As all of these are so creatively titled:
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6||Week 7||Week 8|
|Week 9||Week 10||Week 11||Week 12||Week 13||Week 14||Week 15||Week 16|
|Week 17||Week 18||Week 19||Week 20||Week 21||Week 22||Week 23||Week 24|
Hi, I'm Brandi :-D Haha. OK, honestly I expect very few visitors to this "site" (which is really just a secret offshoot of my main website which you can visit tooooo, but only sign the guestbook w/the link on THIS page as I want these to be two completely separate entities, so to speak LOL). I'm not going to go into my history and "what is acne?" and all that silly stuff too much....I assume if you were desperate enough (as I was) to search the net for links to accutane journals you, a) have dealt with some killer acne for awhile and certainly know what it is to you, b) just want to get to the experiences someone else has had with accutane to either empathize or at least get information, and c) aren't in the mood! LOL, I know though....it's rough. I was at this accutane message board....it's the big yellow one that broke and has tons of entries...you may have been there...and some crazy was all like, "GUYs I've found the answer.....and trust me I have been in the same boat as you....you need to to stop looking in the mirror and focussing on your 'problem' and start thinking of others and quit worrying about yourselves to such an extreme...blah blah blah." You know I really DO wonder if that person was in the same boat as I was/am, because really....I don't WANT to agonize "vainly" over my face, but when it is so painful that I can't carry out normal daily functions without crying or being depressed, I think it's time to start worrying don't you? Oi vey, good for you dewd that you can be so jovial :-P Hehee. Basically I have been you and and made this keeping all our desperate needs in mind...so it shall be graphic, to the point (sometimes LOL), and completely BS free. Enjoy.
Week 1 and history (Monday, May 13, 2002)
OK, well to start off with you might want to know a little about why I am on accutane right? I definitely have cystic acne, I guess what it was created for. Because of this fact and the fact that I am also a girl who can cover things with makeup (I still say guys shouldn't not, I know that's a double negative, be allowed to dab a little coverup on their problem areas!), most people would not consider me someone with acne....but as we all know....when the makeup comes off and you are alone and look in the mirror....you see the problem and know what your skin should/could look like and what it does look like. Plus my god, the type of cysts I get are so painful I had to start popping aleves and tylenols like candy twice a day a few months ago. It all started about 3 years ago when I went to a water park with my friends, and came home and had a weird huge breakout in a few days in a spot where I'd had a funny little scratch on my chin. I am sure it was just coincidence, but it's fun to point the finger of blame on an unsuspecting waterpark because it releases anger! My chin was definitely the root of all my problems though...all over it....just huge red lumps that I would resort to driving a sterilized needle into to release all the pounds of pus that had built up...they just stopped coming to a head! This spring break it got out of control and one mess turned into a massive infection that spread over half of my chin in the middle, and my mom cried when I came home and rushed me to the derm. He's a cool guy, been giving me those dreaded cortisone shots where you stick the needle right in the zit for the last couple years. I tell ya though, if you want it to go away that's what you have to do! I looked forward to it! Eventually he realized the battle scars were such that all my zits are interconnected under my chin now by "tracks"....so when he injects the shot in one place....it literally squirts out a few cm's away from another one. Encouraging huh. My other dermatologist where I go to college discovered that and was surprised....hehe....yeah buddy. Anyhow, so here I am....desperate and wanting to move on in my life. This is gonna sound corny, but maybe not to people who are here for a reason like me.....my dream, really, is to be able to wake up 15 minutes before class.....and just go you know? Look in the mirror first thing in the morning, and just see clear skin... no heinous cysts, no redness, and most of all no pain. I want to walk in the rain and just jump around and look up and not care that all my makeup is being washed off...I just want to live a normal life again....is that too much to ask???
*So I'm on summer break from college and my friend Misty just had a wedding that I was a bridesmaid at this weekend, and my breakout was kinda bad. Hadn't started Accutane yet, but right side of my chin was breaking out in a new type of zit....little raised lumpy ones....girls you know what I'm talking about the kind that is a bitch to cover up with makeup b/c the light catches it and reveals it anyhow. And then it cracks. Grr. But no major cysts. That's what I'm starting out with... rest of my face is fine. OK, week progresses and this is my regimen:
I really have no expectations for awhile.....but the initial breakout frightens me like a small kitten faced with Cujo. My derm told me not to worry about it....but he really didn't convince me. So gee how surprised was I when it started breaking out. Let's see if I can remember this....I had that moderate breakout on the right side of my chin before and a stray zit by my nose......slowly the zit by my nose branched out into more painful flattish zits all the way down to above my lip. The moderate thing on my chin is becoming progressively more serious and red and painful.....accutane definitely exacerbating the preexisting condition! yay! all in all though....yeah, I'm getting worse. I am not really drying out though! Here's a neat Accutane support group that's just getting started....go join and help it out...I think it could be cool if enough people check it out! (there's another one in my links with a lot more people which is a little more informative, but still LOL)
- Low dose of the 'tane @ 30 mg a day (later increased after 2 months, then again after 5 months)
- Cetaphil lotion to slather on (always loved that stuff)
- Dove to wash with
- Vaseline intensive lip care
- Clear Eyes Eye Drops
Week 2 (May 20, 2002)
OK.....this is insane......this is the worst pain I've ever been in like this!!!! You have to remember....I am used to only dealing with acne on my chin for the most part, so now that accutane is breaking me out in odd areas I am having difficulty dealing with it. My nose in particular is a mess!!!!! It is so red with like 5 different mounds of swollen zits that my profile looks all lumpy and I cant even wash my face hardly.....it's horrid and disgusting looking. The zits above my lip are getting worse....yet flaking at the same time....and the moderate breakout on the right side of my chin has turned into a severe garden of redness and pain. It is so red that I couldn't cover it up with makeup if I tried. And the pain man.....I have to take tylenols as soon as I wake up (I can't even freakin sleep half the time) because my face is literally throbbing so badly. Is this normal????? What is going on??? It's starting to get really depressing looking in the mirror and feeling the pain all day long. I certainly am not seeing any signs of improvement and if they are there somewhere I don't know where. Thank God I can be a hermit all summer in my house and don't have to see anyone or work.
Middle of week: My mom is so worried everytime she looks at my face that she called the derm and told them I can barely sleep and that my chin is so red it's almost purple (I hate it when she uses that description....i dunno...it just aggravates me for some reason!). So made an emergency visit to him just to ask "is this normal!?" and he seems to think it's not completely abnormal, at least. So he wrote me a huge prescription for Prednisone, ah the beloved steroid I have come to cherish and adore :) Starting at 60 mg a day (3 10's twice a day) for 4 days, then 30mg for 4 days, etc. tapering......oh wow...what a difference a dirt cheap pill can make. If any of you are reading this and are in the midst of a huge flare up like me but your derm for some ungodly reason hasn't prescribed some Prednisone to calm your inflammation and redness and pain (that's the main part), ask him about it!!!! I got an email from some dude who never had the chance to take it! Poor him. But within a couple days the redness and swelling and agony died down a bit and made life bearable again. Got my hair cut on friday and even looked decent enough with makeup on to take some digital pics and show off the new do! I'll put that over on the left for ya. I am still nowhere near better or "good" with the makeup off and looking in the mirror though. It's amazing the illusions we can create. Still no excessive dryness, but my lips are starting to get a little chapped.
Week 3 (May 27, 2002)
Yay, the Prednisone is still working for the most part and I am in about the same state as I was at the end of last week. Not great......who wants a bumpy half of a chin and redness everywhere, but still. I don't understand.....I am reading everywhere about all of these people who just have smooth sailing from the onset, no problems...they just get better from week one on! what the..? I mean......everyone has to have some problems right? Admittedly, maybe I am the poor sap who gets it worse than most..but still. Ah well, who cares. (yeah right). My lips are drying out a lot more...sloughing off the skin where it's kinda white at night after my shower....but it's not a big deal at all really....just smear some vaseline stuff or whatever you're using on them. Doesn't completely make it better, but at least they don't crack! New problem: I was just laying around listening to Jeff Buckley (my favorite musician ever!) on the 5th anniversary of his death on wednesday, and all of a sudden I started getting like weird muscle cramps/pains/spasms almost. It started in my wrist and elbow....like my muscle was deteriorating or something...just piercing pains. It freaked me out....then it started happening in my leg...I was fed up and went and popped some Aleves (oh yeah, you're not supposed to take tylenol too much while on this because it messes with your liver more than needed and with all this other stuff that's the last thing you need hehe...my mom seems to think Aleve is OK though since it's not based on the same main ingredient). Anyhow, I do like 40-80 crunches a night and I had just started doing 20 pushups a night...but I quit the pushups because I think maybe that was too much aggrivation for my wimpy accutaned arms. I am also taking one 400 i.u. pill of Vitamin E everynight now, too. I heard it's good for drying and redness....can't hurt!
Week 4 (June 3, 2002)
Week outlook: not so sunny.....clouds are definitely returning. The soft glow of Prednisone is slowly tapering to an end, and my face is making sure that I know this! It isn't even slow.....I wake up one morning with 3 more zits (or more!) that weren't even a shadow of existence the day before!!!!!! Why! I guess I tend to make this lightweight as I write it, but it really is depressing. My cheeks are starting to get random red splotches of redness/zits now too...I never get zits on my cheeks. I have a zit leftover from the mess on my nose that won't really heal, and I got a lot more stuff out of that. It's weird....when I am on the prednisone, it like makes all the pus that didn't appear to even be in these zits pour out. I literally get a finger tip full of pus out of things on my chin......and I don't understand where it's coming from. How can my chin, underneath, have room for all of this fluid and grode? I can't fathom it!!!! And it makes me sick! I feel like I am a walking pustule! *sigh* but my chin is rebreaking out on top of the semi-healed bumps that were already there....my nose is rebreaking out....and now I have a mirror image on the OTHER side of my chin of what is on the right! It used to just be a little lump, but suddenly once it healed about 7 replaced it.....all the way up to my lip which is so annoying and painful I find it hard to move my mouth or wipe off my mouth. I certainly can't floss or see the dentist in a few weeks. And these zits are the kind that do nothing you know? They sit there...are sometimes painful....and then they get little tiny pus heads on them...but you can't really pop them because it does next to nothing. I am not used to having these kinds of zits and don't know what to do. Faithful readers......seriously....do you guys know what I should do? My friend, the wedding one actually (who has had horrible acne for 10 years) told me that if I pick at them they will scar, but what else can I do? I was wondering if I should soak them in warm water....would that help? I dunno. Post any help or email me! I actually went out with my friend on Saturday to Friday's and to see "Bad Company," and my makeup of course started cracking all around the right side of my chin under my mouth where the scabs were forming (I hate that dry skin and scabs that half pop off, half stay)...but that was the last day I considered myself suitable to leave the house. It's all been downhill from there. Here starts the depression. But for a reason of course....
