Sooo where do I begin? Let's start with Friday:
I went to see Dr. B at 9:45 AM at JHH's Outpatient Center. I hadn't been to the Outpatient Center for several years - I want to say since I was 14-years old or so. It was like deju vu being back in that place, walking through the circular doors and everything. I was quite nervous. One, because I still wasn't sure what it was that I had yet. Two, because for the first time ever, my parents saw the massive bald spots that had been manifesting themselves all over my scalp and they freaked out. Didn't even want to look at them. Which in turn, made me feel even more like crap. My first order of business was to find out whether I would need a referral to see Dr. B or not. Due to the fact that his name wasn't listed on my approved doctors list through my insurance, I wasn't too sure, and I didn't want to get turned away from him (because I had already built myself up to fully trust him and everything). So armed with referral in hand, I went to sign in. The girl at the front desk said that my insurance accepted Dr. B...woo hoo!!!!!! One less thing I had to worry about.
As I was sitting there, waiting to be called, my Mom kept insisting on coming in with me to see the doctor. Why? To be supportive? To be there for me in my time of need? No, she wanted to be able to tell him that she had diagnosed me all along. She wanted to impress him with her medical knowledge. Words straight from her mouth. I told her that I thought it would be best if she just stayed outside and waited for me to come out from the visit. She didn't look all too pleased at my answer.
Then, my number was called. I followed the woman back to the doctor's examination rooms and sat there to patiently wait. I knew it was going to take forever until I saw Dr. B because I had come on a clinic day - and clinic days are the worst. They double book as many people as they can, and there are usually only a few residents on, with only a handful of attendees and so you have the appointment at 9:45AM but you don't end up getting out of there until around 2 PM. I knew from experience going to clinic days at the pediatric orthopedic outpatient center, or the pediatric neurology outpatient center.
Eventually, Dr. B popped his head in just to say hi. He apologized because he just wanted to let me know that it was going to be a long wait. I told him not to worry about it, that I expected it to be a long wait and that he should not stress and go help the other patients. He said that he was the only resident on call that morning, so that anyone and everyone who randomly called in with an issue would be sent to his attention. I can't even imagine what kind of stress that man goes through.
Anyways, I really didn't have to wait forever (I am not sure if that is because Dr. B made sure that I was seen as soon as possible or whether that meant that he was able to get through all those patients quicker than he thought.) And sooner than later, Dr. B was in the examination room with me, checking out my bald spots. For a while I have been kind of on the defensive side (I know that I definitely have driven J nuts, asking him if it weirded him out to see my hair line receding all the freakin' time.) but Dr. B made me feel totally and completely comfortable. He said that he was sure by our phone conversation that it was alopecia but he was glad that I had been able to come in so that he could examine it for himself. He left the room and came back with an attending physician who was super nice (the guy's name has left my memory, probably sucked from my brain by the many sun rays this weekend) and he confirmed that my bald spots were, in fact, alopecia. I told J later that it was kind of hilarious because for a few minutes, the attending was staring and examining my hair, probing and moving my hair to view the bald spots better. Eventually, I guess he found the middle bald spot and said, "A Ha! This is the classic example of a main focal point where the hair began to fall out. Come here, and take a look at this!" He was so enthusiastic, and had his little magnifying glass out, staring at my scalp, and moving to the side to make room for Dr. B. I felt like a weird living science experiment, it was kinda cool. The attending pulled away from my scalp and took a deep breath before speaking to me, "What you have is alopecia areata, and it is not curable but it is treatable. You will not have to live with a bald spot forever. However, by the state of your bald spots as they are now, we do not want to let it go any longer for fear of it becoming alopecia areata totalis (meaning entire hair loss)." Neither did I. But then the next thing he said scared me to death, "We are going to administer some steroid injections into your scalp and then I am going to prescribe a steroid cream to be applied on the bald spots at night. The shots you have to keep getting every month or you will keep losing your hair and the cream needs to be set on your scalp every single night. With the shots and the cream you should see some minor hair growth within a week."
What scared me the most was the mention of the injections. One, I hate needles with an incredible passion. I hate looking at them, I hate the way they feel, etc. etc. And on top of that, he was going to be injecting me with STEROIDS. And I have been on those suckers before and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. I gained a shitload of weight, and then lost it as soon as they took me off of the steroids (realizing they had put me on them by mistake) and then I found myself in the hospital for like three months. I didn't want to have to go through that again. But as they both left the examination room, I had found enough strength to convince myself that they weren't going to administer the injections today, and that they were probably going to make me set another appointment to come in and get the shots then. I was cool, I was calm, I was collected.
Until Dr. B came in and sat down next to me and said, "okay, so are you okay with the shots? You going to be okay with that?"
I said, "C, who is going to be administering these shots every time I come in?"
"Oh, I will or he will. Why? Is that okay?"
"C, I don't want anyone else injecting steroids into my head."
'Nuff said. But then this nurse woman comes into the room and hands Dr. B a syringe. WTF? AHHHH~~!!! I wasn't prepared to get shots in my head yet!! But I didn't have enough time to wiggle out of it or anything. Next thing I know, Dr. B and the attending come strolling through the door, strapping on non-latex gloves and rubbing my scalp with the alcohol wipee. Surprisingly enough, the pain didn't come from the actual injection. It just felt like a slight pinch and boom! It was over. It wasn't until I came back to work later on a few hours later that the pain started to set in. It was like an never ending throbbing feeling, all over my head and all over the injection spots. When I was leaving work, both B brothers gave me a call, Dr. B first to see how I was doing - if I was having any side effects or anything, and also to let me know that I could call him anytime that something should go wrong. It made me feel so much happier and relieved to know that Dr. B was going to be my dermatologist for all this. It's nice to know someone that you trust when you go through something scary like this. And then J called, wondering what his brother had to say. I explained to him the entire situation and he was happy that I got treatment and was hopeful that now this meant that I would have a relaxing, non-worried time at Virgin Fest the next day and Sunday.
Ahhh, Virgin Fest. Amazing, amazing I tell you. I am at work now but as I finish this blog later on, I will be adding the pictures to help illustrate the chaos. It was fucking amazing. Everything and more than I expected. I certainly know that J had a good time. We both went nuts all over the place, and were dancing like two crazy people despite the heat. I don't even want to go into how many $4 bottles of Gatorade I went through to keep hydrated, but let's just say I didn't pass out or anything - but there certainly were some people who did - I think that later in the afternoon towards the evening, J and I would look at each other every time we heard an emergency siren or saw someone being carried off on a stretcher. The people were so super friendly and nice there - hardly any assholes or bitches, although there were a few people that once they got drunk, they would bump into me or try to crush me with their massive weight as they pushed through the crowds - but overall, everyone was pretty nice. I mean I ended up having conversations with everyone that I got in line with either at the food stands or the bar stands. The staff was also super nice (But I mean who wouldn't be if you got to see The Police, Velvet Revolver, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Incubus for FREE?) It was also pretty awesome about the last minute acts like Panic! At The Disco who rocked it like a mutha fucka on stage. The other thing that was massively dope? The sound system! This was the first concert that I had ever been to where the sound system was so crystal clear, and other than Cheap Trick (who should just stop touring altogether in my opinion. J said that no sound system could ever help the dude's vocal chords out.) every single artists sounded like straight from their album. As if you were just popping in the CD into your player and listening to it right then and there.
I'll go more into Sunday and definitely show you all pictures from Saturday as soon as I get home. I am dying to share them with everyone - especially since they turned out so clear!! :-)