In the middle of February, I saw my Dermatologist and she agreed to start my Roaccutane journey. I signed the form to agree I wouldn't get pregnant (a bit like this one) and we spoke about my dosage. I was going to start on 20mg for 7 days, then go onto 40mg. I had to do fasting blood tests once before I was signed off for the medication and once two weeks later to look at my lipids. I was warned that if my lipids went up too much I could be taken off the medicine as it alone can cause it, as can your diet. 

My first fasting blood test was not pleasant. I am absolutely fine with regular blood tests and always make sure I eat and I usually have an electrolyte drink beforehand because of my POTS. Having a fasting blood test with POTS is bound to be a disaster, as no amount of water I drank beforehand actually hydrated me, and the nurse struggled to take blood as I was dehydrated. No salt that day and water not going into my blood flow meant I was in the worst possible state. I managed to get through the bloods, went around the corner in my wheelchair and I started to get vision problems. I tried to raise my legs in case of blood pooling but it's a bit hard when you can only put them out straight in front of you. We wheeled to the front of the shop inside the hospital and I started to feel really sick. I passed out, sat down. My head was rolling and I was so certain I'd be sick. My partner got some salty snacks and an electrolyte drink for me but it was too late. I just did not anticipate this happening. Once I'd got home I realised I had to do something about going for the next round of bloods as I couldn't keep doing this. 

My GP prescribed me salt tablets to have a short while before having my bloods done and I took these just before leaving the house, about 40 minutes before the bloods were taken. I wore my compression socks to attempt to prevent blood pooling in my legs and feet. I made up a salty electrolyte drink to have immediately after the bloods were taken and on advice from my GP I brought along some salty crisps too. This time they used the smallest needle so I barely felt a thing, I wheeled back to the waiting room and ate my crisps and drank some of my drink. I went to the disabled loo and then wheeled to the shop. I was absolutely fine and it clearly showed how important salt is to POTS patients.

Yesterday I had my first follow up appointment where I did the urine sample (read my previous post to find out why I'm doing it differently) and they said after the second blood test my lipids were up and I had to remain on 40mg for the next month and then we will see what to do. I have to do another blood test and if the lipids are still up I have to drop back down to 20mg which I really don't want to do. The Dermatologist went through my symptoms: is my skin dry and sensitive, did I have headaches, have I had nose bleeds and so on. My lips have been the biggest problem so far, they sting and I need to apply Vaseline multiple times a day. I recently bought another product that I'm trying out so if it works I'll do a skincare post recommending what is currently working for me. The other big problem is my scalp. Before starting Roaccutane I often washed my hair once a week and this was mainly to refresh my curly hair. In January I got to 2 weeks before washing it and it didn't look greasy at all. I have washed my hair once since starting Roaccutane (I washed it the day I picked up the prescription) and my scalp went super dry and huge flakes appeared. I've bought a specialist shampoo by Eucerin to try to help so I can report back on that too. It's currently been 2 weeks since I've washed it and will wash it this week with the new shampoo, and a bond treatment to help repair my hair. Since the oil is depleting in my body I think I will try to oil my hair and scalp more often.

Spots wise, I had some nasty ones pop up every now and then on my face, and for some reason my shoulders too? I have acne on my face, neck, chest, back and thighs but have never really had spots on my shoulders. I've tried my best not to pick at all which has been going well. I have some blackheads that seem a bit raised but they've not changed since they came up. The texture of my skin has massively reduced and it's so odd touching my skin and it being smooth? I have been getting random flare-ups of hives (which I've already been diagnosed with, along with random red patches on my face. My skin also becomes warm where these patches are. I've been wearing SPF when leaving the house including SPF in lip balm as that's super important. I've bought some hats as well to give more protection from the sun by helping to shade my face and cover my scalp.

I've been watching Katie Snooks discuss her Roaccutane journey, both when her YouTube series came out and when the BBC Doc came out but also rewatching the series as now it's super relevant to me. I would highly recommend reading her blog posts about acne and Roaccutane if you're struggling like me too. I'm not going to be posting any photos until I've completed by Roaccutance journey. I know everyone's journey is different so I'd rather show a range of photos at the end to show a range of what my skin was like across the period.