Project Alicia : My Curse

Saturday, February 05, 2011

My Curse

If you follow me for my photography or recipes, or are looking for a happy light read, you may want to pass on this one.

After much deliberation, I've decided to share a very personal post today. Sans photos. Because January has been a rough one for me and I thought you should know why.

As if the winter blues weren't enough, I have had other personal battles of late.

Because life is not fair. There. I said it.

As far back as I can remember I have been cursed.

Creams, lotions, scrubbing pads, pills, you name it. I took it. I did it. Anything and everything that might make a difference.

At 18 I was put on accutane for 6 months. With regular blood work to monitor my internal organs, it was an intense treatment. After some less than pleasant side effects it seemed to be worth it. But the reprieve was short lived. As the medication wore off, the acne once again reared it's ugly face.

But the ugly outward markings were merely a manifestation of the battle deep within.

A battle that seems to have no end in sight.

A few months ago my hormones were once again raging. Emotions that I couldn't control. 12 blotting sheets a day. Extremely painful cycles. Acne.

So, I decided it was time to try to regain control. And I started yaz.

With claims of lighter periods, improved moods, and perfect skin, it seemed a no-brainer.

Only the first cycle I bled for 30 days, I was unbearable to live with, and I developed cystic acne on my chin, neck, and jawline.

I wore scarves and turtlenecks and used acne treatments once again liberally. Day after day. After day.

And even after several weeks there seemed to be no break in sight. Just as one cyst would start to clear, three more would emerge.

It seemed a losing battle.

And then I woke to a 2nd degree burn on my neck.

My doctor said it was most likely from the acne medication and that it looked to be infected.

Just what I wanted to hear.

So I was put on antibiotics to help heal my neck and cysts until my body could adjust to the yaz.

That was a month ago. After three days of vertigo and extreme nausea we finally found the right dose. And I'm not even going to think of the damaging effects that this stuff has to be doing elsewhere in my body because my skin is finally better.

I am once again left with scarring that is just beginning to lighten and the days ahead are fraught with uncertainty. What will happen should I get off the antibiotics now? Will my body have had enough time to adjust to the yaz? Is the yaz to blame for my recent bout of depression? Or is it circumstantial based on shorter days and frigid temps?

So many unanswered questions for a battle that continues to rage on inside of me.

My little 5 foot frame doesn't know what to do with all these stinkin hormones.

I just want to be my old self again, whatever the heck that is. Or maybe my old self is gone never to return, thanks to this new peri-menopausal stage of life.


I know that no one is immune from struggles and challenges. They are part of this journey known as life. And we all have our own set of them.

But having this knowledge doesn't seem to make it less difficult in the moment. As we face our personal trials it is often lonely. Sometimes painful. And most definitely annoying.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just catch a break every now and again?


  1. Wow. It sounds like you are about due for a break. I hope you get one soon.

  2. Alicia, so sorry to hear what you've been going through -- it really does sound like an awful time and you are certainly due for a break! I know about the frustration you've been feeling about this whole peri-menapausal thing. My periods are suddenly irregular, I've become lactose intolerant and now I get several "menstrual migraines" -- What the heck is up with that! I miss my old-self too! I really do hope that your battle is over soon!

  3. You poor thing. My heart goes out to you. My brother once told me, in a strange and uncharacteristic burst of insight, that life is made up of peaks and valleys. Clearly you, my friend, are in the valley right now. But a peak will be coming soon, I'm sure. Hang in there, and I'm always here if you need to talk.

  4. you know I understand this battle very well. I decided against Accutane and I didn't like some of the side effects I'd heard about with Yaz. Right now I am back on orthotricycline (I don't need to be on birth control, BTW, cuz hubs is snipped) PLUS taking doxycycline antibiotic and for now, it's keeping the acne under control. But I'm a little more short tempered than normal due to the birth control and I really don't want to be on birth control...sigh.

    Oh, and I'm on proactive, too...which ALWAYS helps me a ton.

    I hope it all gets better for you soon.

  5. I am praying for comfort for you. I hope things start to get better soon. *hugs*

  6. Oh, Alicia. Although I'm a regular reader, I'm not a regular commenter. (Just never feel I have anything important to say.) I really do feel for you. It might be from a different reason, but I too have a hormonal imbalance that makes life "interesting" and full of valleys. I've said before, not necessarily joking, that I've had a bad day for the last, oh, 35 years. Cuz it's true. I've been on almost every medication they can throw at me for this, and while some do help, the side effects are unbearable. So here I am, sans hormonal medication. My husband tells me I'm a different person in my cycle; and that he sees I struggle back from the edge during my cycle only to be hit with it just as I've had a few good days. Neverending. I really hope this works for you. But I also just wanted you to know that regardless, you're not alone. (((hugs)))

  7. Saying a prayer for you. I've dealt with my fair share of acne too. My skin was only ever clear at the end of my pregnancy. Now it comes and goes but I know that inner battle all to well. I was on accutane in high school. You think as you get older you will grow out of it but that's not always the case.

    Hugs and prayers.

  8. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time, Alicia! Struggles are such a tough part of life! Hang in there, and I hope you find a solution to all of this that works well for you.

  9. Sorry you're going through this. I hope things get better for you.

  10. This is an extremely painful situation to be in. I wish you all the best.

    As someone who's seen it all happen close up, I have an offer of hope for you: EVENING PRIMROSE OIL CAPSULES 1050mg per day can do wonders for the female hormonal storms, particularly after the age of 30.

    Here's a link for more in-depth information about EPO and its composition and benefits.

