5th Check-in – Week 29

September 28th. Thursday

Last check-in. I’m sure. I think. I went in, hoping that the dermatologist would say I didn’t need to do this last month. I’m at 133mg/kg, which is in the 120-150mg/kg remission target area. I told her that the dermatologist at home said I should go another month, a month without any breakouts, and this one liked the idea. At that point, I thought, I’m already in the target area, she’ll give me something like 20mg/day. Instead, I’m still at 80mg/day. By the end of this month, I’ll have ingested 10,800 milligrams of Accutane. This’ll put me at 171mg/kg. I better frickin be done by then. I have no intention of continuing after this month. Whether I get a breakout or not. It will have been seven and a half months.

I asked her about the peeing. She said it was fine.

Numbers – Week 28

September 26th. Tuesday

Some quick math:

This is my fifth prescription. I’ve had two months of 40mg/day, two of 60mg/day, and by October, I’ll be done with a month of 80mg/day.

The first two months put me at a total of 2,400mg (40mg/day x 30 days x 2 months) of Isotretinoin in my juices, after the second two, I was at 6,000mg, and after this month’s prescription, I’ll be at 8,400mg. The remission target is 120-150mg/kg. I’m around 63 kg, which means I’ll be at 133mg/kg by the end of September.

That’s honestly enough…

I thought I wanted to go another month. Just to be totally sure. But I’m not sure if I want to anymore. I haven’t had a major breakout in a while.

Maybe I could just go for a really low dosage?

Further – Week 28

September 21st. Thursday

I’m feeling really low. I’m careful with the word depression. I don’t like slinging it around. But that’s sorta what it feel. I’ve been going about my daily schedule and everything seems really dreary. Writing has lost its appeal. I’m discovering new relationships between characters but it’s not as exhilarating as it used to be.

I’m trying to change where I do work. Constantly. I find changes like that necessary, else I just get really moody and sad. I usually work in the library or coffee shop. Today, I’ve chosen to work an empty classroom. I’ll have to move if there’s a class, but the cosmetic difference is kinda turning my world around.

I look fine. I was remembering this morning how I want to be able to roll out of bed and not think about how other people were looking at me (specifically regarding acne). I am comfortably in that reality now. I don’t notice the difference though. I mean that the change has been gradual and my perception of that change has been as well. I don’t appreciate being acne free as much as I would like to appreciate it. As much as I thought I would.

In some ways, it’s weirdly worse, this stage of treatment. During my last check-in, I was at the point where I was having breakouts pretty infrequently. At this point, I’m only still on Accutane to make that infrequently into a never. Which means that I’m not seeing any change. I’m just suffering mentally.

I’m going to see Smash Mouth live on Saturday.

Depression? – Week 27

September 14th. Thursday

I’ve been here before. Every time, I remember having the question, “this is bad but is this depression?” Obviously not a great question to ask yourself. I’m again in the headspace where I’m not looking forward to anything. I wake up tired and bored, wanting to go right back to sleep. I have body aches. I don’t know how I feel about anything.

Last week was prime. I got my homework done, I spent time with friends, I worked out, I played piano, and I spent time on personal projects. I’ve still been plenty productive this week, but in a much more frantic way. I’m not sure what changed. I do tend to freak out like this as soon as I get used to things. My boss and I talked about how we were both pretty bored in life at the moment. Like neither of us is looking forward to much. Bored is such a tame word, though it seems to get a pretty extreme reaction out of me.

Right now, piano and exercise are the only meaningful outlets I have. Communicating is harder and harder to do meaningfully. In some ways, I have stopped trying. People on campus seem much less viable dumping ground (emotional) all of a sudden. I had three significant confidants on campus last year. This year, one is taking a semester abroad, one is going through a lot as well and seems more distant, and the third one might have a crush on me which makes sharing with them super weird. I would normally be able to navigate any of these; maybe all three at the same time. But at the moment, I have nothing.

