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Roaccutane Month 1 Diary

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.

What You Should Include On Your Wedding Website

I have a website set up for my wedding for so many reasons. They are a really good resource for both you as a couple and your guests. You can add as much information as you'd like and this can save you some money when it comes down to invitations by not including multiple info sheets. We have our website password protected with the password being only something we would both know, and we are including it on our info sheet. Your website has private information so this is important. Once our wedding has been and gone I'll upload our invitations in a blog post and explain how we made them. For now, here is my advice on what to include on your wedding website.

The info on the invitation
It seems obvious, but what if a guest has lost their invitation closer to the day but saved your wedding website on their phone? Well then, they need the main information. This should include the location, date, time to arrive and whether the ceremony and reception events are in different locations. A lot of other information can be covered in the FAQ.

Your story
It's nice to add a bit about yourselves, not only to bulk up the website and make it look pretty but to give guests some extra information about yourselves. We have added in how we met, the proposal story and our timeline of events. The timeline bit includes each year and what we've done, so in 2012 we met, in 2014 we got a flat together, in 2017 we got engaged for example. We will have been together 9.5 years so I guess there is more to fill in. Your story can include anything you wish. It's nice to add some pictures in where you can too.

Your colour scheme and dress code
I can't stress how important this is. If you don't want guests to wear certain colours, you'd like them to dress in black-tie attire or you want a bit of a theme to your wedding, you really should include a dress code. By including your colour scheme, you can ask guests to avoid dressing in your Bridal Party colours, you could ask everyone to match in say black or white (which looks amazing) or specify if there is a specific colour you do not want guests to wear. The specific colours which come to mind from tradition or superstition are white (bride's dress), black (mourning colour) and red (certain culture's bridal colours and also superstitious from what Google tells me). On our dress code section in the FAQ, we've laid out what formal attire and cocktail attire is (the guests can take their pick) so that those who aren't used to going to formal events can see clear as day what is expected. As a guest, I would find this really helpful, especially if someone wanted tuxes and floor-length gowns because I would see any kind of formal event as wearing a cocktail dress. We have also specified that you can wear any colour and have included the colour scheme in case anyone wants to match on purpose.

How to RSVP
Most wedding website providers allow you to add a page to RSVP on. On our website, we have a little bit of information first, such as what date to RSVP by, alternative ways you can reply (email, posting the RSVP card back etc) and how to RSVP. Ours is on Zola, so you add your guest list in, so when a guest opens the RSVP page it's a lot easier for them. They just have to start typing their first name in the box and a new page will appear. When you make the guest list you check off which events you are inviting people to, for example, the ceremony is an event, the reception is an event, or you could do an all-day event and then an evening event. This works for multiple cultures as you can make separate events for different ceremonies if you're having two, a wedding rehearsal, brunch the next day etc. I would make sure to add to your RSVP, even on a paper invitation too, that dietary restrictions can be catered for so leave space for guests to add in what theirs are. We are particularly understanding as a couple as we're both vegetarians with intolerances!

Travel information
One of the first things guests think of when they're figuring out whether they can attend your wedding will be about the travel. If your website allows it, add a Google Maps feature to pin your locations in. This page overall should include where the wedding is taking place, how to get there, local hotels (if you have a specific one booked out, specify this) and taxi numbers. We have also added some things to do in the area, such as cool places to visit, places to go for walks, and places you can grab a bite to eat at.

An FAQ section
This can include all the extra questions that guests may have on the day. You should include information about parking, whether the venue is accessible to disabled guests, whether plus ones or children are invited etc. You could add in some extra answers to questions like should I bring confetti, what food will be served, whether it's an open bar and so on. All those extra questions that may not be deserving of a whole separate page should be on the FAQ page.

A gift registry, or not
I think it's more common in American weddings to have a gift registry, whereas in the UK it's more common to put money or a gift card inside the card you give. We have added this bit into our FAQ as I didn't end up liking the look of a page being titled something like 'gifts'. We added a simple poem to explain if you did want to gift money, and that wasn't expected, that you could add some to contribute to our Honeymoon. We also added in an explanation too as this is the second wedding we've planned as the first one was completely cancelled. Some guests gave us money in advance too so we've taken note of that. 

Here are some other wedding posts you may be interested in

What I’ve Learned From Being In Wedding Groups

Ever since we got engaged I joined wedding groups on Facebook to get advice, DIY ideas, helpful tips and a lot more. In order for me to find out what would be useful to have at the wedding, what is a waste of money what people didn't even notice on the day etc. I have combed through the groups for people who have already had their wedding day to see what they had to say and here is what I've found so far.

