hair loss

To wig or not to wig, that is the question… and a very personal one indeed. I arrived early for my shrink wrap appointment and thought I’d make a little video on a question I get asked quite a bit. Watching the video back, I think it’s a little babbley, but here it is anyways :)

Happy Thursday to All!

XOXO

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Getting Off The Birth Control Pill After 13 Years - My  Biggest and Hardest Hair Loss DecisionI’m sitting awake in my hotel room in Florida. My mind flooded with thoughts and my fiancé snoring soundly beside me. I had no chance of sleep I tell ya… no chance.

As usual, Florida time means PRP time. I did have my 8th PRP therapy treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco yesterday afternoon. At first glance all seems the same, snoring fiancé, PRP, Florida, hangover…. but it’s not. About a month or so ago I made a very hard personal decision for myself, and  just to bring you up to emotional speed on this one, just starting to type the word “decision” started the tears rolling down face, because it’s a decision wrought with so many emotions and so much pain.

My hair loss started in 1999 (I was 21 years old) after the cessation of the pill Loestrin FE, dumb luck struck and that one act caused the following years of misery, sadness and self loathing as I tried to cope with losing my hair. I was so incredibly alone when this happened, I was desperate, beyond desperate and I was willing to try and do anything I could to just get the shedding to stop and hopefully get my hair to grow back, so I made a choice I have regretted ever since. At the suggestion of a physician I got back on the birth control pill. While the pill can be the cause of hair loss, doctors also use it to try and stabilize the hormones to treat it. I didn’t want to, I was so scared, but I did. Many times I’ve wished I was stronger and just said no. No to the doctor and no to myself. I knew what the pill did to me the first time, why get back on something I would forever be a slave to? Good question. Answer: Desperation and lack of foresight.

Getting back on the pill essentially meant never being able to get off it. The amount of shedding that occurred when I got off the pill the first time was INSANE, I’m talking about waking up to fist fulls of hair on my pillow. I had a ton of hair back then and while no one wants to loose their hair, looking back I had hair to spare. I have none to spare today I can assure you. Knowing this, I started to feel very trapped on the pill, how could I ever get off again? I was stuck on a medication I had so much animosity towards and worse my hair continued to decline so I had no way of knowing if it ever helped in the first place, and since we all know we just love to poke ourselves in the eye with our torture sticks, I’d constantly remind myself that I never really allowed my body the chance to heal on its own, to stabilize it’s own hormones without the use of any medication. Maybe in a few years time all would have resumed to normal, or maybe not, but I’ll never know. [click to continue…]

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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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A few weeks ago I put up a few photos of my new wig and then a short while after that I took them down for various reasons, one of which a family member had emailed me a link to my own site (this one) discussing an article I had written years ago and that “I” should check it out. I felt panicked that with the photos of myself on the site that this person would for sure, instantly, make the connection and realize this was my site, so I quickly pulled the pictures down offline. A lot of women where emailing me because they wanted to see the photos that everyone was referring to so I then put together a private gallery and emailed the link out to several women. Well, I’ve since come clean to the family member who I was concerned about and I want to share some more photos and video with everyone so that women can get a better idea of how the wig sits on my head and also those photos that where once in the private gallery are included in the video as well. So my apologies to those who have already seen them, that part will be a repeat for you. [click to continue…]

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I’ve always been a private person, definitely more of an introverted personality. I find happiness and solace just being all by myself, never really feeling the need to have to be out and about and socializing. Well, hair loss added to that in a negative way. What once felt like a personal preference now seemed like a prerequisite to my life… solitude and isolation.

There were two monumental, emotionally catastrophic times caused by my hair loss. One was when this began in 1999, and the other crash came in 2007. I was losing my hair the whole time and having bouts of depression the whole way through, but those points mark times where I just sat constantly feeling helpless and completely without any motivation to live life. It’s definitely no coincidence that I created this site in 2007, it was an extremely sad time for me, and if you read my earlier posts you will likely feel the sadness and pain I was going through. I was withdrawn, I submerged myself into the comfort of my keyboard and I began to pour my heart out onto electronic paper. The more I typed, the more I shared, the more I started to feel better. Sharing is incredibly healing; I say it all the time.

During this time, I started to avoid my friends; I was ashamed of how much worse my hair was starting to look. It was thin before, but after having experienced a nonstop massive shedding from the 2 years prior, it was now a complete hopeless mess, and seemingly progressing each day. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I hid. In every sense of the word. I hid. I started avoiding phone calls, text messages and even started to skip the “reply” part of an email I would receive. It was just easier to push that part away (socializing) and focus on communicating and writing to women I met online, women who I knew understood what I was going through, that felt a whole lot safer.

As time passed I started to feel guilty for abandoning the friendships, and I started to feel empty.  I was saddened that I had pushed everyone away just so I wouldn’t have to share my secret and have them see me a way that I didn’t even want to see myself.

I wanted to reconnect, but how? So much time has passed. What do you say? Where do you pick up? “Hi, how are you… I’ve been balding for over a decade and it’s made me miserably depressed, sorry I didn’t call you back,” that just didn’t have the flow or direction I was hoping for.

I wrote emails, apologizing and explaining what has transpired in my life, or more appropriately put… what took over my life. I went out to lunch with someone else, and burst into tears over my jambalaya. I was scared, I felt vulnerable, but I was received with such love and understanding. I wasn’t judged. All that I had built up in my head of how no one would understand, was really just in my head. I also think when you share such a deeply personal part of your life with others; it can deepen and grow your friendship.

Make no mistake, this is still very much a secret of my life, but I told a few people I very much care about, and I don’t regret it. I know in writing with lots of women on this site, that others have also lost touch with their friends, and in some cases family, and I want to tell you… Your friends, your REAL friends, are still there, waiting for you to reach out. If you want to reconnect, make the choice, and decide how you feel most comfortable – phone, in person, email, telegram :) and do it.

