone who asks to have a look at it. You know, I've been stitched up by technology in so many similar instances that you really would think I'd learn. Yet I've still not deleted them. And the reason is that I'm lazy. Lazy because I could move them all onto my computer, but that takes time and effort. Arrgh. I don't like little spurts of effort. Never have.

Anyway, on the acne front, I still have some healing cysts. They're hard and spherical, but no longer painful. Oddly, but predictably, I always get attacked on one or other side of my face. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Indifferent, I think. I thought my Lise Watier foundation would last me longer than my old evil foundation, but I've already almost run out. It's baffling. I trekked halfway round the city on foot over the past few days trying to find a pharmacy that stocks the bloody thing. At least I got exercise. I also bought some fake eyelashes and FINALLY found glue for them (after having seen them sold in at least six other stores sans glue: why, why, why?) because my eyelashes are so stubby and straight, and this receptionist girl at work, who has the most beautiful, long, natural lashes, makes me feel like I'm seriously lacking in the lash department. By the way, I don't wear fake anything else, but for some reason I admire long lashes to an almost disturbing level.

Onto side effects.

My hips hurt most of the time and my lower back occasionally. I am still with rash and my eyes are often dry, as are most orifices. But you know what? I'm coping rather well. Who cares about a bit of pain or discomfort? Life's full of it in many different ways (not to sound like a pessimist), so I barely even notice. The one side effect that does occasionally get on my nerves, however, is the dry nose. I've never had a nose bleed since being on accutane, but there's always crusty dry stuff there that just yearns to be picked and then leaves a tiny bit of blood behind. Meh. Sometimes it feels like I have broken glass up my nose, and it's so persistent, so awkward and annoying. At work one day last week, I was at reception on my own when [let's call him] John walked past. He walked past and went around the corner. It's important to say here that John is a very shy and quiet man, barely ever uttering a word to me and certainly never seen cracking jokes or goofing around. So then when the coast was clear, I had a little pick. Yes, a little pick of my nose. It was getting particularly crusty that late on in the day, so there was not much else to be done. Anyway, obviously John picks the one time to be funny and goofy that I'm picking my nose, so he peeks through a clear glass strip on this otherwise frosted glass partition, pulls a big smily face and waves at me. All while I'm picking my nose.

I really do wonder what people say about me behind my back sometimes.

To finish on a positive note, I LOVE this dry hair business. It's the end of day three since it's been washed and my hair is looking positively radiant, like I've just washed it. I will actually wash it tonight because I... I just can't believe I can go a fourth day. My God, I can't stop touching it though. It feels so good. So silky and oil-free.

Jezika

Well, I'm not sure when things became so uneventful, but that's certainly where it's at now. Since the cyst-laden jawline episode, which is starting to resolve itself, I've had no new "actives", as us acne folk like to call it.

Ooh, I just figured out how to use smilies.

:D

That's what I'd look like if I had my way. No need for make up then.

Anyway, so things are looking OK, and I actually think my cheeks are beginning to settle down and improve. I'm not quite so obsessed with covering absolutely every single red mark with foundation in the mornings. I'm hoping that when people at work see it, they think that the ones they see are the only blemishes I have, when in actual fact there's a whole load more of those suckers underneath the veil of make up.

On Facebook recently, a friend of mine did one of those silly yet intriguing quiz things that turn up on my profile page with something like "What do you think Jezika would call her fifth child?" or "What would Jezika say if you touched her left boob out of the blue?". This particular question that my friend answered about me was "What can't Jezika leave the house without?" and of course her answer was "make up". But, of course, this answer alone could have come across as saying I'm ugly as sin and therefore need to cover my face, so she'd added "Even though she doesn't need it". I suppose I should be flattered, or at least grateful, but instead I'm fearing that everyone who reads that will now think "Doesn't need it? Ha! Have you seen her face even with make up?" And the answer is no, this friend hasn't, as it's not a thing I go flaunting about and she's not in my inner circle of chosen bare face beholders, but I'm pretty sure she's just trying to be nice and polite. The other worrying thing is that my foundation addiction has quite obviously failed to go unnoticed. Damn. Then again, I'm not sure just how discreet 4mm of foundation and elaborate black eyeliner can actually be.

