Helping Another

by Rebecca on March 1, 2009

This beautiful story of inspiration, strength and understanding  was written by Becca, a member of The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network.

Yesterday started like one of those days that you don’t even want to get out of bed for me. Tuesday, my 2 year old and I both had the stomach flu, so between her vomiting anything that went in and me having a mind numbing headache, we survived. My husband decided that he would take the day off yesterday to help us recooperate and maybe do the five loads of vomit laundry that we accumulated. I had to get my normal bloodwork done, I have it done every two weeks because of my hypothyroidism, so we had to find a lab that would accept my new insurance. I had some bad experiences in the past with waiting in the lobby of these places, till they actually forgot I was there and turned out all the lights. I didn’t want another experience like that, especially being sicker than I normally am.

I reluctantly put on a wig, it was colder here so no bald head outside, and we left the house. Once we got to the labcorp building I just wanted to go home and lay in bed with a bucket. After registering with what I thought was just a receptionist, she informed me she does the whole shebang, registery, bloodwork, and follow-up. While she was entering all my new information, she turned around and said, “Ya know, I was just diagnosed with what you are getting bloodwork for.” I laughed a little and said good luck! Here is a woman in her early 50’s, very put together, almost looking defeated when I said that. I realized how it came across and I explained to her that what I have is a very rare form of the disease and all my symptoms are extremely heightened. She asked me about some of the symptoms, like my hands and feet fall asleep, my joints ache, exhaustion constantly, etc. And then she mentioned hair loss. I’m not one to get embarrassed, so I just told her, “Yeah, mine is so bad, I shaved my head a few weeks ago.” She just looked at me and then told me that she too, is having hair loss in quarter sized patches and it scares her. I thought of all you ladies immediately!! I could see in her face this look of upsetedness and sympathy. I knew what I had to do for her and the hairlossproject. I told her how devastating it was for me at first and how I found support with you ladies. I told her how I cried all the time at first and really felt alone. I told her that acceptance will come, no matter what happens with her hair. She asked what it was like with no hair, with a wig, etc. and I told her I could show her. She jumped back, like maybe she was worried I would show her just because she wanted to see. I told her it was okay and that I was fine with it and I took my wig off. The lady almost had tears running down her face. I turned my head all around and showed her where new bald patches were, where old ones had tried to grow back in, where the hair was changing colors, etc. I tried to reassure her that mine is a very extreme case when related to hypothyroidism and she may never get this bad. She got a little upset and told me she was really worried about it. And I don’t know what happened next, because I’m not a super touchy-feely person, but I kept thinking about you ladies and the strength you give me, and I grabbed this ladies hand. I held her hand in mine and looked into her eyes and told her that she would be alright. She really wasn’t alone and there are so many people out there just like us, who deal with it with a smile everyday. She laughed a little, kind of nervously, and then said, “You look really pretty with no hair.”

What should have been a normal visit to get bloodwork done, felt more like a crusade for you ladies. I got in the car afterwards and told my husband the story. He just smiled and told me that I was just doing my job. I was doing my job. My dad always told me I was wise beyond my years and could change someone just by saying hello. Interactions like that are what make me get out of bed, make me go into public, push me to support awareness of my disease so that people like that nice phlebotomist knows that she isn’t alone and it happens to so many people. Now, I want to know why it’s so easy and fulfilling to help others and why is so darn hard to help myself sometimes!?  Craziness I tell you!

What a forever long blog, I’d love to hear if anyone else has run into a situation like this? It’s the first time I really met someone in person that had pretty much what I had. Anyways, I hope all you ladies are taking care of yourselves and know that I’m thinking about you all the time!!!! THEY MAY TAKE OUR HAIR, BUT THEY WILL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!!!!! ~Becca

Visit Becca in The Network – Or leave your comments and thoughts below. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you Becca for sharing this story with the network and now sharing it here as well.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah March 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

Thank you for sharing. It’s so nice to hear someone making a difference. I have Alopecia & also have a bald head. I wrote my story & put my bald photo in the news paper in the town I live & where I grew up. I included my E-mail address so people could respond to my story. I was amased by the comments I received from so many people who where moved by me trying to get people to understand, bald is acceptable for woman as well.
Thank you again.

wanda April 5, 2011 at 9:59 am

hello all this is my first time and very nervous! i have been trying to deal with my hair loss problem for four and a half years.i am so depressed i have not left my house more than five times in the past four year due to the hair loss.my story is intense and would like to know if anyone is willing to talk by phone with me am ready to give up i feel like i just want to die.it takes all i have to shower because of hair loss and i dont know what else to do.i would like to know if i am missing something so hard to get a doctor to help explore if there is something medical going on.i had biopsy on scalp and hair folicles that said tele. foluvim(how ever it is spelled) but have not seen any sign of improvement and i know my stress level and anxiety are way intense due to my hair loss.cant get a grip on it soooo scared! would love to heae from somebody asap!i will call u and pay for call if anyone is willing! PLEASE!

K April 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Wanda, Get a wig, get a hair replacement, do something. Don’t sit in your house like this. Pray, ask God to speak to you to help you to guide you. You sound incredibly desperate. I’ve had those dark days, but you seem to be living them night and day. Try to focus on something else. Your eyes, workout, workout hard, use weights. Create a goal. Do something. Buy a wig off the internet. DO SOMETHING! Do you work? How have you not left your house more than 5 times in 4 years? Go to the doctor again, a different one. Your email sounds as though you are in a trunk on a laptop and being held captive. PLEASE reach out to a friend or family member. Are you married? Your post breaks my heart. When is the last time you had a biopsy? Have you tried Rogaine? What state do you live in? Do you take an antidepressant, they definitely can cause telogen effluvium. Write us back and let us know how you are.

Vicki August 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

I’m 47, and have been struggling with thinning hair for more than 20 years. No matter how much time I spent dressing and putting on makeup and fixing my hair, I always had that little black cloud following me around because I knew my scalp was visible and my hair did not look good. This summer what hair I had on top began to shed out dramatically, to the point where I felt I had to take a step. I went to a lovely salon, where they sell hairpieces and even trim and adjust them. I was amazed. There were over a dozen women in that shop on a Saturday morning, several with their husbands. They were just like me and having a ball, trying on different hairpieces. They were all very honest with each other about how different things looked. Totally supportive and non-judgemental. It was such a positive experience. I left with my first wig, and felt for the first time in decades that I looked pretty. Yes, I had a good cry in the car, but I think it was just because I had been forced to acknowledge that I’d crossed another bridge in life. I am very glad I made the move, and would encourage others to give it a try. It was nothing like I thought it would be. There have been amazing advancements in hairpiece construction and quality over the last 10 years. The one I selected was very nice and cost about $170. Not cheap, but if you’ve been to the salon lately you know it’s not horrible. I live in Alabama, and I can tell you this hairpiece is not hot or uncomfortable in any way.

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