A Few Months Out from My Last Dose

Hey everyone,

My back has improved drastically in the past year. I’ve only had one blemish show up in the last three months since taking my last dose of Absorica (Accutane). I do have discolorations, but they are slowly fading. It feels so good to finally have clear skin, and I honestly do not think I could have achieved it without Accutane. 

I’ve had a few small, very minor breakouts on my face, but definitely haven’t had any cystic spots. 

I will say that I’ve felt oilier lately. My hair doesn’t feel the same way as it did on Accutane. It’s nice not to feel so freaking dry, but it’s a little weird coming off of the medicine and feeling moisture kicking in again. The best thing, though, is not having my lips peeling all the time! The worst thing you will go through while on Accutane is the side effect of dry lips. But, if you don’t have dry lips, then that should tell you the medicine isn’t working. The whole point of it is to make your body like a desert, thus creating an environment unsuitable for acne. 

I think Accutane gets a bad reputation and I do think that it’s worth trying. It does have its costs though between monthly blood tests, doctor appointments and the actual medicine. These costs will of course fluctuate with difference insurance companies and whatnot, but for me, my monthly appointments were $50, the blood tests were $25 and the medicine was $10. I was able to get Absorica through a coupon card from the dermatologist’s office, and I remember that one of the stipulations is that you must have health insurance to be able to use the card. 
Beyond all of that, though, my mental state never changed on Accutane. I always felt like myself and the medicine never caused me to have crying spells, depression or anything like that. It did definitely dry up my lips and nose. Some people have blood noses while on the medicine, but I have actually never had a bloody nose in my life, and still haven’t after coming off of the medicine. Some people say there’s a link between Crohn’s and Accutane, but my GI tract has been just fine. 

Overall, I’m glad I did it, even though I’m scared of needles and am definitely not the easiest person to draw blood from. I was lucky enough to find a very nice phlebotomist who was skilled enough to never really have a problem with my veins. Accutane is definitely not easy and it will take time to see results, trust me. I never thought my back was going to improve. My full course lasted from March to November of 2013, and it really wasn’t until the very end that I started to see clear skin, but it can be different with everyone, of course. 

If you have a specific question that I could answer, feel free to comment below! 

Almost Done with Accutane!

I’m so happy to say that I am almost all the way done with Accutane. I stopped taking the pills November 28th, so technically, the drug is still hanging around in my blood for about another week. I have my very last blood test tomorrow and I am SO excited that I’ll be done with the monthly poking and prodding. 
Toward the end of my last month of pills, I was definitely ready to go off of the medicine. I will admit that I started to feel depressed and would want to just cry for no reason. Although, I think it should be noted that I was on a seven month course of pills instead of the usual five or six months that most people do. 
I have a breakout on my forehead right now and a cystic spot on my chin that I’m not too pleased about. I think this may be because I haven’t stayed up with washing face at night and taking all my makeup off. Thankfully, I know I have a Clarisonic coming my way for Christmas and I am very excited to get to use it. I’ve heard good things about it, so hopefully it’ll do good things for my skin. 
If there’s anyone out there with questions, feel free to comment on a post and I will answer as quick as possible! 

It’s Month 7!

I wish I could have updated this blog more often through my Accutane journey, but with craziness of life and other things, it’s been hard to find time for it. However, I finally took some new pictures and will tell you all how I’ve been doing. 

I am still taking Absorica, but this month will be my last month of pills! I’m honestly ready to take a break from the medicine and can’t wait to be done with the rest of my blood tests. I currently have about one or two active spots on my back and really just one on my face near my chin. That’s a big improvement from where I was. Unfortunately, I have a lot of discoloration on my back from the acne that used to be there, but my dermatologist said my skin should brighten some over the next six months. 
In the past week, I’ve had trouble again getting red, flaky patches on my arms. The rashy-looking patches on my arms have really been the only big side effect I’ve had from Absorica. The help treat the redness, my dermatologist gave me a prescription cream for it, which helps a lot, and told me to use CeraVe on top it. They also gave me something called Hylatopic, which is a prescription moisturizer, and it has helped a lot too. 
My lips have been so agonizingly dry throughout the whole thing. If you are someone who is about to start Accutane, GET SOME GOOD LIP MOISTURIZER! Lately I’ve been using LypSyl. It makes my lips feel cool, which I like. And I also like the packaging for this product. 

While on Absorica, I never had any differences in my mental health. I know that Accutane has had a reputation for messing with people’s emotional health; causing suicidal thoughts, etc. I was just fine on my medication, so I hope that is helpful for anyone considering Accutane. 
Also, ask your doctor if he/she has a coupon brochure that you can use for Absorica. There are some requirements that you need to meet to be able to use it (such as having health insurance), but with it, I was able to get Absorica every month for $10, which is a HUGE steal. I think the drug retails at $1700. There’s absolutely no way I would have been able to be on this drug if we had to pay that much every month for seven months. 
If any of you have questions that you would like me to answer, feel free to comment on the post! 

