As many of you may know, My skin hasn’t always been this “flawless”. I suffered from cystic acne for the last 15 years. Now, I’m not talking like a few zits here and there, NO. NO. NO. I’m talking BIG, PAINFUL, BLOOD FILLED, DEEP cystic acne. At one point I was unrecognizable and my sister and I joked that I looked like an avatar (I’ll post this “Day 1” pic below). What else can you do other than make light of a really uncomfortable situation. That’s basically what I had to do to push myself out of the front door and be seen in public. It got to the point where I would cancel hanging out with friends because it was so embarrassing. Enough was enough.
In 2016 I decided to call my doctor to get referred out to a dermatologist. I’m done having babies, done nursing, and ready to put my body through whatever to takes to just be ance free. I can’t begin to tell you how many different RX creams, pills and serums I used that flat out didn’t work. The day was here. I received a phone call to set up my first appointment at the “Derm” (Lets just refer to my amazing Dermatologist as the “Derm” from now on)! I remember walking in shaking, embarrassed, not knowing what my future held, but I was hopeful. Hopeful she would take one look at my face and approve me to start treatment. After going over my paperwork, meds and my past, she began to hold a MAGNIFYING glass an inch from my inflamed cheek! I was about to run out of there in tears. As if she couldn’t see my face a mile away. That’s when I heard the words, “I think Accutane will benefit you best, YOU ARE APPROVED to take further action”. CHILLS. TEARS. THE BIGGEST SMILE AND HUG. I ran to my car and immediately drove to the hospital to get my first, of many, blood draw!
Now if you’re familiar with Accutane, you probably know its intense. When I say intense, I mean a grueling process. Every 30 days was like clock work. A derm visit to do a urine pregnancy test and be given the OK to push forward another month, a trip to the hospital for another blood draw, a questionnaire and sign your life away through a program, that then notifies your pharmacist that you’re approved for him to fill another 4 weeks of treatment.
Now swallowing the pills daily was the easy part, the side effects are what was hard. I’m talking your face peeling off in sheets, arm rashes that looked like a disease, chapped lips like you couldn’t imagine, high cholesterol (I had to go on Lipator you guys), and the worst one of all, joint pain. I was unable to walk some days. The Accutane dried me from the inside out. There was no lubrication left. My knees where on FIRE. I told the Derm and she said she was going to take me off treatment. I cried and said “I will roll in here in a wheel chair before I ever stop treatment”, so we continued. 7 LONG months of this, and then the day came! December 17th, 2016 was my last pill! I was acne FREE! I didn’t even look like the same person. I looked like who I truly felt like I was on the inside, and now it’s showing on the outside. A confident, outgoing, woman who can now live her life! I was free. I remember thanking my Derm, crying, hugging the life out of her. Her office took after pics and my journey with acne was finally over.
My knees are still not yet recovered, and probably will never be, but to me it was all worth it. I know what your thinking! Melissa, what about the post acne marks, scars, and discoloration? Well that is a whole other post in itself, and I can’t wait to tell you about it!