Alopecia, Part 2: The Hard Things

Anger. Fear. Confusion. Insecurity. Sadness. Selfishness. Shame.

Those are the feelings I had as more and MORE of my hair started to fall out. This was a situation that was beyond my control; and if you know me, you know how much I LOVE to relinquish control!

I was having such a hard time understanding why this was happening. Sure, I had gone to the dermatologist and they had determined it was most likely stress related. I had a baby 8 months ago, we moved towns, helped to start a new business, and just having a family! Logistically, I got it. I understood. Emotionally though, I felt completely disheartened. I felt betrayed. By what, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe myself? My body? God?

From April of 2015 to the end of August of 2015, the amount of hair that I lost was completely overwhelming! I must have had very thick hair. I was honestly so surprised that by June I still had ANY left to lose.

At the beginning of August, for our 5th wedding anniversary, Terrell planned a vacation for us. Just the two of us. Driving down to Florida, taking a cruise to the Bahamas, getting back to Florida and exploring West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. We were so excited! But once we actually got there, it was a battle. Every. Single. Day. All I could think about was how much hair I was losing. Was it visible? Did everyone notice? It was crippling. I just about ruined the trip for us. Thank God for a patient, and understanding husband!

Do you see those cute little scarves tied around my head? Those aren’t to be fashionable…they were to cover the GIANT bald spot on the top of my head. I had a scarf of some sort or a hat on my head during that trip 24/7. Which, while snorkeling, was quite the challenge! I had never felt so insecure in my entire life. I felt out of control of my emotions and also out of control of who I was. I was afraid that I was losing myself.

It was a strange feeling to be experiencing grief over my hair, but I was. This overwhelming sadness just seemed to overtake me. I couldn’t see past the loss. Every handful of hair that came out, a fresh wave of despair would wash over me. I know some would say, ” It’s just hair.” and I may have thought that too at one time. When you are going through it, however, it feels like a lot more than “just hair”. For me, it felt like my  femininity. My womanhood. My very being.

I did NOT want to lose my hair. I did not like feeling embarrassed anytime I went out. I was struggling to find any joy in anything. My sweet husband found a wig shop in West Palm Beach and took me there. When I first sat down to start trying on wigs, I couldn’t help but cry. I knew my life was changing…significantly

The next few months would prove to be some of the most difficult that I had faced up to that point in my life. At night before bed, I would tie scarves around my head to try and see what I would look like with no hair. It didn’t exactly translate!

By the end of August I had so little hair left that I asked a very dear friend of mine to cut it off. About a week after it was cut just below my ears, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was coming out too quickly! I went into my bathroom, shut the door, and shaved the rest of it off. To my surprise, there wasn’t much left to shave. I looked in the mirror and didn’t even cry…I just stared.

Until Terrell got home. Then I cried. Something about him seeing me like that was almost too much for me. From there to the end of December, it all came out. Eyebrows, eyelashes, EVERYTHING!  25 and completely bald, that was my new reality.