4.25.2013

Accutane Really Does Work (Alternate Title: A Post Written By Captain Obvious)


I've been struggling with temperamental and sassy skin since I was about thirteen. Despite both of my parents having angel-skin, when I hit puberty my sebaceous glands exploded and acne began its dictatorship on my face. I tried the more accessible drugstore products first: Clean & Clear (more like Dirty & Pimply, am I right, ladies?), Neutrogena, Clearasil, I tried it all. Now I've come to believe that drugstore acne products are a conspiracy and that they never really clear up acne so that you're forced to keep funneling money into their products for all eternity (insert diabolical laugh), but I was thirteen then and my parents didn't care about my face, they cared about my grades - I took what I could get.

Around sixteen, my mom finally realized how distraught I was about my bubble-wrap face and decided to buy me Proactiv. "Get clear skin!" they said. "Solve all of your acne problems!" they said. Yea, if you're not allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide. I had to stay home from school for three days because my face swelled up about twice its normal size and was covered with a rough, red, alligator-texture rash. I was at my sexiest.

I thought it was a lost cause and so I spent the next couple of years slathering makeup on haphazardly to hide the blemishes. At eighteen, I moved to New York City to start as a freshman at NYU. I thought it wasn't possible for my skin to get any worse but BOY WAS I WRONG. It got so bad that I was finally forced to be an adult and go see a dermatologist. I was prescribed a course of Doxycycline, Clindamycin topical gel, and Retin-A Micro. And guess what? That shit WERKED.

Cut to a couple of months after the course of oral antibiotics was finished and my old friend acne had returned. My derm prescribed another course, and this cycle of success/represcribing a couple of months later when the acne returned continued until about a year and a half ago when the antibiotics stopped working completely. My pimples did a lot of scoffing and were very proud of themselves. For the time being - they had won.

This was taken right before I started Accutane and is a good indication of how shitty my skin had been for most of my life. This photo and all subsequent photos in this post were taken without makeup to give you the full picture. HONESTY, Y'ALL. REAL SHIT.
That was the first time my dermatologist mentioned Accutane. The only thing I knew about it at that time was that it was serious business and that it had a hilarious anti-pregnancy warning on the packaging. I was too nervous, he told me to research it a bit,
This is no joke the pregnancy
warning on Accutane. HILARIOUS.
and I was sent away with some useless topical cream to try. It didn't work (duh) and about two months later I came back to my derm for help. Again, he suggested Accutane, but a combination of sheer stubbornness and fear prevented me from saying yes. I left that day with a prescription face wash. During this time I even tried Benzoyl Peroxide again - rationalizing that I gave up too soon the previous time and that my skin just hadn't adjusted to the chemical (spoiler alert: I was still allergic). After yet another two months of agony, I came back in. "There's really nothing left to try at this point - except for Accutane," said my patient, tolerant, prince-of-a-derm. FINE. I'LL DO IT. JUST GET THIS SHIT OFF OF MY FACE. My response directly to him was a bit more polite. I also was not shouting (except internally).

I don't know if you guys know this about Accutane, but it is a pain in the ass to take. Before you start, you need to get blood taken to make sure all of your levels and potassium and sugar/spice and shit are on point. Then the doctor sends over an approval request to your insurance company, provided you have health insurance. The approval process takes about a month - then you need to come back in and get blood drawn to make sure you're not pregnant. This is because Accutane will cause you to have deformed Dawn of the Dead zombie babies. After the blood is analyzed, you come back in to see the doctor and get your first legit prescription for Accutane. However, before you can pick it up you have to go online and answer a series of condescending questions about your sexual activity (Is it OK to use condoms alone while on Accutane [as in, just condoms as birth control - not condoms for one]? Your significant other pulls out, is this enough [...to not have a baby]?). Once you make it through that Sex Ed pop quiz, you bring your prescription to the pharmacy (with your Accutane "I'm not pregnant" card - you think I'm kidding?) where you have a one-week window to pick up your monthly supply or else you have to redo EVERYTHING. And that's right, I said monthly supply because you have to repeat this process every month that you're on it.

