Sunday, July 29, 2007

Forcing myself to write

Normally, the way I am feeling write now would never solicite blog writing but I think in order to help alleviate the stresses that are running through my mind right now that a session of blog therapy might do the trick.

The past two weeks have been the quickest and at the same time, longest weeks that I have ever experienced in my life. Starting with last weekend when we all decided to go to Artscape on Saturday.

I woke up like I usually do after a crazy night of partying...barely shuffling through my room to grab a towel and head to the shower.

I shuffled further into my bathroom, turned the shower on, and started to brush my teeth. Normal, right?

But it wasn't until I stepped into the shower that the most unusual thing happened.

The minute the water hit my head and I started shampooing, I noticed that I felt a lot more strands of my hair between my fingers than ever before. I wiped my arm across my eyes and opened them to stare at my hands only to see huge clumps of my hair wrapped around my fingers.

Now I have shed hair like most women, it gets annoying most of the time, especially when you feel something clinging to your arm as you're walking and you know its a piece of hair but you can't find the exact strand that is bothering you...but this was way more than just one strand.

I decided to ignore it. That is, until I went into my room later to comb my hair out. That's when I noticed that my natural part looked...rather large. Like a small bald spot. And that more of my hair was falling out even without me touching it.

I decided to be in denial...and sprayed my scalp with volumizing booster and blewdried my hair out to make it look full...

As the weekend came to a close, I found that my hair was really starting to fall out. In huge clumps. By that Wednesday, I was paranoid to even wash my hair, touch my hair, or run a comb through it without seeing the large amount of clumps that would fall out. So much that I started to diminish my feelings of denial and start to worry.

So I decided to call my PCP and order some blood tests. I had researched hair loss a little bit on the internet and figured that it might have something to do with my thyroid.

Another few days pass by after my blood tests, and more clumps of hair could be found all across my carpet, falling out by itself at this point. I began to get paranoid about showering, because as the water would fall over my scalp, my hair would fall out with it, all around my feet like out of a horror movie.

And then the most positive news of all quickly became the most negative. My doctor called and told me that the blood tests came back completely negative for any thyroid disorder. In fact, he had run even further extensive blood work, due to the rapid succession that my hair was falling out, and everything came back normal. Extremely normal, he had said.

He said that only left one thing as an option as far as he could think.

Alopecia acreata.

An auto-immune disorder that mistakens your hair follicles for a foreign tissue. Apparently, one day my body woke up, and told my immune system that the hair on my scalp was pissing it off, and something had to be done...therefore, my immune system, being the hardcore posse that it is, went full throttle in its attack against my innocent hair follicles. That's the story I've been telling anyway....

I don't know how else to say this: even the smallest thing can make the biggest difference, I guess. Something so small as hair, you never realize it's really there (unless you're one who likes to change hair colors, and uses your hair as an accessory) but I was never one of those girls. Hair was Until now.

There's a part of me that tends to feel like a lame ass. In the end, it's just hair, right? I am not in any pain, nor have I contracted some terminal illness...and yet, for the past two weeks, I haven't been able to sleep, I haven't been able to get over the paranoia of taking a shower without a showercap on (and have resorted to only washing my hair every three days), and I will admit, I have tried to completely avoid looking into the mirror, unless absolutely necessary.

The worst day of this whole ordeal had to be Thursday of this past week. I woke up, and being as it was the third day, decided that since I had taken a full shower the night before, that I would just hang my head over the edge of the tub and wash my hair.

I started running my fingers softly, gently against my scalp with the shampoo. My eyes were shut to keep the suds from burning my eyeballs out. And then I began to rinse. Finally, as I felt the last bit of threatening suds leave the vicinity of my eyes, I opened them, and fell into a state of shock.

The entire bathtub was filled with my hair. The bath plug hadn't been unplugged and the water was just building up, but for as much water that was in the bathtub, there was hair. My hair.

I fell back against the bathroom floor and started to panic. I wanted to scream, but it felt too early, too scary to scream. All I could feel were the heated tears forming in my eyes, and all I could hear was my heart pounding in my chest, through my ears, until that was all I could hear.

I couldn't stare anymore. It was humiliating, horrifying...I ran into my room, sat on the floor, and cried.

I just cried. I cried and cried until I couldn't hear my heart pounding anymore. I stared into the mirror and saw three huge bald spots all over my scalp, leering and jeering at me, as if to taunt me.

Now this is what might sound a bit strange to people, but I don't care. In my desperate state of mind, it seemed like the right thing to do. It seemed justified. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of possibly no one believing me that the entire bathtub was filled with my own hair, mainly because I could hardly believe it myself.

So I took plastic Ziploc bags into the bathroom, and with my one hand holding open the bag, I dipped the other one into the water and pulled out the hair and stuffed it into the bag. I wasn't sure what else to do with it come to think of it - placing it into the trash ... I can't explain it, it just didn't seem right. Not something you do with hair that was just attached to you five minutes ago.

I think I put the hair into the Ziploc bags for confirmation for myself. Perhaps to shake me up, to force me out of the denial that I had been placing over myself for the previous week that something could be wrong. Or perhaps I am so used to no one ever really believing me that I had to have concrete evidence for the one day that someone might say, "oh no you couldn't have possibly lost that much hair." To which I wouldn't reply, but simply just place the bags of hair into their hands. Oh yes, I did.

When I got back into my room, I was uncontrollably a basket case. I called J, exclaiming how horrified I was, how scared I was, how I had no fucking clue what the hell was going on with me.

He told me to call his brother (who is a dermatologist, and a great person at that) seeing as alopecia is a disorder dealing with the skin. I called C and left a message. He returned the call, and after explaining the situation to him (with a little less hysterics) he seemed to have come to the same conclusion: that it sounded like alopecia. So this Friday I go to see him and wish for the best. I have been doing a lot of research, trying to find any and all outlets as to different treatments and that sort of thing. I won't leave one stone unturned.

Okay, so this post has become a bit dramatic. Let me end on a good note, then.

Friends. My friends, particularly, have been the most supportive, loving bunch I could have ever asked for. LP called me on Friday to make sure I was doing alright, and J actually came over and made sure to tell me over and over again that I'd be fine, that I'd be okay...and I know I will be. It was definitely a huge scare at first, I tell you that. I'm not going to lie. I positively freaked the hell out.

But after this past weekend, after being surrounded by friends, and people I know who love me, and feeling the support - it's become what it always was before: just hair. And with or without it, whether it grows back or not, I know I got love. :-)

1 comment:

goosey said...

I read the other post before I read this one... Sorry u have to go thru this but you're gonna be okay :-) I used to worry so bad about losing my hair. I don't think as much fell out but a lot did. My insurance agent told me that her sister's hair did that & her doctor gave her mega-doses of Vitamin B12 shots. But if a lot more falls out before u figure this out, seriously, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to shave ur head. You have the bone structure in ur face for it, you'd look pretty cute. And then just wait for it to grow back. I know u're a fighter! You'll be fine!