The angel who gave me my life back

I am 20 years old and was diagnosed with alopecia areata back in November. I've always had long hair so I was used to losing a lot of hair when I washed, styled or brushed it but then I noticed a bald spot. My alopecia had a fast time course, I noticed the spot in October, was diagnosed in November and by January, I was almost completely bald. I barely had any time to learn what alopecia was and accept it. Everything was happening so quick,I hid behind messy MESSY spray and powder cover-ups that stained my clothes and pillowcases. I wore clip-on extensions that would ironically pull out hair every night I removed them. Luckily, this all happened in winter so I got away with wearing hats and beanies. I was in denial for a while, thinking it was just a few spots that would grow in on their own. I am pretty outgoing and friendly but had become so distant and antisocial in those 3 months. I kept social contact with people to a minimum, I made all types of excuses to cancel on my friends, I even started skipping classes because I was just so scared someone would notice. I was so miserable and alone, NO ONE knew about my alopecia, not even my family.

I started researching wigs when I came upon Joseph Paris in NYC. Before my appointment with Mr.Paris, I went to a few wig stores to check out my other options. What's funny is that I was going to cancel my appointment with Mr.Paris because I found something that would do in one of the wig stores (which wasn't hard since I have brown straight hair.) I tried canceling with Mr.Paris by saying I couldn't make the time but he was so accommodating and offered to wait til 7pm for me....on a Friday night!! I couldn't say no and since it was a free consultation, I figured why not, maybe I can pick his brain for some wig knowledge.

The difference in experiences between the wig stores and Mr.Paris office was like night and day. In the wig shops I barely got any assistance, I was told by the cashier, what I see on the walls is what I get. And they were very hesitant on letting me try on the wigs. At Mr.Paris' office, I felt like the world revolved around me and my alopecia. Mr.Paris and his staff were so attentive to my needs and answered all my questions with such knowledge and sincerity. I told them about all my troubles of trying to hide my alopecia, the clip-ons, the sprays, everything and they were so understanding. As I was going on and on, something in me clicked and I completely broke down in tears. This was the first time I had cried in front of anyone. I just couldn't stop, it was all so real now. Mr.Paris then confided in me he too had alopecia has a child. At this instant moment, I felt a connection. This wasn't just a fancy shop selling wigs, this was a man who went through it all and understood everything I was going through, because he was in that same position. I can't explain the relief I felt to actually talk to someone who understood. Mr. Paris assured me over and over he would make me a wig that would bring me back to my old self and that would make all my problems subside. Because of the huge impact the alopecia was having on my life, he had the wig rushed and I was to have it by the end of the weekend. I ended up leaving at 8:30PM (wayyyy past store hours) and left with such hope and excitement, but a part of me couldn't help being skeptical. How could he make me look like the old me? I tried on wigs at the other stores, the closest ones were only okay but they definitely weren't 'me.'

When I came in to get my wig, I couldn't believe it. I looked in the mirror and saw ME!! Me before the diagnosis back in November. So much detail was put into my piece that even my fringe bangs were perfect (hairstyler's couldn't even perfect it when I had my real hair.) Since the wig, my life has resumed. I started hanging out with friends and partaking in social activities again. People thought I just had the "winter blues" but little did they know everything I went through the past few months. I'm usually not one to believe in angels and saints but Joseph Paris is a true angel. I do not exaggerate when I say he is the most generous and kind soul I've ever met. The lengths he went to in order to help me, I will never forget. It wasn't just a wig he gave me, he gave me hope, a confidant and my life back. He's also given me a family with his staff and a safe haven in his office. His office is the only place I walk around without my wig and feel comfortable. I don't feel judged and I'm not worried about how I look. Everyone there is so caring and loving. I know every single member of his staff, even his daughter and son-in-law and I adore them all. They're always all so kind to me. Sometimes I like going there to just hang out, it's the one place I can talk openly about my alopecia and be...me, with no secrets.

Who knows where I would be today without Mr.Paris. At one point, I think I was beginning to fall into a depression, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel and my doctor recommended I go see a psychiatrist. But I didn't need drugs and I didn't need to see a psychiatrist, I just needed to look like myself...that's all I needed! I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about my alopecia and it is possible with the wig. To this day, no one has noticed and it's so comfortable, that I even sometimes forget. I am not a big believer in faith but I think it was truly meant to be for me to find Mr.Paris. And to think I was going to cancel my appointment with him!

