What? What is Alopecia I asked? It was May 30th, 2017 and I was sitting in the chair having my roots touched up for the upcoming momentous events happening in mine and my daughter’s life. I was quitting my job, having a garage sale to sell my belongings, getting rid of my house, my daughter was graduating high school, and getting married all within the next two weeks. I thought taking a trip to the salon was going to be the easiest thing I had to do within those days. I had so much going on, there were numerous times when I looked at one of my sisters or one of my family members and said…I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage getting all of this accomplished in such a short amount of time.
Looking back on those days, I could see why maybe my body started betraying me.
So, back to the question at hand. What is Alopecia?
According to Wikipedia it’s the following.
Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body. Often it results in a few bald spots on the scalp, each about the size of a coin. Psychological stress may result. People are generally otherwise healthy. In a few all the hair on the scalp or all body hair is lost and loss can be permanent.
Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Risk factors include a family history of the condition. Among identical twins if one is affected the other has about a 50% change of also being affected. The underlying mechanism involves failure by the body to recognize its own cells with subsequent immune mediated destruction of the hair follicle.[2
There is no cure for the condition!
So there I was sitting there my oldest sister owns the salon and of course I wouldn’t go anywhere else to get my hair done and I was so grateful that day that it was my sister who showed me the small bald spot on the back of my head. All the professional stylists at the salon recognized it as Alopecia. The spot was no bigger than a nickel at the time. I was stunned at first, but thought no worries, after a quick google search I can totally understand why I might have a small spot caused by the tremendous amount of stress i had put my body under over the past few weeks.
We kind of had a laugh about it, and all the girls were just telling me that I needed to try to calm my nerves, relax, and as soon as all of these hurdles were jumped across I would be great. So guess what I did? I went right along taking care of one thing after another. Garage sale – Check. Storage filled with my stuff -Check. Graduation ceremony-Check, Graduation party-Check. Wedding venue- check. House rented out- Check. Quit my job- Check. Wedding complete-Check. Move in with Mom and Dad-Check. Etc etc
Finally, I’m done. I’m getting ready to take my daughter on the trip we have been planning for years. We will be leaving soon for Europe. It’s a happy time. It’s time to go get my hair done again. There I am sitting in the same chair, when my sister says to me that not only has my spot gotten bigger but there’s another one now. I was devastated. Crying. Honestly, I had forgotten all about it. Now it’s serious, how am I supposed to travel the world with a huge bald spot on the back of my head? Luckily, with my long hair it’s still somewhat easy to conceal it. Do I cancel our trip? Does my daughter want to be seen with me in public if I lose my hair? Do I want to be seen in public if I lose my hair? The questions in my mind, the anguish in what to do consumed me for days. I tried to keep my true pain and worry from my family. I’ve already quit my job and have no insurance or no time to see a dermatologist to try to at least be diagnosed officially. So I made a decision, I won’t let this keep me from taking my daughter on this trip, and I won’t let it stop me from taking my trip to Asia afterwards. I just can’t. I’ve come too far on these dreams to let my appearance stop me.
So here we are lying in bed in Amsterdam at midnight. It hasn’t stopped me. I can’t say that I don’t still ask her to look at the back of my head to see if she can see my spot before we walk out the door. I can’t say that I haven’t noticed a tremendous amount of hair loss in the previous weeks. I can say, that with all of the things I could lose or have lost in this life my hair won’t be the one thing that stops me from putting one foot in front of another.