Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fire-burnin' & Harley Quinn

So it's been a little while since I've posted and I actually have read a book since then! I'm pleased to say that I have demolished the newest in the Divergent series called Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I loved it and actually intend to read it again because I want to make sure I didn't miss anything. I feel like I flew through it a little too fast and would like to slow down and enjoy a little more. Once I reread it, I'll post a new update about the details of it.

This post is going to talk about some things that I'm currently dealing with both good and bad. So if you're looking for book suggestions or a review, go ahead and come on back later. 

Okay so here's a little background on what I'm about to discuss. Please note that there could be some serious self-pity below.

When I was going into 6th grade, my summer was definitely an eye-opener. Now I'm not sure if I hit puberty  while I wasn't paying attention then BOOM! there I am standing in the mirror trying to figure out what the hell all those spots/dots on my back were. That led my parents and I to go see a doctor about what was going on. I was one of the very lucky awesome people unfortunate kids to have acne. For me, it wasn't just acne though and at the time, it just felt like the world was ending. Throughout my middle school and high school years, I suffered from horrible self esteem issues. Not only did I always wear shirts that hid my acne, but I started getting acne on my face and chest and shoulders. On top of that, when some of the acne would go away, they were replaced with scars. Not just any scars...noooo, not for me. I started getting keloid scars. Fun fact: keloid or hypertrophic scars are scars that are raised above the skin and grows beyond the border of the actual scar. These scars started showing up about the same time I figured out that I had crappy skin so they've been a part of me for a long time. I went to the dermatologist and pretty much went through every -cycline medicine to get rid of the acne and not one of them worked. Hell, at one point, they had me putting Betadine rub (yea, the stuff the docs use to clean skin off before they cut during surgery) and it was to no avail. I'm not sure when it happened or if it truly did, but I started to get frustrated to the point where I just decided to say "Screw this." I  think it had something to do with the one time that I came out of my shell, wore a bathing suit to swim at the Va Beach Rec center, and the lifeguard freaked out thinking that I was going to spread some disease because she was so grossed out concerned about the scars/acne. I got to a point where I started wearing tank tops, sleeveless shirts, bathing suits almost to spite people. I was still incredibly self-conscious about it but I still did it. It wasn't until high school and my sophomore year that I really got to a point of acceptance. I joined my high school swim team and no one said a word. I think a lot of it has to do with the friends that I had back then. My best friend at the time practically threatened lives of people if they gave me a hard time. It was hard but I wouldn't change that experience for the world. It's how I got to where I am today in accepting who I am, scars and all. The only downside of that time in my life is the development of yet another new issue. Not only did I have scars, but I started getting pains. The best way to describe this is being pricked with needles in each individual scars (there are many). From what I've been able to gather, the pains are caused by adrenaline or stress that's going through my body and forcing the scars out against my skin. So...there's that. Going forward in my life, I got used to it. I moved on from that pain that I felt growing up and dealing with it but I do have some lapses. 

As an adult, I made the decision to look into what I could do about the scars/acne. I figured with the way technology and medicine has advanced, there might be a miracle or an idea that might work. On my own, I went to a dermatologist. That doctor prescribed me Accutane and told me I had a decision to make. If you've never heard of Accutane, it's scary stuff. It was an offer to me when I was younger but I couldn't handle making that decision at that age. Making the decision to take this medicine involves signing a contract, reading an actual book about what could happen while taking the medicine. It also requires any female to utilize two separate forms of birth control. Each month, there are tests run, questions answered, and if you don't pick of the prescription in the 7 days from the day of the blood tests; all must be repeated. So, I took a few days to think about it, talked with Cisco about it because let's face's important for him to be a part of. Taking this medicine means that no children while on the medicine, and no children for at least two months after finishing the medicine. So depending on the length of time I take the medicine, it could cut into our lives. Not that we're looking for children but life does change and things get re-prioritized. I decided to take the medicine. From September until about early February, I was good to go on the medicine. Dermatologists usually prescribe it in the winter/colder months because the medicine is actually supposed to alter your DNA in that it closes your pores and slows the production of substances in your body that cause acne and blemishes. It completely reduces oil and sweating actually slows and in some cases halts altogether.  I started on an average dose every other day then moved to daily and then a higher dosage for the first 6 months. It was an uncomfortable time because of the dryness of my skin and hair but it definitely worked. My face is clearer than it has ever been, not that it was every truly horrid in the first place. Unfortunately, the medicine focused solely on my face (guess I didn't realize how bad my face was) and only minutely on my chest/back/shoulders. My doctor decided that I needed more time on the medicine. Sadly, at that point, my liver enzymes and levels were all over the place unhealthy. I had to go off of the medicine for about a month or two until my levels returned to normal. 