Oh, for the record, despite having been with Pedro for nearly two years and lived together for about one year, I am still not comfortable with him looking at me without make up on. Of course, he knows all about my troubles and I don't sleep with make up on or anything, but I will shield my face with my hand if I feel he might sneak a peek, and if he tries to do precisely that just to wind me up, I squeal and shout and sometimes even smack him in protest. I do recall sunbathing entirely make up free in front of my ex a number of years ago, but our relationship was at a point then where things weren't going at all well between us and so I didn't care what he thought (sadly). My acne was probably better back then though. Christ, I cringe when I think back to all the beginnings of relationships and courtings where hiding my acne was like a secret FBI operation. I know I've mentioned some instances before, but I recall now that one of my biggest worries was my lover at the time thinking I was having a poo because I was taking so long applying my make up in the bathroom.

*Sigh*

Well, Pedro's home now, and seeing as he's the most distracting person in the universe (yet doesn't listen to a word I say when he's on the computer - I could be dressed as a glittery elephant, dancing a jig and reciting Shakespeare in Swahili and he still wouldn't know I was even in the room), I think I'll sign off. I'm also so hungry that the Apple logo on my laptop is making me salivate.

Oh, Pedro just said "I don't think I'd like you without spots".

Jezika

DAY 43: Wonder Yeast

Well, I've uploaded the six week photos, but it was more out of courtesy, a formality. I wouldn't waste my time looking at them if I were you: there are no astounding changes or anything particularly noteworthy. In fact, these are from last night, so they don't even show the monstrous collection of cysts along my jawline. I'm guessing my diminishing blemishes got lonely and called the big boys in. Nice. Even my spots have more of a social life than I do.

One thing I did actually note, to be fair, is my right cheek looks scarred to shit in the photo. I obsessed about this all night last night, looking in the mirror from different angles, trying different light intensities. I wondered when I became so scarred. My left cheek seems OK, but I had certainly never noticed the ghastly craters on my right cheek before. Interestingly, this morning it didn't seem as bad. Is it possible that the dents pop in and out? Sounds doubtful (but fun). In any case, I'm not too happy about it. Looks like I will have to consider dermabrasion or laser treatment bla bla bla after all (way after the accutane course, of course).

Anyway, could this new cluster of cysts be the dreaded IB I thought I'd escaped? That'll teach me to prance from Victorian lamppost to Victorian lamppost in my petticoat and brag about having avoided it. Oh well. One day... One day soon...

I did, in other news, get some very helpful advice from my usually scary reception boss woman today (here's a side story: last week she was telling me about how this other woman in the company is really bitchy, saying "She is just very difficult to deal with. I don't like saying this, but she is..." and here I thought she would say "nasty", or "a bitch" at the most, but I certainly didn't expect her to say "a c*nt". I laughed nervously, but apparently this wasn't an appropriate response, as she was being utterly serious. In her defence, she is Czech, and it is reminiscent of the time my mother called her elderly colleague Margaret the same word many years back, thinking it was synonymous with "silly billy"). Anyway, so the boss woman sat down next to me today and conspiratorially imparted a very useful piece of wisdom. She knows I'm on accutane, but what she suggested was that I buy yeast and put that on my face. She said she did that when she used to have problems and she even drank the stuff. Well, I was thinking "Really? Yeast? Wow. That must be it. That must be the miracle cure. I'm sacking this accutane off immediately and running down to my local bakery. F*ck the dozens of topicals, antibitoics, supplements, diet changes, herbs and medication, it's yeast that will make my wildest dreams come true." But of course what I actually said was "Ah, I see. Well, that sounds good. Sounds natural. I'll, uh, definitely give that a go as well," not adding that even if I did want to, I'd be very unlikely to voluntarily make the 1.5 hour journey to the special Polish shop that allegedly sells the "best yeast in the city".

I'm kind of exaggerating. I don't like to be mean. She was just trying to be helpful and of course she doesn't understand what I have and haven't tried and where I drew the line between keeping trying solutions and turning to a drug like accutane. I should be grateful. But still: yeast? Come on.

Having said that, look at that face. Maybe I shouldn't laugh in the sticky face of yeast after all.

