I had been dealing with acne for the past month, and I wrote it off as stress related, a disappointing side effect of MRIs. But as it continued to worsen, even after the MRI, I realized that I needed to reevaluate the issue. First, I stopped all treatments except the blue scorpion venom. Then I looked back to the times I started various supplements, and I talked to Dan, analyzing if we remembered any bouts of acne. Finally, looking back to my log book (which is not as thorough as it should be, but still quiet helpful) we pinpointed the PolyMVA as the most likely culprit.
I also wracked my brain about any changes in cleansers, laundry detergents, etc. but nothing had changed. I started looking into the PolyMVA and read that it is comprised of a variety of B vitamins like B1, B2 & B12 (and some other antioxidants). According to what I've read around the internet, B12 stimulates sebum production (the oil on our skin) and excessive sebum is what causes cystic acne; it's what clogs the pores. Some people with even the slightest supplementation of B vitamins breakout in pimples, and I was doing major doses. Anyway, I'm sure you guys don't really care about acne, but I'm telling you the acne on my face was debilitating. I didn't leave the house until yesterday. Almost a whole week. Man, I'm vain. But seriously, my face literally hurt, so it wasn't actually purely about looks. I talked to another BT (brain tumor) friend who has been taking PolyMVA for, gosh, I think a year or two and she has never had any problems. But each body is different, and each body's needs are different. And I have exceedingly sensitive skin, it's practically impossible to please, so even the tiniest of adjustments could lead to a nuclear situation.
So how did I fix it? Well, I still had several days worth of Accutane, so I started taking those again. Accutane dries up sebum production. I also started putting tea tree oil on my face, a more natural way to do the same thing. For the first few days, it was not getting better, and I was frustrated, discouraged. Good thing my parents were headed over for the West Seattle all school high school reunion Friday, and my dad's 50th for West Seattle on Saturday, and mom packed the big guns for me. Gotta love moms, they're always saving the day. I've been terrified of chemicals, never knowing what contributed to my cancer, so I try and do things naturally, but sometimes in order to get things under control you have to make a deal with the devil. It took several applications of Retin-A, and several applications of Benzoyl Peroxide. Both, I believe, are known carcinogens (at least in some countries - our country likes dispute carcinogenic claims, even when well documented). But I HAD to. I have pictures to prove how disgusting it was, and I don't want to show you, but at the same time, you almost have to see how disgusting it was to understand. It's embarrassing when your skin is rupturing. It's your shell, your image. It implies that there's something fundamentally wrong with you. I'm trying to live as a vision of health, so when something like this happens it shakes you to your core. You feel helpless, disgusting, like a failure.
Okay, I can't do it. I can't move myself to upload the photos, or even one of them. I'm too embarrassed. Too proud. It's weird, I mentioned this to a friend a few weeks ago, that although I'm married, and fighting cancer, I still want to be seen as attractive. There's this thing that happens when you get diagnosed with a "terminal" cancer - maybe for any kind of cancer, I don't know - people love you, so they feel bad for you. They may not describe it as pity, exactly, but you get tossed into a different category. Almost ambiguous, and asexual. People see your trials, and know your struggles, what you're working with, and you become less human. Or too human. You become either too vulnerable to tease and flirt, or you become too scientific, too medical. Of course, here I am blaming everyone else, maybe it's me, maybe I'm just too serious. That I'm different. That's possible. I've talked to others though, in my position, and there's definitely a divide once you're diagnosed. People don't know how to handle us. It has to be awkward, I guess.
Regardless of all the above written word, I have to say that acne - although frustrating - is a great issue to have. Acne is fixable. Just a few weeks ago we were worrying about radiation, clinical trials, discussing what we would do if the tumor was back. And I wish I didn't care about being attractive. Dan has always found me sexy, even when bald and simple minded, that should be enough. Who cares what other people think? Right? I don't know why it isn't just that simple. Ego? That's embarrassing to admit.
Here's a much cuter picture than me, it's my father's senior class photo. Isn't he adorable?!? Man, I can finally see Kaal (my brother) in that face. Crazy how we grow into our parent's images. Pretty cool.