It has been 7 months since I started to try and write this post. When I initially started this series of blog posts about apolecia, I knew I would be posting pictures of each part of the journey, because I wanted to be as honest about this journey as possible. I also knew this 3rd post would be the hardest to post, because once it’s out there, it’s out there. And being vulnerable is hard; even on the internet. Although, I did walk around our restraunt completely bald in the summer of 2016…but it was hot and I was pregnant, and well, desperate times called for desperate measures!
Having alopecia universalis has taught me many lessons, the most important being perspective. For one thing, even though alopecia is considered an autoimunne disease, I have no other symptoms. I am not sick and I am not dying. I have not experienced this hair loss at the hands of chemotherapy. That alone gives me reason to have joy!
Going through this huge change made me want to isolate myself. I didn’t want to have anyone truly know what all I was feeling. Thankfully, God blessed me with dear friends and family who walked every step with me. Rejoicing with me when one little hair popped up on my head. And crying with me the day I shaved it all off. When you have friends and family like that, who not only help you celebrate but also grieve with you, you have a lot to be thankful for.
Here is a quick timeline of my hair loss:
- Sept. 2014 – First bald spot
- April 2015 – Second bald spot
- April ’15- August ’15 – Frequent loss
- Sept. 2015 – Completely bald
- Sept. ’15-Dec. ’15 – Eye lashes, eyebrows, and everything else, completely gone.
In that first difficult year, and in the years that have followed, we have walked through several trials that in my opnion were considerably more difficult than losing my hair. Yes, hair loss is hard. And yes, I do still desire my hair to come back. But it is not an all consuming thought anymore. I have realized that there are things in my life that matter more than the hair on my head. If I never have a head full of hair or eyebrows and lashes on this earth again, then that is okay; and most days I really mean that! 🙂 I know that one day, my body(hair included!) will be fully restored when I get to walk side by side with Jesus. I also know that walking through the loss of my hair helped to prepare for the harder things that were still to come.
For me the hardest part of having alopecia is not feeling sorry for myself. It can be so easy. So, SO easy. However, it can also be so detrimental to my attitude. I strive to be thankful and to have a good attitude. My most earnest desire is to truly “count it all joy‘ and to be an encouragement to those that I encounter. On the days that I struggle, I choose to remember one thing: it could always be worse.
To me, that is the beautiful gift of hardship; perspective.