Week 5 (June 10, 2002)
This is the week of hell! Seriously, this is the lowest I've been for awhile. Everything just exploded on my face. My chin is still horrible....worse if that's possible. The bumps are all over on both sides, the underside or at least bottom and side are so sore and tender and lumpy with probably stirring cysts.....my nose is broken out in like 5 or 6 white heads that just sit there and won't pop so i have to walk around waving my pus around (I always like to at least make zits appear more sanitary by getting rid of that whiteness), my cheeks are a little broken out, the left side of my nose...the nostril inside at the bottom...is swollen and filled with something that won't be absorbed or popped so that is throbbing, and now what was a completely clear forehead got ONE little tiny zit and quickly turned into about 30 over the course of 3 days. Yes folks I am going insane. I am starting to forget the reason I am on this.....seriously.....this is my worst nightmare--anyone who is to the point with acne where it is so destructive that they decide to wage the war with accutane certainly doesn't want it to get 10 times worse!!!!! I can't even look in the mirror without crying anymore. It's like everytime I catch a glance I have a minute hope maybe something will be better....but it's not....and then I am sad again. I don't even do my hair...what's the point? I see none...and sometimes I wear my jammies all day....I suppose I am depressed. But it's not like the Accutane random suicidal depression...I am discouraged and am having trouble reconciling that I am doing this to myself and that it will actually work. If I didn't have acne before I certainly do now. I think I spent about 30% of Wednesday and Tuesday crying and laying on my bed. I know...maybe I sound like a wimp.....but it's a A LOT to take sometimes......I won't let anyone see me....and I get scared when I think a random person has come to the house! If ANYONE is going through the same breakout I am or just wants to say something nice......please sign the guestbook or write me a note.....it is pretty rough and I don't know how much longer i can stand it.
My one monthish derm visit was Thursday (yeah....I've had a couple blood/urine tests in between too), and I was dreading being in the car and seeing others driving by. But we made it...and guess what....boy oh boy this is sure an honor: I am the worst flare he pretty much has ever had!!!! And that's even on a low dose!!!! He didn't up me to 40 mg because he wants this to die down first, so here I am again on 40 mg of Prednisone for about a week...and then I taper it to 20 mg....but I take this 20 for the next 3 weeks afterwards until I see him again. That seems kinda bad to me......I love Prednisone....but too much prolonged usage of any corticosteroid is never good. I did a whole bunch of research on it yesterday and found out some not too inspiring things....hehe.....like death. LOL...I will only be on it for a few weeks though. You just can't STOP taking it all of a sudden or your body has no natural steroid to replace it.....so I gotta be sure to taper. OK. I am also on Bactrim, an antibiotic I usually take for bladder infections (LOL), to help kill any staphy like infections because that can run rampant with all the raw wounds and pus. Maybe it's working, I dunno. I also rub Bactroban antibiotic cream all over it to kill any nasty invaders on my already wartorn face. I am really scared about a few things at this point though:
And so it goes.......can I keep getting up every morning and dealing with this???? Will it get better? Will it get.....*gulp* worse? yes....I assume it will. I honestly have not seen one positive thing from this drug at all so far. I do get little headaches now and then...usually when I am up too late (uh...3am talking online LOL), but nothing too bad. I am just so tired though.... Yesterday, as he was leaving the room in frustration (as we all were frustrated), he turned around to our continued inquiries and almost shouted, "Patience......I don't know how many different ways I can tell you this.....you just have to be patient!" For the sake of anyone in a boat like mine......let us hope...and wait...
- Am I going to have scars from all of this??? He actually told me that people who are started on too high of a dosage can erupt so badly that the scars they are left with are sometimes pretty bad. I am only on 30 and am still breaking out.....but redness fades.....and if the scars are teeny I don't care really...
- I have read in a lot of places that the lower your dosage though, the more chance that it won't work.....as in it will recur later....that's great...I am on only 30mg!!!!!! he said he might up it later...but I am not sure how things will go....
- WHEN WILL THE INSANITY end???? You got an idea....tell me! Some people say this is the worst time.....between weeks 4-8....and then you turn the corner. Heya, I have school (if you look down) in a couple months and I swear I cannot go like this....look, you've noticed I can't even look out the window without a chill of vulnerability and fear running down my back? I am gonna have a breakdown if I have to face people like this....especially *guys...i don't think I can physically do it.
- How will the redness go away.....we really don't know what kinds of products work and which don't.....again....if you know any specific names of scar reducing products to use.....TELL me..tell all of us!!!! :)
Week 6 (June 17, 2002)
Wow.....week 6 already huh? Actually it feels like about 6 months at this point LOL. Ugh. OK OK, technically it's still sunday and week 5 but come on...I don't think much will change by tomorrow. I am a lot less depressed because the 4 Prednisones a day have seriously reduced the pain and feeling of "getting worse" for this little window of time. I don't know what I am going to do when I am not on it anymore.....I keep starting it and stopping it...I almost don't want to use it too much and save it for school later...as for the kind warning in the guestbook about Prednisone and getting off asap, I appreciate your concern but I want it to conceal the acne...that's the whole point! LOL, so sorry....I guess I will have to endure the side effects....the doc actually asked me if I minded getting a little “puffy”....as in my face might bloat a little because I’ll be on it a few weeks....uhm, that sounds not cool....but we’ll see. It seems like every choice is bad in a way.....but you will be proud to know I actually got dressed today, did my hair, and even put a little makeup on the scars to appear almost normal!. If the zits under my mouth on both sides weren’t there, it would look pretty typical almost! More later......thanks for your emails and visits and special big Accutane props to Mark for his really kind message/link to my page! Hastapasta ;-)
End of week: OK, back again.....wow....I can't believe how many hits I've gotten! I only expected about 50....EVER. LOL Thanks guys! I am actually kind of feeling a little guilty about all the people who may have been scared away by all the griping and negativity I have sort of typified about accutane here....hehe....but we are all very individual I guess and respond to it differently.....so sorry my story is so depressing! Week 6 actually was a good week for me though.....but I attribute that again mainly to that new massive hit of prednisone i've been on again. I actually wore a little makeup yesterday and it looked fine....that was amazing....my best friend in town even slept over on wednesday and I had no worries! all these dark red marks the zits leave behind once they flatten out....wow....those are scary....i would look 10 times better if they were skin colored....i think those combined with new zits are the killer. I have just tapered back down to the level of prednisone where I started flaring back up in week 4 again though today.....so I am reallllllly nervous. It's like being that donkey and having a carrot always hung just out of reach in front of your face.....you may get to take leeee-tel bites...but then it's out of reach again. I have a feeling my brief respite from pain and ugliness may be that bit of carrot :( But as of RIGHT now.....my face is the best it's been: few new zits; all of forehead now clear (like it was before grr); zits on nose gone (or at least dormant); nostril still inflamed but calm; big patches of bumps on chin under lip on both sides 2/3 flatter and almost normal; and huge cysts stirring on bottom of chin that i know will probably do something awful soon. New problems/experiments to report:
Well that's it.....the zits on my cheeks kinda dried up 90% too....wow. I am still pessimistic though....you have to be!!!!! Random rant of the day--anyone else sick of seeing perfectly skinned mandy moore etc. touting these clear skin products every commercial break? Ugh...get real! You blow and make me sick! LOL I'll see you next week! Adios ;-)
- For about a week now I have taken it upon myself to start overloading myself with water. I don't usually ever drink straight water so I am probably so dehydrated all the time that I am not doing myself any favors. It is a really easy way to help your body too (and not eat junk food!)...I think I may even feel a little healthier...I drink about 3 HUGE glasses full a day (about 6 cups...48oz?) Hope it helps....
- I read somewhere that some people punch a little hole in their Vitamin E gelcaps and put a little directly on scars....I have been doing that but only on a small area as I want to make sure the stickiness doesn't break me out.....I have tea treee oil too but my derm almost laughed me out of the room in college when I told him i used it as he said any kind of OIL isn't good for your face...so if anyone knows for sure how to use it/if it hurts more than helps....post your advice ;-) I really want to try this B5 stuff too....but I don't know if you can take that while on Accutane...?
- I have started noticing a lot of stiffness/lower back pain lately too. I know this is typical....but it seemed really hard to get comfortable and have my spine feel unwrenched in bed this week...a lot of that is due to camping out in my sleeping bag on the floor for a few days too, though hehe :)
- I am also bloating like a bitch! I am 120ish and 5'8" and let's face it, very small chested....and my middle needs to be thin to balance it out! Well lately it has not been shrinking back down to normal size!!! I think the prednisone and/or antibiotics and/or accutane itself are affecting this. I have had intestinal problems too, so it has to be. I really don't eat that much and I exercise every night so come on!
Week 7 (June 24, 2002)
Monday: OK, just a quick note to say I had my monthly blood drawn this morning (agggh and got up before 12! *gasp* lol), and I dunno what it will say but she was all concerned this time and asked me if I'd been feeling sleepy. Well, yeah, I'm always lethargic and tired but that can be attributed to many a cause...and anyhow, she said it may have just been the way the needle went in or a fluke, but that I bruised really easily this time or something and to keep an eye out for anything odd like strange bruising, etc. because it's usually only something she sees in older people and may indicate anemia. Well that's great....oh boy i just looked at the page I linked that to and I think I have a lot of those symptoms! hahaha....I am just a hodge podge of problems huh? so I was like, "Well, it'll show in the bloodwork right?" Reply: "Oh, sorry we're not testing for that." Yeah real helpful, thaaaaaaanks. She didn't seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer if you know what I mean, but she still probably knows her stuff. We'll see....I look completely normal with my makeup (covergirl) and hair done too! God it feels nice for once.
