Just Saying...

Just Saying...

10 months on Accutane & 4 months later...Final Update

Posted: 30 May 2012 12:05 PM PDT

I have two months and a week left on the accutane. We've given the cycle an end date. More so cos I will no longer have extended medical come Dec 31st at midnight. (company wide lay off- generous severance package though)

Thought I'd update what it's been like to be on the Tane for 8 of the 10 months so far.

Starting age 38, turned 39 in June 2011.
Female. 5'2".
Meds - Synthyroid. Daily dose 125mcg for hypothyroidism.
Advil only when absolutely needed.

February 2011
- Get all mandatory blood work (cholesterol, liver function, negative pregnancy test) so we know where my levels are at and how to gauge how much medication to receive.
- Learn there will be no sex (chose not to take a secondary birth control) or alcohol for the next 6 months.
- Can not donate blood during or for 6 months afterwards.
- Can not wax during or for 6 months afterwards.
- Learn of all possible and common side effects.
- Buy all moisturizing arsenals.

March 2011
- Blood work is good. It's a go.
- Starting dose 40mg.
- Day 3, inner nose is ridiculously dry, slight bleeding.
- You learn immediately why the doctor says to PAT your skin, DO NOT RUB!
- Day 10, increasingly tired, and thirsty.
- Blood work.

April 2011
- Dose 80mg
- Daily sunscreen. Experiment with different kinds til you find one you're happy wearing every.single.day. No joke. Every day.
- Nose bleeds on a regular basis.
- Lips are so dry they feel cakey.
- Vaseline, my finger and inner nose are very intimate now.
- Baby Oil and dry skin are best friends now.
Apply after the shower for best non greasy results. Trust me.
- Day 39 extreme fatigue sets in and a little depression (pre existing)
- Slightly annoyed, all the time. Apparently this will pass.
- Blood work.

May 2011
- Dose 80mg
- Daily sunscreen. Staying out of the sun for the summer months.
- Heavy aches and pains. Like you're coming down with the flu, but never get sick.
- Nose bleeds regularly.
- Minor headaches, bouts of sleepiness, sleeplessness, and lost of appetite.
- Had my nose cauterized. It helped.
- Started drinking Becks non alcoholic beer.
It's summer, need something to take the edge off.
- Acne starts to dry out and flake away. (this does pass- don't pick, skin is fragile)
- Hair so dry only washing it once a week with shampoo. Conditioning frequently.
- Blood work.

June 2011
- Learned my cholesterol spiked in May from 2.3 to 5.2 and liver function went down.
- Dose lowered back to 40 mg.
- Daily Sunscreen.
- Scalp is itchy and hurts to scratch.
- Adapting to the aches and pains.
- Gained some unexpected weight.
- Arms feel like they are about to snap off at the shoulders. Learning that once you get use to the aches and pains in one area....it moves. In a constant state of mild annoyance and in pain.
- Quit yoga. It hurts too much and recovery is extra long due to the drug.
- Start taking calcium, and omega 3 oil.
- Blood work.

July/August/September 2011
- Dose 40 mg.
- Cholesterol down to 4.2(July), then 3.8(August), and now 3.2(September).
- Daily sunscreen.
- All of September was really bad for side effects.
- Bone pain is intense. Hurts to walk, and to sleep on my side.
- Noticing my hair feels thinner. Maybe it's the new hair cut.
- Bones feeling fragile.
- Ready to be off this drug. It's kicking my ass.
- The side effects one by one are minor. But as a cluster and constant. It's exhausting.
- Eyes are itchy. Not allergies. Turns out I had extremely dry eyes and plugged lid ducts. high performance eye drops from the pharmacy(non prescription) and Lid-Care wipes, hot compresses all make a huge difference. (DO NOT USE VISINE).
- Learn that accutane is actually an anti-cancer drug. Type of chemo pill. Had I known this before hand, I could have mentally prepared myself to handle the side effects differently, rather than forcing myself thru some of the pain.
- Blood work.

October 2011
- Dose 40/80mg daily switch until my blood work says otherwise.
- Daily Sunscreen, on any remotely sunny day.
- Nose doesn't bleed anymore, but I've got my finger up there so often with Vaseline, it's too lubed to become dry and bleed anymore.
- Notice slight rashes on my arms. Not unusual due to the dryness. Reversible.
- Got the flu Halloween weekend. Thought I might die.
- Coughing is a new pain in itself. Taking a bit to recover from the flu.
- Hair is noticeably thinner. No bald patches,but definitely thinner. (I normally have ridiculously thick hair).
- Blood work.

November 2011.
- Dose 40/80mg switch.
- Cholesterol down to 2.8. woot woot!!!
- Approved for the last 2 months!!! Dec and Jan 2012. 

December & January 2012
-Same as November.

This is where it ends for the moment. I'll copy/paste this again when it's complete and still bitch about it in the mean time. I hadn't mentioned the hair thinning cos it's embarrassing. Plus it's not forever. It will thicken out again about 3 months after I stop taking the drug.

I wrote this post about managing the side effects. Like my Accutane survival kit. Have a read. For those of you that find this blog while on Accutane, it could definitely help. Remember, everyone manages the side effects differently, some do not feel many of them.

UPDATE: May 30th, 2012.

I took my last pill January 20th 2012.
It was only a matter of two weeks before I saw a difference in the side affects subsiding. Each week everything lessen a little more and more.

It's 4 months later and I feel more human every day. I am however having an issue with my nail beds, both hands and feet. Finding my nails to be very fragile. That wasn't an issue during the cycle.  My face, has unfortunately broken out a little since I took my last pill. Although, it's significantly diminished from what it use to be. *I* could very well be one of those people you hear about who might have to do a second cycle.

Not looking forward to it. As I've described being on Accutane in my late 30's the hardest thing to do. But that is me. Someone else may not have a single side effect.

In high insight it's taught me to keep my hands off my damn face! :)