December 16, 2006

It’s official. Accutane sucks.

I’m so ready to give it up. Except that drugs scare me. You know how you must finish your antibiotics or something really terrible could happen to you? Up to today, I have no idea what that ‘something really terrible’ is, but that’s what they tell you and so I figure I’d better comply … you know, lest something really terrible happens to me.

It’s the same with Accutane. I’m in drug-prison. I am hardly impressed by its effects and yet, I can’t stop taking it because … well, you CAN’T JUST STOP. It’s unheard of. Drugs and stopping? No way. Unless it’s real drugs, like the ones addicts inject into their arms at Chow Kit, in which case it’s really important to stop.

To sum it up: went to the doctor who was surprised that it wasn’t working miracles for me and decided to up the dosage. Have been on the upped dosage since early this month – all in all, am in week 7. So …

Q: So, is your skin doing better?

A: No. For the money I’d paid, hell, it should be like some flawless porcelain plate by now.

Q: Is it getting worse?

A: In comparison to the antibiotics, this is worse. Previously, it would’ve easily cleared in less than a week and pretty much flawless by week 2 onwards. With Accutane, first it gets a whole lot worse, then it kinda crawls on … it’s a little better, but not really. I mean, I believe in paying for quality but at 9 bucks a pill and with these results (or lack thereof?), it’s highway robbery.

Q: What are you going to do next?

A: I’m never going on this drug again. Once the course ends, I’m stopping. Forever.

December 03, 2006

Holy Moly. Malaysians Don't Read!

“Research has found that the three main reasons Malaysians don’t read are because they have an interest in other activities, have no free time and have no interest in reading per se,” Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim told The Star paper last Friday.

The profundity of that statement is mind-blowing. Let me get this straight:

1 We don’t read because we like doing, you know, other stuff. I’m assuming this is stuff not related to reading … like biking, rock-climbing or eating curry puffs.

2 We don’t read because we have like, no time. Aside from this one being the oldest excuse in the book (pun intended), everyone knows – well, everyone except the folks at the culture, arts & heritage ministry, that is – there is no such thing as “no time”. Ya, got no time to read but got time to watch [insert title of inane TV show here]

3 And this is the winner: we don’t read because we have no interest in reading. This research was money well spent! This answer can apply to an entire spectrum of topics. For instance, why do we not exercise / watch local movies / listen to the radio more? Because we have no interest! We no longer have to conduct any more surveys. Ever.

November 30, 2006

Rice Is E-V-I-L

It’s official. Rice is evil.

I’ve read enough about its high glycaemic index and how it spikes up your sugar levels … the fact that it’s so processed that it’s void of any discernible traces of fibre … the way it makes you feel bloated and sluggish … and when I caught Rajen M’s article in the New Straits Times several Sundays ago, which details why “Rice Is Worse Than Sugar”, it was final. Rice is indeed evil.

The interesting thing is, I’ve stopped eating rice almost completely (save for the Chinese family dinners I get dragged to every once in a while where my grandmother thinks I’m on some hunger strike unless I gobble at least two bowls of rice). It all started when I returned to Malaysia after studying abroad. I came home 10kgs heavier than when I left. My brother’s first words to me at the spanking new KL International Airport were, “Wah! You’re damn fat!”

That was when I decided to stop eating rice. Don’t ask me why I decided that. I just did – women’s intuition, I’m guessing? Anyway, that’s what I did and the weight just dropped off … it was pure magic.

So I, for one, can attest to the fact that yes, rice IS worse than sugar:

(1) The calories of one bowl of cooked rice is equal to that of 10 teaspoons of sugar

(2) Rice is chemically no different from sugar – it converts into glucose the moment it enters your body

(3) Rice is difficult to digest. Honestly, avoiding rice for a few days will do wonders for the digestive system

I think someone wrote in to the papers to say that this was a load of hogwash. He’s probably a ‘chap-fan’ seller in Petaling Street and therefore, has vested interest in keeping us pumped up with rice. Mercenary.

Accutane: Entering Week 4

I am not one of many virtues. And among my many non-virtues is sheer impatience. I’ll soon be in Week 4 on Accutane and this is how my skin has improved so far:

(1) zilch

You mean I’m taking the risk of possibly becoming deformed and dying a painful and untimely death just for skin that doesn’t resemble the surface of the moon? With the horrific side effects of this drug, you’d think it would produce effects real fast. I’ve taken antibiotics that have worked in just a few days. What gives?