End of Week: It's not exactly Sunday yet, but that will be within the hours, so I guess I can write this now. It's not like there's a rulebook or something eh? hehee. Welp......as I predicted, I am starting to breakout again. Lowered the prednisone to one pill (10mg) a day. So far it's not completely hopeless like a couple weeks ago, but you never know what you're gonna wake up to and I think it may be getting there. I have about 4 or 5 new zits on my cheeks now.....just the plain old ugly red swollen lump. They don't really hurt, but they just sit there and look all zitty and stuff which pisses me off because I never got those before (I am taking this for the big underground cysts!). My nose is starting to get a little irritated on the top again too. And of course I have gotten a few new zits on top of all the healing red marks on my chin again. I got this really weird one yesterday that hurt when I woke up, and it just kept getting redder and redder as the day went on and more swollen and filled until after my shower when it was all drawn as much as it was gonna be to the surface, I pricked it with a needle and all this good stuff came out REAL easily. I guess I consider that a good thing because usually it would just sit there, unpoppable and painful. but now I think it is already about to go away when the scab comes off (which I am NOT going to mess with since I'm not trying to get a flat surface for makeup). And I got a bunch of stuff out of that "thing" that has made my left nostril all swollen for the past I don't know...month now? At least for the time being the little zits on my chin seem to be coming to a head real easily and popping themselves. As long as the throbbing pain stays away that is 1/2 the problem....because then I am reminded 24/7 how ugly I look and no one wants that. but maybe the accutane is making things come to a head and get gone faster than they otherwise would...I dunno. It's really hard because I wasn't like covered at all with zits to start out with, so every zit I get now seems like a step backwards....it almost feels like I decided I WANTED to get acne so I started this pill and am achieving my goal you know? hehe, damn I wish it would start making me feel more positive about myself instead of vice versa!!!! But everyone keeps telling me to hang in there, this is just part of the process....worse before better. That idea seems crazy. I wonder if my goal of laying around confidently without any makeup will ever be reached???? I love getting your emails and stuff giving me tips and telling me that your redness went away after the zits were gone....this journal has really helped me out. Highlights of the week:
- Bought some of that renowned amongst accutaners St. Ives Ultra Gentle Apricot Facial Scrub when I actually left the house again wednesday! I only used it one time so far....and I'm not sure how much I like it. I am not sure how much exfoliating it actually does in comparison to just a good old rag and some Dove soap. It was cool, but when I looked at my skin in the mirror afterwards I still rolled a bunch of skin off my chin that I would have thought it would have taken care of.
- Because of the ambiguous anemia concern, I started taking my One a Day vitamins again....and they are just nice normal pills...100% iron and vitA and B5 and a million other things. I here Iodine is bad for acne, but that's in there too so oh well. but I feel like maybe they are making me healthier? hehee.
- Now trying to drink 4 huge glasses (8 cups) of water a day.....geez....*blrrghllll* Yeahh, that's about how it feels, hahaha, but it is GOOD for me damn it! Getting to know my bathroom a lot more than I ever did before!
- After reading Anita's journal awhile ago, invested in some Blistex Silk and Shine spf15 lip gloss/chaptstick/moisturizer and I LOVE it!!!! She was right! It smells all fruity but sure lathers up the dry lips nice and slithery. LOL I am addicted....like it better than my Vaseline squirty tube. Easier to apply too.
That's all for now folks....boy these are getting really long....sorry if that bothers anyone! hey I am an artist and writer! So I write a lot....always have...you should see my emails sometimes! Oh yeah, my elbows are getting kinda rough no matter how much I scrub at them in the shower now, too. Wish me luck and strength as the battle rages on.....
Week 8 (July 1, 2002)
Quick Monday "ewww" note: that zit on my chin that scabbed over and popped real easy that I thought was cinch to go away? Ha! At dinner I was like laughing really hard because of some stuff my dad was saying, and afterwards I looked in the mirror and all this ooze was running out of it and then the scab sloughed off and I was left with not a raw wound, but a HOLE. Like a red mm or more wide little hole that surely looked like a nice candidate for a scar. It juiced back over thankfully...but yuck! it looked like it was just happy being a hole forever! oh god! I hope it heals....anyhow, definitely breaking out again..and itching! Till Sunday....
STILL GETTING WORSE. This is the most hellish week i've had in awhile. Let's refer back to "the week of hell," shall we?? I wonder what it's like to be normal? The thing is....the zits themselves for the most part are pretty small (the only "positive" change I noticed...smaller each time i go off prednisone and get the explosion)....the kind normal people (like I almost used to be) would wake up and find in like one or two places, pop, and thank god they weren't painful or huge. They are really small for the most part. But they are all over my face times like 80 and so RED! Not so innocent anymore....at least they don't hurt. My chin is always a mess I think we've established.....but now it's getting these all over everyday......sometimes they are just flat little puddles of pus...but still...they never seem to heal within a reasonable time frame and are always so red. And now half of the ones I get there barely heal at all even....let's refer to the evil "hole" zit.....it keeps trying to heal and is actually on its way...but it keeps filling with stuff that seems to need to drain. I put antibiotic cream on all raw wounds at night as instructed so it can't really be infected, and I even started some Erythromycin on Friday I think. I had it left over from spring break when I never took it...and I figured why not....it is really good at giving me stomach cramps something awful though. I have these huge dense masses of skin all around my chin too still..must be those killer underground cysts...not going away....hope he'll inject...
But it's the quantity, not quality, of the breakouts now that has me feeling so depressed. I admit it, I am super depressed again. The 4th was hellish...I think that was my worst day of the week....hearing people having fun behind our woods outside made me remember how much of a prisoner I am inside my own face. I will not leave the house at all...I wouldn't even go see MIB2 with my parents :( I think I break down and cry at least once a day after looking in the mirror. They are starting to get really worried, frustrated, and concerned now too. They thought that about now would be when they started seeing some positive results for once....i think they are about to lose it watching me suffer so much daily. My dad is coming to the derm with us this time, too. All I want to do is sleep 24/7, never get up, and not move. But it's understandable depression because I look absolutely horrid! All over my forehead, big patches on my cheeks, my nose has like 5 swollen pustules on the end that just keep reforming (isn't accutane supposed to stop that once they drain?). I mean, I am starting to get to the point where I am actually telling myself that I am actually one of those few who it is not going to help....the dud...the freak out of all the good results. I really have no idea how my face will ever get flat again...physically.
If only those Roche bastards would spend a little more time on publishing literature that actually INFORMS patients about what to expect and how to cope and what is meant by "getting better" (what signs to look for) for people suffering like me....which would also help the idiots prevent a lot of the suicides of people in total confusion and despair when they get worse everyday....instead of all the pregnancy prevention BS...people will get pregnant regardless!!! It's so frustrating...I feel like we just get thrown out in the cold after the prescription is filled and then have to fend for ourselves...and some are lucky and sail thru, while others like me are scratching with our last shreds of sanity for any hope/information. Sure I could go off it, but then what has all this been for??? My biggest fear: SCHOOL. If I only had another month...most colleges start in mid september....not mid august!!!? Ugh
In closing....just a few more factual tidbits: Down to 6 cups of water a day (3 big glasses full...lips aren't as dry); since my face doesn't seem to be drying out that much, smeared a clearasil/differin cocktail all over 4 nights ago to see something do some "work"...mistake don't EVER do it...my face is still falling off in big dry flakes...hehe, very not fun and quite ugly and makes you feel 80; lastly, started prednisone again today (40mg yay!) to let my face heal some more....plus I want the derm to see me looking "better" so he'll up my dosage like he needs to. Well, I just watched Drop Dead Fred and need to vacuum now.....all I do is nothing. Good luck out there....
Week 9 (July 8, 2002)
Dosage doubled to 60mg.... Prednisone instructed to remain at 30mg even if I start to majorly bloat to prevent flare scars.... see derm again in 2 weeks...Till Sunday.....
So that was mid week when I saw the derm and got those orders.....following them to the letter. As always when I am on Prednisone, I feel a lot better because all the zits on my forehead disappeared, all the zits above my lip are gone/flat, and my cheeks only have some pink spots left from the zits the accutane was creating or whatever the hell it does. Chin is still the problem though.....I have 3 large cysts....the ones I have complained about for a month now. One is on the right side above my chin, and I actually drained that and got a lot of pus out which I figured would help...nope. Tried to redrain again but just got all red out...but it was gooey-er than just blood. I don't know what the problem is. The other two are on the bottom of my chin on the left and tender. He wouldn't inject kenelog into any of them and said that the accutane should just cause them to eventually dry up. They are so jolly and firm under there though...I don't see how they'll ever go away on their own.... he told me to lay off on the self zit surgery though as my skin is so sensitive and everything right now. Too bad....I am still gonna drain things that come to a head. I have a few little scars, but mostly just dark red spots where zits have come and gone and unevenness from things still bubbling in a zit stew.
Really though, my face isn't too bad at all and would be good with makeup I think. But that's not good enough. I am on Accutane to get rid of all acne especially all over my chin, and the Prednisone is the only thing making a difference now. I might as well not even be on Accutane...all it seems to do is make things worse all over the rest of my face. All these positive things I just mentioned are only because Prednisone deflects all inflammation, redness, and pain (without hindering the "progress" of the accutane underneath he assured us). That's why I am so scared. I cannot stay on prednisone forever (and I'll go into my fears about being on it this long as it is in a second), but I have to be on it so that the Accutane will not scar my face up in flaring while it is "working".....but when will I really see it's positive work? I am so pissed off.....it's just not fair. I don't see how it is helping me....though I can see everything it's making worse. Now I have tons of scarring all over my chin that will take at least a year to fade if it's even going to, and who knows what will happen when I am done with it or when I can't be on the pred to keep it in check. I am hoping that the doubled dosage this week will really start drying things out on the inside like I thought it should have been doing all this time. He really should have put me on the 60mg last month. Now I have one puny month to see what will happen before school.
About Prednisone though......yes there are supposedly lots of bad side effects from prolonged usage.....the meaning of which ("prolonged high dosage") I am still trying to pin down...3 months perhaps @ what? The "poofyness" of my face my derm mentioned is referred to as "moonface" where the cheeks bloat and it appears as though you may have had wisdom teeth removed.....and there can also be a lot of bloating around the abdomen, and the development of a fat pad on the back of the neck or "camel hump" (all from water retention)....plus you are always hungry (tell me about it) which can cause actual weight gain....wow, now doesn't that make me want to beat my head on a rock and hide. The good thing is these are only temporary while on it, but still...come on. Let's just pile up more problems you know? As if I didn't start the whole mess because I felt ugly enough. I am so so so SOOOOOOO tired of beating myself up over all of it....I had nightmares last night about people being disgusted with the possible moonface me. I mean how much do I have to take? But I have no choice.....my face is a mess without it....so what am I gonna do? He got pretty pissed at me for tapering all the prednisone since the last time I saw him too....like when I went off of it altogether last week? I should have been on 20mg constantly all since the last time I saw him (he also said he told us 30mg anyways which my mom and I specifically knew was a lie b/c we both distinctly remember 20mg). Oh well, screw it....but I don't think anyone really knows how self-conscious I am about my face/cheeks.....I am so scared I will get all grody and "fat" looking...there is this one horrible picture of before and after that I saw.....but if it does happen it probably won't until, oh....right about when school starts. I think these people were on it for a year or more though (for things like Crohn's Disease and Lupus).
But anyhow my face does seem to be drying out a little more now....starting to flake a little...wee. When I see some actual flat smoothness all over the sides of my chin...that will be when I really have faith that it is working....I figure the cysts will be my indicators....when those go away (hahaha right).....it must finally be the accutane working. It's nice how I'm in week 10 now though and have had nothing but problems huh. I seem to be having weird pains in my gut and abdomen lately....maybe it's the increased accutane....blood work in 2 weeks...Still drinking 48oz. water a day.....really need it now for dryness, and I am trying to eat a lot of good food for snacks like fruit and I love fresh veggies with ranch. But I am so frustrated and confused!!!! Mainly for the uncertainty of the future right now....gotta go clean.
