How does one experience hair loss in 21 days? I’m not sure, but it happened. I’m a planner, goal setter, and high achiever by natural means. You know — the go-getter, high capacity thriving kind of girl. But that girl led me to a hard season of burn-out.
I had spent a year slowing my pace, coming to grips with burn-out, and questioning the road ahead in this new slower-paced lifestyle. But I was ready to move on. Ready to feel purposeful again.
I was ready to lay the old year to rest and plan for a new season. I had a few friends to the island house. This particular weekend there was raging winds of 30-40mph. And in Alene-like fashion of craziness, as I was unloading my bags a gust of wind caught my trunk and slammed it down on the front of my head. The trunk landed right on the bridge of my nose. I was stunned for minutes and bleeding.
After gathering my senses, I didn’t need stitches so I doctored myself and went about preparing for what was going to be an awesome weekend. The whole weekend was stormy and gloomy, which made a great backdrop for our indoor activities of reading How to Survive a Shipwreck by Jonathan Martin, prayer, planning for a new year, and conversation with comfortable friends.
I left that weekend refreshed, restored, and feeling somewhat resurrected. The stress had seemed to vanish.
Hair loss begins.
Eight days later, I’m still walking with a perk in my step. I hop in the shower to get the day going and as I’m washing my hair chunks begin to fall out. Clumps!!!!!!!!!!!! My heart begins to palpitate and I rinse my eyes in disbelief. I stare at the mass of hair lying on the shower floor and I don’t understand. I call to the Pilot, my husband, to verify I’m seeing correctly. He verifies it and I try not to freak out!
I immediately call the doctor for an appointment.
Trying to calm myself, I make my way to the doctors. He continually asks me, “What are you stressing over?” I assure him nothing as I have spent a year distressing myself. Of course, that was before hair loss. I was trying my hardest not to stress over this situation as I know it’s just hair — but heavens, that’s hard to do when mounds of hair puddle in the bottom of your shower.
The doctor ran blood work and assured me my hair was just thinning. I don’t think he understood how much hair fell out. He prescribed Rogaine and later a steroid.
Dreading the shower.
I began to hate having to shower and wash my hair. Every time I washed mounds of hair puddled around my feet. Mounds. It was an outer-body experience as it was so unreal. My heart would palpitate. My mind would race with questions wondering if someone was poisoning me, if my shampoo products had been tampered with or if I was going crazy.
I could feel my hair getting thinner and thinner. And after just three hair washing days spread a few days apart, I was in need of a hat to conceal my balding scalp.
Two washings later and I needed a wrap to hide my thin hairline at the sides. If I pulled all my hair up in a ponytail, I could still camouflage the thinning. I had never been so thankful for long curly frizzy hair! (For you convenience affiliate links are attached for hats and turbans. Disclaimer here.)
Hair washing days were hard. It’s as if with every strand of hair that fell out I lost part of my identity. The unanswered questions haunted me. I had never heard of anyone experiencing hair loss of this magnitude unless they were undergoing chemo.
I began to hate mirrors. I would stare at my reflections and wonder “who are you?” I didn’t look like me and I certainly didn’t feel like myself. I felt like a shell of a woman. How could so much of my identity and beauty be wrapped up in my hair? The grief was overwhelming. Many days I just wanted to take the razor to my own head and take control not wanting hair loss to defeat me!
Here’s little short snippet of random video’s I did through the process. Sorry no bald head shots — I’m not that vulnerable or brave. These were captured over a two week period. Click here on my hair loss video.
A few answers.
On day 21, I only had a few strands of hair left and made my way to yet another doctors visit. I was wearing turbans and beanies. I had not cut off my remaining hair yet, as I wanted the doctor to see the severity of it one last time. I wanted them to see that my hair was not “thinning” — when I said it was falling out, I meant falling out!
More labs and diagnosis were in. More on traumatic head trauma, MRI’s and scans later. But initial results showed my inward body was in severe stress mode as I was deficient in many vitamins and hormones. Not to mention by body was inflamed with an autoimmune disorder and the trauma triggered this form of Alopecia.
I was relieved they finally put together the head trauma with the hair loss. The trunk had slammed down on the bridge of my nose between my eyes were the pineal gland is located. This gland is responsible for so much in our bodies — hormone and stress levels!
While the diagnosis did not make this journey any easier at least my thoughts of being poisoned were put to rest.
Cutting off the last hairs.
I couldn’t do it myself. So that evening my daughter (the RN) and cousin (Big Sis) came over to shave off my last few hairs. It was an emotional time realizing this was going to be the beginning of a new journey. We prayed together and then face-timed my other daughter (the Cosmetologist) for couching through the process.
Cutting off the straggling hairs left on a balding head did make me feel healthier. It made me feel like I was taking control of the situation — like I have control over anything! But the feeling was a positive boost to my soul.
If you are struggling with hair loss, I’d love to hear from you. How did you gracefully maneuver this journey?