So, I am about to do one of the scariest things I think I have ever done in my life!
Over the last 8 years I have done everything in my power to hide my alopecia. When I was first diagnosed I wouldn’t leave the house without my extensions in, just to try and stop people from seeing my bald patches. I was always scared of what people would think, or what they would say. I was scared of people laughing or pointing at me and I was worried that they would judge me.
I was known for a while as ‘Flower Power!’ No one knew, but the reason I wore a flower every day was actually to cover the round patch of missing hair from the top of my head, not because I was trying to make a fashion statement.
Only now, after going through some extremely stressful and emotional times recently. And with the support, encouragement and love of my family and friends, do I feel that I am ready to show the world the REAL me.
The first signs of Alopecia started back in 2010. My hair would come out in thick clumps in the shower, when I brushed it, and I would even wake up in the morning with hundreds of strands all over my pillow. I made a doctors appointment and after multiple tests and being told to ‘keep an eye’ I was asked to go back for further testing at a later date.
It wasn’t until a few months later that I was officially diagnosed with Alopecia Areata.
Around the same time that I noticed my hair falling out, my Mum had a traumatic accident which almost lead to the amputation of her leg! This was an extremely stressful time for my whole family.
Stress is one of the main causes of Alopecia and the slightest amount can trigger it off at any given time. With the amount of stress that I was under with my Mum’s accident, as well as trying to complete a college course and looking after my younger sisters, my Alopecia seemed to spiral out of control.
I was prescribed an ointment which unfortunately did nothing other than make my hair greasy every day! After seeing doctor after doctor and being told to continue using the ointment; I watched the months pass, until finally I was advised to see a specialist.
When I eventually got to see a specialist he told me that my condition had deteriorated too much for me to have steroid injections, which is what they usually offer patients if the ointment or other treatments don’t work. It was at that point that my Mum suggested I took some photos so that I could look back and compare the severity at a later date.
If she hadn’t have suggest that I wouldn’t be able to share these before and after photos with you today…
I’ve been told that 98% of sufferers have regrowth in the first 3 years, and 2% don’t. Unfortunately, I am part of that 2%. There is no cure for alopecia that has been discovered yet, and I have been told that it is only a matter of time before I suffer with total hair loss. I am trying to be positive in the hopes that one day, it just might come back, however I have to prepare myself for the worst.
Fortunately there are many companies out there that offer fantastic wigs and services for patients. Transplants are also available but they can be extremely pricey. As time goes on and more of my hair comes out I will eventually start to look into these services.
For now though I am trying to embrace my patches, and with the help of my family and friends I am becoming more confident by the day and learning to accept it. Without them I would be nowhere, so I would just like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you!
For those of you that are suffering with Alopecia; I know that it is not easy, but one of the greatest hurdles you have to cross is the one where you realise that you don’t need to hide who you truly are. Believe me, once you cross it the greatest weight comes off your shoulders and you become a stronger person. It has taken me 6 years to get to the stage that I am at now, but now I am here I feel so much more lifted and full of self confidence.
Always remember, you are the same person with or without your hair and that only shallow people value others on their appearance.
There are so many people around us all that have similar insecurities to those that we have, all it takes is for us all to unite, help and inspire each other and together, we will be stronger.