Taking her final dose!
To say that she was thrilled to be finished would be a massive understatement. This whole dealio has been a long and arduous journey that both she and I can't believe is finally over.
Back story: I suffered with persistent moderate acne from age 12 to 19. My acne was a source of massive frustration and sorrow for all those awkward teenage years. I distinctly remember the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school fantasizing/debating whether I rather have clear skin and be chubby or have acne covered skin and be thin. It is sad that I thought that way. Just sad. I remember thinking I'd rather be chubby with clear skin, because at least that way there was something I could do about it (I could try to lose weight) instead of the current situation I was in, because I felt powerless. My acne was there no matter what I did. Looking back I feel heartbroken that I thought any of these thoughts.
So, long story short, after exhausting all treatments available, I finally went on Accutane when I was nineteen and six months later I was acne-free. I cannot truly describe the joy that this was. My never-ending struggle with skincare, self-consciousness and everything else to do with my acne had finally vanished. It was a great decision for me to go through the treatments and the only regret I (and my mom) had was that I hadn't done it sooner.
And, as you can probably guess now, Cate pretty much went through the exact scenario I did, the only difference being that she did it two years earlier that I did. Please know that we did not take lightly the decision for her to go on Accutane. Accutane is a very serious drug (it is a cancer drug) and it has very strong, sometimes lasting, side-effects. So, of course Cate had to exhaust all other treatment possibilities before finally being prescribed Accutane. She did every over-the-counter medicine. She tried at least 5 different antibiotics over the course of two years (some worked, others didn't, but even the ones that did work would only keep her skin clear for six months at most before her body would become immune to them and she'd be switched to a new one). So, for the last two straight years, Cate has been taking some sort of oral medication every single day. That is until three days ago, when it finally ended.
And, I have to say publicly that I am so proud of Cate and how she handled the whole ordeal. Being on Accutane is a difficult experience. There are regular pregnancy test, monthly blood draws, monthly doctors appointments, hoops to jump through for the government, various side-effects (dry lips, dry skin patches, dry hair, redness of her face, bloody noses, joint pain, stomach upset) and worst of all, the initial breakout from beginning the medicine (I'm talking four months of bad, bad breakouts). Cate did not complain once (remember friends, she is my most complaining child) even when her face was a hot mess (remember that acne not only looks awful it feels awful. Acne is a painful condition to endure). It was very impressive to me. She just buckled down and handled it day after day.
Now, of course we both know that there are a small percentage of people who take Accutane and have a relapse later. We are both hoping that Cate does not fall into that category (I didn't have a relapse, and neither did my sister and Cate's acne was very similar to both of ours). Acne is such a frustrating situation. I feel such empathy for anyone struggling with it. It is just something that you can't understand fully unless you've experienced it for yourself. Cate has even mentioned to me over the years that she feels so much heartache for other kids at school who she sees struggling with acne. Its just tough, no other way to describe it.