Ok kids, deep breathe, here we go.
So today marks the first day in my quest to be 34 and acne free. I have tried just about everything know to man to treat my adult acne. You name it I’ve done it or tried it. Unfortuately there is nothing that can be done to treat hormone induced adult acne that will give me the same, if not better results than isotretinoin treatment. So head first i dive in to it.
This is not something that i have jumped into lightly either. I have done loads of research and have gone through all of the correct channels to get to the point i am at now and do NOT take this treatment lightly. This has been about an 8 year battle for me and i am now on my last hope.
Yes i am fully aware and totally informed on the side effect of this treatment. At 34 and having to weigh up the options of staring a family or pursuing this treatment, after much debate and discussion with my partner, family & medical professionals the choice was made.
If you are going to be a negative nelly and post negative comments about me or this treatment then please think before you speak. Come live a day in my shoes and see how much acne can effect you physically & emotionally especially when you work in the beauty industry.
Some people can be so mean, especially crackpot customers who say things like “god do you use this range because you’re skin is awful” or the best one was “what the F%$K is going on here” while pointing her fat chubby fingers just centimetres from my face.
Below are some recent photo’s before my treatment. Yes i feel totally naked, vulnerable & utterly exposed here but didn’t think back then i would be documenting my treatment so the pictures are pretty shoddy. So please be nice.
This photo was just a few days before one of my girlfriends got married and i sent it to my sister in a desperate bid for her to make me feel better as i was feeling really really low. She always knows the perfect things to say to me when i feeling a bit sooky la a.
This was taken in early march while i was all alone in a hotel room in Adelaide on a work trip, this was around a month before i had my dermatologist appointment and i was totally counting down the days until i could see her. This was my acne at it worst. All hot, itchy and so painful. Some nights i couldn’t even stand to put my face on my pillow it was so uncomfortable.
April 2012 Right side of face
April 2012 Left side of face
This was the morning of my dermatologist appointment, i wanted some reference photo’s just in case she wanted to see some before shots. She didn’t and was happy to discuss treatment based on what i presented to her on that day.
The Doctors Appointment and Referral
To get into a Dermatologist i had to first go and see a GP. I made an appointment here in my local GP practice and after getting a somewhat quick check up i walked away with a referral letter and could not get home quick enough to call and get an appointment. The sooner the better.
The Dermatologist Appointment
I was lucky enough to be sent to a Dermatologist in Moonee Ponds which i happened to already know where it was, was conveniently easy to get to and just so happened to be near my Mum’s work so coffee dates after appointments would ensure (yep i make mum pay hee hee hee) and was told this would be quicker than getting into the one in Footscray that was closer to home but had a longer waiting list.
On the day of my appointment i made sure i had absolutely no makeup on so that my dermatologist could see my skin in all its acne glory. After having a long poke and prod around she then asked me a barrage of questions and then gave me some option on treatments and asks of i wanted time to talk to my partner as the issues of fertility, children & pregnancy came into the mix.
I already knew what i wanted to so and after she went through ALL of the pro’s and con’s of the treatment i was sent on my way with a script for Yaz contraception pill (that was $73 for 3 months and i nearly fell over at the cost, yeah it had been a few years since i had taken the pill but christ what a punch in the pocket) and some blood work paperwork. Once she had received the results from my blood work she would then mail me a script for the Oratane (isotretinoin). She also gave me some literature issued from the Australian & New Zealand dermatology peeps to read and she warned me on reading too many article and stories on the internet as someone of can be a little alarming and untrue. Too late lady, been there, done that!
The blood test
I had to have a blood test to check my liver function, pregnancy & cholesterol levels. No biggie. Not really a fan of blood tests but if this was the hardest thing i had to go through to get the treatment then so be it. I was absolutely sure that everything would come back normal and i had nothing to worry about. On the morning of the test i had to make sure i had fasted for at least 8 hours. I was bloody starving and was in dire need of a coffee so i got up and headed to the clinic as fast as i could. The lady who took my blood said something really weird to me that was like “oh i see you want these results as quick as possible now don’t you sweetheart” with a vey sympathetic smile and stuck a big fat urgent sticker on my paperwork and blood vial. It wasn’t until i was waiting for my coffee after my appointment that i though. Oh no does my face look THAT BAD that even the blood nurse thinks I’m a big fat pizza face and need this treatment ASAP. Way to make be feel crappy lady. Home to sulk in what was to become one of my last full cream lattes.
Results came back pretty quickly as expected. Liver function test came back perfect and pregnancy came back as a negative but and there was a big but….. i had high cholesterol. My level came back as a 6.5. whoops. I had no idea i had high cholesterol I always assumed high cholesterol came hand in hand with someone that was a lot older and perhaps someone who was over weight. i am probably smack on my weight if not a little under what would be deemed as normal for my height and age so i was a little floored. My dermatologist explained that i needed to drastically bring down my cholesterol levels with a change in diet and that i would have to be retested in 6 weeks. If the level remains at 6.5 or goes higher i will be taken off the Oratane (isotretinoin) treatment until my levels go down. Boo hiss. I have made loads of dietary changes in the past few weeks. I have substituted all animal fats in my diet and am following a sort of hybrid vegan/vegetarian/pectarian/meat diet yeah that sounds totally stupid but some days i eat totally vegan and some days i manage to pop a little fish in there or some really low fat (what’s the point in eating it) cheese or yoghurt. Cows milk is substituted by Soy and almond milk. Fish is replacing most meat dishes & i am limiting (to practically non existent) my intake of bacon & pork. Anyone that knows me know i freaking love bacon and would eat it with anything possible. One of my fav dishes my BF makes me as a treat is his delicious chinese style pork belly with rice and chilli that i drown in kecap manis. Its not even allowed in the house anymore. BF’s rule not mine! Stoopid high cholesterol!
I watched the letter box like a hawk and finally the day it arrived i headed straight to the pharmacy to have it filled so i could get on this treatment, the quick I’m on it the quicker I’m off it. I had already costed the amount when i put my Yaz script in and was told was around $35 per script. Yep fine with me.
When my tablets were dispensed and the pharmacist then through all the medication information and directions i nearly vomited when i caught a glimpse of the price. $94.oo. Say what. Yep my dermatologist forgot to put an authority number of some sort on my script so rather getting it for $35 i would have to pay the full price. After some whinging from me and some coaxing from the pharmacist he called my dermatologist and organised a new script for me that had the authorisation number on it and i paid $35.40 for my pills which is 60 days worth. Phew. My pharmacist is a gem!
He also gave me a “show Bag” of little samples that came in a big toiletry bag with Oratane emblazoned on it. Inside it had a non descriptor lip balm, a 5ml sample of Avene skin recovery cream, a 5ml Avene extremely gentle cleanser, a 3g sample of Fess nasal gel moisturising gel and some pamphlets on Avene products and some other assistance products like eye drops, sensitive body washes and sunscreens. All i’d say are heavily subsidised by Genepharm who make my pills.
So there you have it the beginning of what i hope will be a beautiful friendship. Lets hope the trip is a quick one with not too many obstacles thrown in. May the side effects be minimal and far & few between.
Anyone been on Isotretinoin treatment before? Any one have any advice? Anyone have any recommendations on any products i should look at to help my skin during this treatment? I would love to hear any dietary advice you might have but please don’t mention bacon, please.