This has led me to reach out to others. I have a school friend from semester who’s now in NYC who was also on Accutane at some point. I talked to her about my fear of being permanently damaged by this. She said I’d be fine. Which is probably true. I believe I will be my old self after November 1st. But I’m fucking terrified at the same time because the life I’m living now is god awful. I’m scared. I’m so scared. I’ve been so scared for so long.

I also talked to two friends from home. Less helpful. Both of them were all about digging into the emotional cesspool of fear and vulnerability and desolate sadness that is my psyche to figure out how I feel. Which is great advice. But I’m afraid of acknowledging some things that might be down there.

It’s whirlwind of a week. I hope winter’s short

Closer – Week 26

September 7th

I scheduled my next check-in today. My last check-in was on August 15th, which means that I should be seeing the dermatologist next week. But they’re first opening was the 28th. What did I expect?

So I have to ration again. I’m basically back to 40mg/day now. Which is fine; it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to consume isotretinoin as long as you hit your kg/mg target. But every late appointment is more time on this stuff for me. Since I’m taking another prescription after this, I’m looking at 7.5 months. I’ll be clean in November, or whenever the drug leaves my system. Not soon enough tho. March 14th wouldn’t have been soon enough.

My back looks better. It’s just scars left now. There are a few red boys here and there but they’re on their way out. I’m on my way. My nose still has these nodule type things that haven’t seemed to care how much Accutane is being pumped through my veins. Still going strong. Also, my face still rivals a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish when it comes to flakiness. But then again, what doesn’t? My lips are as unhappy as usually. I hope they don’t continue to produce skin as fast as they are now. That would be bad for my nonexistent love life.

Things are going though. It’s honestly a bit domestic now. Aside from the regression panic.

Revisited Revisited – Week 25

September 1st. Friday

Where to begin. I think I gave you all the details last week. Developments in the Ella department. Something happened.

I think I’m blowing it out of proportion, with the relative experiential desert that is my history with romance. We kissed. A few times. It was desperate and fleeting and wonderful. We were tempted to leave our lives behind and run away and be together in the wet and wild forests of Vermont.

We basically just hung out a lot more and things just started to happen. We’d be up until 3 or 4 in the morning in the music building practice rooms, learning music we could play together. She was leaving Thursday. I think it happened Wednesday night/Thursday morning, hours after I told my boss (in my weekly meeting about how I was faring) that I was definitely 100% not pursuing Ella romantically. We were lying on the music hall stage, next to the massive Great-Grand piano (one of the long boys). It was cold outside and I had brought along a blanket to wear instead of a jacket. I had spread it out on the floor and we were rolled up in it, staring at the ceiling. I don’t even remember what way I was facing or whether my eyes were open when she kissed me. I was a bit startled at first. But she kissed me.

I had a class at 1:30 on the last day. For the past few days, while Ella was staying with me, I had been waking up for breakfast, eating real quick, and then hopping back in bed with her. Today, I didn’t get breakfast. I barely got lunch. It was hard to leave, even when I finally did at like 12:45.

We went our separate ways. I had class until dinner and she had to say goodbye to other friends. She was leaving later that day. I had told her to catch me at dinner before she left. My first classes of the semester were fine. They went right up until dinner. She didn’t tell me exactly when she was going to leave, but we found each other in the dining hall.

Ella and I are very alike. We both found something at school that we didn’t have at home. We grew in ways that couldn’t be nurtured at home. I never hug people when I’m in Wisconsin. Physical contact is much more free in liberal, woodsy Vermont, and that was something I missed a lot over the summer. We both came back to this place that we love and have grown into. I’m going to be here for a while longer, but she had to leave yesterday. I think that factored into what happened between us.

Revisited – Week 24

August 29th. Tuesday

I got a ridiculous amount of free time over RA training. Most of our sessions ran short, meaning we had a lot of time to kill. I’d have been okay if I had more to do, but I really don’t lately. I have a hard time being productive when my schedule is volatile like it is now. It would have helped if I had more stuff to set up in my room. But I don’t. There are only so many ways you can arrange two suitcases and a bed. I don’t have any bosom friends in the RA group; I’m friendly with all of them but I don’t hang out with any, really. I’m pretty bored, to be honest.