Here’s the pictures: 

ImageImageImageImageImage

Some Updates

I haven’t written on here in a while because life was getting super crazy at the time, and also because I was feeling a little disheartened by not seeing a lot of progress and I was tired of taking weekly pictures.

However, I am now in month 5 of my Accutane journey and I think I am beginning to really see some results. The main problem for me, really, are acne marks and not necessarily the acne itself. My back is actually pretty good, as far as active acne spots go. The thing that makes me upset are the marks that are left over.

I’ve been working so hard on trying to get the marks to fade using a cream distributed by Garnier. It’s been okay, but I recently (as in yesterday) discovered that Vitamin E is very good for helping clear up acne marks. I just bought a bottle of Vitamin E this morning at the store and plan to use it very soon!

My side effects really have not been too crazy while on this medicine. My triglycerides have been a problem as of late with my blood tests, though. Last time it was 267. Not happy with that at all. But, other than that, my lips have been very dry and that’s about it. No joint pain. No nose bleeds. No depression or suicidal thoughts or anything super negative like that.

I feel like I have had to wait quite a while to really start to see results and that my hard work may start to be paying off — it takes patience, for sure. I’m not done yet with the medicine. I’m pretty sure I will do another month, and perhaps another month on top of that, making it a 7-month course instead of 6 like most people do. I’ve talked to my dermatologist on how underwhelmed I had been feeling with my back because it just wasn’t looking like how I thought it would, but he assured me it was because of the acne marks and not having actual acne and that he would keep on the medicine as long as he saw fit. So we’ll see.

No picture for this post, but I will take some soon if there are any of you who read this enough to be interested.

Week 13: Day 86

Another week on Accutane. 

I’ve had a lot of dryness on my hands that doesn’t seem to want to go away easy. I have a prescription cream from my dermatologist that I use at morning and night and when I remember, I moisturize with CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. 

I feel like my biggest problems right now are around my mouth. I’ve had a cold sore, some bumps and my lips are as dry as ever. However, the cold sore from two weeks ago is pretty much gone and I’m waiting for the bumps beside my mouth to go away. 

I’ve been using Apple Cider Vinegar on my chest as much as I can remember to put it on before going to bed. I do think it does help fade the acne there, but I haven’t been using it everyday, so the results probably aren’t as dramatic as they should be. 

My 4th month appointment is next week and holy crap – I can’t believe I’m actually going into the 4th month! I think I’ve seen some progress on my back, but as a I post on here every week, it is very slow. 

Here’s this weeks pictures: 

Image

ImageImageImageImage

Week 12: Day 79

Ughhhh. Late again. I’ve been feeling very fatigued and between that, being busy and just having general craziness in life, this blog hasn’t been a huge priority.

The biggest grief I’ve had this week has been the stupid cold sore I got last week and tried vehemently to get it to go away. I put apple cider vinegar on it almost every hour, I’ve kept it moist with Aquaphor and Vaseline, I’ve put a liquid bandage on it, the list goes on… but I think it’s finally beginning to go away.

I think my face is really starting to look good. I haven’t had any big breakouts and things are beginning to smooth out I think. I wish I could say the same for the rest of me, though. While I had the apple cider vinegar out, I used some on my chest, and I actually think it has helped some. I put some around my shoulders, but haven’t seen much of a difference there yet.

It’s terrible having to wait this long for my back to clear up, but like I’ve said in previous posts, my dermatologist said that it would be the last thing to improve. I’m hoping that in two months it will get to where I want it to be.

Okay, that’s where I am with this week. Here are the pictures:

ImageImage

ImageImageImage

Week 11: Day 72

For anyone who might follow this blog, sorry that I’m a day late on this update. Life has been more than crazy lately. I’ve had a lot of stress in my family with my father who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and also, lately, a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia – Acute Monocytic Leukemia. It’s been very difficult and stressful, but these hard times will pass eventually, I am sure of it. 

Update skin wise – my hands and around my elbows are just really dry. I’ve been using the prescription cream the dermatologist gave me combined with CeraVe moisturizing cream. I like the CeraVe a lot and would definitely recommend it. It’s light and makes my skin feel much more moisturized. 
I haven’t had any crazy breakouts on my face this week, although I think the stress from the last week is starting to catch up with me now on my face. I also have a dumb cold sore now. I hate those. Progress on my back is just really slow, which frustrates me. But, my dermatologist told me that my back would be the last thing to improve. 

Okay, here are this week’s pictures: 
ImageImageImageImageImage