Whatdya mean it may not come back?!?

So I guess I'll start in September of 2007 -- when I went to my regular hair stylist for my regular monthly haircut. I had a full head of thick, dark hair. Or so I thought. She started cutting and pointed out that I have been thinning at a rapid rate. I honestly hadn't noticed a lot of hair loss previous to her holding up the mirror to show me. I was shocked, to say the least -- who looks at the back of their head on a daily basis? I didn't feel it while shampooing. Nothing -- because I suppose I wasn't looking for it -- I was never "into" my hair and didn't put much thought into it on a daily basis.
It was weird.

I went to the doctor who immediately said it was alopecia and my hair would probably grow back within months. In the meantime, he told me to get creative with hats and caps because there wasn't anything he could give me to make it grow in faster. I had some other nagging issues at the time -- stress, constant tiredness, a recent bad breakup, irritability, etc. He took some blood but there wasn't anything to indicate it being anything other than stress.

The hair loss was getting progressively worse by November. On the 13th, I broke my femur. While I waited for surgery (5 days), my hospital bed became covered in hair...which was embarassing whenever I had a visitor. I was still embarassed about the condition (alopecia) at that time and hadn't told many people, not even my family. I said it had to do with the body trauma, which in part, was actually true. The shock to the body apparently made it fall out faster. Nothing was showing any signs of growing in. I eventually shaved my head and today...it's still patchy. My facial hair is patchy. My eyebrows and eyelashes are gone. I have lost all the hair on my arms and legs...but some remains on the chest and other regions where it's completely useless. My look has totally changed. I wore touques all winter and have just switched to ball caps. Problem is...I work in an office where head wear doesn't really go with khakis. Fortunately, my coworkers and my boss have been supportive...allowing me to wear hats...but I don't think anyone really understands the psychological and social aspects of losing all of your hair so quickly. "Oh just take off the hat!" I just can't. If my scalp was smooth, I would. But no matter how deep the shave, you can still see the dark patches and it looks ridiculous. The one and only time I decided to suck it up and walk into a store hatless...I got sympathy looks. I thought I was just being overly observant...but then the clerk asked how many "treatments" I have had to endure. I simply said it wasn't as serious as it looked.

I read somewhere on here that rapid hair loss due to alopecia is like losing a close friend or family member. Sounds completely emo, but it's true. I've had my moments. I have put on the brave "no big deal" face at work and around friends and family...but have a tough time even looking in a mirror to put in my contacts or shave whatever is left on my face. I am normally a strong person who is always there to console others but I am shockingly weak and without anyone to shoot back the right words when I get all down about it because they just don't get it -- which is absolutely no fault of theirs. It's psycological more than anything.

I have searched high and low for alopecia support groups in my province and have found nothing (except cancer hair loss support groups -- no thanks. I think they are much worse off and don't need my whining). Not a single link. Google led me to this site...and I couldn't be happier.

It's funny. I had never heard of alopecia until a friend lent me all three seasons of Arrested Development a couple years ago. Fell in love with the series and I laughed at Stan Sitwell and his alopecia ordeal, or as Lucille Bluth said, "he's an alpaca". Sometimes I joke with friends that I'll have to get some "just woke up hair" and stick on eyebrows...like Sitwell. Who knew I would eventually have alopecia too? It was funny then, and still is, but I like and relate to Sitwell just a little bit more now...and his desire (albeit miserable failure) to look "normal" again.

Long story short...I am still hoping for some kind of remission stage. And if not that, then I wish each and every hair would just...fall out. All of them...go away...especially on the scalp so I CAN go comfortably bald in public. Since losing most of my hair, I have also realized (and been told) how WHITE I am. Thinking of some tanning sessions? 7b short months ago, I would have said, "I'll never shave my head! I'll never be one of those people in a tanning booth!" Funny how life does a complete 180 and can change so quickly in such a short period of time. The last 7 months have certainly been a physical and mental jolt to the system. I find it interesting how my priorities and views on life and experiences have dramatically changed...because of freakin' hair.

