What up baldie boo crew! Its been a week of fighting off the bronchitis for this girl! I swear everybody and their brother is sick in my office. Nothing like the sounds of hacking coughs and flem to kick off a work week. Ick! Thanks to the magic of some meds, an inhaler, and a netti pot, I seem to be on the mend. So much so that I was able to spend two hours navigating the jungle that is IKEA yesterday, and made it to a basketball game to watch my CAVS get sadly demolished by the Nugs. Womp womp. I’m just happy I’m not a feeble Franny snot fest anymore, so I can’t complain.
For this week’s blog, I thought I’d address something many alopecians face…to shave or not to shave? That is the question. This is a really tough one, and one that I definitely struggled with. Looking back, I’d say I waited wayyyy too long to shave my head. When my hair was falling out, I could not fathom losing it all. In my head, I was going to grow it back. The pills the derm had me popping were gonna work. The homeopathic shampoo bar and oils were going to work. My paleo diet was going to work. Meditating was going to work. I was convinced something was going to freaking work. It was not an option for me to shave, because my hair was going to grow back!!! Shaving it meant I was accepting it, and I was so far from that. I wasn’t about to succumb to a razor and become a bald woman. No way Jose. Turns out when my body hears “no way Jose” it just laughs while doing whatever the hell it wants. Who knew?!
The thing about holding onto those last few strands, is that it amplified my alopecia emotionally. There was so much pain that came with physically feeling my hair fall out every single second of every single day. Even when I was sleeping! My poor cat Jasper (shout out Twilight) used to love jumping on my pillow and sleeping near my head. As a crazy cat lady, I obviously loved every second of it until alopecia struck. During this period, I HATED it. I would wake up multiple times throughout the night in a panic that more and more hair was being ripped out each time he jumped up on my pillow for cuddles. Way to ruin cat cuddles alopecia. As if you weren’t already rude enough!
While I wasn’t “sick”, I looked sick. It looked like I was battling far more than my autoimmune system being an asshole. One day I was facetiming with my mom crying as usual. Crying seems to be a common theme for my alopecia journey. My mom suggested shaving my head. She said it might make me feel better, and she ended up being right. Yes mom, you read that correctly, I said you were right. This ONE time you were right. 😉 I did cry my eyes out (staying on brand) while getting my head shaved, but afterwards it felt better not having to physically feel the loss anymore. It was a new normal, but the constant dread that came along with washing my hair, taking off my topper (my hair would get stuck in the clips and rip out), feeling pieces fall on me at work, waking up and seeing how much less hair I had than the day/week/month before was finally gone. That dread caused me massive amounts of anxiety, and it was freeing not to feel it anymore. I suppose its sorta like breaking up with a shitty boyfriend. You know the type. The one you will bend over backwards for to keep, even though they treat poop better than you. Even so, when you break up you think your world is ending, but what really happens is that you have your come to Jesus moment and realize life is so much better being free of that pain……in the ass douche canoe. We’ve all been there LOL.
What should you do? Shoot this is a hard one to give advice on because alopecia is soooo different for every single person. There is no guarantee that your body will act like mine, and there is no guarantee your body won’t act like mine. What I can tell you, is that you should seriously consider the impact on your emotional health. If you’ve lost a crap ton of hair, is it going to benefit you emotionally to keep hanging on, or would it be better to just shave it, get wiggy with it, and wait and see what happens after? I’ve yet to meet a single alopecian who regretted shaving the last pieces off. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, or even talk to me! Get yourself a solid support system that will have your back no matter what your decision ends up being. Always listen to your gut, and know there is a whole baldie boo community out there who will have your back! We got you boo! We got you!