Week 10 (July 15, 2002)
Hola mes amies! Yet another week to report on has now gone by (I guess I am only 1/2 way done).....and according to my mom I looked a lot better this morning. It's really hard to determine what's going on when I see myself still blotchy 500 times a day, though. I can tell you that the cysts are still there on my chin, they are still kinda tender, and I am still getting new zits. The rest of my face besides my entire chin area is clear (all hail prednisone) except for the problem area on my nose that just won't dry up....the light kinda catches some lumps on it which really gets on my nerves. I don't think there's anything in there though....frustrating! The new zits I get on my chin are different tho....they are like really fragile in a thin way and come to a head very fast...and i can usually get rid of them within a couple days which I am hoping may be the accutane drying them up faster....they also seem to have a little hard center which gets rid of the mess if I can pop it out...almost like a blackhead but way down inside....it's really weird. Maybe I am getting these because my period is about to start this week? That kinda stuff usually doesn't effect me though.
As for the effects of the higher Accutane dose.....
- Lips are drier.....so still drinking lots of water....too lazy to care about lip balm half the time...
- Eyes are drier....was wondering when this would happen....if they bother me enough I put some Clear Eyes in..
- Skin is drier....this is kinda cool because I can actually see how my chin is drying out (on the surface at least) a lot more....but I want it to do that on the inside more drastically! I have a lot of little bumps on the sides of my torso too....weird...rash? Not red tho....
- Lower back pain more irritating....when I try to go to sleep and stretch out, or bend over lots, it kinda hurts....especially when I wake up.
The main problem right now is that big lump of a cyst on the right side of my chin....the one I tried to drain the other week and thought I was helping?? Well, I mean, it just doesn't seem to get any smaller or less "full"....and it can be seen in shape when I wear my makeup. So the other night like a stinky fool I tried to drain it again, and all this mess squirted out shotgun style on the mirror....though not pus....I am confused! I felt so stupid.....I knew I shouldn't mess with it...but I was outta control...I lose rationing abilities sometimes...Haha, and now you should see it...it's like I have a vampire bite on my face...the holes are black and blue literally and it's just nasty. That'll be fun to try and have heal...if ever. If that would go away I might actually consider my face almost normal except for all the scars that dot my face (oh yeah, and the cysts which I ORIGINALLY had and was trying to get rid of months ago! *insane laughter*)...I mean everyone gets normal zits (I am referring to the flattish, painless, small, non-"everywhere on my face close together" kind unlike the ones I had a few weeks ago). But still....WORK BETTER and FASTER! I feel like such a dork because I can't seem to spit out a simple "yes I am improving" or "no, I'm not" answer because I just don't know! Again, Prednisone disguises it pretty well and gives an illusion of the accutane really working. I think it must be working in some way though.....I mean I actually went out a couple times this week!
That's right, I put my makeup on (everyone who keeps asking, again it's that Covergirl liquid "Clean" makeup...like it's so clean haha right...and then the liquid powder stuff on top of that with my finger to make it all even looking after the other stuff dries) and went to the new Walmart Supercenter that just opened in my smallish caveman village...and that was great! I looked fine! Hung out with Misty Thursday....made cookies....had fun...had a longed for meximelt from taco bell MMMM. I have been wondering if there is any truth to chocolate or dairy causing breakouts? Not the old wives' tales type thing, but for certain people can it? Still tryin to eat healthy veggies/fruit/water for main snacks (yes I am hungry 24/7)....be warned though....I think all the raw veggies are giving me like horrid gas and intestinal probs. They're that good, everybody LOL. And I still have this little pudge making my lower abs poof out....very uncool...no matter how much I workout it won't recede. I get my blood drawn tomorrow and I bet that will yield some fun results (what with my vitamins that happen to contain 5,000 IUs of vitamin a...I heard it isn't as awful as it sounds though....just makes lips drier? We'll see...and all the prednisone). I also have a dentist appt. tomorrow which I am DREADING.....hands all over my chin....stretching tissue lips....makeup coming off....yuck. And I also got this St. Ives "Vanilla and Vitamin E" lotion for my hands/body.....mainly because it smells amazing...I smell like a cake it's like heaven! Well....that's it!!!
Week 11 (July 22, 2002)
Welp......not much has changed.....except my nose is worse because I keep messing with it. One of the lumps seems to have gotten a bit smaller afterwards, while the other one is now larger and really red (and sore). Just my luck (so great for the profile). Man if my nose would calm down and knock it off I would feel a lot better. This brings me to the 2 week derm visit on Thursday....he actually said I seem to be doing a lot better. Well duh.....he never sees me when I've been on the prednisone so long and am so calmed down. But at least it was nice to hear, and he said he thinks the Accutane is actually starting to do what it's supposed to. So we agreed to lower my Prednisone to 20mg instead of 30mg a day, and I am not sure how that is doing (I can go back up if I need to). I am still getting some new zits here and there on my chin area, but I have only been doing the 20mg thing a few days so I can't reasonably pin down whether I am getting more or any for a certain reason. I'll keep an eye on it. Cysts are still there, and if they are any smaller it isn't enough to make a difference (at least the vampire bites on that one are fading from blue to red hehee). Still no cortizone injections either....damn it....BUT he did promise that we can do that before I go back to school if they are still there....a hope which I will now cling to like a small child :)
The dentist appt. went really well....the nurse was very nice and understood and tried to be gentle....and my teeth are great this time! The blood tests appear to be OK too since he didn't mention anything being out of whack on Thursday. Still drinking water, eating fruits and veggies, and working out at night. I tried putting Milk of Magnesia on some trouble spots last night before bed because I have been hearing it does good things....but you're not supposed to use the mint kind (which of course I did)...I didn't notice much difference. I also dabbed some tea tree oil on some more spots today with a Qtip to see what happens....hehe, why not. My skin is VERY dry on my chin and nose too.....good thing I am drinking so much water; I wonder what would happen if I weren't? Half of the time I don't even bother putting Cetaphil on it because I like looking in the mirror and seeing flakes falling off....it looks productive somehow you know? LOL Not so when I need to wear makeup....the night previous I exfoliate thoroughly LOL. I am going to OH in a week to visit grandparents, so I hope things don't get weird. I will write an early update at the end of the week.
I just noticed that Yahoo and Google finally registered my site too!!!! Woohoo! That's amazing...I had totally given up. hehe. I have a question/beef I have been meaning to mention too.....does anyone get little raised bumps when a zit finally goes away???? That is my main problem with these and why I am scared everytime I get new ones. I know they will eventually heal, but in their place I get little bumps which I have to re-bust to get out a clear jelly-like collagen substance so that they flatten out for good. This usually involves a lot of blood and then the wound is a dark red scar....but I know red will eventually fade and this way makeup will cover it properly. I can't have little bumps left all over. Are these referred to as small keloids or hypertrophic scars? Whatever they are they really piss me off because it's quite frustrating. I just never hear anyone mention these too much. Getting all that mess out of my nose was the only way that huge zit in my nostril healed a month ago. I also stopped taking my One a Day multivitamins b/c they have Vitamin A and iodine in them and I don't feel like wondering if they are doing more harm than good. Anyhow....that's it! Doing decently but could be better.....I guess that's at least a step forward from a month or so ago huh?
Week 12 (July 29, 2002)
Tuesday: Quick note....wanted to say I broke down and upped the prednisone back up to 30mg this morning....I am getting a few more zits than normal and wanted to see if this will affect those kind....they are being difficult..like painful little buggers that are usually the kind which only take about a day to come to a head and are all fragile and bustable and go away, but they are just sitting there kinda dormant and red....I tried hot compresses but it didn't really draw out much. I am kinda pissed off because I see the Merle Norman lady tomorrow morning to try and figure out how to use good makeup properly to look my best, and I wanted my face to be as smooth/unbroken out as possible. As it is this mess on my nose is bad enough, but now with these random zits on my chin....grrrr......the tea tree oil did seem to deswell my nose a little though. I just want to put something on them that vaporizes them flat and into dust! Oh yeah, that's what the Accutane is supposed to be doing *cynical chortle*
Friday: So here is my early update at the end of the week again....going to Ohio tomorrow for a few days with my dad to see the grandparents. Hehe, they certainly won't care how I look....I'll have to beat them off of me when they try to smother me with love. But of course I care how I look, and I am bummed out again. I did make some major progress with my nose the other day.....finally got a bunch of that clear jelly stuff out that allows it to flatten out....altho it's still slighty a lump, nowhere near what it was before. I feel like nothing on my face ever just HEALS and goes away. It sucks. But I put some of my new Merle Norman makeup on it today (I think if I can get it down that stuff works pretty well)....never actually used concealer concealer, and since it has that dry scab like film over it it doesn't look too good under makeup. Great.
My chin is still not where I'd like it to be either....I am so sososososososo SOOOOOO tired of this.....why haven't my zits all dried up and gone away by now??? Actually it's gotten a little worse again. I have some new painful zits here and there that won't go away/absorb, won't come to a head, and are red. My method of "badness" evaluation: turn off the light in the bathroom, look at my chin, see how many bumps are caught in the remaining light. Not looking so good right now...I mean just a few days ago it was flatter! It's not fair....look, I'll even take the redness and scars, if the bumps would just GO AWAY! Why won't the accutane obliterate them once and for all? They say it can take up to 3 months for it to start working....well ok, I'm here now baby....do your magic. I have some new zits on the side of my nose, and some teeny ones on my forehead. I had some activity on one of my cysts....it got a big white head....but once I took care of that yesterday it had no effect on the cyst. Now I just have a scab....see what I mean? Nothing positive is happening at all. I am rather disappointed in all this as I am on all that Prednisone too.....why is this still happening? what's wrong with me??? am I an accutane dud? I am really tired of reading about all these people who talk about getting better the second week or whatever.....that's great, I just don't wanna hear it though. I wanna hear about people like me. I feel like my face is a constant brew of filth....like always churning out more and more crud to deal with....and man I need it to really start getting better now! I have to start wearing makeup, and for that I need as flat and unflaky of a surface as possible! I feel like throwing myself in a volcano. Screw this!!!!! :'-( I feel like a manic depressive....I am so tired of this emotional rollercoaster....
