'It's just hair' became an almost mantra in my head when I discovered my first bald patch.
I had just returned from the appointment with my dermatologist where she diagnosed me with alopecia areata and telogen effluvium. Her shocked statement of “Oh wow” when she poked around my scalp took away any thoughts of “Maybe it's not that bad.”
I had noticed my hair brush had been collecting more and more hair in it most days as I brushed it into a ponytail. I found strands around the house, and even a few clumps coming out when I brushed my hair off of my shoulders. I had enjoyed short hair for much of my life as one of my best friends in high school used me as her guinea pig for cosmetology school. It was only in the last few years that I started to grow my hair out and keep it long. I loved it, and I loved that I could finally do a bit more with it. But this much hair loss so suddenly seemed very abnormal.
After a few showers where the drain was covered with my hair, and finding a clump of hair on my shirt sleeve several times, I decided I should see if something might be off. We have some thyroid issues in my family so maybe that was now wreaking havoc on my system. I went to my general practitioner for a blood work panel, but she wasn't available for an appointment for several months. After seeing my results though, she wrote back and said, “Everything looked normal.” I asked her to check again, because how could I possibly have all this hair loss? “Nothing is off that would cause hair loss” was the reply, and we could revisit when I saw her in a few months if it still kept up. I slept on it and after waking up to another pillow full of hair, I decided to get another opinion.
It turns out, hair loss related problems tend to fall under the realm of dermatologists as well. Mine has a much shorter wait time so I booked to see her just a few days later. I was filled with apprehension and dread as I waited in her office.