Okay, okay. Must stop whining and look on bright side of things:

(1) skin is tender and pinkish, which means I don’t even need blush anymore, which means my Max Factor will last a little longer than usual

(2) skin isn’t sticky or oily towards end of day (because it’s so dry now it resembles cracked cement. I’m exaggerating, of course)

(3) being ugly has its advantages. For one thing, um … ah … I can’t think of any. There are NO advantages to being ugly.

Every time I think of the possible side effects, I get a chill down my spine. I deal with this anxiety the best way I know how: I go into denial. These things won’t ever happen to me … they only happen to other people … gulp.

"Just One Ciggie, I Swear”

I haven’t called Auggie at all today. It’s 10pm right now. He rang me once this afternoon to carp about how miserable / lousy / unfocused / disoriented / blur he’s feeling sans nicotine. I displayed little empathy. My lack of empathy was retaliation for the conversation we had last night which went a little something like this:

Auggie: Oh, I feel so crap (whine whine whine)

Me: You feel like crap now but it’ll get better. You just have to get through the first few weeks (broken record)

Auggie: More like first few months, years even!

Me: Don’t be so dramatic. Before you know it, you’ll be glad you made this decision to quit.

Auggie: (ruckus in the background)

Me: What’s all that noise? What are you doing?

Auggie: I’m making a cup of coffee. I’m going to drink coffee and eat the chocolate bar I bought just now, then go to sleep.

Me: Good. Gum, chocolate bar, whatever. Anything to distract you from the craving.

Auggie: (indistinct mumble)

Me: You have a pack of cigarettes with you right now, don’t you?

Auggie: (in small voice) yes.

Me: You were planning on having a smoke after we hung up, weren’t you?

Auggie: (in smaller voice) just one.


Auggie: I bought it just in case…


Auggie: Just in case I couldn’t tahan and needed to smoke!


Auggie: I’ll just take one. I swear.

Me: Whatever la. It’s your body, it’s your choice, it’s your health. If you can’t hack it, if you don’t want to do it, then whatever.

Auggi: Okay, okay, I won’t smoke!!!

Me: Whatever.

Kill That Tobacco Turkey

Cigarette Graveyard
Originally uploaded by JuanJ.
My boyfriend – let’s call him Auggie – is quitting smoking. Today is Day 3 and he just rang a couple of minutes ago to tell me he had caved in and had smoked a whole pack of ciggies. I hope to God he’s joking.

I know quitting is not easy but hell, that’s why they call it an addiction! If it were easy, it wouldn’t be an addiction, would it? It would simply be a hobby or something.

Anyways, he was having a rather hard time the past three days. Kind of crabby. Feeling out of touch with reality. Fidgety, fidgety, fidgety. Increased appetite … just so that he has something to do with his mouth. Keep it busy, you know. I know he was fighting the urge to light up, which would explain the many hours he spent wrapped up in the comforter, forcing himself to sleep.

Auggie grumbles that I have no idea how tough it is to quit smoking. Well, of course, I wouldn’t. I’ve never smoked my entire life. I have no idea what it feels like to smoke; I have no idea what it feels like to go cold turkey. What I do know is that he MUST quit. There are no two ways about it.

He knows it too, which is why he gave me a date: November 25, 2006. Cold turkey. We have a pact: whenever he feels the urge, he will either (1) call me - so that I can knock some sense into his head and launch into my lengthy 'do you want to die early?' diatribe, (2) chew some gum or (3) eat something, anything.

So far today, I've called him three times. He's called me none. I wonder what that means?

Oh God, What Have I Done?

Originally uploaded by winnie.yong.
Okay. I’m nearing the end of Week 3 and I’m beginning to regret ever taking Accutane. My face is tightening and the drying effects are becoming more pronounced. Skin is actually flaking! Mostly on the forehead and especially around the jaw line. I have no idea why. To make matters worse, acne on the forehead and temple area seem to be getting worse. My cheeks and chin are clear though (touch wood, cross fingers, kiss finger and tap spot between eyebrows three times).

All I’m saying now is, this had better improve by end of this week or I’m going to completely lose it. I’m getting pretty damn sick of this. I mean, come on, do I not have enough to worry about in my life? Do I need to worry about this (some skin retardation that should have – by right – ended when I graduated from puberty?) on top of everything else?? Good freaking grief.

Accutane: Week 3, Day 2

Originally uploaded by winnie.yong.
Significantly fewer scabs now. They seem to be coming off my forehead rapidly now. Want to know something odd? I almost wish they wouldn’t fall off so fast. I know, I know, scabs aren’t exactly face accessories du jour, but I kind of like having them around.

Scabs represent progress (as in, used to be big fat zit and is now dried up, crinkly, hardened scab with pointy tip). They represent hope. They represent my vengeance and hatred of all things zit – “Die, acne, die!!”. They represent efficacy. They tell me, yes, the Accutane is slowly but surely working!