Week 13 (August 5, 2002)
Oh my God I just had my entire posting written out here for this week...and it shut down and didn't save a backup or anything automatically...I am about to pass out from rage!!!! This is my biggest pet peeve on the planet. I have a short temper.....this is not what I want to deal with. *calm down calm down* OK, well, I'm back...and I have concluded that it was a brilliant idea for me to have gotten away and taken a short leave of absence from my sloth-like existence here in my "watering hole" of a home (since I might as well dwell in a cave like a small, furry, rodent-type creature all day anyhow). The confines of the glorious Comfort Inn were stimulating in an institutional, horribly flourescent-lighted type of way....but I managed to smile at myself a few times in the mirror, and even did my makeup quite decently ala the acceptably lighted main room (natural light is pure evil in the form of energy waves, by the way). I think it helped to prepare me a bit for dorm life again soon. I still don't look great with makeup on, but let's face it....it's about 8 times better than it was a couple months ago. I need to start accepting the fact that half of the people I know have some type of skin problem/breakout at some point, right? I certainly am presentable enough for public consumption (or rejection) now, and I guess that's a lot more than I could have dreamed of during the week of hell. But it is still struggling and I am still frustrated and I still have a problem. I often see myself as two people: the girl with makeup like now who seems normal and the one without who is still all spotty and scarred and very imperfect...it's amazing that I can jump from one to another and I often work myself into hysterics forgetting that is IS possible (the wonders of makeup....*remember not to freak out*)
Saw the derm again this Thursday, and, not quite breaking his promise from last time since I still have one more visit to pin hope on, he did NOT inject the carnival of cysts I have wading around my chin. He says that "my skin is already so thin from all the Prednisone etc. that I want to wait and see what else the Accutane will do." Well, that's exactly the blah, nonaggressive answer I was not hoping for. Obviously they are doing nothing...just sitting there...not absorbing, not coming to a head, and not draining except perhaps via other smaller zits they are fueling like heinous reservoirs. These are my main burden right now....I feel like if they were elimintaed then my other problems would seem more bearable. I feel like with them there all the time, psychologically making me think I have more visible problems than I do when I wash my face and feel them lurking there, I am not making much progress. As for the other things, let's indulge in a handy summarization list, shall we? (complete with fun numerical scores!):
- Redness Factor: Overall, most of my face (except the warzone known as my chin) is faring well.....minus a few scars on my cheeks from one of the old flares and some small beasts on my nose...the chin is killer.....if the red would fade I'd be in heaven....actually most of the skin under my lips to about 1/3 of the way down is fairly faded and smooth after all that "garden of redness" and painful bumps that attacked me in about week 3. Scale from 1-10(worst), I'd say about [6.8] ..makes makeup hard
- Cysts: Yeah I have about 8 of these fun underground fluid-filled sacs right now (and a small zit that turned into a new one!).....you know the story...thankfully not too painful but very frustrating and dead-end feeling if you know what I mean... 
- Random Other Zits: Lately most of the zits I seem to be getting on my cheeks and forehead (one or two every now and then, phew) dry out and are gone within a few days.....which is amazing and what my whole face should be doing (*cough* chin/nose *cough*)....but I have a new small lump next to the one I mostly took care of on my nose (booo) and I still get various strains of zits on my chin..some are teeny and go away, some are more lumpy and either never seem to go away, or leave a bump behind when they think they have gone, and I have two flattish but red bumps on the middle bottom of my chin...easy to cover but a bitch to stomach. 
- Dryness/Pain: Thankfully I don't have any pain really....well, not physically at least hehe. I couldn't have imagined saying that a couple months ago during the week of hell...thank God for small miracles I guess. Or big personal ones. The dryness is at a manageable level....keepin the water a'flowin' and the moisturizer a'moisturizin'.... 
Changes:I have been taking about 600 IU of Vitamin E instead of 400 lately b/c of a mistake in dosage size my mom bought....but I figure as long as you don't go over 800 no biggy. It's supposed to help with internal moisture right? Also back to the lower 20mg of prednisone now with not too many ill effects thankfully...I think my skin really is thinner as I can see a bunch more branching blue veins in my shoulder area, etc...lovely. Still dabbing tea tree oil on select spots before bed to dry them up faster...that stuff actually dissolves pus....what an interesting fact huh? I know a lot of people say not too, but it hasn't aggravated anything or clogged pores yet, so I'll keep messing with it...not for everyone though, I know. What else.....oh yeah...I have been washing day and night with the Cetaphil wash now instead of Dove....maybe that is helping...and I use the Merle Norman spf15 moisturizer instead of the Cetaphil, too....I hope it's oil free.....well I haven't seem any problems yet so until I do..... Hips, lower back, and knees a bit painful, also. That's about it...do you think I'll actually ever get 95% clear??? Right now it's manageable, but not what I consider acceptable results after this is over....I hear some people don't clear until they are finished and STOP the medicine....that's just brutal! I did have a good day though, got my hair cut and let me tell you it kicks ass!!! It's just the way I wanted it, and I hope it holds up. :) I'll post a pic....I know I look pretty decent in it huh? Hehe....I did cheat and blur a few shiny spots. But anyhow, I guess I just have no choice but to hang in there...hehe...and thanks for the mails you guys have sent telling me this over and over....it really does help...it's amazing what a few small words of kindness can do huh?
Week 14 (August 12, 2002)
So here we are now after 3 1/2 months...and my friends Pimply and Pimplier are still paying me regular morning visits...am I the lucky one or WHAT! *sarcastic grimace* I saw the derm again Thursday for my last visit before college, will now have to see my other one in J-Town and hope he doesn't start majorly messing with my treatment, and guess what? *Hallelujah* I was INJECTED this time! woohoodewds! Hehe, yep, he injected some "5" into those two major dense areas on either side of my chin, and I think it did help. Usually he uses the "10" strength of cortisone, but he's a conservative wanker these days so we know how that goes. :-P I am honestly a little disappointed b/c they are still there....but at least they feel about 1/2 as plump and hopefully will heal on their own faster than they otherwise would have, though I have a another red bump zit forming practically right on top of one of them now that is very infuriating (I swear they FUEL them from underneath, man). So that was really good that he finally gave into my wishes, at least ("Jussst for you"). He also told me to lower the Prednisone to 10mg (1 pill) now....to try and ween me off of it. I would love to get off of it, but my face, I am afraid, will start getting those little pimples all over it nonstop again.
Which brings us to the nitty gritty...the graphic weekly observation of just how poorly/well my ravaged face is doing! On the redness scale, still about a 6.....it does seem to be fading a little each week though....but when I get all these new random zits (now about a 6), there is always a new red spot/scab to deal with! That's the thing.....these are those little teeny whiteheads that spring up overnight and you look in the mirror in the morning, scrape the pus off (or not even, though it will eventually bust on its own and end in the same result) and move on your way...right? wrong! Then they start juicing and won't just smooth over....you get that little crust on them...and when you get enough it starts getting really frustrating and then the juice just keeps rejuicing with accutane...like for days and days...then maybe they finally go away. Try putting on makeup! I have a little crust right on the end of my nose.....that's nice...the first thing everyone will see! Oh man, last night I saw the start of a zit developing on my chin....a simple, small, poppable whitehead I thought. I woke up this morning anxious to see its defeatable progress...and wham, it had ERUPTED into a fullscale volcano of a zit....after the pus was scooted off I have a big red swollen lump. With a huge crusty cover. Nicer even than that the gem on my nose! and the many gems dotting my cheeks! Not to mention the various shades of red and brown and some blue dotting my chin as always. *ugh* I am at least "happy" that some of this was even happening when I was on the 30mg of Prednisone while on vacation, so I am doubting that my tapering off is making too much of a difference. I hope...
I will also be on the 'tane for another brutal extra 4 weeks now.....so it will be I guess 6 months...wee it will be almost November by the time I am done (and insurance only covers 20 weeks!)! haha, such a young fool I was back in May, huh....I thought it might almost be easy....probably be a knockout by school....now I'll just knock people out with my newfound acne! "Amazing," they'll say, "that someone's skin could get so much worse over the summer! You truly are unique!" Oh well....lots of people have acne...I am not that special. I don't want to look at my zit free friends though...grr it will make me feel so sad :( Tomorrow we are moving me back into my dorm...gonna be a long day. You know it's funny....I don't think about it and dread hauling all this stuff in the heat or classes starting....I think, "Oh God! I will have to take a shower from now on in those bathrooms again (we have suite style ones instead of community ones, at least) and then try and deal with my skin in the light and new mirrors!" LOL, that's pretty weird to most people. But it's my life....it's what I think about 1/2 of the day. I know I shouldn't look in mirrors so much....but how can I not? It's just that uncrushable (i.e. - dumb) hope that keeps drawing me to any source of potential encouragement...I'm like some slobby dog that never learns or something... I have come to the conclusion that the Accutane is not going to get rid of these cysts, etc....but that hopefully it IS reforming my skin in this horrible process, though....like I am going thru this suffering in the hopes that after a couple more months I will have a newly designed skin..one that will not bring forth big bertha cysts into the world anymore....and will be normal once my redness and all the old cysts are treated. I think I am a different kind of case than most people...because I have a different kind of original problem. I have a bunch of cysts under my chin on the left, those ones are the least concerning ones....but they are also the most vulnerable ones to impact....and last night I accidentally slammed the rim of my laptop screen up into them and oh my god that hurt like hell. Everytime I am afraid they will bust interally or something and like, I dunno, destroy me or something LOL. They feel a little lumpier today though. Maybe my college doc will inject them...muahahaha? Welp.....I guess I just have to deal with this somehow.....tomorrow night I will be in a completely different place.....I will miss my parents...it's weird how easy it is to become dependent again....I don't even have a car....*sigh* so it goes....
Week 15 (August 19, 2002)
Oh boy.....what a week.....I am back in college and back in the swing of my old life somewhat. I can't believe I have only been here a week....it feels like a month already!!! I have to admit, I didn't realize how lonely I was at home all the time. I mean I never wanted to be a hermit....but it made things easier. Which brings us to my face again....I have been struggling I admit. I was down to one Prednisone this time last week....but the scabs and zits just kept coming so relentlessly....they just won't stop before the old ones have time to heal! And well, I had a meeting scheduled last night with this awesome guy that I have been talking to online all summer who was also on accutane (but that has nothing to do with how we met), and so I wanted to look as good as I could....shame on me I went back up to 4 prednisones on about Tuesday....tapering back down to one tomorrow. I have no problem with it....except that I am afraid I will run out of pills! I see my derm here on thursday.....I have this sinking feeling he will laugh in my face when I ask for prednisone though. Maybe my mom can talk to the other one and call some in that way?
