Go Big Or Go Home – Longtime WHLP Member Shares Her Hair Loss Story With CNN

by admin on July 11, 2011

As women dealing with hair loss we often want to conceal the fact that we are enduring a struggle that we feel no woman should have to be faced with. It’s a secret, and for many of us, it’s a very dark one. It’s not easy to come out to friends or family, for fear of not being understood or sheer embarrassment. Which is why I was so proud to hear that Lisa, a longtime member of the Women’s Hair Loss Project, was coming out of the shadows and sharing her story in a big way – front page of the CNN Health section. How’s that for an audience?

The story is titled, “An agonizing secret: One woman’s story of loss.” It is an honest, and heartfelt inside look into the struggles of being a woman with this condition. Knowing Lisa, makes this story and reveal all the more emotional and amazing. Despite having understandable hesitation and reservations about “coming out,” she persevered. Being a woman who has essentially lived in hiding with this condition, only using an initial as my identity on this site , I’m in awe of what Lisa has done. Sharing her story brings awareness to women’s hair loss, and it lets other women know that they aren’t alone in this. We don’t have to be silent, we don’t have to keep it to ourselves. Sharing is healing – I believe that.

Lisa joined the WHLP in June 2008, and quickly became a beloved member of the community and a close confidant of mine. While struggling through the sadness, we often found laughter in making light of some of the idiosyncrasies of dealing hair loss, we shared more than our hair loss, we shared our lives – as many women do in the network.

I encourage everyone to visit CNN Health and read Lisa’s story. We often live in the shadows with hair loss, and it is a proud moment for us all when a woman steps forward and represents us all – our feelings and our struggles.

To Lisa: Celebrate today, and never second guess the amazing thing you have done. Be proud and feel strong. If you cry, make them happy tears! I’m crying happy tears for you. Your path is one I hope to take one day – accepting myself entirely as being a woman with hair loss and willing to stand tall and share that with the world. For now, I’m still that lonely initial, “Y.”  :) Much love to you girl!

I’ll be interviewing Lisa later this week about her decision to come forward with her hair loss story.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeni July 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm

That’s a great article! It really sums up the hair loss experience a lot of us have – doctors can’t find anything wrong, we do the things that are supposed to help and it doesn’t work, and we are left miserable, etc. I’m glad Lisa is able to move forward and move toward acceptance, which is easier said than done. And hopefully this will bring more awareness to female hair loss since it was on CNN’s website!

Donna July 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Very interesting article Lisa…you hit the nail right on the head . I have only very small patches of hair , the rest of my head is bald..I too feel ashamed , worthless and when I had hair they were thick and long and all of a sudden they were gone…I look in the mirrow every day and think why me and why wont it grow…tried different things , trying to think what did I do wrong , I have no idea. It is about 6 plus years the I am bald…I wear a wig every day to work and never go outside with it off….People just do not understand how having no hair makes you feel . They say “Oh ! wear a due rag or put a scarf on with a baseball cap….they have hair what do they care…it just hurts so bad when you know you always love your hair and now they are gone . Only my family knows and a few very close friends know I’m bald…I’m ashame too tell anyone..like I’m a freak or something…..well now that I vented , your article is just the way I believe every women that has lost their hair feels .I wish I could be brave and come out of the closet…maybe one day………..
Donna

Beth Stein July 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I can really appreciate where this writer is coming from and agree that no one (except another female with this problem) can understand the grief and guilt this “cosmetic problem” causes. I say guilt, because after a lot of self-indulgence, you tell yourself that after all, you don’t have cancer, you are healthy and hair is not an arm or a leg or really has any purpose at all. Why then can you not stop obsessing about this night and day… must be a flaw in your own character…
Well the truth is, you are for losing a big part of self-identity in an excrutiatingly slow, but never the less, real manner and you are in “mourning” for the way you used to be, and while I’m not diminishing what a man may feel about losing his hair, he doesn’t have to worry about leaving his house without a wig, hat or other hair cover for fear of being “spotted” like a woman does — it is just not the same!

