While I continued to go about my stressful life as usual including breaking up with Jonathan (more on that in the book), I met Aaron* shortly after the New Year. During our lunch hour, I happened to sit across from him in the courtyard at WMA. We ended up chatting about surfing, yoga, and self-reflection of all things. He told me that he believed in working on oneself and growing as a person. I remember noting that I liked the way Aaron thought. It also didn’t hurt that he was lean from surfing daily and quite handsome with beautiful blue eyes.
The only thing was Aaron slicked his blonde hair back with a dark stiff gel, which only accentuated his receding hairline at both his temples. It made him look like he had a large widow’s peak similar to Eddie Munster. The irony that I actually judged him on his hair wasn’t lost on me during the following months that ensued during our courtship.
By June 2005, the steroid shots stopped working and the crescent moons reappeared. They had spread in record speed throughout the entire right side of my head. Dr. Greene advised me that they had become too big and we had to stop the shots. I received a second opinion from one of the best dermatologists in Beverly Hills. Dr. Gold* basically advised me to get a wig as soon as possible.
A wig?! This was devastating news. How could I need a wig? Less than a year ago, I had a thick head of beautiful hair. Now, a wig? The shock. The fear. I couldn’t bear to walk into a wig shop – doing so was admitting to myself that I was going to be bald. I felt like if I pretended long enough that this wasn’t happening, it would finally go away. But it didn’t. So instead of just buying a wig, I decided to quit my job in a last ditch effort to reverse my hair loss.
I also finally researched alopecia areata. But the more I saw how I looked more and more like the extreme cases, the more it depressed me. I had to come to grips that I didn’t have alopecia areata anymore but rather alopecia universalis was my impending doom. Through my research, I learned that 2% of the entire world population had alopecia areata but 2% of that 2% had it as bad as me.
I hung onto my hair for as long as I could but by September 2005, a scarf no longer could hide my expanding bald spots. I had to buy a wig. It was that or walk around bald. Confronted with this new horrid reality, the former now didn’t seem quite as bad as before. I rationalized that a wig was better than trying to match a scarf to each of my outfits, which proved to be beyond difficult within my tight budget. My once love of fashion started to diminish because of it. So I opted for a brown, shoulder length synthetic wig. It was truly strange to see myself with such straight hair.
It had also come time to shave off the last few stringy patches of hair. Again, I had no choice but to face it. It was such a bitter defeat. All I could do was sob softly in my chest while Aaron quietly and carefully shaved the last remaining strands. He tried hard to convince me I was so pretty that it didn’t matter. But nothing he said could convince me. There was no way I’d ever feel as beautiful as I once did.