But I had the most wonderful night last night...it was a great "first date" full of cuddling and really feeling like someone cared about me....I have been agonizing about this all summer...that is one of the main reasons I have been even more terrified everytime my skin acts up. I don't know what I thought he was gonna do....run away? Scream in terror and point that I had a breakout? LOL But you know....perfectionism is sometimes a curse....oftentimes actually. I really don't know what I am gonna do with these 8 weeks that are left though...it's gonna be rough if I somehow can't get my Prednisone....and to everyone warning me to get off of it, etc. GIVE IT UP! It's what gets me thru the agony, and I intend to remove it from my memory when this miserable nightmare is over. I am actually sitting around totally makeupless for the first time ever since I've been here....it is sunday though...and my best friend, Kellie, went to west Memphis to see her grandma, so I don't even have to leave to eat. These are the kind of luxeries I dream of though.....getting up and sitting around without makeup and not being embarrassed! These are basic rights for god's sake....that sounds really petty. LOL. Damn it it's true though! The worst time is when I get out of the shower eeks....bloody hell it's depressing. I feel self conscious as always....looking at these perfect sorority girls with seemingly no problems whatsoever...geez. But anyhow, that one big zitty volcano is finally starting to really go away on my chin. It has been flat for a couple days, but the scab kept sloughing off and reforming and oozing during the day which was gross. I am hoping it will finally go away soon and turn into....tada...regular skin again. I have a couple zits on the other side of my chin now...don't know what they will do. Hopefully LEAVE. hehe. damn it. Kel wants me to go home with her next weekend for Labor Day weekend...but I dunno....we'll have to see how things are going. I have tons of work already....all this Graphic Design crap is confusing and vague as hell...and then there are chapters upon chapters already for other classes.....no break for Brandi.....getting up at 6:20 before everyone else is fun too. I have a full week this week too....no Monday and Tuesday off.....agghhhh! *sigh* But I made it so far.....started some more vitamins....Calcium w/ Vit D (I haven't really been drinking any milk trying to see if it helps anything even though I LOVE milk) and Vit E (as usual) with a bunch of B vit's in it. I also have a Slimfast for breakfast which has lots of goodies in it. One last note....finally switched to CARMEX mainly for my lips which are a mess more than ever....just peeling and getting all slimy/chapped like a motha....carmex really IS addictive too....it has that cold tingling feeling after you put it on. That's it!!! Thanks for reading dewds!
Week 16 (August 26, 2002)
Well week 16 proved again what I always find to be true: Prednisone dips below the 20mg mark, Brandi becomes more acnified than ever. They are still the little tiny whiteheads that pop up more and more all over my cheeks, forehead, and my nose. I have no idea why these are still forming, you'd think that if my chin area was doing pretty well now (which it is) these little dewds would have been defeated weeks/months ago. But they have not, and I look like I have smallpox practically because new ones spring up in the middle of the freakin day, and the old ones turn into crusty scabs that don't heal for weeks if they decide to and I have tons of little bumps all over. And now they are itchy and altogether horrid. I went home with Kel for Labor Day weekend, and I had a small breakdown the first night I stayed there because without makeup I look AWFUL. These zits are soooo red and make a red aura around them too. I can't really use a washrag to slough off dead/dry skin because then the "healing" zits are all like scraped raw and become even worse. I don't know what I am going to do. If I only had a few weeks or so left of Accutane like originally scheduled, it wouldn't be that bad because then hopefully I wouldn't have zits that were never an issue before being pushed the surface to no end. Yeah that's great, I'm glad the accutane is supposedly doing its job like that...but I DON'T want it! I just wanted the cysts to be stopped from forming on my CHIN....not to get regular acne all over the rest of my face damn it all to HELL!!!!!!!! It just never ends!!! How am I supposed to go thru 8 more weeks of this???? And I have been getting some weird dry patches on my arms that are kinda itchy and almost invisible rashy....
I saw my derm in J-town here...and he is even more unsympathetic to my cause....as in the acne all over the rest of my face. He has instructed me to do a 5mg then 10mg regimen of Prednisone everyday...alternating you know? I asked him what was going on with this and why it does this, and he was like, "You know what? I really don't care to be honest....just stay on the Accutane and you will get better that's the most important thing....." Like he is really obnoxious and Jewish...kinda cute in the eyes actually, so it didn't really hurt my feelings because it is typical....but it pissed me off a little. But he did inject my chin all over without me even having to barely mention it. So finally the one cystic network on the right side of my chin is basically flat...still tender....but I have hope it will eventually go away now. He was like, "Oh wow....yeah...this cyst is HUGE....they have all become connected....yeah.." DUH! I was rolling my eyes internally because yes I have had to live with my cystic friends for quite the long while now! But I can't really bear this all over my face....I mean I guess if I had no Prednisone I could out of sheer circumstance unless I started breaking into pharmacies....but I know what works for me and so I think I will take 40 mg and taper 10 everyday when it gets bad like this....I mean I have to do something! His first words about that Prednisone issue were, "You know Prednisone will eventually kill you." thanks....really 'preciate that. Oh well...I'll do something drastic if I have to walk around like this for 2 more months...and probably more since the accutane will still be in my system. I feel so awful because that guy I guess I am dating now that I met for the first time in person a couple weeks ago, well, I am so self-conscious that I am making him suffer because I will seldom get the guts to see him...especially now. He is so sweet....he doesn't care and he drills it into my head to no end...but I don't understand how anyone could want me when I look all scabby and crusty and zitty like this....I mean how can he be physically atracted to me? How is it phyiscally/mentally possible on his part...no matter what he wants to be true or what he says. I just don't understand....if he gets too close to me how can he not be disgusted? And these are the things I torment myself over and die a little inside over. What kills me is that happiness is so visible....like I have this great guy who is so into me...and I am comfortable in my current life....I am just ugly and zitty. If that would go away once and for all I would be sooooooo happy...and I see the happiness thru the haze.....but everytime it clears a little I just get sucked back behind like now...and I don't know how long it will be before I can finally see the sun and just live life and enjoy.....I want it soooooo bad. Happy Labor Day.
Week 17 (September 2, 2002)
Wow I totally forgot to write yesterday! I mean I didn't even think about it....maybe that's because yesterday I was barely considered "up" after I "got up" at like 1pm...I just wore my boxers and tshirt and madhatter hat all day anyhow to do laundry and go to Sonic in. Anyhoo....so here I am sitting in my dorm about to go eat in the caf (MMMM) and listening to the Dixie Chicks...imagine that....it's amazing what hanging around the wrong kind of people can do to you (thanks Kel and roomie Mandy!). My face is OK right now...taking a hibernation on the 20mg of Prednisone....and my mom is sending me like 90 more 10mg ones....I thought it was only gonna be like 20 pills. She told me to go back up to 30 soon, taper to like 25 for a week, then to 20, then 15 for a week....until the accutane is almost over. It's weird I will have to lie to Weingold everytime I see him (which won't really be that often) about the prednisone thing. hehee. I wish accutane would end sooner...it's driving me crazy. I mean I sometimes wonder if it weren't for these brief lapses in suffering if I would actually do something drastic or crazy. I am not depressed....so all you people worried about the mental problems....well, I mean I haven't had any unreasonable ones or any hairloss....just recurrence of acne and dry dry lips. What is this Aquaphor stuff people keep talking about? I hear it's the best possible for lips..and someone emailed me and said Carmex has too much salicylic acid as an ingredient to do any good....it says "moisturizing" on the outside though....
As for specifics....I still have all the same cysts dormant under there...and I picked at a couple little tiny white spots to get some like solid stuff out of them on the left side of my chin, and I should have left it alone because though it got rid of the unobtrusive things that wouldn't have mattered in the first place, it like aggravated a cystic railway track or something underneath so now I have a small raised bump :-P And my nose gets little whiteheads or just teeny bumps on it every so often, but that's fine (as do my cheeks) when they go at a normal pace like this. If it were doing this and I weren't on the prednisone, I would be VERY happy with accutane because that would mean it was just doing it's job but not making things unbearable. I mean I don't claim to wish for no breakouts whatsoever ever again....I just want it at a slowpaced normal level! Again, I still have lots of redness from old scars and still blotchy all over my chin and cheeks and the end of my nose....I know that accutane makes things stay red forever though. I am also getting various red marks/pesky little tiny zits here and there on my neck....that sucks because I can't really cover those as my neck is a different color. heehe. Damn silly neck! My arms get various itchy dry patches on them from time to time...maybe I should use more lotion. I have been reading some other journals and of course they are all way better and jovial and gay with happiness from accutane's success at this point (can we say "gay" in the "that's just gay" sense now?) and here I am still...well you know all too well what I am going thru...and anyhow these sloths are like forgetting to take their pills all over the place....geez...come on it's not that hard and you'd think that it's something important enough that that really wouldn't be a prob...LOL, just kind of annoyed me that things are THAT carefree and wonderful and neo platonic (thanks Lit II terms!) that they aren't even worried by such trivial things anymore. *grinch face hehee* And I made major strides this weekend with my boyfriend (ooh that sounds so weird for someone like me to say) and actually let him read/find my journal here....as you know this is a very personal subject sometimes getting quite grotesque and graphic at times.....so more intimate than I imagine sex would be: my Accutane Voyage. LOL. How sad does that make meeeeee? If you're reading this, that took a lot of vulnerability on my part! (and now I know that you did read it and thank you for all your support my Bookey). See you later...off to the world of questionable meats....
Week 18 (September 9, 2002)
Hey everybody......get thru the sadness of the 11th??? Sometimes it feels like ages ago that it all happened....sometimes it seems like days ago. One thing I know is that it sure dwarfs all my petty problems and makes me think about things in a new perspective. Probably in the right perspective....but we are of course petty and vain creatures by nature so here I am again reporting about the all important condition of my skin. :-P Things this week remained pretty constant...I have been breaking out mildly on my forehead and chin and cheeks here and there, but nothing unbearable after I put my makeup on. These are the kinds of weeks I live for.....still on 20mg of prednisone.....might start my definitive tapering process on about thursday or so. not sure. this prednisone situation is a mess, because I have been trying to prepare myself for a final goal with it.....one where I will taper down week by week and then NOT break down and use it again once I get really low in mg-age. I just can't see how I will be able to deal with the horridness that always happens. So I am putting it off for right now. I still have the same cysts....that never seems to end of course. And I am getting rashes all over my arms!!!! I never thought that was a big deal...but I will just look a few hours apart and I have like reddish brown patches of itchy, rough, peeling skin under my arms or on the tops...anywhere really. It's not too noticeable....accept when it starts out red. I guess the accutane must really be doing a number there....i just put lotion and cortizone cream on them.
