Emma got in touch with me through my website. In her initial email, she wrote that she had problems with a balding patch at the back towards the top of the head. She had been taking supplement tablets from boots, which helped only a little bit. It is making her extremely self-conscious. Emma wanted to know if something could be done.
In a case such as Emma’s, I would have to examine the hair and scalp to reach an accurate diagnosis and therefore, discuss treatment. I suspected it to be Alopecia Areata, a scarring condition, a scalp condition causing patches if the loss, a genetic thinning condition which affects the upper region exclusively. I can treat all these plus many more. In some cases, the treatment totally reverses the problem, and in other cases, the condition is arrested.
What follows is a really honest account of when on a rare occasion the hair doesn’t return or grows some and then it falls again and how this feels. While many patients have described these emotions, no one has been prepared to be so frank as this lovely lady!
What Emma about her hair loss condition and treatment?
In just a few weeks, I went from having a full head of hair to nothing. No apparent reason. I wasn’t ill, stressed (well no more than any other parent). Lucky for me I knew of a wig shop locally and managed to arrange an appointment and get a human hair wig delivered to my door within a week. My hairdresser managed to cut it in my style and to my knowledge to this day only a handful of people know. Lucky for me I had the week off work and was able to deal with this scary situation in the privacy of my own home.
I went to my GP and was sent for blood test however their attitude was trying this cream there is nothing else we can do. Great help from the NHS! Since they couldn’t get a medical reason, there was no support available.
Dealing with the balding patches
Most people would think this is the worst thing to happen to you. Weirdly, for me, having seen friends lose hair to chemotherapy I felt I couldn’t share and complain. How could I moan when I had a loving husband, amazing kids, a job I loved and a fab home. I have only told a handful of friends throughout the four years of being a naked headed lady. How can anyone else understand how you feel?
My day to day life has been a learning curve. How to find ways to cope in the heat – wearing a wig is like having a woolly hat on your head. Or how to feel confident on a windy day. I can see in photos its a wig but even some of my family doesn’t know – wigs today are truly amazing. The hardest thing has been my eyelashes. Eyebrows and liner have been tattooed which has helped but having no lashes are the hardest. They frame your eyes and without them, you get dry eye.
I now suffer from being unable to cool myself down and burn very easily in the sun. The upside is not having to worry about shaving your legs or a bikini line.
Holistic support for Alopecia Areata
When I met Shuna I had been hair-free for about 3 months. She has made everything more manageable. She encouraged me to get my eyebrows done so I had a definition which I felt very anxious about, they frame my eyes so well. She made me feel like I wasn’t a freak of nature. She listens to my moans and groans and worries without offering pitiful looks. We can laugh at stupid things that happen (me worrying about passing out and my wig falling off) and also celebrates my triumphs: Swimming in a wig and no one knowing it wasn’t my hair.
Always at the end of the phone, she has never let me down. I can text at night and know if not later, by morning she will have sent me a text sorting out my worries or listen to my moans.
I choose to hide my alopecia. I would love to be bald and brave – but I can’t. I tried and found people looking at me with pity as though I were fighting for my life. I felt a fraud, as I am not ill my body has just decided it does not want to encourage my hair growth (I have had sporadic growth but it doesn’t stay). However without Shuna’s support, treatments and amazing head massages, I don’t think I could have got through it- she makes me feel normal: having a 47-year-old bald woman sat in her room gives me a breath of fresh air and the encouragement to not give up trying new methods together to try and encourage hair growth.
Lost my hair but gained a friend – it’s not all bad.
Above an example of Alopecia Areata, patch loss to demonstrate the area is not always a perfect circle nor completely devoid of hair. Although I am proud of the tuft of pigmented hair I have helped to regrow!