Alopecia, Part 1: Is This Really Happening?

When I first started this blog, this was not a topic I thought I would write about. Probably because it is very personal and I wasn’t sure I was ready to include it. However, I guess when you subtitle something, “Finding Joy in the Journey” that should include the whole journey. Go figure!

So here we are, I am going to share with you in the next several blog posts all about having alopecia universalis; and how I learned (and am learning) to find joy in that particular journey. Alopecia Universalis is a an autoimmune disorder that affects the hair follicles in your body. Basically, your body thinks your hair follicles are trying to do damage to you and so it destroys them.

Alopecia has 3 types: areata, totalis, and universalis. Areata  is where you just have patches of baldness. Totalis affects hair loss from the shoulders up. And universalis, as you can imagine, is TOTAL BODY HAIR LOSS. Like many people, mine started as areata and worked its way down to universalis.

September 27, 2014 I was laying on the floor playing with my daughters and reached back and felt this strange smooth spot on the back of my head. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later that afternoon I went to my room to investigate the back of my head. That is when I saw the first bald spot! Ava, my then almost 3 year old, was standing right there with me. I had to send her out so that I didn’t burst into tears in front of her.

Are you serious?? This can’t be real!! Is this really happening?!?!  All of these thoughts ran through my head. I sent the first picture you see to one of my best friends asking if this was normal hair loss for post partum. (I had just had Abigail about 8 months before). Instead of texting me back, she called! Apparently this was not typical.

This began my journey into a season that I thought would be the most difficult season of my entire life. (HA!) Over the next few months, that was the only spot; and to my delight it was fairly easy to hide!

Then in April of 2015, the hair finally started growing back in. What relief! “It’s all over. That wasn’t so bad!” These were just a few of my thoughts. That is until we discovered the next spot…on the front of my head! (Picture #2). A little harder to hide. Thank the Lord for side swept bangs! From then on, every few weeks another spot would pop up. Sometimes BIG, other times smaller. Each time with me thinking, Seriously?! Is this really happening right now?”

I felt totally shocked. I didn’t know how to process what was happening to my body. I could only imagine what the next few months would bring, and I have to say I was having a hard time, “counting it all joy”.