Life Is Just So Daily

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Alopecia Areata

Okay...
It's Wednesday.

Let's back up to Monday night.

I was at home. Damon & Josh were in the kitchen. I was in the living room watching the season premeire of "Significant Others" which I had saved to PVR.

I was resting my head in my left hand. My fingers felt something funny on my scalp. I started feeling around on my head, and realized that my head felt different in that one spot. So, I went to the bathroom--& used my pull out mirror to look at the back of my head. I was shifting my hair around, and saw a little spot of scalp that didnt have any hair on it. I thought--huh...that's odd. Then I moved a bit more of my head, and the spot got bigger. Then I moved more hair, and it was even bigger. It's about the size of a golf ball or a bit larger. The next thing I knew, I was screaming for Damon & crying...I was holding my hair in my hands & I just wanted to throw up. Just looking at that spot was (& still is) sickening. It just makes my stomach feel like I swallowed a soccer ball.

Damon of course comes in there & sees what is wrong with me. He asked Josh to leave & we started getting ready to go to my mother in law's house. She later asked Damon why we were coming to her house because my hair fell out---his response was so sweet, and I hope that I have a son tell me this some day! He said, "Mom, I didnt know what to do. When something like this happens, my first instinct is to go home." Now, I am not all offended that he refers to that as "home" & all that crap that some people would say... I thought it was very endearing. He wanted to take me and run to a place that he feels safe. That's sweet.

Anyway.... so I called my dr. He immediately called me back & we discussed my symptoms (once I stopped bawling & you could actually decipher the words I was saying). He told me that more than likely I have "alopecia areata". Which...I think is probably Latin for "hair loss localized to a particular area". (If anyone speaks Latin...please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

I just could not relax until I knew more about it. I talked to Mom & Dad. Dad was looking it up on the internet & trying to help me, but it was just too much to do over the phone.

So, I called Megan...told her that I had a problem & needed to use her internet. No problem. When we got to Megan's---I showed her---& she just held me & cried. There is just something about being upset & having someone cry with you that makes you feel better. Damon can feel bad for me, and feel helpless, etc... but, his way of coping is to minimalize everything. That's good for me because it keeps me kind of grounded...kind of puts a lot of things into perspective. But, in the moment--the situation felt huge. I needed someone to "freak out" with me! Then we looked it up on the internet...My head looked like all the pictures we found.

My doctor agreed to see me in his office to look at it & confirm the diagnosis. He saw me yesterday at 2:30. Took one look & said it was for sure alopecia areata.

From WebMD:
Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where hair growth begins. Experts do not know why the immune system attacks the follicles. Alopecia areata is most common in people younger than 20, but children and adults of any age may be affected.

Alopecia areata usually begins when clumps of hair fall out, resulting in totally smooth, round hairless patches on the scalp. In some cases the hair may become thinner without noticeable patches of baldness, or it may grow and break off, leaving short stubs (called "exclamation point" hair). Rarely, complete loss of scalp hair and body hair occurs. The hair loss often comes and goes—hair will grow back over several months in one area but will fall out in another area.

So, the doctor says that the spot I have now may get bigger, but it may not. He says that I may develop other spots on my head. I have to be treated by a dermatologist (appt. set for 8am 12/22). Because this happened prior to my age of 30, I am more likely to have this as a recurring problem. It is unknown as to why exactly I have it.
Things to test for... AIDS, Siphilis, Thyroid Disease, Polycystic Ovary Disease, & Lupus. He knows for a fact that I dont have AIDS, Siphilis, Thyroid Disease, or Polycystic Ovary Disease. He "believes strongly" that I do not have Lupus. And, he reiterated that many people with this disorder never learn the cause of their alopecia. He drew a ton of labs/bloodwork prior to my surgery in October. He says that he feels that my labwork at that time would have been askew or indicative in some way if I had Lupus.

So... Today, I am just super thankful that I have long hair. I can wear my hair pulled back in a low ponytail, and you cant see the patch.

He said that the hair should start to grow back in 6 months to a year.

In the meantime...this spot on my head doesnt like my hairbrush or my blowdryer! Learned that yesterday morning. I was actually able to forget that it was there...but when I ran the bristles of my hairbrush across it...well, it was a not-so-pleasant reminder.

Talked to Megan again last night. She said that she was talking to her boyfriend Steven on Monday night after Damon & I left her apartment. She made the comment to Stephen that she has never known me to cry as much as I have cried in the past 12-13 months....that it's just been a "really hard year" for me.
She's so right.
So much has happened in the past 13 months. Some good, some bad... just a lot of change.

I got married.
My parents divorced.
My mom moved.
My dad moved.
My sister moved.
Grandpa had surgery & wasnt doing great for a while.
Mom remarried.
Damon & I bought a house.
We moved.
Working on the renovation projects for the house.
Got robbed.
Thought we were pregnant. :)
Found out we werent. :(
Had a cyst on my ovary...then had endometriosis.
Had surgery.
Told that we need to get Pregnant.
Working on getting Pregnant
Now this. It's just sooooo much change.

13 months ago today...It was the day after my wedding. At 10:22 in the morning, Damon & I were just waking up at the Adolphus. (If we were even awake by 10:22!)
Then, we went home to our "disaster" of an apartment! Melissa & Ben left our loft & met up with Blaine & Jessica. They saw Boaz today. In fact, I think they met him for the first time today. ("Today" being 11/8/3). Damon & I sat in the living room of our loft & opened the gifts from the wedding. We still needed to pack for our honeymoon to Costa Rica. If I knew then what I know now...I would have worn a different outfit for the plane ride & would have taken about 6 bottles of Off bug spray! If I knew then what I know now...I would have truly enjoyed every single second of that trip because I would know that I would be going home to find out about my parents divorce. Hell--if I knew then what I know now...we may have just stayed over there & sold coconuts on the beach!!!! ...there's a thought....I wonder what my life would have been like if Damon & I just stayed on our honeymoon forever.... like that movie, "Sliding Doors" with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Anyway...this is my blog for today.
I'm in a better mood & disposition today than I have been for the past few days.
I have hair on 90% of my head. That's good. The hair I have now covers what I've lost.
I will hopefully begin "treatment" for this on the 22nd. (That's if I can take anything for it...as I will be trying to conceive then!)



But...things all work out for a reason.

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