I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in September of 2012, 3 weeks after I transferred to a new college with a grueling schedule. I had only loosely heard the term "alopecia" but never paid attention to what it was. My hair was my favorite feature, and I have been happily dying it an array of colors for over 10 years. I had been behaving myself and had only highlighted the crown once in the year leading up to my hair loss. I don't heat style. I don't pull my hair out in my sleep or anything. So this was absolutely terrifying. My doctor initially gave me a steroid shot on the spot I found. I noticed new hair growth within days and figured all of this would soon be behind me. Fast forward a month and I now have bald spots across the back of my head. He gives me another steroid shot (which ends up unsuccessful) and tells me, "Don't worry. You won't lose it all. Sorry." The end. Come January of 2013, I decide to get a second opinion, as I am losing 100-150 hairs a day in the shower. My new doctor is pleasant, takes scalp biopsies, and after much coercing, agrees to do a TSH blood test. The biopsies state that my hair loss is from straightening my hair too much, or traction alopecia, possibly. Well... I don't do that. So I let it go. I try a myriad of creams, oils, vitamins, to no avail. Almost 10 months after the hair loss started, I now have a ponytail the size of the tip of my pinky. The ponytail I started out with was obviously much bigger, I was blessed with a lot of hair. So I have now had a visit with a third doctor. I am very relieved that he was willing to sit down with me and listen to my fears and actually feel something for me. He has started with drawing more blood tests, screening me with questions for certain disorders, and thank goodness understands my anxiety over being 26 years old and almost bald. I owe him a big thanks. If he tells me the same thing as the other two doctors, hey, at least we exhausted all options right?
Moving on though, I noticed in the past about a 3 month turnaround from when the hair would fall out to when it would sprout more hair. That was insanely exciting for me in the beginning! It seems to grow A LOT slower than my hair did before though, and it is SO much thinner. (Not complaining..) But I have kind of had to teach myself not to get too caught up with the new growth, because what if I just lose it again in a month? Lately it seems the turnaround is much quicker, a month maybe, which pleases me very much. Sadly, I am still losing hair much quicker than I'm growing it, and before too long will lose it all. I don't want to shave it because I don't want to touch the regrowth. So now I am stuck looking like one of those baby dolls that had patches of hair ripped out of their heads, while still maintaining some of the normal hair. Pretty creepy to look in the mirror nowadays. Whatever though. I have my health, and a beautiful son and family who supports me. I am happy that I can joke about it with my family, and my brother who is incapable of showing any emotion or not looking "manly" has started hunting for wigs for me, and will try them on and send pictures to me! lol. He is really great. It's hard though because there is still a barrier between me and all of them, because they will never fully understand what this journey has been like for me. They haven't seen me without a wig or hat on in over 6 months. Anyone who looks at my head is shocked. None of my friends have seen it either. All I can do is look at them and their heads full of hair and be jealous because they don't realize how lucky they have it. Then I feel guilty for feeling that way. I have been job hunting since dropping out of college in January and this has put a huge damper on my confidence and self worth. It is so frustrating. Maybe I'm just being childish but I wish I had someone around that has been through what I have been through and understands the feelings associated with Alopecia.
I wish I could go through one day not having my thoughts consumed by my hair loss. I literally cannot go 10 minutes without thinking about it, probably because I naturally touch my hair a lot. And I'm always reminded of it. Or feeling the sun hit my skin, or a breeze, and realizing how different it feels from having the same elements hit a head full of hair. I don't want to get my hopes up and tell myself that someday I will have a head full of hair again, but I am so hopeful for that, because the thought of being bald the rest of my life is so sad, as vain as it is.My self portrait.