Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.

The sun rose this morning at 5:07, but the sky was clear and light much earlier than that. There is still cottonwood fluff in the air. The air is cool and breezy.

The minocycline-induced depression and lethargy I've been experiencing is starting to lift. Beginning in November of 2007, I was prescribed minocycline (an antibiotic) for ocular rosacea. I stopped taking it this time last year because of the side effect of severe fatigue. My eyes were fine until late fall of 2007 after I went through an uncharacteristic period of eating large amounts of sugar while I was traveling in California. A friend made a beautiful apple pie, and I didn't want to appear rude by declining to eat a slice. I hadn't eaten sugar since 2005 because I know that when I start eating sugar I have a difficult time stopping. When minocycline was prescribed again for the resulting ocular rosacea, I thought that a lower dose of minocycline wouldn't be a problem. It is a problem.

If possible, I don't ever want to take minocycline again. I'm seeing a naturopathic physician next week, in hopes of learning alternative ways to treat ocular rosacea.

Through trial and error, I know that being careful about the foods I eat helps tremendously. It is clear that heavy doses of sugar trigger rosacea in me. As part of my chosen eating disorder recovery, I didn't eat any refined sugar or chocolate from 1987 to 2005. In 2005, a stressful time, I decided to experiment with using sugar as a sedative again. Once I started eating refined sugar and chocolate, I found it nearly impossible to stop. Every day I would think about eating something excessively sweet. During that time of eating refined sugar and chocolate, I first developed ocular rosacea. At that time I was prescribed steroid eyedrops that have to be used with caution. You'd think I'd learn from that the first time, but I didn't.

Now, when I want to eat something sweet, I eat a small amount of fruit. I absolutely avoid all rosacea triggers for me -- caffeine, spicy food, mushrooms, tomatoes and all of the nightshade family, sugar, chocolate. The list of foods I can't eat goes on and on because other foods trigger migraine headaches. There aren't many foods I can eat anymore, but I thoroughly enjoy the foods I can eat -- rice, beans, most vegetables, olive oil, sesame oil, turkey, berries, and a variety of herbs. When I eat simply, I feel good. I am free of migraine headaches and experience minimal rosacea.

The ophthalmologist told me that I would probably need to take minocycline for the rest of my life. I don't plan to. The side effects of depression and lethargy were severe enough that I was beginning to consider taking an antidepressant, too. I'm convinced that much of my recent disabling depression was caused by the minocycline.

Although I'm still feeling grief in connection with R's death a year ago, that is not the same as the dark depression and extreme fatigue that appeared as a side effect of minocycline. It makes me wonder how many people are prescribed minocycline for rosacea or acne and then encouraged to take antidepressants for the ensuing side effect of depression.


mum said...

hm... sweet williams and lavender: two of my favorite scents in the same photo!

ocular rosacea, on the other hand, does NOT sound like fun. I hope you find the treatment that works best for you - and doesn't create a whole other set of problems in the process.

best, am.

Anonymous said...

your words go with the photo, leaning toward the light. what a wonder it is this time of the year to be awake in the light at 4:30 a.m. for all the darkness here, this is a time of so much light. good you lean toward it. be well. kjm

gleaner said...

I relate to your addiction to sugar and its side effects but also its sedative effects during stressful times. I also for the past 6 months have suffered from dry eyes with visible blood vessels. Like you I am just realizing that I need to eliminate all sugar from my diet, not just reduce and also feel all things are tied into my hormonal swings/migraines...its such a fine balancing act. Anyway I think it is a good thing to lean towards the light and smell the lavender.

gleaner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gleaner said...

Oops, double post so deleted last entry!

Dale said...


Loren said...

I empathize with your problems, am. I've suffered with allergies most of my life, and stress certainly seems to aggravate them.

Here's hoping summer's light can relieve some of that stress and get you back on the road to better health.

robin andrea said...

I hope the naturopath finds something that works for you. Keep us posted.

am said...

All commenters and noncommenters --Be well.

mum (of the many hats) -- Thank you for identifying the sweet williams and for your encouragement.

kjm -- Thank you for your words:

"for all the darkness here, this is a time of so much light."

gleaner -- I hope you find healing, too. Thanks for telling some of your story.

Dale -- Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are feeling better.

Loren -- It's always a relief to get to the end of spring allergy season, isn't it? Keeping a blog, taking photographs, and reading blogs have been a stress reliever for me. I'm grateful for the light that does shine through.

robin andrea -- I'll be seeing the naturopath on the 16th. I'm feeling hopeful. She is close to our age and was one of the first naturopaths in Bellingham.

ArtSparker said...

I have rosacea on my face. About a year ago I saw an article which said that rosacea was caused by a deficiency in some digestive acid. I would assume they'd be doing research on this - antibiotics for rosacea is like taking out a squirrel with a machine gun. Also, I have found drinking pomegranate juice to be helpful.