So anyway, one month after that visit I'm sitting on the couch, about to take the first pill, when I start reading about Accutane's side effects. You thought WebMD was scary? What is this, amateur hour?! Accutane has been linked to arthritis, IBD (Chrone's disease, etc), kidney and liver issues/failure, chronic joint and muscle pain, depression, bipolar disorder, the disease from "Cabin Fever," and a hundred other terrifying things. I was frozen in fear and apprehension which quickly disolved into apathy as I took the first pill like the badass, taker-of-risks that I am (I'm not really a risk-taker, I was just so defeated and pretty much at the point where I'd live with an ouchy body if it meant not having pimples - I trust anyone who's had acne knows where my head was at).

Mid-way through my five-month Accutane treatment.
Starting about three weeks in and lasting the entire duration that I was on Accutane, I had chapped lips that could rival Khaleesi's when she was crossing the red waste (yea, I just did that), eyes so dry that they rejected contacts, and the strangest boogers, but other than that, I was actually fine. No aches, no pains, no major organ failure, and no flesh-eating rashes with Rider Strong (tying it back in to "Cabin Fever" here, people - try to keep up). Since my skin was super frail at this point (for example, you must avoid waxing as it will rip off the top layer of your skin - someone had to find this out the hard way, let's have a moment of silence for them), I switched my skincare regimen to the most delicate of products (LUSH's Ultrabland as face wash and Celestial as moisturizer) at the suggestion of my dermatologist.

Five months went by pretty quickly and although the process of getting blood taken, coming back a week later to get the prescription, answering pedantic questions, and then finally being able to get the medication was UGH SO ANNOYING - in the end it was 100% worth it. It's been a couple months since I finished taking it and my skin is only getting better each day. I haven't had to buy a blemish-related product since and my makeup has gotten steadily lighter and lighter. For the first time in my life, this past weekend, I ventured into public without any makeup on. I couldn't be more pleased.

Taken about a month ago and about a month after finishing Accutane. Again, no makeup here. MY EMOTIONS.
In terms of the side-effects, I got lucky. If you're interested in taking Accutane, please check with your dermatologist and go through the necessary smart-person steps before doing so. It is a serious drug and should be taken responsibly, under the watchful eye of a licensed doctor, and only after other attempts have failed you miserably.

Let me know if you have questions? I guess?



12.21.2012

I'll Never Be As Successful As 9-Year-Old YouTube Prodigies


You know when you go onto YouTube to watch one video and you suddenly fall into a fugue state and hours later you find yourself sitting there, in the dark, watching butterfly mating dances? It started off innocently enough - I searched "The Pierces cover" to see what horrible and delightful YouTube covers there were for one of my favorite bands. I guess I must've blacked out because next thing I knew, I was watching video after video of child prodigies. Incidentally, this is the same exact way I discovered Justin Bieber in 2008, way before Bieber Fever took the world by temperature (was I really just a hipster about Bieber?).

Anyway, I came across the following three videos which quite literally took my breath away (I've also been listening to a lot of "Shania Twain" recently so sorry for the drama).




I know some are kind of old so sorry if you've already seen them (but also not sorry because they're so good you should watch them every day). How worthless do you feel after watching those? I think I peed my pants in gym class and discovered pogs at the same age that the first girl is belting Adele. The second girl is not only talented and gorgeous but FRENCH. How dare she. I have trouble harmonizing with myself using Garage Band but the last two girls haven't even gotten their periods and can not only harmonize, but keep rhythm using freaking butter containers. My life is MEANINGLESS (Shania Twain-fueled drama again, sorry).

I don't know about you, but rather than feeling a "Wow! They're so cute and talented!" I instead feel a big "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT?!" It goes against science, logic, and geometry for these girls to be so talented (and rhombus-y). No matter how much monies I make for my company creating emails, whether I successfully toilet-train my cat (it's looking grim), how happy I am in my relationship or with the amazing friends I have, I will never be as successful as 9-year-old YouTube prodigies. That shit stings.

