Saturday, January 21, 2012

Becoming an Alopecian


I developed alopecia in February of 1999 when I was nineteen years old. It all began when my stylist found a dime-sized bald spot in the middle of my head. I was instructed to immediately seek the attention of a doctor. My doctor diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata. I had no idea what that was and was only concerned about my hair growing back. So from 1999 up to 2004, I had to get corticosteroid injections in my head every month to help stimulate the hair follicles to increase hair growth.

At some point during 2004, I believe my body became immune to the shots and decided to shut down which caused all my hair to fall out in chunks. From this point the doctor stopped the shots and prescribed a topical cream that was like putting water on my head. At the end of 2004, my doctor stated I had alopecia totalis. I went from having 12 inches of hair to nothing within a matter of a few months, and this was my first year wearing hair prosthesis (a term for wigs).  For the next three years, I had no hair growth on my head at all. I seriously thought something was wrong with me because the doctors could not even figure it out. All I was told was that my immune system turned against itself and there was no cure for it. I was depressed and sadden that I may have to go through life with no hair. During this time-frame I didn’t want to take any pictures, be in any videos, and go out with friends and family. I basically secluded myself in the house.

In 2007, I started seeing some hair growth and I was overly excited! I was also excited that I was pregnant with my third child. During my pregnancy, my hair was actually growing and looked healthy. It wasn’t much that grew where I felt I could go without wig, but it was enough that made me happy. But after giving birth, my alopecia tricked me. I will tell you how and I will have to say I contribute the situation to stress. After giving birth to my son in June, he was found to have a congenital heart defect where he required an open heart surgery at just a week old. Then five months later which was in October, my son required another open heart surgery because he experience complications with his heart. At this point I was of course experiencing extreme stress and so was my body from not sleeping or eating right. In two days, I lost every hair on my body from head to toe.

Final breaking point…In November, my doctor diagnosed with alopecia universalis, and I was told the chances of hair growth were slim to none. With my son having a congenital heart defect and learning I had alopecia universalis caused me to look at life a whole new way. I started to appreciate the small things and gradually the big things in life. I was able to discover self-love and learned not to take life for granted. India Arie’s song “I am not my hair” came just in time because I am not my hair and it does not make me who I am as an individual. This song also helped get over the hump of wearing wigs. I used to love hair before my alopecia, but now I have an addiction to hair and can change my style any time I want with the help of wigs and lace wigs (my favorite).

Explanation of the different stages of Alopecia

  • Alopecia Areata results in patches of hair loss that occurs when a person’s auto-immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles that stops the process of hair growth. 
  • Alopecia Totalis results in total hair loss of the scalp.
  • Alopecia Universalis results in total body hair loss wherever hair grows.
This is me as of January 2012 full of happiness & rocking my lace front wig!
Coming Soon...my new business Couture Lace Crowns dedicated to helping women with hair loss.