My face isn’t itching anymore either. Week 3, Day 2 and counting …

Suicidal Tendencies? Tick No

I’m feeling great today. I guess the suicidal tendencies of Accutane haven’t exactly set into my system yet. I wonder if I’ll be overcome with the sudden desire to plunge headfirst into a mini van during coffee break. Who knows? But for now, I feel absolutely great.

I feel great because I look pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. This probably sounds strange after my endless whining about the nightmarish state of my skin, huh? But truth be told, I have some way to go before I truly deserve the moniker Bride of Freddie Kruger. Despite having been dragged kicking and screaming into the other side (the side where people have zits as opposed to the side where they don’t), I’m glad to report that I’m still snuggled up in the ‘I-can-still-score-a-second-look’ territory. For now, anyway. Sigh. Of course, there’s always the chance that I may also be dragged kicking and screaming from here to the other territory. You know which one I’m yammering about … the “I-can-walk-down-the-street-naked-doing-the-hustle-and-nobody-would-bat-an-eyelash”...

… oh god! I can’t imagine a more terrible state to be in!!

It's All About The Cleanser

Simple Moisturiser
Originally uploaded by Mizeyeliner.
If my boyfriend only knew … if he knew I was on Accutane, he would absolutely flip. He who thinks I’m the greatest, most beautiful thing to have ever graced the earth is of the opinion that I’m nuts to take drugs for my zits.

As far as he’s concerned, all I need is...“All you need is the right cleanser. Maybe your cleanser and lotion thing in the fancy bottle you use aren’t right for your skin. Why don’t you just change the brand?”

“It’s not that simple. My skin is very complex, you know.”

“You're making it sound worse than it really is. If it really bothers you so much, maybe you shouldn’t eat so much fried stuff or sleep so late then.”

“I haven’t had a plate of char kway teow since they erected the Petronas Twin Towers la, what do you mean I eat fried stuff?”

“Okay, but I really don’t think you need to see the dermatologist or pump your body with drugs! Your doctor should stop prescribing you all this!”

Ah … the na├»ve, simple words of someone who’s never had a zit in his life. People like him – you know the type: the ones with skin as smooth as a baby’s arse – will never truly understand the anguish of people like me. He thinks antibiotics are evil, so if he knew I was on Accutane (which can deform innocent little fetuses and turn me into a manic depressive), he would go berserk.

Accutane Does What?!!

Do Not Get Pregnant!
Originally uploaded by Theo Workman.
I’m so disturbed. Was surfing two nights ago when I decided to look up Accutane. For a while there, I was scared shitless. Apparently, it’s “the biggest breakthrough in acne drug treatment over the last 20 years” and works “miracles” and produces “tremendous, dramatic improvement” but may lead to … brace yourselves …

… serious problems with organs like the liver, intestines, eyes, ears, and skeletal system. If you’re pregnant, your kid will probably come out deformed. And according to the USDA, “Some patients taking Accutane have developed serious psychiatric problems, including depression. More rarely, patients have developed suicidal behavior and killed themselves.”

Good freaking grief!!! So what does this mean? It’s either you live life looking like the offspring of Cousin It and some woman named Olga, or you have real clear skin and die of liver disease. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

I wonder what I should do now. Give it till the fourth week and see if I get the urge to roll myself down a cliff, I guess. Beautiful and dead vs ugly and alive. That’s one bitch of a choice, isn’t it?

Week 3 on Accutane

accutane package
Originally uploaded by anitakim.
I’ve been on Accutane for 15 days now. I’m now in my third week. I confess that I’d never heard of Accutane when my doctor prescribed it. The only thing that unnerved me was the fact that I had to take a urine and blood test first to make sure I wasn’t pregnant or carrying some unfortunate disease or something. That kind of worried me but I let it slide because as far as I was concerned, bad skin = horrible life not worthy living. So, following that line of thought, I threw caution to the wind and charged ahead.

My Accutane experience so far ...

Week one: acne started to dry up and become scabby; skin slightly itchy

Week two: skin seemed to have gotten slightly worse; more sensitive; becoming flaky; acne drying up some more; much itchier; extremely hard not to pick (as everyone knows, there’s little else more pleasurable in life than picking at scabs – they’re irresistible); extremely hard to refrain from scratching too

Week three: itching has subsided; still hard to prevent self from picking at scabs but am trying very hard; acne drying up at a faster rate; skin still sensitive and very dry

All I can say is ... thank the good lord above for creating the people who invented make-up.