Lately, I’m spending a lot of time with Ella, the international student from last year. The camping trips lasted a week, meaning that she’s only been back for like three days. But the trip she was one was only a short hike away from campus, so I visited them once while they were out. Since they got back, however, Ella and I have gotten a lot closer. Despite my rigid routine, we’ve spent the last two nights rock climbing and playing piano for hours. Also, since she’s not a student, she doesn’t have much in the way of housing arrangements, so she’s been sleeping in my room.

I like Ella. I like like Ella. But she’s got a person at home and she’s only here for another few days, so I don’t see any reason to push things with her. Nothing has happened between us. And I’m okay with that. Stop bringing it up.

Ella’s been a great distraction from my overtime job of hyper-analyzing my own consciousness. So far, romance is one of the only emotional stimulants I’ve found that works while I’m on Accutane. I haven’t felt this much of anything in a long time. Maybe since Anna.


Roaming – Week 23

August 20th. Sunday

I picked up my new prescription today. I shortly after realized that my prescription for 80mg/day (two 40mg pills) is a different brand than all of my previous prescriptions. Before I was on Claravis and now I’m taking Amnesteen. I don’t know how much of a difference this will make. I imagine none. I fear it’ll make things worse. I hope it’ll be tamer than my previous prescriptions.

Today was wonderful though. RA training begins tomorrow, so I had all of today to put some finishing touches on my room and break it in. There were also a lot of other people hanging around; there’s this program at school where all new students go camping for a week before the term starts, and it’s led by returning students. A lot of those leaders are friends, and I got to hang out with them. The camping trips started today, and I tagged along/ferried supplies for a trip led by said friends in the evening. They had an awesome batch of new students, and spending time in that fledgling community was really cool.

Also, an international student I’m friends with was visiting/on the trip, and I got to hang out with her. A lot of hanging out of me today… She was only here for a semester last year, but we were pretty close at the beginning of that year. It was lovely to catch up with her a bit. My dorm is right next to a patch of forest, and as I was sitting in front of my door, waiting for the new students to put their stuff in their rooms, she appeared from between two trees. It was startling. Someone said something about her visiting around this time, but I had completely forgotten.

Things are looking up today.

Back – Week 23

August 19th. Saturday

Back. I am back. I am back at school. I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

I’ve waited for two and a half months to be back a school. It’s surreal being back.

After setting up my room, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t think I’d be done so fast. I was hanging out with another RA friend at some point and I remember wanting to have some sort of movie night with the whole team. But fifteen minutes later I just wanted to curl up into a ball in my room. I’ve been rationing my remaining pills, and maybe since I’m ingesting less of this stuff, I’m going through withdrawal. Or maybe being back, in such a different environment, around people again, has my jimmies thoroughly rustled. I ended up watching a movie in my room alone. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I often find it hard to get lost in fantasy movies. usually  The plots are usually too farfetched and the characters too simple. But for some reason, this one hit me hard. I think my emotions are running wilder than they usually are. I’m usually pretty contained. And cynical…

I find every discrepancy (perceived or measurable) from the behavior of my past self extremely alarming. I don’t know how to handle it.

Czech-in 5 – Week 22

August 15th. Tuesday!

Today today today today today! I left today!

My check-in went. Check-in 4 was super cool, but this one felt rushed. Even so, I told my dermatologist everything that was happening with me. I asked her about working out and she said it was fine. I asked her about the great red spot and she said it would go away. Which is what she said two months ago, and I’m skeptical about, but I’m not going to make a fuss of it at the moment. I’m currently sitting at 90mg/kg. I want to be between 120 and 150mg/kg. We’re planning on bumping up the dosage to 80mg/day. This will land me at around 130mg/kg, which is in the target remission zone. She said that she wanted me to go a month without breakouts. I’m not so confident that’s going to happen this coming month, but I can hope.

AHHHH. I left today. YESSS. I’m driving to Chicago to stay with some friends along the way. Tomorrow, I’ll be in uncharted territory. For me. Other people have charted the hell out of it.

I can not wait. I’ve been waiting for so long to leave and now it’s done. I’m on my way back to school.