When I was about fourteen my hair started falling out. I saw my Doctor and eventually saw a Trichologist. Although he wasn’t too helpful. He used to make me eat porridge, use a shampoo he had made and occasionally he’d sit me under what can only be described as a giant hair dryer.
I learnt to wear my hair in styles that I felt confident in. Eventually I lightened my hair so that the white flash of scalp wasn’t so obvious against my dark hair. Even now I don’t know what caused it. There’s been a few theories chucked at me. It could be hormonal, stress, diet, and so on. It never grew back though. They don’t class it as alopecia though. All a bit of a mystery.
Eventually I got used to it. Well, not really, but I’d learnt to live with it. If you spend enough time with me though, you’ll notice I will brush my fringe to the side, because that’s the area I feel most embarrassed about. If you have to go outside with me, on a windy day you’ll notice I stand on your right, because if the wind blows I don’t want you to notice that my hair is flying about revealing my scalp. If it’s raining and I don’t have an umbrella I will have a mini internal breakdown. My hair cannot get wet. I will not let anyone see me with wet hair.
Nowadays though I’ll comment on my hair being thin – especially with other women when we’re discussing hair. Whereas when I was younger I just wouldn’t talk about it. No sixteen year old wants to think about going bald, especially a 16 year old one and no explanation to go with it. Women and hair loss is a real taboo topic.
I’ve been quite lucky I guess. No one has ever really made an issue of it. My mum probably talks about it more than anyone, but then that’s my mum for you. Can’t leave anything alone. Even at school it wasn’t mentioned. Maybe it was talked about behind my back – fair enough, but at least I didn’t have to hear it. Hopefully karma is in action too, if it did get talked about.
Where’s this going you’re wondering?
Well, today I realised for the first time in nearly a year I used a hairdryer, brush, product and hairspray on my hair. I spent time actually styling my hair. It was nice to be able to sit in my room and do my hair. For over ten years I’ve been scared to touch my hair. I stopped brushing it to stop it from falling out anymore. I’d not realised how much I’ve missed doing my hair.
When I shaved my head April 6 last year I’d reached a point where I couldn’t do anything with the hair I had left. Chemo had had a good go at thinning my hair even more. So I decided I wanted a break. I didn’t want to worry about the wind blowing and how much of my scalp was showing. So I got rid of it all. I couldn’t brush it at all because it was coming out in the brush. So I decided to take back some of the control. It felt great doing it. Finally I could show my scalp.
Now my hair is back. It’s still thin. It’s a slightly different texture though. My hairdresser says it’s much better than she thought it would be. She says I’ve been pretty lucky. It’s very dark though and GASP! there is grey hair. But with it there’s come back the desire to want to do my hair. I want to brush it and style it. I’ve actually really missed my hair. I never thought chemo would make me appreciate my hair eventually.
Oh and to the ex boyfriend who said “Sort your comb over out”
Rot. In. Hell.
I might still feel embarrassed sometimes about my hair, but I’ve dealt with bigger things lately. For a long time that comment hurt me and made me sick every time I thought about it. That doesn’t happen anymore. Because I’m just glad it grew back. So, I’ve treated myself to a new fancy hairbrush and giant can of hairspray. I’ve got a lot of hair styling to make up for.