This is a true story: I have always had the weirdest hair in the world. First of all, it has different textures in different parts. Secondly, it has been hard to control FOREVER. So I have always had a love/hate relationship with it.
I was a platinum blonde as a young girl, turning to light brown for my young adult years. When I had my daughter, it turned really dark brown.
It was always incredibly thick and at age 55 I've been lording it over my friends for the past few years because I have almost no gray hair. Now it appears as if they will get the last laugh as I will have no hair at all.
About six months ago I noticed a tiny bald spot, the size of the end of my pinkie. I thought I had an insect bite or something. Then it continued to grow. I thought it was maybe ringworm or mange, since I have horses, sheep, poultry, dogs and cats. And a husband.
I showed it to my doctor when I went for a yearly exam but she didn't have any idea what it was. I showed it to my sister who is a vascular surgeon and she thought it might be a fungus. Yuck. I got some anti-fungal cream and put it on.
I went for a hair cut and my stylist took one look and said, "Alopecia." Right after that I found a spot on the other side of my head. Enough with the "wait for it to go away" method of dealing with it. I began to do a little web research.
I called Stanford and made an appointment with a dermatologist. About 30 cortisone shots in the scalp later, I came away with a confirmed diagnosis: Alopecia Areata.
Oh, my gosh. Now what? I really liked the diagnosis which went something like this: We don't know what causes it and we don't have a cure for it. Your hair may stop falling out or it may continue. You may grow it back or you may not. It may grow back in white or it may not. This treatment might help or it might not.
Thanks a lot. I knew that before I went!
So now I'm checking my scalp. It seems like it's getting worse, but I might just now be really looking at it. I have some cortisone lotion to apply topically. I go back to Stanford in a month.
I have to be patient (which is not my forte) but meanwhile I'm trying desperately to learn all about wigs and headcovers and alopecia and how to take care of myself.
One of my dearest friends shaved her head two days ago because she's undergoing chemo for breast cancer. Her courage gives me real perspective with this. I'm not fighting a fatal disease.
I'm just losing the hair I loved to hate.