Friday, May 3, 2013

Recovering from Acne - reflections

I don't even know where to begin with this post.  All I can say is that the past 16 months have been quite an adventure...and not one I have enjoyed.  I would much rather have taken an adventure through the Amazon or the African desert than take an adventure with treating and healing my horrible Acne.  Nevertheless, the Acne appeared on my face and it was quite a battle to remove.  Here are a few honest reflections on my journey.
It all started in late January 2012 when I noticed my skin starting to break out a little more than normal.  I basically told myself it was no big deal and that I would just clean, cover and move on.  Well, the cleaning and covering continued for a couple months and it didn't seem to get any better.  I was therefore unable to move on very well with life because I was constantly distracted hiding my face.  Here is a picture of my face - yuck.
I went to my dermatologist in March of 2012 seeking an answer to my problem.  The acne was red, constant and it hurt - bad.  Since I was still nursing sweet Peyton I could only take a simple antibiotic.  I started that treatment immediately and some relief came.  Here we are a few months later.  The redness and scaring were still there but I didn't seem to be having any new breakouts...should I be thankful?
When things didn't get completely better I started to turn to home treatments. I found some really cool stuff on Pinterest.  This treatment was a combination of lemon juice, cinnamon and water.  It tasted yummy but didn't do too much to relieve the redness/scaring.
I also started drinking more water, cut out ALL fried foods, quit drinking soda, and started drinking Green Tea because one website said it would help.  As the months past I became quite good at covering my acne.  In the following two photos you can't really see the acne but I can guarantee that it was still there.
In this picture you can tell my face is still red and a little swollen from the scaring.  I spent as much time as possible outside hoping that the sun would cure my didn't really work.  
September finally rolled around and I was tired of the acne.  Really tired.  I kept thinking about how I'm 32 years old, a wife, a mother to 2 young children and have a fairly active life. Why in the world was I having this adult onset of acne.   My acne was slowing me down big time.  I would cry almost on a daily basis.  I felt ugly, unlovable, and down right miserable.  I am so thankful for a loving and patient husband who reminded me that I was still beautiful and that it wasn't as bad as I thought.  I wanted to believe him but often did not believe him.
I finally went to another dermatologist who said that in order to put me on a more powerful medicine I would have to wean my then 18 month daughter.  While I thought weaning Peyton wouldn't be that big of a deal it ended up being very sad for me.  Peyton had a hard time not drinking 'mommy milk' and I went through a whole bunch of feelings about the decision I had just made. (Guilt, Mommy failure, etc...).  To be honest, all I cared about was healing my acne.  Here is a photo last November.  The acne was improving, slowly.
Here is a random note about Acne.  Its a stubborn thing.  While the medication from my dermatologist was helping it was not 100% better.  I know that Acne is often brought on by a combination of factors like what you eat, how much you sleep, how much stress is present in your life, etc...  Most people who know my story know that 2012 was a year I would like to forget.  It was a very stressful year for our family with regards to our jobs and money.  I can only imagine how much stress impacted my emotions and therefore my hormones and my skin.  This picture was taken in February, 2013.  My skin was doing a lot better.
Another thing I wanted to note was the importance of having a General Physician.  Steven and I have a GREAT doctor who cares well for our family and the St. Louis Dalbey family.  At my annual appointment in late December my doctor noticed from my blood work that my Vitamin D levels were severely low.  He started me on a weekly dose of the Vitamin along with my daily intake of a multi vitamin.  After the start of this treatment I began to see a huge improvement in my skin.  I even ran out of my medication from my dermatologist and have not taken the meds in over a month.  My skin continues to heal and improve. Here are a few recent photos of my sin.  This one from a month ago.
This one is from this morning.  I am sorry for the dull look but notice I am not wearing any make up and my acne is almost gone.  I am so thankful.   
I'm not sure if the Vitamin D cured my Acne or if the decreased stress on our family has helped but I can thankfully say that my acne is almost gone.  I'm still a bit nervous it will return but become more hopeful each day that my skin will continue to improve and I can move on with my life.  

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