Lately I have noticed my lips are getting a lot more chapped to the point of I don't know what to do....where you actually have to "operate" with the tweezers and pull some chunks off....making sure not to be too aggressive and make things bleed.....maybe I am not drinking enough water??? I always drink water when I eat in the caf for lunch and dinner...and I always have at least one huge cup of water here.....maybe I need to try and start getting an extra one in. I am also revelling in the first time/newfound love of my first worhtwhile relationship here, and I am having lots of trouble tearing myself away from him so my sleep intake is taking a nosedive. It's like being caught in a trap! I know what I need to do (sleep, work, etc.) but I just can't bear to break away from him! Hehee, I used to hate people like this.....they made me all pukey being in love (even though I am a hopeless romantic....but the silly term "bitter" also seemed accurate too). Last night I didn't go to bed until 8am and got up at 3ish (god bless you, weekend)...and my makeup is always a major concern of mine when I am with him, because in the course of things it tends to rub off somewhat and skin starts to flake where it was previously moisturized and smooth. So by the time I got back it was light out and I was so paranoid because I looked like a trainwreck somewhat and the light was actually out to show it though. He tells me over and over that he could care less and that I am beautiful and the inside is so beautiful that nothing else matters...and I am slowly starting to believe him....but still...it does feel nice having someone want you so much for you, though....but with society these days it's hard to buy...I feel like a sucker almost if I buy completely into it...like a commercial.....i mean there is always some catch...there has to be...even if it's just to spite me via fate. Oh well. But hey.....I am so happy right now....I know it will fade but hell it feels amazing right now....everyone deserves to be happy, I say. And if I declareth it so, it must be. ;-)
Week 19 (September 16, 2002)
Hey it's me again.....another non-productive week really unless you count more side effects and not getting clear as productivity. Which I am sure some of you do....don't deny it I can almost see you out there! Just kidding....you know I'm weird like that. Anyhow:
- Still getting eczema (what exactly is that??? I just assume that's what it is...) rashes on my arms all over.....they seem to go away in about 5 or so days but of course another patch has developed somewhere else after that....more annoying than anything else really.
- My nose is a MESS....inside! It's like the entire lining of my nose has dried out to the point of pure rawness....and it keeps forming these oozy red/green films of scabbing over all the inside....but these won't just heal and go away.....they keep sloughing off and then reforming...it's really gross I don't want to like blow my nose around anyone or anything because it's all bloody. These aren't just the typical accutane victim "nosebleed"s though...it's weird. So I will slather some of my Vaseline Intensive lip care around in them before bed and use a little Ayr nosespray to keep things moisturized. It's really annoying though as I am already suffering with some drainage cuz I have sinus probs, and this just makes it feel all congested when it's scabby inside.
- Found out my resting heart rate is like 120 last night at Walmart at one of those fun little machines they have.....the blood pressure itself was fine...but like my heart is just beating really fast I guess.....and not even just because I'm head over heels in love ;-)! I am a little freaked out though, seriously. I have a feeling it has something to do with the prednisone and/or the accutane itself....it has to because in PE last year it was only about 80...normal (between 60 and 100)...so there's another health concern.
- Lips are getting even more chapped.....I pulled off a bunch tonight...like when you look close and it's all whitish...yucky! Ripped off a little too much and it started oozing blood....what fun! But my Wendy's chili made it go away for now...mmmm :)
Started my definitive Prednisone tapering...down from 30 mg to 25 for a little while.....about 4 or so weeks of accutane left....so I hope this will work...pleeeeeeeeeease adrenal glands.....cooperate with me this time I am begging you!!! I am still breaking out even on the prednisone on my cheeks a bit and around my nose some, though. My forehead is actually pretty clear amazingly! Unfortunately, the cyst that is on my chin...the main one that is a couple melded together that he shot full of cortisone last time, well it's decided it's time to fill back up and become cysty again...so now that's red again and slightly lumpy and sensitive. I really wish I could at least get the cysts to go away once and for all....I mean I have a feeling I am going to have to have them removed when we're done thru an incision or something. Either the cysts or the other normal little acne fiends. Come on now! Not doing too bad though right now.....I almost wish my blood results from like tuesday will come back bad so that I will be forced to stop Accutane after 20 weeks like originally intended. I mean what difference can a few extra weeks make now??? I am never really "better".....my only hope now is no more accutane....like just hoping that it has already done what it's supposed to to my skin internally. grrr. But the week itself was really nice....saw Ronnie everyday and went to the fair with him and Kel and just had fun and was happy....oooh, happy slappy happy. hehee. :) He's such a great guy....and the fact that he knows exactly what I am going thru even though I never credit him with that as much as I should really helps. I am so lucky....wow. :) I never would have thought......yeah, me? me who? Have a good week out there.....
Week 20 (September 23, 2002)
Dosage upped to 80mg....only 20 more days of Accutane now instead of a month because of impact/overall power of increased dosage...
So.....saw the derm this Thursday....again told me that I must get off the Prednisone NOW (not just soon anymore) or I will die, it will be bad, something along those lines. Funny how people with like Lupus etc. can take it forever and not immediately die after, say, only a few months or so. I guess you guys better get ready to mourn my loss and perhaps send cards and flowers to my humble PO Box and parents at home. I am telling you this because I fully expect my life to last only a few more short weeks and then, well, I suppose it will all be over....no more Accutane and Prednisone to worry about in my peaceful urn though! :-D Hehee, anyhow....he decided to up my Accutane from 60mg to 80mg to make sure I get the cumulative amount I need; since I told him I hate being on it tremendously, he thought it would be an OK idea to do it like that...the higher the amount the shorter the time I need to be on it. I know a week doesn't seem like much difference but 20 days sounds so much shorter than a month you know???? I only have like 18 more days or so now....yay! Still on 25 mg of Prednisone.....still tapering. I tell you though, the 80mg is already making a difference...not a good one:
- Getting a lot more random zits here and there.....chin, neck, cheeks, nose, etc....nothing major but when they start adding up it kinda gets annoying...obviously it's the higher dose making things all activated again...can only hope it's good in its own way. Prednisone hopefully keeping it calmer than it would be....
- Nose is still a mess.....have to clean it out like at least 2 times a day.....quite a mess inside.....mucus scabs, congestion, overall discomfort and tedium...
- I also think my eye is infected now....I keep waking up with a green film and slight crusting over my right eye every morning...and it is a little itchy and irritated and reddish and I feel some pressure behind it......will have to go to the health clinic asap this week....I have heard that Accutane can make you a lot more susceptible to gram negative bacterial infections I think....right?
- My lips are still dry as hell....bought some Blistex herbal chapstick at walmart the other day...works nicely I guess...nothing is really *great* The top of my top lip cracked open the other day, and that's weird as it's always my bottom lip that is dry and peeling...seems to have spread...
- Eczema on arms and back of hands still appearing and disappearing...feels all rough and rashy :( Should put more lotion on...
- Other: Getting slight headaches again, assume it's due to the extra 20mg a day....eyes feeling dry and tired....cyst on chin keeps refilling and I have to drain it to relieve pain and weltishness.....he wouldn't inject at all...said surgery in "2 to 3 YEARS" would probably be needed to remove it...I was thinking 6 months would be more reasonable based on research...
Boy I sound just awesome huh!? If everyone could feel this good imagine what the world would be like! ;-P hehee. My body is just kind of itchy overall too. I am such a crumbling mess. OK only a few weeks though...I can do it...I know I can. The unconditional love and support of my parents and Ronnie makes such a world of difference.....after all my makeup had crumbled into a heap last night and my face was all a mess and my cyst had turned into a shredded red and blue lump of skin flakes, he still looked at me with nothing but love and told me how beautiful I was.....I know it's not really true, but the fact that he wants me to know that and that he doesn't care is all that really matters. My mom told me not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and you know what she's right. What the hell is wrong with me? I need to just accept that it is possible for someone to care about me unconditionally....it is apparently possible somehow....I just wish I understood. We went to Memphis and Beale Street last night and I had a great time...I love being happy with him :) I just like being happy....it's long deserved after this summer let me tell ya. Well we'll see what happens.....byes for now.
Midweek: Now BOTH of my eyes are infected! Yay! This is really frustrating..
Whew what a crazy week! My eyes both got infected as of about Thursday, and boy that was sure not fun. I ended up not having any classes that day and just sleeping the morning away after I dropped my wood off in Design II class. I got some Sulfa type antibiotic drops and finally they are starting to get better, but it's really no fun waking up with your eyes all oozy and crusty and green. Thanks again, big Accutane.
And thanks also, no really thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks, for my ever-growing, colorful assortment of other random maladies: thanks for the increasingly worse eczema rash all over the backs of my hands, my arms, and my elbows; for the cracks in the corners of my already raw and bloodied lips; for the congesting red scabs and blood and mucus crusts making my air intake quite challenging; for the way my nose is cracking away from my face on the left and recracking everytime I wash my face; for the new ingrown feeling nails on my feet and hands caused by the adjacent skin being so sensitive and dry; and for the skin on my middle finger nonchalantly breaking away from my fingernail at random for no good (but certainly painful) reason.
Actually though, at the moment aside from all the obvious concerns caused by excessive drying, my skin is responding quite well (in terms of all I've been thru) with the 80 mg of Accutane and my now even lower dose of Prednisone at 15mg. I notice my skin overall on my face drying out a lot more, and the process of exfoliating the night previous in the shower must be carried out with the utmost skill and precision, but like the mess on my cheeks is actually starting to fade and is completely smooth, and better yet I haven't gotten anymore of them.....even on the low prednisone. My theory is maybe the Accutane is sooooo high now that NOTHING weird like those pointless scabby zits will form anymore....like they don't have any fuel (even if they were caused my adrenal malfunctions from the steroid challenge). I have gotten some normal, pus-filled zits though. I got a weird red one on my eyebrow this weekend that I had to drain, plus an ever-filling one on my chin (both hurt)....but they seem manageable and almost make sense to me....you know what I mean? Like I see them as imperfections Accutane has driven to the surface that are just getting out of my system instead of red lumps that do nothing. I see that as progress. If things stay this way I will be quite happy.....if only I still didn't have that/those cysts on my chin it'd be excellent. I am honestly almost pleased at the moment. :)
But let's put it this way.....I am comfortable enough with my imperfect skin that I let Ronnie see me completely makeupless this weekend.....he drove me home (4 hours away!) and I met his g'parents and he met my parents and stayed with us and came back yesterday...and I had the best weekend in a long time. But I was worried because of course I don't like ANYone seeing me au natural as, if you've read my previous entries, you'll know by let's say THIS* particular section...yep...I didn't even want to look at any guys let alone appear vulnerable in front of them. But really, I am starting to think that there is nothing whatsoever I can do that will disgust him....I am trying my hardest to make him recoil in fear and disgust one of these days but he's just not budgin'! Truth be told my skin wasn't that bad at all, just mainly red scars left over and only a zit or two. But I guess since he had the same problem a few years ago he understands....I dunno....I start thinking that maybe he's just abnormal too...like OK he really does like me and I finally believe it, but then I start thinking he must just like ugly girls or something so I still lose. LOL I dunno, that's really really dumb. But that's the way my demented mind works. I wish this weekend could have gone on forever. It was great....it was strange being back in my old life with part of my new life (Ronron!) though....my parents seem to adore him. That's awesome!!! But anyhow....girls/guys, apparently if your dewd/dewdette really loves ya he won't care at all, or at least not too much, about the way you look...we may be obsessive compulsive about our skin or hair or whatever, but Ronnie is showing me that if what's inside is the good stuff, the stuff worth caring about and wanting to never be apart from, then the outside is just icing on the cake, and he will want to eat that cake up no matter how you look. And Ronnie really likes food. :) Hastapasta!