To end on a happier, unrelated note, do you think a banana, sriracha, and swiss grilled cheese sandwich would be delicious? I've been dreaming about it. Thank you for your time.


12.12.2012

Lunchables, Lesbians, And Loo-Trained Cats


I know you guys haven't heard as much as a peep from my corner of the world for what seems like the same amount of time that it takes for "Game of Thrones" to start season three. For that I am truly not sorry at all - I have a job and a life and you can't make unpaid demands of me because you aren't my parents or a sassy talking cat. Besides, about four people total read this blog and one of those four is me so it's really three but WHO'S COUNTING?

All of the other actors have headshots on the
Facebook page for Scissr. I should submit this right?
Anyway, since our last time shooting the shit, I've gotten a new job marketing for a startup wine e-commerce website (lotta words there, I know), became an iPhone user, gained about ten pounds in cookies and Jewish guilt, and signed up to act in a lesbian web-series called Scissr. I know you only really care about the latter, so let me inform you that it will be a homosexual, racially-inclusive version of "Girls" mixed with a financially-obtainable "The L-Word." I will play the co-creator/writer/actor's best friend, Taylor, because that outrageous bitch wrote the part FOR ME. She's one my dearest friends and for some twisted reason thought I was cool enough to disregard the fact that I have absolutely no acting experience or mass-appeal and asked me to play the role of, well, me. I'm excited and terrified and I only hope that I can muster enough confidence to just be myself and not become hyper-aware of the way I act and fuck it up (like how if you pay attention too much to your own breathing you're all "I. CAN'T. BREATHE." See, it's happening now). Who knows, maybe I'll hit it out of the proverbial park and become the next famous non-actress actress like Jemima Kirke.

Sassy twat.
I also purchased a new water bottle (LIVING LARGE) and am semi-successfully trying to toilet train Shadow the cat. I say "semi-successfully" because we're only at step two and so far she hasn't fucked it up with her stupid little cat brain. They say to give them positive reinforcement when they complete the next step without any issues so that they know they're doing something right. This meant that as Shadow came out of the bathroom after the first time that I rigged up her CitiKitty (I had to carry that home without a bag just FYI), I (very gently) applauded her and gave her a thumbs up while saying in my high-voice-reserved-for-animals, "You did it! Yay! So proud!" In retrospect, the thumbs up was probably unnecessary given that Shadow doesn't have thumbs and maybe thought I was flaunting them at her, but she seemed to like my enthusiasm well enough because about two minutes later she was galloping around the apartment as if to say, "I pooped and you loved it!" I wish I received as much praise every time I successfully defecated.

At this point you're probably thinking "This post has absolutely nothing to do with Lunchables! I was seduced with false hopes of round miniature ham slices!" I respond by using the previous sentence as a terrible segue to talk about Lunchables (so there!). This topic stems from an earlier conversation with my co-workers when we all realized that we had two things in common: our strong desire to put any and all Lunchables in our mouths and having parents who refused to let us do so. I don't know about you guys, but my dad preferred to make weird artisanal sandwiches that involved bananas and curried chicken (not at the same time...well...maybe) that I had to simultaneously consume and explain while I watched my (usually rich) classmates spread tomato sauce on their ice-cold, Lunchables pizzas and feel my heart shrivel up and die of envy. I'm sure it wasn't the $7 price tag or suspect ingredients that deterred my dad, but his utter loathing of my happiness. And that's why we still aren't on speaking terms (JK I talked to my dad the other day). Was anyone else deprived of Lunchables and do you want to carthart (this is now the verb form of catharsis so deal with it) about it?

There's no way to really end this post since it's pretty much a clusterfuck of awful, so consider this sentence me slowly bowing out while tipping some sort of hat with Mariachi music playing in the background.