The Accutane 411

The uncensored journal of an Accutane (Claravis) patient.

Day 63! August 10, 2010

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I really need to get on here and post some pictures, but right now I’ll just give an update.

My skin is looking pretty good.  I saw my dermatologist again on Friday and she is soooo happy with how my skin is coming along.  She said I’ve responded to the medicine really quickly.  I’ve had fewer and fewer breakouts each week.  I’m still getting a few zits every now and then, but I haven’t had a SINGLE cyst in over a month!  Wooohooo!  I’m pretty dry, but Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion is still doing the trick for my body and face.  I’ve added two more products from Lush to my repertoire.  If you don’t know what Lush is, you need to know.  This stuff is all handmade, it smells fantastic, and it has ingredients in it that are so good for you that most of them are edible.  First, I’ve been using the “Oatifix” face mask about 1-2 times per week.  This mask is so fresh you have to store it in your refrigerator.  It has bananas, vanilla, and oats in it to “cleanse, soften, and moisturize dry and sensitive skin.”  And let me tell you, this stuff does the trick.  I put it on for ten minutes and all my flakies just wash away.  I LOVE the way it smells, too!  Just like warm oatmeal cookies…mmmmm!  The second product I’ve added to my daily routine is the “Lemony Flutter” cuticle butter.  It is a really thick, creamy fusion of oils and shea butter that softens my really dry elbows, knees, and feet.  Before, my feet were getting so dry they were peeling like crazy.  Now, I’ve got my peely feet under control.  I put a small gob of this butter on my feet every night, and then I put on a pair of socks.  Overnight my dry feet are transformed.  I love this stuff!

Latetly, I’ve been a study-o-holic.  I’ve been sitting at my computer, working on papers for graduate school, for about 3-12 hours per day.  My back has been pretty achy, a side-effect of Claravis, but it could be due to the fact that I’ve sat still so much.  I also have been a little more tired than my usual self.  When I was in undergrad, I could stay up all night working on homework.  Now, I HAVE to go to bed by 11:30, or I get so tired I can barely function.  I’m done with school for about a month, so I’m so excited to have a life!  I’m going to be traveling a little bit and just relaxing.  It should be nice.

Okay, I’ll try to update sometime around my next dermatologist visit to give you guys an update.  Hope everyone is well!

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Let the waiting game begin. May 9, 2010

Filed under: Accutane Blog — theaccutane411 @ 11:00 pm
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For starters, let me just tell you I hate pap smears.  Okay, so most women don’t like them, and I know there are worse things in life.  But, really?  Do we have to put our feet in stirrups while you shine a bright light and poke around you-know-where?  Well, at least it’s over with!

On Wednesday, I spoke with my doctor about a hormonal birth control.  I told her I needed it to start Accutane treatment.  She responded with complete surprise, “Your skin is beautiful!” she told me.

“Look at my back,” I said.

After a little shuffling of the paper robe, she responded with a deep, “Hmmm,” and she shuffled over to her computer to write a prescription for the NuvaRing.

Upper "Bacne"

Sidenote: My friends, like my doctor, seem surprised that I’m going on Accutane.  I can see why.  My face, the most visible part of me, breaks out badly about once or twice a month.  Plus, let’s be honest.  After dealing with acne for the past 10+ years, I’ve become quite the pro at using concealer on my face.  My back, however, is broken out almost all the time, which people rarely see.  I get more cystic acne on my neck and back than anywhere else on my body.  I hide the breakouts by wearing my hair down almost everyday, and wearing clothes that don’t reveal my skin problems.  When I shop, I always look for “bad skin” clothes.  When I get those hideous breakouts on my chest, I usually wear shirts that come up high enough to cover my collarbones.  I can’t wait until the day when I never have to wake up and evaluate my skin before I pick out what to wear to work.

Anyway, back to the doctor’s visit…

I laughed out loud when I found out that the NuvaRing must be stored in your refrigerator until you are ready to insert it.  My husband was a little weirded out when he saw birth control in the fridge hanging out next to the leftovers. He can deal with it until I get started.  My doctor told me the ring wouldn’t be effective for at least one month.  That means I won’t be able to start Accutane until approximately the second week of June.  It sounds far away, but I’m sure it will be here before I know it.

I’ll keep you posted on how my body responds to the NuvaRing.  I’ve read some mixed reviews about it, but hopefully it works out for me!  Check back for an update sometime toward the end of the month.  For now, take care.

 

Accutane, here I come! May 2, 2010

Filed under: Accutane Blog — theaccutane411 @ 6:30 pm
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The diagnosis

In less than one week, I’ll be 26…and I still have acne. I’ve tried everything from creams to gels to pills, and nothing seems to discourage those pesky breakouts.  About a month ago, I was thinking I’ll probably just have to deal with bad skin for the rest of my life.   And then, my dermatologist suggested Accutane.

At first, I was hesitant.  I mean, my skin isn’t horrible, but I break out on my face, neck, chest, and back.  My smorgasbord of skin issues includes blackheads, white heads, and cystic acne.  If you know anything about cystic acne, you know it hurts like crazy.  Honestly, if I were still in my early 20’s, I’d probably keep trying alternative acne treatments.  But, let’s face it, I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20.  It’s time to have a clear, beautiful complexion.  So bring on the Accutane!

I’ve learned that taking this pill can be risky business.  You are required to have monthly blood tests and pregnancy tests if you are a woman.  If you are sexually active, you are required to use one form of hormonal birth control, and one backup such as condoms or spermicide.  I have an appointment with my gynecologist in two days to talk about birth control.  Last time I was on birth control, I took Yaz and it made me a very cranky lady!  This time, I think I’m going to try the NuvaRing.  I’ll keep you posted on how that works out!

I’ve already registered for iPledge–the government mandated program to prevent pregnancy while taking drugs containing isotretinoin.  According to my iPledge account, I could start treatment as soon as May 7, but since I’m not on birth control yet, I’m guessing it will be a bit longer.

The goal of this blog will be to discuss all aspects of my Accutane treatment.  Just to be clear, I have no connection to Accutane or Roche Laboratories, I’m just a patient documenting my own experience with the drug.  Hopefully this blog will be helpful to others who are on Accutane or thinking about taking Accutane.  Please feel free to comment, share thoughts, products, etc.  I look forward to hearing from you!