Word of the week/Word to the wise:I cannot believe I have gone so long on Accutane without this stuff......everyone was right....screw the Carmex, screw the Vaseline stuff, screw the chapstick...it DOES NOT hold up after you've tried Aquaphor. I would have gotten it sooner but no one seemed to carry it....not walmart (unless you preordered it), not anywhere really. The ASU pharmacist lady who's super nice called to ask about it for me this week though and got me the much needed hookup. Man, it is just amazing. I have not one complaint. Actually, it's helped me in more ways than I even thought it could:
- Obviously my lips. They were getting so dry and cracked this week to the point where I couldn't even smile....I tell you no lie it was bad. Then I tried to carefully pick off the chunks of white skin that would eventually just kind of hang there because that is really embarrassing, but of course we all know when taking that approach there will inevitably be blood and ripping of obscure healthy skin no matter how tediously and painstakingly carefully the removal is performed. But after only like 2 days of Aquaphor, my lips are a lot smoother and moisturized. Any skin that's loose seems a lot thinner and more easily manipulated, so I can just easily slough it off with my finger and don't suffer any lip tearing. Wow! I can smile too! And I don't have to lick my lips at all!
- Here's a weird discovery.....I thought it was only for lips like Carmex, but indeed this stuff is "Daily Therapy for cracked, dry skin and minor burns".....so I smeared it inside my nose which has been falling apart and crusting over and remaining a constant raw wound....lo and behold the crust is virtually allllllll gone except for really thin sheaths of skin/slime (hehee), and I can breath! I love this stuff.
- Hey, even Ronnie said my lips are exceptionally soft and kissable after like 1 or 2 days of it!!! That's pretty rewarding right there....I think he was lying about telling me he never saw any problem before, but what are sweet boyfriends for I guess? hehee. But that's really cool :)
- It was only like $5 for a big squeezy tube of it! Definitely not chapstick/lip balm size....this is more like large wound ointment, LOL, but hey who the hell cares. I just throw it in my purse and I'm set!!!! He asked me if I wanted the larger size at Super D's (cool drugstore), and then proceeded to whip a large tub comparable to a vat of lard off the shelf to which I quickly said I didn't think that would be necessary....I'm not thaaaaat bad I don't think....nor have I suffered miscellaneous burns I will need to be treating lately.
This stuff is a little greasy as I'm sure you've heard before (which I actually kind of like as a girl because lately I have not been able to wear any lip gloss or liptstick obviously, not like I really did tons before, but this is almost like a little gloss...a quirky reward....maybe I'm stretching it), but it's worth it. Gon' git'cha some, little ones.
On other notes, my eyes seem to have gotten better, though my right ring finger became infected this week because the skin was so dry it cracked and got raw and I guess got infected since my immune system is shot anyhow. So saw the wonderful Nurse Linda at the health center again and she got me hooked up with a Z-Pack....yay antibiotics! Haven't had any of those for a few months. I think it's getting better, and hopefully it's knocking out any problems in my sinuses and in my eyes and maybe even my face. Honestly my face is doing amazingly well....I am down to 10mg of Prednisone ("hooray!" all of you rooting for me to ween myself of off if are saying!) and I still am hanging in there as far as having mostly smooth cheeks, forehead, and nose (a few random little ones here and there...nothing at all to really gripe about after what I went through). My chin is more pf a problem, mainly because of those three cysts and the ever-so-bothersome long one on the right side. I almost dare to say it seems to be shrinking a bit, though. I am so afraid to say anything positive on here or in real life for fear of jinxing anything, but I only report what is so. I have a new zit/lump/painful spot on the right side under my chin...it hurts, but I am hoping it will absorb soon. They seem to do that more often now. I am actually seeing results comparable to what the 80% of other users experienced ala week #3 and on. That sucks, but hey at least something is almost going right now. My major problem right now: DRY SKIN. I guess the higher dose really exacerbates that.....I can just take my finger and roll shreds of it off especially at the end of the day or after my shower. No matter how thoroughly I exfoliate (i.e.-no matter how hard I freakin' scrub!), there is always more. Maybe it will get rid of the scars faster. But that sucks especially with makeup and right above my lips is gross....it will shred into a million pieces!!! Grrr. But that's about it.....as far as stuff I did...went to Memphis last night with Ronnie and had some good Macaroni Grill and got some clothes and we even made our own "Roarrrring" Whorse (yes, how twisted and sick we are to name our baby horse that) at the Build a Teddy Bear Store in the mall. Very fun and hilarious, and happy :) Now I have to do actualy work! Adios my fan'Tanestic readers....yeah don't mock my poor joke! hehee
Wow......well here I am again......can you believe it's almost over???? I am happy....but it's a bit more nervewracking than I'd anticipated earlier too.....probably because I am at least seeing some kind of results now......but all in all, main news of the week:
- Prednisone down to 5mg!!!!!!!! That's right....gone are the days of 30 and even 40mg...and I am NOT FLARING....!!!
- Now out of the last prescription Weingold wrote me for 40 mg's 2 times a day, but due to the strange leftovers I have accumulated over the months I am going to finish out the maroon 20mg's I have left at 80mg a day for about one more week.....
- Finger infection, eye infection, and eczema all seem to be at bay now....eyes still irritated so I use the medicated drops now and then, but otherwise not a big deal (lips still doing well on the Aquaphor too).
- New cyst developed (like the old kind I used to get before I went on this eeeks!) on my chin on the right side (always the problem area) almost underneath, but finally after being drained a few times has flattened out, though now I have a hole that is trying to heal, and it keeps ooozing juice...like in the DAYtime after I have my makeup on...very frustrating and a bit embarrassing.
I really don't have much news to report this week...it's all about the same except for that cyst that sucks....I am having some problems putting my makeup on lately as the dry skin (which doesn't even really make its presence known when you look at your bare skin and it's moisturized) becomes a hindrance and apparently forms different textures for the foundation to cling onto....and then the makeup itself looks a little blotchy, no matter how much I try and get the deadness off. It could be much worse, but it's still annoying and makes me feel like I look a little dirty/unkempt. Oh well. No hair falling out, no other bad effects I could have happening. Last night was Homecoming, and me and Ronnie, the prideless slobs we are, opted not to fight the cold and dreary mist which ensued all day just to see us lose, but we did get our drink on with his friends after the game and let's just say I had a reeeeally good time and became very inhibitionless with my conversation, so I had muchos fun :) But this relates to the hangover-being-worse-than-usual issue with Accutane, and I personally am experiencing no hangover whatsoever, actually. I have only engaged in alcohol drinking two times while on the 'tane, and that time was fine the next day too, I think. I just had wine coolers and vodka. So there ya go......One more week eeeks!!!! Oh yeah....try this place out....they give you $10 just for uploading your first paper for free....I have a few old term papers sitting around so this week I figured why not? Seems like a cool idea to me!
IT'S HERE!!!!!!I am finally done with Accutane AND Prednisone.....as of Friday morning I completed both regimens of pills.......24 weeks of this roller coaster finally coming to an end eh? Oh my. I am still in a little disbelief and shock actually. I haven't exploded or anything yet....that's good. hehe. I hear that it will stay in my system for up to another 6 months or so though. I also hear that the actual medicine will be out of my system in about 8 days....don't they say a month or so after you're off it you can get pregnant again? I have no idea so don't really listen to what I am saying here. I have been on birth control for years now anyhow, though, so that doesn't matter...and I am not truly "sexually active" yet.
Anyhow......you're wanting the gritty details, are you not? You want to hear the facts, the visuals in writing, the overall denoument to this tale of terror, depression. loathing, fear, and at times sanity (isn't it appropriate that it's almost Halloween!?). Well you're not gonna get it. Oh wait, just joshing ya! hehe....I said "joshing"....*cough cough* Yes, and won't you miss my incoherant, self-absorbed drivel? Sure you will. I guess, if we want to be honest, I AM better than when I started* it.....the CYSTS are still there (I messed with the one I never mention on the left the other night, and now it is sore too....I thought it might be ripe for draining finally, but nope), actually they weren't there when I started even but I think it lumped all the underlying problems/their roots into the 3 major cysts that remain today....which I will probably need surgically removed in 6 months this summer I hope....apparently they will not shrink (though I will come back here and let you know if they do via updates!!!!)......but hopefully I won't keep getting groups of untamed, painful, red, swollen, tender new ones like I was every week in May and April. That was hellish. I don't know how I dealt with that. My cheeks are moderately clear.....my forehead is pretty good, nose is good, chin the only real problem area. I feel almost like I didn't accomplish much sometimes, but then I have to remind myself that I tried it, I went for it you know? That attempt in itself is worth a lot at least in terms of pride......remember weekes 1-10 and a bit beyond???? Remember how I wanted to throw myself into a volcano??? many a time? well, I no longer feel that pressure and pain and complete self-loathing, but more importantly I actually didn't quit....and I could have so easily. If nothing else this is a testiment to my ability to endure. And hey who knows, even if it doesn't work as well as I'd hoped, at least I tried, and I certainly wouldn't have known/had this chance anyways had I not.
In general, I am somewhat disappointed with the overall results.....I am not clear as I thought I'd be. I am breaking out somewhat, the redness persists--I actually think that if the scars were faded and the redness gone I wouldn't care too much about the cysts. They aren't really bulging off of my face too much except the one I always hate with a passion on the right still catches the light some (though it really has shrunken in the last month)....but when I don't have my makeup on I hate looking at the side of my chin from my mouth down..it's kinda gross. I am used to seeing it, but that doesn't mean I can't see how yucky it looks and how much better it would look if I could just erase it. I often take my middle finger and pointer finger on both hands and then hold them together over each side of marks and then make erasing motions as if it will do any type of good....it gives me a .0005 second moment of freedom and "wow.....what if?" reverie, I suppose. Basically it's weird and kinda sad, but oh well. I wonder how long scars take to fade???? Well at any rate.....the scars of all this mess will always be there, but they are no more damaging than the scars of all types of acne in general....as anyone who has suffered with it knows. My Accutane Voyage has technically reached its port and is now drawing to a close......but at this rate I'm sure it's not *really* over.........hang in there guys, and if you are having a rough time or even a good time with accutane.....just give it a chance, and see what it does for you.....time, I learned, really is all you can give the 'tane....it giveth and it doth also taketh away......smooth sailing on all your own voyages, guys...Goodbye :)
".....my dream, really, is to be able to wake up 15 minutes before class.....and just go you know? Look in the mirror first thing in the morning, and just see clear skin... no heinous cysts, no redness, and most of all no pain. I want to walk in the rain and just jump around and look up and not care that all my makeup is being washed off...I just want to live a normal life again....is that too much to ask???"
-Week 1, and still hoping...-