acceptance

Living For Today

by admin on July 12, 2013

I sat down tonight, poured myself a glass of wine and remembered all the Friday nights (and Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights as well) I spent suffering in loneliness, fear, despair and bottomless depression. Whenever I could avoid the world I would, I made excuses for not making it to various functions and sought refuge on my couch, often times eating and drinking myself in a puffy sobbing, bloated mess. I felt sorry for myself ALL the time, and I simply could not process the future. What future? My hair was leaving at seemingly warp speed at times, and how could I ever live being a balding girl. How? My heart would sink at the mere mention of my fiancé talking about being able to wear a “hair addition.” What? That’s fake, that’s not real, that’s not me, never never never, not in a million years I would profess to him and then I’d leave the room (or cry) in frustration that he couldn’t really understand what I was going through. Not really anyways. I couldn’t compute and process any of this, so I sat paralyzed and living in a self imposed prison, bound by the shackles of hair loss.

I look back upon this, and I am quite saddened that I let my ENTIRE 20’s, and some of my 30’s pass by, as I sat still in the paralyzed fear of sadness, uncertainty and self loathing. This is time I will never get back. It was for all intents and purposes, very much like a prison sentence. Mind you, much of this time  I still had plenty of hair whilst it was falling out,  I still had hair that I could go out in and no one really would be clued into my hair loss issues, but that was of very small comfort. I hated myself for causing my hair loss. Yes I believed I did it to myself, after all I was the one that took the pill (Loestrin FE), that was my choice, had I not taken it in the first place all of this suffering may never have happened, so on top of everything else I had to deal with emotionally, I added blame to the mix — you know, just to spice things up in the self torture arena. [click to continue…]

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Learning To Let Go

by admin on February 24, 2013

I didn’t choose hair loss, it chose me.

I battled for years. I felt I had lost, I felt withdrawn and depressed and a feeling of absolutely no hope. I suffered tremendously as I saw myself fade away and was confronted with a reflection of a person I no longer knew. Not just in the change of appearance as a result from hair loss, but rather just in the change in me.

I finally let go.

I let go of hoping my former self would come back, that all my hair would return, but rather accepted what was and is and took steps to do what I could to help myself.

I wear a wig.

That lone sentence by itself almost seems like it’s a part of my lost battle, but rather it was the winning move and it is what enabled me to move forward and move past the former years of depression and self loathing. It is a sentence of victory. In those 4 words, you may not see it, but it’s acceptance and an understanding that life is ever changing. WE are always changing, and what was 2 seconds ago is already the past. [click to continue…]

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Working It All Out – Video

by admin on November 17, 2012

Sometimes it takes a while to realize that what we needed was there all along. I struggled for the past 6 months trying to figure out how to exercise in a wig. Many women do it, but it was a mental barrier I struggled with and ultimately, my solution is to not wear a wig to work out and to realize I can be okay, just being as I am without the security of my wig during times it is holding me back, rather than helping me move forward.

I wrote to a friend earlier today, that hair loss is a journey, wearing hair is a journey, and accepting oneself as is, and for all that entails, is the hardest journey of all. And then I thought, oh snap, there it is… acceptance on ALL levels.  Accepting that wearing wigs isn’t going to be absolutely perfect, but pretty darn awesome, accepting that for me I can’t wear a wig to workout and I’m just going to put on a hat or headband and be okay with it. Accepting that this IS my life, this is my path for better or worse. I vote Better!

XOXO

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They Say It Takes 30 Days To Break a Habit…

by Lina on September 14, 2012

Lina’s Update: 

Hello to my wonderful sisters. I thought I would update you on my hair wearing process. Today marks exactly 5 weeks since I first shaved my head and have worn my wig “full-time”. The few posts that I have made I noticed a lot of struggles out there and I wanted to let you know that I have not abandoned you, on the contrary, you are all on my mind.