During this month or two break, I started going to the gym daily. I think having a clearer face gave me more motivation to really go out and change my life. If I'm going to make one drastic change, why not do an overall drastic change. Lose weight/kill acne/demolish scars/etc. and it was going well! I zumba three times a week, I lift weights, hobble run on the treadmill, do an abs/glutes class and I'm at least 20lbs lighter. This brings us full-circle on this post and the reason I'm writing. I went off the Accutane just before I started working out so I had no idea if the medicine would really affect me and the way I was doing things. Last week, my doctor put me back on it in order to see if the medicine would work on my chest/back/shoulders now that my face is good to go. I started it Thursday and by Monday I was struggling. Because the medicine was back in my system, Monday was a rough day for me. I did my zumba workout as usual (Fire-Burnin' definitely had a whole new meaning to me) but halfway through and when it was over, I was having an incredibly difficult time. My skin was red and blotchy, and I felt like it was burning off. Imagine, if you will, having a really bad sunburn and it's 98degrees (good luck getting I Do (Cherish You) out of your head) and you have to sit in the sun sweating. That burning sensation? Multiply it by about a million ten (so you know I'm not exaggerating, I went with ten...not a million). I started realizing what was happening and just knew in my heart of hearts that I was going to have to make a decision yet again. That night I also started having the dizzy/nausea spells again. The only way I've figured out how to deal with those is laying on the floor (I wish that was a joke). 

I decided to take the day off on Tuesday to get my head straight wallow. And I did, I wallowed in my own self-pity. I knew and still do know that I could be dealing with worse things. I could be dealing with skin cancer, or any cancer for that matter like millions are dealing with. But there are some days where, even though it seems so small in the grand scheme of things, it just seems unfair. Yes, life is absolutely unfair and it's not out to be the good guy but damn it would be nice to just once not have to deal with these scars/acne/blemishes whatever you want to call them. So yep, self-pity: party of ME. I was smart enough to have a little chat with my doctor that same day too so it was a productive day of sorts. She told me exactly what I expected. I was going to have to make a decision. Either I continue the medicine, and stop working out/sweating; I continue my workout, and discontinue the medicine and deal; or I suffer through it and have the best worst of both worlds. This week was a little rocky for me. I felt like I'd made a decision and then something would happen and I'd change my mind or I felt like I wasn't strong enough. As of right now, I'm continuing the medicine but I also intend to continue working out. I have some ideas of things that might help make it hurt less to do so but only time will tell if I'm strong enough to handle it. Tuesday was difficult but I grabbed a towel from my favorite Anytime Fitness manager and it helped a little to at least get the sweat off my skin. It didn't do much for the fact that my pores were forced open by the actual sweat but it wasn't completely horrific as it felt on Monday. I still had the dizziness/nausea but that's to be expected until I can get the hang of the medicine again. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I do know that you'll be hard-pressed to get me to quit Zumba and my workouts. I bailed on Wednesday because of the heat outside and knowing that there wasn't going to be a reprieve for me as there was the two earlier days since it was cooler outside. I'll be back at the gym today, still weighing in my mind what I can actually handle and what might be too much for me. It's a hard thing to describe and explain. I've been dealing with these kinds of issues for about half my life but sometimes I still get down about it. There's nothing I can do about it, the people around me generally support me and hold me up, and even strangers don't utter a word if I wear a tank top. I'd like to think that's because of the way I hold myself. I don't mind people asking questions anymore and sometimes I just address to get it out in the open. Who knows? Maybe one day there will be a magic cure for it...or I'll get a connect-the-dots tattoo and really have a conversation starter.

Enough of that...sometimes it just helps me to write it all out. One of these days I'll get back to writing and see if I still have those writing chops (if I had any before) but for now, I'll stick with prose and writing about what's really going on with me. It helps to be able to write exactly what I'm thinking instead of figuring out how exactly to articulate it verbally. Sometimes the written word is all you need.

Now, on to more FUN topics! We're getting a puppy this weekend!! We're naming her Harley Quinn after the character in Batman. She's a 4 month old, 25lb, German Shepherd mix and we hope to meet her, lover her and pick her up on Saturday before Laila's party. We went out and bought a dog bed, toys, crate, food, water/food bowls/stand, leash and other miscellaneous things that go with getting a dog. I'm really excited and hope that she gets along with my furballs at home.

On that note, I'm going to say thanks for reading all of that and hopefully it's a little more insight into my world than you had before. I tried to smash the boring/frustrating parts between two fun parts of books and puppies but sometimes, it doesn't really matter either way.

I leave with one of my favorite quotes from a book (and one I've been quoting a lot lately...)

"I never thought I would need bravery in the small moments of my life. I do."
Tris in Veronica Roth's Divergent

No comments:

Post a Comment