Favours get left behind
This is probably one of the most common things I found when looking in the groups. People will spend a ton of money on favours for a huge percentage of them getting left behind. Sometimes people don't want to take home a personalised pen, some flower seeds or a mini bottle of vodka. Even though these things might be what you like, you have to weigh up whether you'll be left with 60 favours at the end of the evening to take home. I really wanted to make small cookies or something but with dietary requirements (including my own) I just couldn't justify the cost. Every favour I could come up with cost way too much and if I had a lot left over, what would I do with them? Overconsumption is one thing that is contributing towards climate change and for someone who is passionate about trying to save the planet, there is no way I could confidently say I was happy to risk it. If people don't have bags or pockets big enough too, that may be one reason why favours are getting left behind. Think about it in advance before getting settled on an idea.

Sweet carts often go untouched unless you invite children
When you first go to Pinterest when you get engaged you see all these pictures from American weddings and think, wow, all this would be so good at our wedding. I am a fiend for some vegetarian sweets but so many people on wedding groups said that their sweet carts barely got touched. I couldn't believe just how many people said this, with the same going for other food areas that wasn't part of the wedding breakfast or evening food. Well that idea got swiftly thrown out of the window. I couldn't bare the thought of making custom labels for each jar and buying bags and little tongs and things for all the sweets for them to barely get touched. Now with the pandemic too, I don't think I would want people hovering over food or touching sweets. I feel the same way about buffets too and haven't been to one since. You really need to look at who you're inviting to the wedding and look at it from there. We have one child coming who is my sister. I love her but I'm not making an area dedicated to sweets just for her. 

Breaking traditions to have your perfect day
A lot of people were wondering on the groups whether they should stick to old wedding traditions or switch things up to how they'd like things to happen. This could be eloping, having a different coloured dress or wear a jumpsuit, having their hair dyed a bright colour, having different food at the venue and so on. There are certain things you have to compromise on like having a seating plan if you're having a sit-down meal to make it easier for the caterers, and if you're getting legally married in England at least you need to have a Registrar or get married in a Church. There are so many traditions you can break but it really comes down to what you'd like on your own day. This depends also on culture and religion too.

Look outside of major chains for things
We bought our rings from Etsy from two different stores, and we are so glad we did. Not only have we heard horror stories from these wedding groups (think the major UK jewellery chains) with rings breaking, stones falling out, not getting what they were promised etc, we decided to shop small. I feel like even if a store gives you a guarantee it doesn't mean that they won't fight you first before you're able to get what is in the guarantee. Nothing is certain, so we looked at small businesses on Etsy because as a fall back you have Etsy customer service to rely on if something went wrong. You could say the same for outfits as you could use a local business to handmake items instead of buying from big businesses. You could do this for your invitations, your flowers, and little bits and bobs for decoration. You will find that you can find more unique items on places such as Etsy because things have been made by one person, not on a factory line. 

Be present in the moment
Cherish every second and really be present in the moment. People said that the day goes so fast so you should relax and soak up every minute of the day. Another comment of a similar vein is how you set up your tables. We're doing a sweetheart table for me and my partner as divorced families make a top table difficult but it also means we can sit and (attempt) to have our wedding breakfast just by ourselves. We know we will have to mingle and say hi to people or people may come up to us but if we can, we will just be chatting to ourselves and enjoying a bit of down time.

Don't let others opinions get the better of you
As a people pleaser it is so easy to give up and let other people put their opinions across and just plan the wedding for you, how they'd want it. It's yours and your partner's wedding. So many people have been posting dilemmas about how to do things their way, how to tell someone no, whether they should just elope to save the hassle and so on. Luckily we personally haven't had too many opinions thrown our way, but since we re-planned our whole wedding after we cancelled the first one, we've kept a lot of ideas and things we've bought to ourselves. I personally have spent the last few years setting boundaries and have been better at enforcing them so if you practice being firm with what you'd like at the wedding, hopefully it will really help to stop you trying to always please other people there. You can't please everyone, so you need to think about what you as a couple want to do.

Be careful how much you DIY
Doing something yourself or making something yourself does not always guarantee things will be cheaper. Having a read of some Pinterest posts early on really opened my eyes. We bought a Cricut and a Minc foil applicator machine ahead of the wedding as we wanted to make our own invitations and use the machines later on. So many people don't have those machines so you can't just look at a 'laser cut wedding sleeve design' and think yep that is affordable. It costs hundreds of pounds and you could pay someone on Etsy to cut them out for you. Unless you have the items ahead of time, it can cost you so much money paying for all the bits and bobs before you've even made it. You also need to figure out how much you need to DIY; whether you are doing all the decor, just some of it or just the odd bit. You absolutely can put too much on your plate and give yourself a huge workload when you could maybe rent items out. There is a fine line so the wedding groups helped me look at what my ideas were and see where I could rent things and where I could make things myself.