I know this is a REALLY long post but I just want to help others by sharing my experience and by letting you know you can have your life back and Mr.Paris and his staff can do that for you. I know the feeling and I also know that alopecia doesn't have to control you. They're not trying to monopolize on our hair loss, they truly genuinely are here to help. When you come to Joseph Paris you'll get an amazing wig piece, where the quality and details are so good that celebrities go to him! He has pictures! But more importantly, you'll gain a family of individuals who'll push their limits and do everything they can to help you. The product and people there speak for themselves and since the consultation is at no charge, you have nothing to lose. I highly recommend just dropping by, I did and it completely changed my life. Feel free to ask me anything!! :)

Views: 343

Comment by els on June 10, 2013 at 1:26am

I just wish I could go there!!! I too lost all my hair very quickly. I don't live in the USA never mind New York. I'm so happy for you! It's a nice story :) x

Comment by Nanny on June 10, 2013 at 6:04pm

Hello Carmen! I'm a grandmother raising a 9 year old granddaughter. She has already gone through the alopecia once about two years ago. It was sudden and nothing seemed to help but then the hair started growing back and things were getting great. Her hair was thick and curly (she's half African-American)and very healthy-looking. Then, a little over a week ago, her hair started falling out by the handfuls. She is already almost bald. I haven't even taken her to the doctor this time because we learned last time, there is very little that can be done except steroid injections and at her age, I'm afraid to go there with no guarantee that it will work. Now, I've read a lot but there are so many things I don't know. I've cried for the last couple of days because I feel so helpless. Is this condition something she will always have? Will her hair grow back? I don't mean to come off and frantic but frankly, I am. Anything you could share with me would help. By the way, I've ordered a couple of very cute wigs but I know that's just a temporary fix. Thank you.

Comment by Lexi on June 11, 2013 at 10:06pm

Lucky you being in NYC. Can I ask how much the wig is/was? I have a brochure from him, but so hard to decide on something so expensive and important long distance.

Comment by Ciella on June 12, 2013 at 3:16pm

Thank you for sharing with us!! This was so lovely to read:) My wiggy has made me feel happy, normal and carefree again too....it's wonderful!! Hugs and God bless xx

Comment by Rose Marie' on June 13, 2013 at 5:21pm

Hi Carmen
It's great when you find something that works for you!! :)

Hi Nanny

I just read your post and my heart went out to you. I understand that frantic feeling as I felt the same for my daughter (10 years ago now). I just wanted to say it does get better and if there is anything I can contribute to help her and you get through this time I'm happy to do so.

Take care

Rosy

Comment by Nanny on June 13, 2013 at 5:29pm

So, has your daughter's hair grown back? You see, when I first started researching, all the info made it sound like, no problem, it will grow back in a year. Now I'm understanding that it may not. I'm confused. The wigs I've purchased have helped. Faith actually loves them but she's not thinking like me about keeping it on at school, etc. Would you tell me a little more about your daughter? I would certainly be interested in anything and everything that can get us through this. God bless!

Comment by Rose Marie' on June 13, 2013 at 11:53pm

I will message you as I don't want to hijack Carmens lovely post.

Rosy:)

Comment by Stephanie on June 29, 2013 at 11:45pm

Thanks for the post and the information. I have had the diagnosis for almost 5 years now, but my hair loss progressed rapidly over the last 4 months and I am almost bald now. I made the decision to buy a wig and wanted it to look like "my hair." I didn't know what to do...human hair or synthetic? how much to pay? So many questions and no one to really talk it over with. I ended up buying a synthetic wig that was long like mine was. I have had the worst time with it and am so frustrated because it was not inexpensive. The problem is that it has stretched at the ends and looks and feels like straw and I can't get it cut. So...long story to say that I am going to check out the place in your post Carmen. I really appreciate it!

Comment by Carmen on July 12, 2013 at 12:01am

Hey guys!! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, I've been really busy with school. Thanks for all the support and feedback, I initially started the blog to just tell my story in hopes of helping others but I didn't expect how excited I would get with each additional comment.It's so heart warming to know that I am reaching out and you guys are hearing me :)

Els & Lexi: Joseph Paris actually has many international customers! I believe they walk you through the whole process step by step on how to take the measurements and take old photographs to replicate the piece, You should definitely contact them if you're interested, they're really friendly and welcoming and you have nothing to lose!

Nanny: I'm so sorry to hear about your granddaughter. To be honest, I'm kind of new to all this as well so I can only share my little experience with you. I was initially on steroid shots but I didn't see any improvement and in fact, more hair was falling out. I read and also heard that long term usage can create permanent indentations in your scalp so I stopped the treatment. I'm currently on topical steroids, vitamin D and rogaine solution. At the moment, I have a full head of hair that I thank God for every day. There's still some that fall out but I pray that my hair will just continue to keep growing in hopes that this was just a one time occurrence. I'm glad your granddaughter loves her pieces, I know the feeling of helplessness but I learned the best you can do is to make the most out of the situation. Just be thankful she has her health. Ironically in one of my science classes, we briefly discussed alopecia and in the wise words of my professor, "you don't need hair to live." Trust me, I know how hard it is, I've been through it all and sometimes still go through it, but a positive attitude will get you through. Best wishes!

Stephanie: You sound exactly as I did a few months ago. I'm so glad reading this post has given you some direction. If you have any other questions about Joseph Paris or anything else, feel free to ask me. Please let me know how it goes, I cant wait to hear!

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