So, quick recap: I shaved my head because after 25 years of battling hair loss, I had a “melt down” this summer (hair loss plus a lot of life stuff), I was 3 months after major surgery and boom – a bout of TE set in – well, no hair to lose any more and out came the clippers (I was drinking wine at the time, hmmm). Well didn’t cry when I did it and haven’t yet shed a “hair tear”. Well, that night I was brave, next morning I looked in the mirror and went, hmm – is that what I really look like :-)

Well, no going back right? I had to wear my “just in case” wig. Maybe God knew I would chicken out and get frustrated and not wear the wig after a day or two and that’s why he gave me the strength to shave my head – this way I had to commit to wearing hair. I will tell you the honest truth in my experience – I was frustrated with the wig, it takes getting used to: used to feeling like you have hair, seeing you with hair, accepting the fact you wear hair (that’s the toughest). So, first few days, wanted to rip it off, couldn’t look in the mirror because it didn’t look like me. How funny is that? I haven’t looked like me in a number of years – hair or expression. I avoided mirrors for the first few days. I finally washed the wig – much better, positioned her properly on my head (made a big difference), got the wigrip that Y suggested (life saver). [click to continue…]

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If you’ve followed my blog, you’ll know I went on a wig shopping spree determined to find something. I was let down a bit when I realized that the wigs didn’t stay on for me without clips or combs and much like topper clips, they hurt, only worse because the wig is heavier. I was defeated. Seriously defeated. It felt like the option of wearing a wig securely and comfortably was going to be out of the question for me. Hair loss was leaving me out in the cold, yet again. It was one heck of a depressing week before I had discovered that there are companies that sell headband grips that keep the wig in place. The company that makes the one I use (WiGrip) is made by Milano Wigs, they have a showroom in Los Angeles and I went their one day to check the grips and the wigs out. I tried the amazing headband and found hope again. I also ended up buying two wigs from them when I was there. I just still didn’t feel completely confident though, The Freeda wig and the Milano wigs are good, they really are good quality wigs.. but they weren’t me. I was beginning to get a little discouraged about this process and decided I would make an appointment (which I later cancelled)  to go to see Flora (as in Designs by Flora) in New Jersey, I was hopeful the maybe I could find something better there. At the same time I was on my search for my wig, my WHLP friend, Bonnie was on her search for her hair too. Through our email messages she had shared with me that it might be worth it to check out Follea hair if I could find a place that carries it. Honestly, I’d never really heard of them or their wigs. Bonnie’s clear excitement about the hair, got me excited to want to maybe check them out myself. I googled the company and found they are located a hop, skip and jump away from me in Beverly Hills… and there is where life began.

Finding Follea

Follea hair, oh let me count they ways I love thee. Soft, silky, european sexy hair. I find myself sitting watching TV in the evenings with my wig on my lap, and I just sit and stroke the hair, it’s somehow soothing to me, I don’t know… call me a freak :) It reminds me of the feel of my own hair before I began to loose it. The way it moves, falls, blows in the wind, pure yumminess. It’s been two months since I’ve purchased my wig from them and while wearing a wig IS a process and a journey all by itself, I have finally found some peace in knowing I can walk out into the world with my head held high, I can look into the mirror of any well lit bathroom with a smile and I can rest my wigless head at night knowing, that the best of life is yet to come.

These past two months have been eye opening for me, a strong realization about the fact that wearing a wig really isn’t bad at all, it does have to be the right wig for you or I think you’ll be fighting with the wig and it will just add to the frustration of the whole process. I am incredibly enthusiastic about wanting to help women take this step when the time is right for them, sooner rather than later and not waiting and suffering like I did. I think we really know when the time is right for us. It’s the moment you feel you can no longer face the world, that your couch begins to get a nice deep dent in it from you sitting there at home rather than going out and enjoying life with your family and friends. When your hair takes away the joy from your life, you can take it back. Wigs are a great option and I think there is a cloud over them because they somehow have a bad stigma, bad wigs gave way to that. A good wig can be your best ally in your hair loss struggle, you can still treat your hair loss how ever you choose to, and wear a wig to go out with confidence into the world. I can definitely say I wish I made this choice sooner. [click to continue…]

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a blog post. Now all at once I have several things I want to write about, but I’ll separate them into different posts, and play catch up that way.

Something I find myself confronted with from time to time, is balancing the things and activities in my life that I deem to be normal, with the reality of how my hair loss colors almost every situation.