Spend money on things that matter to you
We really value photography, with my partner loving taking portrait photos and his Dad and Uncle being able to take amazing landscape scenery and wildlife photos. We knew that having amazing photos was one of the most important things to us, and that's why we chose Two For Joy Photography. You only do the day once and actually, photography was the very first thing we booked. We got dates from them and booked our venue around when they were available. If you have a budget, prioritise the things that matter to you first. You want an amazing suit, you would like lovely flowers, you want custom made engraved rings, you prioritise them all.

Having a change of outfit
I was surprised to see how many people had a second dress, their Groom changed outfits, they changed their shoes, or just did something different later on. I used to see on Say Yes To The Dress people with a lot of money would get 2 or even 3 wedding dresses and I just thought how ridiculous it was. It wasn't until myself and my partner were looking on the groups more regularly that we saw people were having outfit changes later on, for the first dance or for the 'party' part of the day. Some people changed for the first dance because it was easier to dance in a different outfit or their dress was just too heavy. Some people just changed their shoes for this or took off their outer skirt. Some had completely different outfits for the party side of things as they were too hot or uncomfortable wearing the same thing for hours on end. At first I couldn't see how I'd want to take off my dress but I was quickly reminded that because of my illnesses I have poor temperature regulation and I am likely to get really warm from dancing. My partner has now bought me a lovely dress for the party part and he is looking to get a new shirt and new shoes for himself for the same time. On this one day, we want to look good but be comfortable too, and that's the same thing other people said too.

I'm Starting Roaccutane For My Acne

I'm finally starting Roaccutane! I've had spots since I was 11 and they remained mostly on my forehead through my teenage years. By the time I went to University they were anywhere on my face and since I graduated I had acne on my face, particularly on my jawline, cheeks and neck, but also on my chest, thighs and back. It feels like it's everywhere and sometimes it's really quite sore. It particularly gets in the way when I get my partner to massage my back due to Fibromyalgia pain and these cystic spots hurt when you touch them. I have tried multiple different medications and creams/gels but nothing has worked so far. February 10th is the date I get my pills and I really hope it works. They have allowed me to do same-day urine sample tests instead of day-before blood tests due to me needing someone to bring me to the hospital and back. I've been watching content online and doing some reading so I'm going to write down things I can expect and things I'm going to do to prepare my skin.

Dry skin
I know it's going to dry my skin out, including my scalp which will affect my hair too. My GP has prescribed my Aquaderm to keep my skin moisturised and I've bought a big tub of Vaseline for my lips. My hair is naturally curly and dry so I only wash my hair once a week anyway. I don't wash it because it's greasy I wash it because I have product in my hair that needs rinsing out so I can start my curl routine again. I don't think this will change anything, aside from me looking at a shampoo with oil in to help my scalp.

Sun exposure
Your skin is more sensitive on Roaccutane so you must wear an SPF of at least 15. I plan on buying the La Roche Posay SPF 50 for when I'm outside and wearing an SPF 30 inside. At least I start my treatment in February so I have some time until the sun is high in the sky and really warm. I don't tend to go out in the sun a lot anyway as it's not good for my POTS.

Knowing things will get worse first
I have watched Katie Snooks' videos and she said multiple times to prepare for your skin to get worse before it gets better. I know that I need to be kind to myself and to my skin and a bit of patience and moisturiser is what I need. She also said not to pick your skin when on Roaccutane as it can make it worse so I'm going to try my hardest not to as hopefully I will only have to be on one course of it so I need to make every day count.

Mental Health
Another side effect of Roaccutane changes to your mental health. You can get "anxiety, aggression and violence, changes in mood or suicidal thoughts". I have already been diagnosed with depression and anxiety since I was 16 due to problems at my previous home and I have been managing well for the last few years. I still have bouts of both depression and anxiety, as you would because they don't ever fully go away. I am expecting for some changes in my mental health and I am being fully honest and open with my partner and my lovely future Father-in-law and Stepmum-in-law. I will promise to update my best friend and my favourite online friend Kirstie as both of them know my history well too. 

Sunglasses are a must
With the effects of the medicine kicking in, my eyes will most likely be dry and sensitive to the sunlight. Well, with Fibromyalgia they are already sensitive to both sunlight and artificial lights, so I am fully expecting this to get worse. Along with my glasses, I'll bring sunglasses everywhere with me to try to prevent migraines.

i think the next thing I need to do is buy other skincare including SPF so I am fully prepared. If anyone has any advice I'd love to hear about it on my Twitter on Instagram. The more I read people's experiences the more I understand what I should and shouldn't do.