Linda Torrence July 12, 2011 at 6:23 am

Lisa, I am so proud of you! I can’t imagine myself doing the same thing. My 7 grandchildren or 3 children have not seen me with my hairless. I always have a hairpiece on and even then, I don’t feel like myself. So you are to be commended for doing what you did and letting others know how you feel.
I like Beth, know that I’m not dying of cancer, etc., but I feel so less of a women when I see myself in the mirror with very little hair. I’ve tried every way possible to find out the cause. Can’t seem to find the right doctor to take an interest and do more extensive testing. Took all the extra vitamins to help and no luck. I feel that only the people on Womens Hair loss Project understand what I and many others are going through. I haven’t been on the site lately, but need to do so and run somethings by others to see if they’ve had any success with what my dermatologist is suggesting that I do.
I hate wearing the hair pieces, usually go around the house without them, as only my husband is here. I even feel embarrassed in front of him and went for 6 months and didn’t let him see me without hair. I’m 67 and look back on pictures of me 10 yrs. ago and it makes me so sad. Twenty years ago, I had such beautiful dark hair, so shiny and now, what hair I have feels like straw and looks the same. Of course, without any coloring on it, the roots are white and that’s even more depressing. I can’t imagine going through the rest of my life like this and I hate having to always put someone else’s hair on my head. We can send a person in space, but can’t come up with a reason for loosing hair, just doesn’t make sense to me.

Bless you, Lisa, for coming forward for all the rest of us.
Linda

Melissamc December 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

SUCH a great article. :) It’ s been quite a while since I’ve done my “daily check-ins” on the whlp site. I found myself wallowing in my misery and just needed to take a step (or two) away for a while. I’ve come back, as now my hair is noticably thinner and the shedding has become just awful. Something will need to be done about it soon, I suppose, and I guess I’m trying to psych myself up for the inevitable. Lisa and I chatted regularly during my time on here and it was so great to have someone walking the walk with me. Congrats to Lisa on such a fantastic article!

Jodi January 8, 2012 at 1:10 am

I agree nobody understands how I feel. Everyone in my family thinks I am crazy and says its not so bad, just live with it. My hair loss has ruined my life. It ruined my workout routine and now I found myself unable to apply for jobs because I feel so bad. I just recently graduated with a degree and don’t even want to look for a job because I think the people that will try to hire will think I am sick. I feel so bad about myself I pray that one day I will find peace and the lord will help me everyday.

res January 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Really glad I found this by googling. I’m closer and closer to looking like Gollum and this past 2 weeks went through another episode of losing handfuls (well, not handfuls because I don’t even have that) of hair after showering.

Misery loves company and I’m sorry about that, but reading your stories about hair everywhere, house, clothes, bed, floor, counters – but not on your head anymore helps in a very weird way. Where I’m at is the worst so far. I woke up to a huge bald spot amongst the hidden bald spots but there’s no covering this one – and I’m female. This has been going on for 7 years, with 6 doctors and no one has a clue. I used Ovation for 2 years solid – the hair loss ‘seemed’ to abate but I never grew more hair and then even Ovation failed. I kept using it more on than off for the 3rd year and then just gave up hope.

II don’t want to go out in public. Most people look really bad in hats but I’m thinking of searching for one to hide my shame. I’m pretty sure you all get my despair.

Thanks for being here.

Elly May 17, 2012 at 4:25 am

I am also another woman suffering from hair loss. Back in the late 8O’s I was treated for hair loss by getting 20 minute sessions of ultra violet rays, and some kind of pills that the doctor would made himself. After a couple of months my hair started to change so much that people would asked me what was I using , my hair got longer, shinny, stronger and with so much volume I was in hair heaven. Unfortunately, this good doctor died not too long after and after a while so did my hair. Now, I’m just trying to keep what little hair I have left. I also have used UNA hair products- my hair responded very well, but just a couple of weeks ago I have noticed I am shedding a lot of hair. I have not change my lifestyle or diet, but I guess that as always nothing last for ever and my hair is tired of the same treatment. I do not know, but I just recently send for a bottle of Trichromin and the S5 cream to see if that stop my hair loss. I am contemplating buying a laser hair comb/brush but after reading and reading so many comments I do not know which one to buy. I have spend so much money on many products over the years without any great results, but there is always the hope that a new treatment may work at last. Believe or not I just came aware of the laser comb, I’ve not seen any ads for it. It was not until I started searching for a new cure that I came along this website and decided to read about laser combs, unfortunately, this time I’m afraid I may as well give up because I’m a 50 y/o woman on disability income and can’t afford to buy this expensive product. What I do not understand is how HairMax is still in business, for what I have read so far the laser comb is not for everyone and is far from being the cure for hair loss. There are more people saying that the laser comb does not work even with the FDA cleared to be promoted as a hair grow product. Have anybody tried any of the other less expensive laser comb/brush available with some success or is everything about hair laser combs just another way to rip people off. I wish my hair would grow longer I love long hair but since the age of 36 I have never been able to wear my hair longer than chin level. If anyone has a good suggestion that would like to share it’ll be appreciated. Thank you for having this forum I find it sad but at the same time uplifting.

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