Where acceptance is all there is
I was at yet another dermotologist today, burning through money to find a cure for my alopecia, which has recently transformed from a very manageable alopecia areata into a more daunting alopecia universalis.
My back story...I lived in a house of dog lovers, but I was allergic to dogs. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but was alergic to the high humidity caused by fog as well as many of the natural plants which grow so lushly along the 92 freeway. I spent my childhood with severe eczema and sinus allergies. After college, I vowed to leave that place for a desert climate which I dealt with much more effectively. But I still returned home...for long weekends, holidays, family birthdays, etc., to the city by the bay. A few days and I would have swollen sinuses and rashy skin that would take weeks to resolve after returning to my more arid and pet free home.
5 years ago, I had a baby. As the first grandchild/nephew in the family, my boy became the center of family attention and my house became the point of migration. My parents and siblings came to me...."too difficult to travel with a baby", I would say. Gone were my bi-monthly trips to the Bay Area, and I can remember telling my spouse that for the first time in my life, I felt allergy and eczema free. I was in my late 30's and my immune system was peaking....and I had rid myself of all allergens. AND THAT'S WHEN MY ALOPECIA STARTED!!!
My doctor today mentioned how I had major t-cells firing on all cylinders....basically looking for something to attack. We were discussing treatment, which included creating an eczema like condition in my skin for the confused t-cells to go after. At that moment, I remembered that I already had eczema....but it was gone! My immune system always had those things to battle with until now. I was always at the edge of an asthma attack...always reaching for a Kleenex and always slathering lotion on my cracking skin, for as long as I could remember, until I got healthy....and got alopecia!
I brought this up to my dermo today, and he was more amused by the theory than anything else. He told me to go home and irritate my skin. Color my hair, pet a dog, get a rash. We'll see what happens, but I'd be interested to hear anyone else weigh in on this burgeoning theory. Can anyone else think about a similar immune system recovery that may have contributed to the onset of their alopecia? Stay strong guys...and remember, it's only hair!!
The thought has crossed my mind (half joking/half serious) that I am too healthy and my immune system needs something to do. I retired at 50, zero stress, enjoying life, regular exercise, decent diet, and my hair started falling out at age 58...two remissions & now I have AU at age 64. I can think of no reason for the onset of this condition.
but remember alopecia is an autoimmune disease. Anything can work, not work, or stop working altogether.
If his theory is true? Great? But because AA (just like our autoimmune system) is so darn unpredictable, when his suggestions stop working, then he'll suggest something else to basically cover his as** so he doesn't look like a quack.
I'm a ex-pro bodybuilder, (extremely fit at 50+ years of age), maintain a vegetarian diet with occasional white meat, stay away from sugar, white flour, take vitamins etc., And have had hair loss and regrowth off/on for over 20 years.
Right when i thought i was doing something right, be it my diet, hair products, hair vitamins, no hair vitamins, removing myself from stress, throwing myself into a stressful situation, didn't matter. My hair fell out when it got darn good and ready, and it grew back when it got darn good and ready.
Right now? i have about 85% regrowth, which has stayed for a year now. That's a record for me. Before that, it was falling out erratically/diffusely throughout the scalp.. The fall (September through November) of each year being the WORST of the hair loss. Basically, i was semi-bald through out the year (diffuse hair loss), and completely bald at the end of every single year. This also included eye brows and eye lashes.
I have diabetes and allergies which are definite autoimmune pathologies. Thus, i don't think it's a good idea for ME, at least, to go out and gorge on sugar, white flour or alcohol, nor go tripping through a field of weeds to give the T-cells something to do, to make my hair grow back.
I'm pretty skeptical about doctors, lawyers and politicians, when it comes to their beliefs. Why? Whenever these "stuffed suits" prove they are right? They will bring out the bellows, and break their arm patting themselves on the back.
But if they are proven wrong, or caught in a lie - they are the first to run.
I should know about the doctors - i've been in the medical field for over 30 years. "Arrogance" and "Ego" are their biggest problem.
Thanks Femme. So let me ask you, if your hair falls out in the fall, winter, are your allergies seasonal? Are they the worst in the spring and summer, and is that when you experience the most regrowth....when your immune system is occupied with something else?
