Wednesday, 16 April 2014

My skin: Part 2 - Roaccutane journey begins.

My first visit to the dermatology clinic was in January of this year (2014) and I was so nervous. As soon as I walked in, and the dermatologist started talking to me, I felt at ease. The nurses weren’t judgemental, or condescending and for the first time I felt that they really understood how I was feeling. I can’t tell you how relived I was. She took a good look at my skin, and told me that there were a few options that we could try. To hear her say that it wasn’t the end, and that I didn’t have to tolerate these spots for the rest of my life made me feel so happy. 

Back in January I was started on the first treatment immediately; it was a combination of Lymecycline and a contraceptive pill called Dianette that I was to take for the following 3 months. 

Now I am by no means an expert, nor will this apply to everyone, but for me this treatment wasn’t right. Initially it worked, but then slowly over the months the spots just kept coming back.

My next appointment was this week. I went back to the clinic with my mum, and spoke to the nurses about how I felt. Again they were really understanding, and encouraging, even telling me that “there is no-one that they have seen that they haven’t been able to help”, which was reassuring.  Once again we spoke about the second treatment option, Roaccutane.

I know that there are many people who have mixed views about this drug, but I am willing to give it a try. The nurse was very honest with me about the scale of this treatment; her exact term was “nuclear”. But then, she also explained why it is so successful.

I was taken through the dangers of getting pregnant whilst on the drug, along with other possible side effects. Any worries or queries were addressed there and then, with them saying that there is no such thing as a stupid question.

At the appointment they needed me to take a pregnancy test, and a blood test to ensure that it was safe to start the treatment. I confess, even at 21 the thought of a blood test gave me goosebumps. I am terrified of needles, and am sedated when I visit the dentist. In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad. The nurse explained to me exactly what she was doing, and distracted me by telling jokes. I can’t lie and say it is completely pain free, but it is all over before you know it!

And so it was decided that I would be put on a low dose of the treatment to start with, to see how my body copes. This can then be raised or lowered at any time during the course. I would take Roaccutane alongside a contraceptive pill for 16 weeks,
throughout which I will return to the clinic once a month for a pregnancy test, and a second blood test between 6-8 week mark.

I am a little nervous as some of the side effects can be pretty extreme, but I am also open minded, and positive that I am finally on the road to clear skin.  The main two effects they warned me about were depression and dry lips.  Mum said she would keep check on my moods and I was given the nurse’s number if I needed to call her at any time. It is not something I am taking lightly, but I am determined to beat this acne!

I will start the treatment officially on the 28th of April and will keep you updated, if you are interested. 

Does anyone has taken this do you have any tips or advice on how to deal with the side effects?

I’d be grateful to you for sharing them with me, wish me luck!

My skin: Part 1 – a little background story.

 I’ve decided to speak to you about my skin, the problems I have faced and how I am trying to solve them.
I must admit I was a little apprehensive about posting this, but then I thought it might help someone in my position, so here goes…

(You might want to sit down, and grab a cup of tea)

First of all I’m going to give you a little background about me, and my skin. For as long as I can remember I have battled with my skin. If you were to ask me the last time my skin was clear, and spot free, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. It has bothered me for well over 8 years.

In comparison to others my skin is probably nowhere near the worst it could be, however I do think people underestimate the impact acne has on you. Throughout my teens I always had spots, mostly on my chin. At the time I was told by the doctor that these were hormonal, and would likely disappear when I came out of that “awkward puberty phase’.

They didn’t disappear, and slowly I developed spots on my cheeks, forehead and around my neck. (Attractive right?) Going to and from the doctor I was given various pills, creams and lotions to try. Nothing seemed to work, and this cycle continued for many years.

It is hard for me to explain how this made me feel, without coming across vain. But it’s not that at all. Having spots on my face was all I thought about, all of the time. I felt that if someone was talking to me, they were just staring at my spots. I have avoided going out, taking photos on trips and sleeping over friends houses all because I feel embarrassed and ashamed.  All my friends are stunning; they don’t wear make-up because they don’t need to. Whereas I would have to cover up my spots just to answer the door.

Last year I went back to a doctor, and when I explained to her how I felt, she didn’t seem to understand. She made me feel like a fool for ‘bothering her’ with this issue.  She seemed cold and abrupt, making me feel like I was just being vain. For a few months I just thought that was it, there was nowhere else to go and I just bottled my feelings inside…

Fast-forward to December and I had had enough. I couldn’t bottle up how I felt anymore and went back to see a different doctor. I took my mum with me for support, but as soon as I started speaking to the doctor I just burst into tears. All these years of emotion just came out. Looking back I feel like a total lemon for crying in front of him, but I just couldn’t help it! Thankfully he was understanding, and immediately referred me to a dermatologist.

This is where the next part of the journey begins…

I'm back - An Easter break.

Hello! Guess who is back? 

I feel terrible for neglecting my blog for quite some time, but life does that thing where it takes over. My job keeps me super busy, so I now have less time to do interesting things to tell you all about!

At work we have just broken up for Easter break, so I have some free time to get back into blogging. If you'll have me back!?

You may, or may not know that my family has a holiday home in Norfolk. So my sister, mum and I took a trip there for a long weekend, and were joined by some family friends, for a sleepover by the sea!

The weather was lovely and sunny, but not hot enough so start swimming in the sea. The night our friends arrived, we all stayed up to the early hours in our jimjams.(Does anyone else use that word for pj's?) Many glasses of wine were drunk and chocolate was eaten.

The next morning we all woke up bright and early, and it was bacon rolls all round whilst we sat out in the sun. I love nothing more than waking up to warm, sunny weather. It puts you in a jolly mood for the rest of the day.

 We spent the weekend walking on the beach, catching the sunset, eating fish and chips and doing a little bit of shopping. Everything you could want from a girly weekend!

I might do a post on the items that I picked up, I didn't get too much but Jack Wills and Joules certainly dented my wages!

I hope you're enjoying Easter too!