Left cheek

Right cheek

Front

Jezika

Yesterday morning at my mum's, I presented myself to her just before putting any make up on in order to point out how the improvement is not quite as good anymore as the pictures I'd sent to her before (the same ones I posted here) led me to believe, and she said "Yes, I see what you mean," which is obviously always comforting to hear. Alas, I do not mind. I do have mixed feelings on the subject though. On one hand, the more time that goes by where I don't improve, the more likely I am to start improving, so I don't care too much about each day that starts with a painful spot. On the other hand, I just want results to be seen straight away. A couple of times last week I worried about what would happen if it simply didn't work for me, but then I regained my optimism and continued going about my business.

My skin was acting a bit funny this week. Used to being dry as the Sahara, I was surprised to find trace amounts of oil on and around my nose a couple of mornings. And whereas at the moment I can usually go three days or even more without washing my hair, on a couple of occasions this week I had to wash it after only two days because it got greasy. I think the hair thing may have more to do with the abundance of products that my hairdresser put on there.

Last night when I went to bed after having worn make up for about 12 hours, I found giant flakes of skin pushing their way off my face all around my mouth. My first response was horror, but I'm ashamed to say that it was soon replaced by delight at getting to peel the little flappy beauts off. I'm not sure quite what my fixation is with that, but I sure as hell find it satisfying. Of course, the skin beneath was red and tender, but a dab of Cetaphil overnight ensured it was good to go by morning and ready for another peel-fest by the following night. Anyway, after the surprise oiliness this week, I was relieved to be dry once more. I think my hair's gone back to being dry again, as has my face. I do wonder what it was that caused it, however.

Oh, oh, oh, also, a day or so after the little rash thing appeared on my wrists, a similar patch of rash materialised above my top lip and below my bottom lip. When I first discovered them, I happened to run my fingers over my lips and came across what felt like grains of sand on the skin around them. It turns out that the rashy bits were like little red pinpricks that secreted something bizarre and clear and then dried hard and grainy. Once again, rubbing these off was something of a tactile delicacy. When I let Pedro study them (with make up on) he declared "Yep, that's definitely herpes," which it isn't: he just likes to label anything and everything as herpes (a fixation I don't quite yet understand).

Actually, for those of you who've asked me about intimacy issues whilst on accutane, I finally have an answer for you. Yes, after several weeks (if not months, ahem) of sharing the same bed, Pedro and I finally found some mutual energy/time/desire to indulge in a little rekindling. Well, everything was fine (but if Pedro asks, it was sensational), except that the skin around my lips burned both during and afterwards. That's from the kissing, by the way. Traditional kissing. Mouthal kissing. Anyway, I'm beginning to think the mysterious mouthal rash was caused by our carnal actions, but who knows. Meh.

On a different subject, I'm keen to know how open everyone is about their being on accutane. I've been fairly open about it myself, telling anybody who I spend long enough time talking to to mention my dryness (which happens rather quickly considering the subject is naturally raised every time I apply my lip balm). Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm going "accutane this, accutane that," all day long, but I would be lying if I said I don't quite like mentioning it, to some extent. The reason is threefold. First and foremost, it explains why I am so dry, so people don't think I have flaky skin disease (or FSD). Secondly, I get a bit of sympathy, but it's the invitational kind of sympathy, not the soul-destroying type of sympathy one receives for having acne in the first place. I find the sympathy is more due to the side effects anyway, because anyone who knows about accutane usually links it to ghastliness ("She's so brave and strong," I hope they're thinking. "What a hero."). Lastly, and most interestingly, I am beginning to realise that because a lot of women deal with blemishes to some degree or other, and, moreover, because a lot of women really don't want to deal with them regardless of severity, they'd secretly quite like to find a way to mend their skin too, therefore I've received looks and comments that are suspiciously not unlike jealousy when I mention I'm on accutane. This is where the English language restricts me, because I don't mean to say they're actually jealous (that suggests there's some ill feeling there), just that they're kind of spending a couple of seconds wishing they could have an almost-sure skin fix of their own, however small their problems may be. I hope that makes sense. People have also kind of said this, so it's not like I think I'm a mind reader or anything. Although, they could just be trying to be polite...

Anyway, I'm going to call it a night and maybe try to make a tune or two on Garageband whilst Pedro's out. I might even sing (*gasp*).

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