Sorry for the late reply, i didn't see this in my emails until this morning.
The hair loss was diffuse. Thus, there were patchy losses all year long? But the big Kahuna happened every single fall which i think makes sense regarding the "phases" of hair loss and regrowth.
The allergies were also through out the year. Mostly dust and dander. But of course, they would go full blown due to the Juniper Season we have in the Southwest. Which is in early to late fall.
Thus, that theory didn't work for me. Those T-cells had plenty to battle all year round, especially in the season where they would have plenty to do..
Then of course, my job, that i finally quit. EXTREMELY stressful. Working 24/7 5-7 days out of the week, with 16 hour shifts+ being on call in the medical field.
Working with millenials certainly isn't a dream come true for many of us. And the stress that i had to deal with in the last 10 -15 years due to the change of the field catering to these privileged, and spoiled individuals didn't exactly help matters. Thus, the diffuse hair loss through out the year. The stress was actually due to restraint. Anyone who's had to work with this kids and their families that believe they know more than you because they know how to "google" can appreciate what i'm talking about.
There was absolutely no respite in the constant hair loss until last year. 2 whole years AFTER i decided to quit working altogether. Last year was the first time that i had ever experienced LESS hair loss through out that time? And when 11/16/2016 came around last as well as this year, i didn't have much hair shedding at all.
I still suffer from PTSD - yes that field will do this to you. Ask any physican, nurse or even a CNA who's still in the trenches. But i'm learning how to relax, meditate, and not break out in cold sweats when i hear the phone rings, or when people walk up and try saying hello.
I always keep in mind. AA is tricky. I still can't wear my hair in a bun. My right temple is diffusely bald, but growing in slowly.
Before? It was basically the whole right side of my head. It looked like a lopsided mohawk from the front. No hair on the right - a few sparse hairs on the left. And absolutely nothing in the back nor over each ear.
I have been AU for over 3 years. I am 69 and have never had a sick day in my life. Don't get flu shots, never had any kind of flu, even though I have been in close contact many times with people who had the flu. I did have 2 months on oral prednisone (20 milligrams a day), and it made my situation worse quickly! It was almost as though my immune system was fighting back hard against be suppressed with this drug. I quickly developed high eye pressure and the type of cataracts that are associated with prednisone use. So, I also wonder if my immune system got tired of waiting for something to do.
Hi all, I have also pondered this theory as i have had pretty good healh for most of my 59 years on the planet; & just trying to get my head around why these crazy auto-immune alopecias,like AA,LPP,FFAetc, hit people 'out of the blue' with almost no knowledge of what triggers it or understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease by scientists. I have been diag with lichen planopilaris & frontal fibrosing alopecia (2012/13).I came across an article recently when considering the possibility of this theory & researching for clues (because often people who get these alopecias seem to be in very good health, other than perhaps some having allergies or another auto-immune issue & others haven't even experienced any immune probs prior).The article titled "Autoimmune Diseases may be side effect of a strong immune system" by Vivienne Callier (from New Scientist Daily News 29 July 2016) www.newscientist.com/article/2099313. The 27year study of elderly people in Taiiwan analysed blood samples & found that individuals with higher levels of "self-reactive" antibodies (those capable of attackingthe bodys' own tissues) were less likely to have a type of chronic viral infection & likely to live longer.The downside being that these antibodies are precisely those implicated in autoimmune diseases."There are so many autoimmune diseases affecting all sorts of tissues", said Andrea Graham (Evolutionary Bioligist at Princeton ùUniversity)....So what could explain existence of these conditions..."One potential answer is simply the price for potent and rapid defence against infection". ....Sometimes it seems like the body could be creating the effects of its' own chemotherapy, what with either the destruction of hair follicles or their inability to produce hair, & loss of eyebrow, eyelash, & body hair etc..(maybe our bodies are trying to fight something else sinister that we're not aware of, who the hec knows),..the reasons for these crazy alopecia diseases is mind baffling,& maybe there is something in this theory. They can do such amazing things with technology which is advancing almost faster than a blink, fly to the moon, but can't figure out why our bodies are causing our alopecia, which so often has such a devastating affect on our psychological well being ( which can, in turn, affect our physical health cosidering how stressful it is to live with these diseases)...