A little about me. I am a bald (!), professional man who was raised in rural southwest Saskatchewan, Canada. I am a broadcast journalist and news director in northwest Saskatchewan. I couldn't ask for a better family, significant other, and friends..who are as supportive as they can be. I really have everything I could ever ask for. So...sometimes I get mad at myself for being so upset about having alopecia when there are so many other people with much larger problems -- problems that will, unfortunately, eventually even kill them.

Thanks for the support. I have been enjoying reading about all of you since discovering you over the past couple of days...and accepting your friendship and kind words. I am truly thankful for this online group.

Mike

Views: 39

Comment by Carol on May 7, 2008 at 7:47am
Mike,
It's funny that you mention tanning beds - I heard a long time ago that some people have seen regrowth from solar therapy. I've even noticed with my own head that I'm fuzzier in the summer but that may also have to do with irritating my scalp when it gets sun burnt. Living in the sunniest province in Canada, I wouldn't think that not getting sun is a problem. LOL
Nicky Zip might be onto something too about you working in a high profile job. Oh the resources you must have at your fingertips! I just started a support group where I live and the news paper came to interview me yesterday. Just imagine what you could do!
Comment by Trina on May 7, 2008 at 9:56am
Mike,

it is totally normal to feel that way. Who in life does not want to be like others. Who wants to stick out or be noticed? Just think that you have people who will help support you. Just Imagine being a woman with Alopecia LOL Losing hair is like losing a friend but in the end this has made me stronger in a sense and like you can have moments when I just want to be normal.. LOL then I think are any of us really normal. I find ways to smile when I really dont want too and be strong when I really feel like crying. I figure pull the bull by the horns and fight back. Even though we feel bad for others you will still feel pain for alopecians, because the world knows about them. How many in the world know us?
Comment by Diane on May 7, 2008 at 9:36pm
Bonjour Mike,
Thanks for you friend request.
I was reading your story and can relate on a few things you mentions... I've lost all my hairs in about 3 days.... so I understand what you mean by not being able to look at yourself in the mirror!! Loosing eyelashes and eyebrows is like being erased...but we are made stronger than we think and can adapt to a lot!!
By the way, about the tanning session, I've been once told that UV do not go deeper enought into the skin to be efficient for alopecia...
Bye for now!
Diane
Comment by Orbit on May 8, 2008 at 7:57pm
Mike, I feel for you.
Perhaps jumping into the tanning bed isn't the healthiest option, you could try the self bronzers instead!? I've given them a whirl - even though I can remember just a couple of years ago swearing that "I'll never flaky bake!". Well I have ans it gives you that sun kissed look with out the harmful effects of the sun's aging rays.

Somewhere somebody else was taking about getting that ultra smooth head shave to get rid of the dark patches and I think Yokasta suggested using actual hair conditioner as the shaving cream. I guess it gives super smooth and close shaves, check it out.

Also, I don't know if its because I'm bald, but I actually prefer the bald look on guys. I find it very sexy :-D
Comment by Mark on November 30, 2008 at 7:38am
Hey man,

Just read yoru post....in a similar boat. Have you had any regrowth yet ?

Thansk
M
Comment by James on January 29, 2009 at 12:09am
You captured my feelings precisely. Made me laugh too. Great post! I too stuggled with what to do at the office. I wore hats until I got fed up with it all and just shaved my head. I was alright though because i have taned mediteranean skin. Now though i have AU so there's no dilema with shaving...ha ha ha.
Comment by Melanie on February 25, 2010 at 3:42pm
I think there should be an Alopecia support group in Saskatchewan. In November 2009, my 13 year old son (he'd correct me and say "almost 14) finally shaved off what little he had left on his head and it never grew back. He's completely 99.8% hairless - a few bits of stubble on his head which you can't see. He's adapted quite well, but it would be impossible to try and ask how's he feeling all the time. He needs to meet people with the same condition. I think it would really help with his self esteem!

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