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Alopecia Areata diagnosis: One year on

Before I start this, I want you to know that I am petrified about writing this. I have only ever told 3 people about my Alopecia, not even my best friend knows. But you will understand my reasons for writing this later on in the post.

It was a Saturday evening and I was at my boyfriends house. I was sat on my laptop, doing whatever, and playing with my hair. I ran my fingers along my scalp and felt what seemed like a bald spot. I hesitated for a moment and then got my boyfriend, Robbie, to come and have a look. I knew the moment he fell silent that it was what I had feared. Obviously he was trying to make me feel better, saying that I probably just brushed my hair too hard etc. Of course I jumped onto google, and everything pointed towards Alopecia. I made a doctors appointment for the Monday morning.

As the doctor looked over my scalp on the Monday morning, I knew deep down what it was. He sat back in his chair and told me it was Alopecia Areata. What was coincidental, was that I had seen that same doctor 3 months previous because of stress. The link was then easily made. Although there was no evidence, it is highly believed that stress can be a trigger. The doctor printed me off some details about alopecia from a website and sent me on my way.

I remember getting home and thinking, what the fuck to I do now?! Do I just wait for more hair to fall out? I think that’s what scared me the most, the fact there was and is no cure. It is not guaranteed that it will stay as Alopecia Areata. I could lose all my hair, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Working from home did not help. I was constantly thinking about my hair. How many strands came out when I brushed it or when I washed it. Not wanting to wash it because that would mean losing more hair. Constantly googling Alopecia, which definitely affected me the most. All I would ever find were cases of Alopecia Areata that had turned into Alopecia Totalis. Which meant one thing to me. If they had all inevitably lost all of their hair, then so would I.

After a couple of weeks I started to train my brain to not think about it. I bought myself a puzzle and left it downstairs. If my mind wandered to my diagnosis, I would go downstairs and do some of the puzzle. Eventually, I barely thought of the bald spot of my head, which I named Barry by the way. I thought naming it would make it less intimidating. Each to their own!

I was told it would be months before hair started growing back, and that it would grow back white and then turn back to my brown colour. I starting noticing hair growing back within about 6-8 weeks. I was brown.

One year on, Barry the bald spot has fully grown back.

A couple of points I want people to take from this is:

Firstly, don’t always listen to google, or other peoples stories. We are all different, and our bodies cope and do things differently. Trust yourself, look after yourself and that’s all you can do. Secondly, if you have Alopecia or are newly diagnosed, don’t focus your mind on it. I know it’s hard, but if stress really is the trigger, worrying about losing your hair is just going to make it worse. Try and find a distraction.

The day I found the bald spot – June 2017

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July 2017 – The bald spot had gone from about a 1p to a 2p coin size

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alopecia
June 2018

 

Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions, then I am more than happy to chat.

Love always,

Marie-Clare

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