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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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Hello Everyone!

Recently I ventured back to Florida to have another PRP (platelet rich plasma) hair loss treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco. I went back at the 4 month mark, which is before the time usually recommended to patients. I did so because I was quite pleased with the results I saw, and I wanted to make sure I kept my hair in that happy state it seems to be in. After 10 years of hair loss, when you find something that helps, you pretty much jump all over it… or at least I do.

So round two begins….ding ding.

I arrived at the hotel the day before my appointment, ready, excited and pumped with anticipation to have this treatment done again. I had a lot less apprehension because I pretty much knew what to except. As some of you will recall, a big point of anxiety for me during the last trip, was exactly how much pain was involved in this process. Well thankfully that anxiety didn’t exist because I had already experienced the process and knew it was not that big a deal.

I slept like a baby, no nerves whatsoever, part of that may be attributed to the wine I drank that evening. Gotta love wine! I awoke the following morning and stepped outside on the balcony with my cup of coffee and was just in awe of how beautiful it was. It was an incredibly gorgeous day so I just soaked it all in.

An hour before I was to depart, I dialed the front desk to ask for a cab to pick me up. Before I knew it I was being whisked away by some crazy driver who seriously needs to re-evaluate her profession. I’ve never in my life had a cab ride quite like that before. I found myself bracing at every turn and frantically clutching on to the seat for dear life. And to make matters worse, she didn’t take credit cards! Every cab pretty much takes credit cards nowadays, but her machine was getting serviced (uh huh). So now I had to rummage through my purse (something resembling a black hole) to pull out dollars and quarters. Shockingly I had the cash. Yay for spare change!

I walk into the office and am warmly greeted by the receptionist. I re-sign some forms and take my place in the waiting room chair. Not much waiting time before Dr. Greco appears and welcomes me back. I say my hellos to Val, his awesome assistant, and shortly after I’m in the chair getting my blood drawn. Like I mentioned in my first post, Val is a pro at drawing blood and there was no real discomfort there at all. [click to continue…]

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It’s been 3 months today since I received my PRP hair loss treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco last November 2009. I have been meaning to write my PRP update for quite sometime, but I wanted to wait until I was sure of what I felt my results (if any) actually were.

So rather than keep you in total suspense, I’ll start with a few self-imposed questions.

Do I think PRP Therapy has helped my hair loss? Yes
Do I think PRP Therapy has reduced my shedding? Yes
Do I think PRP Therapy has been the best thing for my hair since this entire mess started? Most Definitely
Has it done anything else? Yes, it has improved the quality and color of my hair
Will I do this again? You betcha, I’ll be on a plane within the next month for another treatment

Now with that out of the way, let me start by saying that ever since I had this done last November I have just felt better about my hair loss in general. Nothing works instantly, I know that,  but my mind was for the first time in a long time, optimistic that something positive could happen. So I essentially started to feel good right from the start, way before being able to actually tell if the PRP treatment did anything at all.  At times I have wondered whether or not my favorable results were a bit of a placebo effect, you know, all of a sudden thinking my hair is going to get better and tah dah it does. Whatever it is, my results are real, tangible and visible.

I noticed fairly quickly after receiving the treatment that my shedding reduced DRAMATICALLY, and since then it has gone up and down, but far less than before having the treatment done. My hair also just started to FEEL better and LOOK better. It seemed like some vibrance and pigmentation returned to my hair as well. After living with hair loss for 10 years, the color of my hair had faded as the miniaturization progressed. All I can say is “Hello color, I missed you! ”

Up until this morning I knew the following things, 1) my shedding decreased 2) the color improved and 3) my hair quality improved. Then this morning I scheduled a haircut with a woman who has been cutting my hair since 2005. I sat in the chair, she clipped on the apron, spritzed my hair with the water bottle and started to part the hair down the middle. Then she just looked closely at my head, then a little closer, as she leaned in she appeared to be slightly confused. With that final lean towards my head she said the most wonderful words, “You Look like You Have More Hair.” What? Let me say it again for all you ladies, in case you missed it, “YOU LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE MORE HAIR.” Hot diggity dog, do my ears deceive me? Nope. She told me my hair looks thicker, and that I have tons of little baby hairs growing in all over the place. Well praise the lord and raise the roof, I have a happy dance to do.

I had to laugh because before she came over (I have my haircut at my house) my fiance said, “I bet you she is going to tell you that your hair looks thicker.” Ha! I’ll gladly take the “I told you so” on this one. He’s been telling me for over a month that he really thinks that the PRP has helped my hair loss. I felt it, I knew it, but I didn’t want to jump the gun in writing my update prematurely.

I feel confident in sharing my results now, and I hope it helps to give other women hope. I will continue to keep everyone updated as I go through more treatments.

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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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Finding Peace, Strength and Friendship

by admin on January 24, 2010

As most everyone who frequents this network knows, I started this site in 2007 during one of my darkest and loneliest times. At that point, I had already been dealing with hair loss for 8 years, but things had taken a drastic downward turn and down I fell into the hole of isolation.

That was then.

Since that time I have had the chance to interact with so many women that have touched my life in such profound ways. I have discovered just how strong women really are, and I have learned so much.

By being able to unite women with hair loss, and helping them to find support and understanding, I have found just that for myself… understanding and support, and I no longer feel alone.  I have met a few women from the network, in California and New York, and each time it has been a truly wonderful and amazing experience.

I just wanted to say Thank You to Everyone. Thank you for helping me to find some inner peace, a strength I never thought existed, and friendship that is pure and true.

You have changed my life.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life.. and I’m feeling good
~Nina Simone

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