  11. A small thing in the middle of trouble..but..your skin looks flawless in pics! I never would've known...
    Hormones really can make or break a woman's life can't they?? I'm so very sorry that this is such a harsh battle and that the answers seem few. Hoping and praying for a light at the end of the tunnel Lish. Hugs.

  12. Hi hon
    Thanks for being so real. So many people just wouldn't go there. I really feel for you with this weight in your shoulders. Prayers that it can improve hugely for you soon.

    Btw I think you are totally gorgeous and always look flawless xx

  13. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. I can't even imagine what you're going through. I hope your doctor is really being helpful and guiding you in the right way. I'm sure it's not easy on the family either when you're struggling so much. I just feel so terrible. Giving you a big ol' cyber hug! Praying that you get some relief, find some good answers and that your body is able to recover.


  14. **Wow, I'm so sorry that you have to go through that. Situations like these firm my belief that God is a man, because if we had a female God women would never have to go through this. And you're going through more than anyone deserves to. As Mimi said, I'm giving you a cyber hug. And a lot of positive thoughts that your hormones can slow down. Good luck.

  15. I am so sorry you are going through this Alicia. I am praying for you.

  16. Sorry that you are having to go through all this opposition. I know about hormones. I am going through change. Hang in there. You soon will come out of tunnel and the sun will be shinning. Good Luck.

  17. I been struggling with the same things since I turned 20. I have scars from acne treatments. Yaz didn't work for me it made worse. I hope you find a solution. I'm currently focusing on food allergies as the cause. And I'm taking lots of vitamins. So far it gives me about week and half of a most clear face per month. But my cycle is normal.
    I know what it feels like to be living in a shell. Hang in there and keep trying.

  18. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I identify and it is always nice to not feel alone. I hope you find the right way to manage these things!

  19. I wish I had the perfect words to let you know how my heart goes out to you. I'm praying for you a true healing, and to have this be in the past soon for you!

  20. Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. My pregnancy hormones have new pimples popping up seemingly every day, but nothing like what you are experiencing. I know I could use a nice sunshiny day myself and I hope the sun shines for you soon too!

  21. I hear ya! I have always said "Misery dosent want company. It wants a cure". I sure hope things calm down for you.

  22. I know life has been a pain in the *ss for you lately. Those hormonal imbalances are bad enough on their own, but having cystic acne, a second degree burn and an infection to deal with it on top of that is just way too much for one person! I hope life decides to be a little nicer to you soon. For goodness sake, you need a break and you deserve it! Hoping things get better for you soon, my sweet friend. :)

  23. I'm so sorry you're going through such a hard time Alicia. I hope everything gets better soon.

  24. My thoughts and prayers are with you...
    I am so sorry for your struggles, but so thankful that you shared them with us...

  25. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I've been going through a lot recently too and I've just been trying to tell myself that someone always has it worse than I do. We should still be sad and upset and experience our emotions but something doing that has really helped me put things into context.

  26. I've struggled with acne my entire life due to hormonal issues, mainly that my testosterone level was too high. Finally, I found a doctor who really listened. She prescribed spironolactone (technically a blood pressure med, but it also suppresses testosterone). Since starting that medication (1.5 years ago), I can count the number of breakouts I've had on one hand. It is a heavy duty medication and not something that you jump into lightly, but I just wanted to let you know that it has made a world of difference for me. Maybe it's something to ask your doctor about? Good luck.

  27. I always seem to come here just when I need it most.

    I found this post so important to me. My 15 yr old is struggling with acne, and we've been to several doctors, on different meds, lotions,e tc.

    And your post hear gives words to what he, being a teenage boy, cannot express.

    This post brought tears of clarity to my eyes.

    You have blessed me today.

    Thank you.

  28. Thank you for being so candid with your readers. I know this took strength and I appreciate your transparency. It reminds us we are not along. Although our struggles may not all the same, we all face trials, some of which are totally out of our control.
    You've been a blessing to me!

  29. Lish, I also battle that nasty cystic-acne like you do, but not anywhere near as bad. I am just about out of things that work and pretty close to trying the Accutane. At my age? Crazy stuff.

    I hope for brighter days ahead, and a more comfortable existence in your body for you.


  30. I have been in this very place. feeling like nothing is going right, then you sorta accept that, then something else comes up.

    the physical stuff, well, that blows - hope you feel better soon! the rest? well...all in due time, you'll get yourself back again.

  31. Oh honey, that SUCKS! There's nothing wrong with whining sometimes. And for me, writing can be so cathartic. Wish I had some advice or answers for you. Sending you hugs!

  32. Oh, Lish! That sounds awful! You deserve a big win and soon!!! I'm sending out prayers & love to Iowa. :)

  33. I went through two years of the same pain, discomfort, moodiness, etc. I was literally a ragging, hormonal maniac and needed help quick. I then tried the Nuvaring and within 6 months, same problems. So, I complained and threatened my Ob's life..........I am now happily on Natazia. I've been on it for 7 months and life is great. In fact, I do not have perios any more. No ragging hormones, no mood swings, no breast tenderness, and no mess for 5 days! Life is grand! Just wanted you to know you were not alone!

  34. Periomenopause sucks. I've been dealing with it for several years now. I have Mirena, an IUD with a small dose of progesterin in it that helps balance out all the extra testoterone I have. (sorry about the misspellings. Its 3 am. ha). I have break outs still, and they can be cystic in nature, but for all the other pleasantries, I deal with it. I'm sorry its so rough for you lately. Perhaps this whole periomenopausal thing is what makes me go through bouts of depression too. :hugs:

  35. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time, Alicia! Struggles are such a tough part of life! Hang in there, and I hope you find a solution to all of this that works well for you.