Now, About that Hair Loss

I have very fine hair but I have A LOT of it. Or that is, I used to have a lot of it.

Four months ago I looked in the mirror and to my horror I realized I was going bald. The front of my hair was extremely thin and there was at least one completely bald spot the size of my fingertip. Staring at my reflection I thought, this can’t be real, I need a second opinion. Thrusting my head into my husband’s face I said, “Look! I’m going bald!” He didn’t see it. I told him he was blind, or lying, or both, and I went back to my mirror.

Panic ensues.

Could this be the result of years of bleaching and dyeing, bleaching and dyeing?  No, this has to be caused by hormones, or stress, or maybe even (hopefully) a thyroid problem which could easily be fixed with a pill. Yay! So the next morning I called my family doctor, insisting that I had to get in immediately. “I’m going bald!” I frantically scream into the phone. The receptionist, a woman in her 60’s who dyes the remaining patches of her own hair a dull orange hue, laughs at me and says, “Join the club Sweetie.” I’m still in the shock stage and I’m definitely not ready for bald jokes or clubs. I take a breath before telling this imbecile that, “at 44 years old I do not find it at all funny.” She shuts up and makes the appointment. I make the same frantic call to a dermatologist, and thankfully this time no laughter from the receptionist.

I’m nervous but hopeful waiting for the dermatologist. After she glances at my head for a minute she announces, “You’re going bald.” I stare at her. She continues,

“Alopecia simply means hair loss. The words before or after alopecia describe the type of hair loss. Androgenic alopecia is when you lose the hair in the front, involutional alopecia is a general thinning all over the head. I think you’re almost too old for involutional alopecia, and you’re too young for androgenic, but it seems you might have a combination of both.”

I am still staring at her, my mouth might be hanging open.  She suggests using Rogaine, or styling my hair with curls, “a perm might help, but that could cause damage and breakage, and ultimately more hair loss.” A PERM?! Really? So I give up on the hair for the moment and ask her about the redness on my face. “It’s Rosacea. It’s not bad enough that I’d want to give you any medication for it, but here’s a pamphlet.”

And this is the photo inside that pamphlet:
man with advanced rosacea

Wonderful! So I get to go bald AND have a red bulbous face!!

 

 

 

 

I went home and immediately put myself to bed, burying my red face and my bald head under the covers. When my husband comes home from work I’m sobbing as I tell him that I’m officially going bald. He says, “I’m sorry Cakes” and then adds, “We’re having chicken for dinner” and walks out of the room. Sometimes, he doesn’t deal well with emotional crisis.

Back to the family doctor. All the blood tests he’d ordered came back negative. My thyroid was fine, my hormone levels seemed perfect. I didn’t even appear to be in perimenopause now (more on that in a later post). He couldn’t find anything wrong with me. He recommended an endocrinologist.

But my next appointment was for a different dermatologist. This one actually lifts my hair, looks, combs through it with her fingers, and even pulls on it a few times before announcing, “You’re going bald.” She suggests Rogaine, the men’s formula, because it’s stronger and I’d only have to use it once a day. (Rogaine must be applied to a dry scalp and allowed air dry naturally before you try to style your hair. If I needed to do this in the morning I’d have to get up at 3:00 AM everyday…or look like total crap, making the use of Rogaine a moot point anyway.)

The new dermatologist explained that my Rosacea would only get worse without treatment (ending up like bulbous red face man), so she gave me some face cream. (Metrogel 1% and Finacea 15%) I felt slightly better leaving her office. I told myself at least she seemed to care about me. I went back to work and tried my first attempt at hair loss humor. I’m trying to learn acceptance.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  December 18, 2011

    Loving the updates! Too funny!

    Reply
  2. Thanks G! There’s another one coming today maybe…it was part of this one, but I didn’t want to make it too long.

    Reply
  3. Lori

     /  December 18, 2011

    Wow Doctors are assholes! For the last year I’ve felt like I’m losing my hair. It’s like it is falling out and just not growing back. I can see it and feel it but when I ask others about it they don’t see anything. I don’t know if they’re just being nice or what but other just don’t think it’s as serious as we do. I’m trying to find an doctor that will take payments or something so I can see what is going on since I don’t have insurance.

    Reply
  4. Lori, First I’m sorry to hear you don’t have insurance!! Doctors seem to generally blow off a lot of women’s issues. There’s still that mentality that “it’s all in their heads.” To top it off, without insurance doctors don’t want to do anything beyond the bare minimum. What I’m learning is that you have to educate yourself and be your own advocate. Sometimes you have to push the doctors and be very firm in what you need out of them. I hope you can get the medical care you need!!
    As for the hair loss, you’re under stress and that can be a cause. The dermatologist also told me that in the Fall women tend to lose more hair than any other time of year. But I haven’t researched that myself. If you’re worried about hair loss the first doctor you might want to visit is a dermatologist. You’re in my thoughts!

    Reply

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