Examples

A Run Is Not Just a Run

Running… turns out I love to run! Over the last few months as my asthma was improving I took to the streets with my running shoes and started pounding the pavement (quite literally) and realized, hog diggity dog, I LOVE RUNNING. I’m a slow runner, and I do have asthma, but I love it just the same. What I don’t love is being outdoors with sweat pouring out of my head highlighting how thin my hair really CAN look. So my solution is wearing a nike running headband, which is excellent at absorbing sweat and hiding the hairline and top of head. I also use a wide array of different sporty adidas and nike caps. I guess hair loss has caused me to be a tad bit more stylish out of necessity. :) I’d love to run sans anything on my head from time to time, but I wouldn’t be feeling the wind blowing through my hair, it would be more of a draft penetrating my scalp. So, no thanks.

Dinner Is Not Just Dinner

I’ve danced around tables at restaurants, playing musical chairs, grabbing the one that has the least overhead lighting. I’ve nearly knocked over waiters diving for the chosen one, the one that will least likely show to others that I’m losing my hair. I’ve enlisted my fiancé in this process as well, so he’s on the hunt for picking me a good one too, always asking me if I’m okay with the seat. I’ve changed tables at restaurants several times over, looking like a nut, because each table seemingly had more overhead light than the one prior. It’s dinner, it should be dark… really dark, like I want someone to put a flashlight to my menu. Ha ha.

Buying Clothes Is An Exercise In Visual Discipline

I’ve perfected the art of trying on clothes in dressing rooms without actually looking at my face. Neck down only. Unless it’s the Gap, god bless the Gap, whoever designed their dressing rooms definitely has hair loss.
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The list can go on and on, but I suppose my point is, in time we learn to adapt. In an effort to maintain our sanity, our minds adjust to a new “normal.” We have to adapt and learn to work with the hand we have been dealt. I know in time my hair loss cards will include glue, tape, a hair piece, and possibly a razor, but I’m not there just yet. When I am, it will take time to adjust, as every step always has, but history has taught me that we are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and I’ll be okay. Make no mistake, I still get sad, I still have my down days, I shed more today than I have been lately, and it all does affect me… but the length of time it affects me is so much shorter, my turn over period is much quicker. Thank Goodness!

Several things have happened since I last wrote, including a 3rd trip to see Dr. Greco for PRP therapy, I’ll be writing about all that soon.

I wish you all a wonderful and beautiful Sunday! Get out there and live your life, don’t let your hair loss rob you of that. Make adjustments as necessary, there will always be those for sure, but after pretty much losing out on my entire 20’s I want to encourage others to not make that same mistake. Those years, I’ll never get back.

Cheers to moving forward ( I have my glass of wine, do you have yours?)

XOXO

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When I was 23, my outlook on life was colored dramatically by my hair loss “situation.” It all seemed rather bleak, lots of doom and gloom. My coping skills dramatically improved over the years, and I have moved on from praying every single hair would grow back, to just praying for the strength to deal with the hand I’ve been dealt, but that was indeed, a hard road for me to travel.

The other day I was reading through profiles on the network and stumbled across the “About Me” of a 23 year old woman. I was so moved by what a I had read,  I emailed her and asked her permission to re-post it here.

On her profile she had written the following:

I am honest with myself. Yes, I do have hair loss. I talk about it with people instead of ignoring it. The hair loss is there and it’s not going to go away just because I’m wishing or praying. I will be open about it when I meet someone. To some people talking about someone else’s hair loss is like talking about cancer. It shouldn’t be like that. That is why I am open and honest with people. Yes, I have hair loss. Yes, this is who I am. I might be bald by the end of the year but that’s okay. I’ll cry about it, pick myself up off the floor and keep going. Don’t hope and pray for hair. Hope that one day you can love yourself no matter what you look like.

As I re-read that I actually find myself tearing up. So much truth, honestly, self love and acceptance. On the days I find myself feeling low, I think I will remember that, “Don’t hope and pray for hair. Hope that one day you can love yourself no matter what you look like.

I am someone that can certainly attest to the fact that way too much time is lost mourning our hair. I nearly lost a decade of life with my face shoved into a pillow, constantly asking, “Why?” Well I’m here to tell you I don’t have an answer. I’ve done my best to walk a straight line, be a caring person, a good friend, help others, assist homeless animals, and eat my vegetables :) I didn’t “DO” anything wrong, this isn’t some type of morbid punishment from God. It just is. Period. Although I often reflect on that moment at the age of 5 when I told my mom her meatloaf tastes like cat food. Could that be it? I’m kidding obviously.

