I AM NOT MY HAIR – A Re-introduction to Alopecia

I have for a number of years now been a victim of major hair loss caused by a disease known as Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is a rare disease and is one of the many types of Alopecia, which involves the loss of areas of hair on the heads of men, women and children alike and other parts of the body such as the beard, resulting in bald patches. The exact cause of Alopecia Areata is yet unknown, although it is generally agreed that it is a disease of the immune system. There is believed to be a genetic component in some cases and a possible link with stress. Alopecia causes your immune system to attack the affected hair follicles mistaking them for foreign cells. This halts hair growth (the anagen stage) and causes a move to resting (the telogen phase) where the hairs are then abruptly shed.

Alopecia is commonly recognized as balding in men, this is not completely true. Not many are aware of the various forms of Alopecia that affect both genders and cut across race and age groups.

  1. ALOPECIA AREATA – as previously explained is a rare autoimmune disease that results in the loss of patches of body and scalp hair causing bald spots in one or different areas on the head or chin.
  2. ALOPECIA TOTALIS – another rare autoimmune disease that causes total loss of hair on the Scalp.
  3. ALOPECIA UNIVERSALIS – A third variant of the disease that results in the loss of ALL body hair, hence the name “Universalis”.
  4. ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA Commonly known as male pattern baldness. It is not classified as an autoimmune disease but is induced by the genetic makeup and is hereditary.
  5. TRACTION ALOPECIA Like Androgenetic Alopecia is not a disease but is influenced by pressure on the hairline from overly tight weaving, which results in receding frontal hair, most commonly suffered by women as a result.

These are just a few of the various forms of this disease, and with this brief introduction I hope to set the record straight- ALOPECIA is not just about balding, it is the unwanted, uncontrollable loss of hair from the head, face and other body parts and in some cases the entire body. The application of Steroid based topical creams and topical Minoxidil solutions on bald patches, and Steroid injections on such spots are some of the presently available treatments of Alopecia Areata but a cure for hair re-growth is yet to be discovered.

As a victim of major hair loss that has spanned over 5 years now, I have witnessed first hand the ignorance of many towards this disease and the social stigma that comes with that ignorance. There are people who see hair loss as a form of spiritual attack rather than the real, human,  medical condition it is. I am also aware of the traumatic psychological effects this disease leaves one with in place of their hair – Depression, Anxiety, low Self-esteem and Shame are a few of the scarring emotional traumas brought on by the disease, and in a society so fixated on aesthetics, “Weaves and Wigs” are a fantastic approach to hiding this humiliation – I should know, I do know because I’ve been there. Luckily I was fortunate enough to discover others like myself within my vicinity and also got connected with online support groups- Sharing my pain with others helped me through my ignominy and finally resulted in me taking my power back and finding the courage to shave my head and find a voice louder than mine by creating this blog “Hair Chronicles”, where I write on my experience with major hair loss and re-growth, in the hope of encouraging others in my position.

The essence of this post isn’t to encourage individuals with Alopecia to get a haircut, Heavens No! Rather it is to create public awareness towards the various types, particularly the rarer forms of the disease, and allow victims hiding behind wigs to realize that they are not alone. There are many of us living with these diseases, even public figures such as the American Olympic gold medalist Joanna Rowsell who was diagnosed with a chronic case of Alopecia Areata at a very tender age. Medical research is being carried out internationally to find a concrete cure to the disease and I am ever positive that someday very soon they will find one, but until then I hold unto the constantly uplifting belief that “I am NOT my hair”… This is the message I desire to convey to Alopecia victims and “People” in general today.

Cheers! 🙂

My Hair Journey so far…

Hello there! 😉

I know its been A WHILE, but guess what! I’m still too lazy to write, so I have made a little video and a picture gallery in form of a slide show (below) in order to fill you wonderful people in on all my hair accomplishments since my last post 🙂

Watch and enjoy! 🙂

INTRO (V-Log)

🙂

Hair Story Pictorial:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I do hope you enjoyed that … Holler if you will- I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Cheers! 😀

My Risky December’s Experimental ME

Well its been 3 years since I let anything but my hair on my head, but yesterday I decided to put some extensions in…. AND IT WAS PAINFUL!!!

Had forgotten how the phrase “Beauty is pain” applies so well to the life of a woman. 😀

And here it is!…

THE NEW LOOK for December 🙂

Frankly I kinda miss my low cut hair…. Even a girlfriend of mine that’s been dying to see me in a weave passed the same comment tonight 😀

I’m suppose to have this load on my head for the next 2 to 3 weeks :|….Well here’s to holding my breath till the end of December! 😐

….Now if you’ll excuse me while I go get some Pain Killers for the nagging headache this thing is causing!

HOW DO WE WOMEN DO IT?!!!! 😦

 

The Web Page that offers “Help, Hope & Understanding”

I found another awesome web page today! 🙂 Its called “Women’s Hair Loss Project”
I am TOTALLY in-love with the initiative! So In-love with it that this particular post has been named after the site’s mission statement 🙂
It offers forums, research updates and stories of people’s experiences from all over (I’m about to become one of them ;)).
This is EXACTLY what I want to offer to women in my society and elsewhere…. I guess with time though!.. but in the meantime PLEASE take a moment to click on the link above. I doubt you will regret it 🙂

… you are not alone 😉

An ode to my hair

This was imported from my site on Blogger.com :):
Putting fingers to keyboard for the first time on blogger.com and my premier blog is dedicated to my hair… I have suffered from Alopecia for the past 3 years now…
Alopecia areata to be specific, is a hair disorder typified by patching hair loss or patchy bald areas. It may be autoimmune, but seems to have many possible triggers or risk factors including stress. (Read more at http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/a/alopecia_areata/intro.htm?ktrack=kcplink)

Don’t be fooled, A LOT of women in our society suffer from this problem along with other forms of Alopecia, but with the help of what we in 9ja now tag  “Brazilian” (wigs and weaves alike), most of us babes are saved. I however, grew tired of being safe and hiding the damage that had befallen my hair, and chose to cut off what was left. Luckily I’m told the bald look fits, although there are some that would beg to differ 😉 …

I still miss having locks on my head. For one thing, I won’t be hearing my man tell me how he loves running his fingers through my hair anytime soon….  (I’m still under going treatment).

In the bid to encourage me to grow my hair by those who are ignorant of my condition, I’m often reminded of the verse in the bible that says “a woman’s hair  is her glory” but is it really in today’s world?…. The truth is, a major population of “WOMAN” in our society hardly even wears the hair on her head with pride, and whatever substitute she has on her head has become her glory no longer, but her vanity. What was once seen as glory, that is woman’s natural hair is now seen as untidy, un-sexy, and just down right old age to some..No, MOST…. Even natural lashes are almost a sin!

I keep neither  natural hair nor “horses tail” as some may joke about wigs & weaves. I am “The African Queen” (Lol!)… and though sometimes I do miss being able to use the phrase “the feel of wind in my hair”, I’ve sort of become ac-costume to the feel of the wind on my scalp; Yes, I sometimes reminisce about packing an 8 to 12 inch on my head and the different styles that would come with it, but I am learning daily to be comfortable in my own skin and that is what is important.

I may not have hair on my head but in my heart I know I still have glory…

My God understands….. and I’m sure the Apostles would have too if they had known about Alopecia 😉

O! and don’t try commenting on how I should wear a wig… that is just a tool for disaster!
 You can imagine the different embarrassing scenarios one would have to avoid, e.g carrying an inquisitive baby; windy days, just to mention a few…. And I just HATE a life of inhibition!

OK, that’s gist for another blog…

Later!  🙂