Tuesday, April 26, 2005

my bald spot

My bald spot itches. And yes, I am 25 years old. And no, I am not undergoing chemotherapy. I did, however, have a biopsy not too long ago; it was purely perfunctory, though, not dramatic in the least. My doctor, after running blood work and finding nothing wrong, referred me to a dermatologist, who declared, with a rapid wave of his hand, that it was simply Alopecia Areata. “So,” I queried, “why exactly did my hair fall out?” He waved his arm in the air again and pronounced, “Who knows? Some people just react that way—it’s more common than you would think.”
And there you have it. I am just one of those people who, when under the proper combination of stresses, reacts by losing a chunk [or a whole head, for that matter] of hair. I suppose an indication of the stressed out state of mind I was in at the time (several months ago) is the reaction I had when discovering, while pulling back my hair in the morning, this large patch of smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom baldness:
I felt it; pulled my hand back in confusion; felt it again; held up a mirror behind my head to confirm my suspicion . . . then I laughed. Oh my—I’m going bald! How oddly amusing! Mind you, I was sensible enough to be concerned. So I did my research, talked to knowledgeable friends, called the telephone nurse, and made an appointment with my doctor. What I discovered is that it was in fact probably stress. But I did not know if it would stop with one patch of hair for me, or continue. So my thought process went something like this:
Well, I have one bald spot. I may be losing all my hair. And even if it is treatable, then chances are, by the time the treatment kicks in, I will have probably lost at least another chunk, considering how quickly this one appeared. And what does one do with a couple of bald spots? Why shave the rest of it off of course!
And I proceeded to contentedly plan my baldness. What I realized in the process is that I was actually rather tired of having so much hair to fool with, so that the prospect of not having it anymore was surprisingly pleasant. What I concluded in my planning process was that I would certainly not wear a wig. An image came to mind of colorful cloth scarves wrapped artistically around the scalp. So I resolved to learn how that was done, and to buy various shades and patterns of cloth, and simply alternate head wraps for the duration of my baldness.
When I told my Mother what was happening, she laughed and said that it figured that I would be the one to lose my hair: see, I was always teased for having more hair than I knew what to do with. My relatives wondered where I had gotten all of it, since no other women, on either side of the family, had much to speak of. All I knew was that it could be a hassle having such a heavy head of hair.
At any rate, Mom said that if I did keep losing it, I should at least save it as it fell out and share it with the rest of them. I opted instead to ship it down to Locks of Love. Before doing so, however—and before warning anyone that I had just chopped it off, I took a segment out of the large ponytail I held oddly detachedly in front of me. I put this segment, unmarked, in a regular letter envelope and mailed it to Mom.
But, back to today’s appointment: what my dermatologist generally does [why I think of him as mine, I cannot tell you—I actually have never had a dermatologist before . . .then again, perhaps that’s why I claimed him so . . .]. Well, like I was saying, after a standard biopsy, he likes to do a series of scalp super-hair-growth-serum injections. Ok, so maybe that’s not the technical term for it, but as I cannot recall him ever telling me what it was, that is the term I settled upon in my head.
Today was the 2nd appointment in my series [and necessarily the last, as it is the last month in which I will be insured]. So, upon pronouncing my hair to be growing back nicely—he was, I am pleased to report, “proud” of my hair growth, he then shook my hand, told me it had been a pleasure doing business with me, and jetted out the door in his jauntily comical manner.

It all ended up being a bit of a false alarm, in the sense that my Alopecia Areata stopped with only one patch. But I learned a good lesson about monitoring my life balance more closely, being mindful of not letting school and work billow out of control, and keeping social outlets and positive stress-relieving activities in my life . . . and I do love having short hair!

2 comments:

kef said...

What a wonderful story! I'm very happy that it wasn't anything life threatening. As it turns out, I too had a bald spot most likely due to stress. Mine occured on my cheek... Well I ended up with one on each cheek, but not at the same time. Part of me wondered at the cause, while another wished it would spread enough that I wouldn't have to shave.

Anonymous said...

I am so relieved to have read a story where just one bald spot was found and treated as I have one of these horrible patches now, there are no signs of anymore even after a few months I am finally seeing a dermatologist today .. so I hope I get the same outcome.