But I digress.

Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up over your hair loss. Perhaps your time experiencing hair loss will be short lived (hopefully), or perhaps it will be a bit of a longer journey (like myself), either way it’s best to start digging deep and pulling out the big guns of Love and Acceptance.

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Written by Mary

Hi everyone,

I’ve just joined and I want to share my alopecia journey with you. This may be longer than it’s supposed to be, but I hope my experiences will help someone. If you want to put a face and voice to this narrative, please check out my YouTube video entitled “Alternatives to wearing a wig”.

I had patchy alopecia for 7 years, beginning out of the blue in my late forties. The round spots were always confined to the back or sides of my head, and were easily hidden under my thick brown hair. The frequency of the spots increased in the last few years, but they always filled in after monthly cortisone injections. My daily routine was checking my scalp in the mirror for new spots and for the status of old ones, and applying cortisone cream. I always worried about the spots moving to places on my head that would show. But, after so many years, I also sort of figured I’d never lose all my hair. Wrong.

Exactly a year ago, my hair loss began to rapidly progress. New spots appeared on top where there had never been any; old ones enlarged to take up most of my scalp and merged with others. I obsessed about losing it all, and was often depressed and crying. By January 2008, I had as much bare scalp as I had hair, and the bald areas were too extensive for cortisone injections. We took some final photos the night before I shaved my head on January 30, 2008. I saved some pieces of my hair. The photo you see was taken right after my head was shaved, and still shows stubble and my real eyebrows and lashes. I have no eye makeup on in this photo; my eyes were dark and my eyebrows very distinctive.

I felt better immediately! No more scooping up hair from the floor every day. No more examining my head to check the bald areas. No more crying over the spreading bald spots. And, it was much more comfortable under a wig or scarf than when I had the patches of hair. Shaving it all off gave me a feeling of control.

Via a local support group, I heard about a casting call for “Shear Genius” on Bravo, and was one of 8 bald women with alopecia featured on an episode that was filmed the end of March. At the taping, I still had my eyebrows and lashes, but they were gone by mid-April. The show aired July 23, and many times after that. (You can see the whole episode on YouTube under “Shear Genius 2 Episode 5”.) It was a great experience meeting the other women, all of whom had been bald for many years. I’ll probably never wear the wig from the show – way too heavy and thick, and I picked a color that wasn’t a good choice. [click to continue…]

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I wrote this in response to Lisa’s recent blog entry “Lost Cause,” and thought it was worth reposting here as well.

Dear Lisa,

I can so deeply internalize your struggles. Is this drug helping… Is it making it worse? There are so many unanswered questions about women’s hair loss. This may sound a bit odd, but I think the longer I’ve lived with hair loss the easier it has gotten for me. I have just a speckle of the hair I had 4 years and certainly 9 years ago, but somehow I just deal better. Those years I didn’t get out of bed half the time, sat in the shower crying and had my mind set that my life was over.

It wasn’t over.

I awoke this morning and fastened my hair tie (wearing my hair down and *feeling* feather hairs is more of reminder) grabbed my coffee and the day begins. I don’t dwell on the looking at myself anymore and I suppose that is the difference is in my hair loss life from not too long ago. I can easily get wrapped up in the balding spot and thinning areas I meticulously cover up with my little Houdini wand called the “comb.” But it serves no purpose. I am doing everything I possibly can and I rest easy knowing I tried EVERYTHING. They say “God helps those who helps themselves.” I’m certain I fall under that category, I’m still waiting to be freed from the shackles of hair loss. “God.. I’m ready now” :)

I’ve prayed at home, at the chruch, to St. Jude, to the high heavens, to anything holy and divine that could save me and save my life. Clearly it appears that being a woman with hair loss in this day and age requires an “Act of God” for recovery… “God. I’m ready now.”

The truth is, in some ways my prayers have been answered. No I didn’t grow the hair back I so intently prayed (my exact words where “please let my hair grow back in thick and strong”) but I wanted my life to be saved, and it was. Through better coping mechanisms, new perspectives and improved attitude I can at most times regard my hair situation with some indifference and strength. Huge milestone, “Thank You God.” [click to continue…]

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