Oh hello friends. It’s almost Christmas and that is completely insane. Its about 60 degrees in Denver today, so it surely doesn’t feel like almost Christmas. This time of the year means that I’m only a couple months away from my bday. Next year I am turning 36 and that is literally the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Getting older is so weird because when you’re younger you think 36 sounds SO OLD. You assume by 36 you will have everything figured out. But with 36 less than 2 months away, the only thing that I have figured out is my reality tv lineup. Have you ever watched Love After Lockup? Because OMG you HAVE to watch Love After Lockup. It is the worst and the best all rolled up into one glorious hour.
I thought today I’d dive a little bit deeper into that time frame in between losing my first handful of hair and shaving my head. I keep using the Gollum reference, so to stay on brand lets call these the Gollum months. When I first realized that I was losing way more hair than my normal shedding, I thought it was weird, but I wasn’t alarmed yet. I honestly didn’t even think it was related to my alopecia because my alopecia had never acted like that. I thought it would just stop in a couple days, but as you can tell by my shiny dome, I thought very wrong. I remember the day of sheer panic when I realized something was very wrong. I was sitting at work on a conference call and had my sleeves rolled up. I looked down at my arms and realized my arm hair was GONE. Now I am of Eastern Indian decent. My arm hair was never thin. I basically had Chewbacca hairy arms, but today it looked like someone had nair’d them in my sleep. Am I dating myself? Is nair still a thing? Do the youths know the struggle of using chemical cream to remove your lady mustache leaving you with a smooth but slightly chemically burned upper lip? Anywho, I saw this and FREAKED OUT. It was at that moment I realized that I could be losing ALL of my hair. I kept telling myself, its not alopecia, its not alopecia. This is because I didn’t want it to be alopecia. I knew damn well that there is no cure for alopecia. I needed it to be something with a cure. I thought if I said it enough I could convince my body of it. That I could go into the doctor, have them tell me it’s a thyroid issue, give me a bottle of pills, and my problems would be fixed. Of course, that is not what happened. Instead I went to my dermatologist and he told me I was having an alopecia flare up. Can we talk about my derm Dr. Norris for a moment? He is literally the sweetest, best dermatologist on the planet. I’ve bawled my eyes out in his clinic a million times over, and he is soooo kind and sweet. Always comforting me and saying, “Its okay, I know how tough it is, we see a lot of tears in the hair clinic.” Today Dr. Norris broke the news to me and I was crushed. There are not any alopecia cures, but there are many experimental treatments. Dr. Norris had a plan of attack and we were going to give it a shot. I was willing to try anything to keep my hair. He started me on a course of prednisone and methotrexate. Yes, methotrexate is used for chemo, but at these smaller doses its not considered chemo.
Have you ever taken prednisone before? I like to kindly refer to it as the devil drug. Why you ask? Because it fucked shit up for me. My body has always been overly sensitive to medications and I often get side effects. Boy did I ever. My mood was wild. Anything could make me cry. I would go from normal, happy, fine, to rage filled, blood boiling, emotional mess. It made me ungodly hungry, and while I stopped eating carbs during that time to prevent the weight gain, I still gained. Mostly in my face and gut. I don’t blame Dr. Norris for any of this of course. Everyone’s body acts differently and mine was acting like an angsty teenage girl who got her cell phone taken away. Unfortunately, my flare up continued to progress and I had to make my very first hair investment—a topper. A topper is basically hair you clip onto the top of your head to make it look like you have hair when yours is thinning away. I hated that thing SO MUCH. It would rip more hair out every time I unclipped it. It never felt secure on my head. I hated the way it looked in photographs. It honestly just made me miss my old hair that much more.
During this time frame I remember having an extra shitty, I feel fugly pity party day. I decided to go get my nails did. I wanted to be comfortable, so I didn’t wear the topper. Instead I put those feeble remaining pieces of hair into a teeny tiny side braid and hoped for the best. Welp…best is not what I got lol. I was sitting in the nail chair and the lady immediately asked about my hair. From the jump I felt like crying. Next, I thought she asked me if I had gained weight, but I also thought I misheard her because WHO ASKS THAT?!?!?!? I asked her to repeat herself and then the technician next to her looked at me and said, “she wants to know if you gained weight because we can see it in your face.” I shit you not. OF COURSE I had gained weight. I had been pumping my body full of prednisone and my face looked like a little puff ball. I responded by shaking my head and holding back my tears. I used every single ounce of strength not to start crying in that salon chair. My hands were even shaking at one point. The second I walked out of the salon, I bawled and bawled and bawled my eyes out. I walked into my apartment, laid on the floor and bawled some more. That day getting my nails done didn’t make me feel cute, it made me feel like a fat, ugly sea slug. Womp womp.
Stuff like that continued to happen, but never as bad as that day. I recall a shocked coworker thinking I had cancer. I remember walking into my crossit, and immediately crying for no reason at all. I had SERIOUS pony tail envy lol. Who gets jealy of a pony tail? Oh yeah, I did because all I wanted was my pony tail back. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, thank goodness I had my crossfit family on my side. The same goes for my work fam. For every tear there was a hug, for every break down, there was a text, for every sad cubicle talk there was an ear to listen. I’m not sure I would have had the will to push through those awful months if it wasn’t for all of them. My Ohio fam and friend fam were such amazing long-distance support too. I remember calling my best friend Kristin at 6AM because I realized my hair loss was moving to places on my head where it couldn’t be hidden. I completely broke down to her on the phone while she was getting ready for work and she still took the time to patiently listen and help me get through it. The feeling of loss was so real and so overwhelming.
Now let’s fast forward to today. I was brunching (PS brunch is a VERY regular occurrence in my life #BasicAF) with my friends Kera, Rachel, and Mattie. Rachel asked me what my long-term goal is with this blog. I think its just this. To share these raw emotions and stories. To be able to connect with people who are going through this and help them feel less alone. To help people going through alopecia know that their emotions are valid, that their feelings are real, that its okay to feel sad no matter how many times people tell you “at least its just hair”. If I can help one person struggling, then I know I am doing the right thing. 😊 That’s all for now friends. Hope you have a fabulous week my sweet boos!! Byeeeee.