top of page
Search
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.

K's Alopecia Story

 

 

My Journey started when I was approximately 11 or 12 years old. And let me tell you - an internal battle and a roller coaster of emotions are the two phrases that I use to describe my Alopecia Areata (AA) journey.

 

I was young when my first quarter size bald spot appeared, and it was located around the nape of my neck.  I went to a dermatologist, and he started me on a regimen of a cream and these big white pills that freaked me out. I now realize the big white pills were steroids.  The doctor also instructed me to wash my hair daily and use very minimal oil and grease to keep my pores from becoming clogged.   African-American hair should not be washed daily nor forgo oil.  A month went by, and my hair started breaking due to dryness, and the spot that started as the size of a quarter was now spreading throughout the back of my head. I internalized my emotions and thought: Why me? I look ugly with this hair. As a result, I started wearing ponytails as disguises. Naturally, with the breakage my longer tresses of hair were broken damaged leaving my hair short – medium length. For an adult this may be fine but as a preteen vanity was everything.

 

My mom started taking me to Head Quarters Beauty Salon and found me another dermatologist named Seymour Weaver. Dr. Weaver explained how steroid pills affect the entire body and suggested, instead, that I receive injections in the bald spots. As a child, all I could think was OH NO PLEASE DON’T!!!  LOL Quite naturally I was majorly scared. As a child, I was immensely scared of the shots. Furthermore, it seemed like ALL his nurses were pregnant at the time, and I feared that as a nurse was going to administering the shot, her baby would kick, and she would jab me with the needle!!  I was BEYOND afraid. I felt like I was in a horror movie! And yes, the shots actually hurt. I discovered it hurt worse the closer the injection was to my neck. Fortunately, I survived the shots and between my beauty salon visits and the monthly injections, my hair had grown back. I dreaded the monthly pain I had to endure, but it was a sacrifice for the growth I was seeing. I experienced perpetual mixed emotions between fear of the shots and excitement about the growth.

 

Hair Growth after Treatment

 

 

Throughout my grade school years, I battled small circular bald spots that appeared at random times. Even though my hair covered the spots by this time, I was always self-conscious about someone seeing them. I was not okay with someone knowing my “secret”. Sometimes the spots would get pretty big, but anytime I had a spot, Dr. Weaver always filled them. They started coming at a reduced rate, and I was grateful. When I went off to college, I had a couple of episodes, but one treatment during breaks took care of the spots and kept them at bay. Grateful may be an understatement. Being away at college in Atlanta and a considerable distance from the only dermatologist I trusted, having a massive outbreak was not in the cards.

 

During my college years, I had a friend who died from Lupus. She was awesome. Growing up, we rode the streets through Galveston along the beach, jamming Betty Wright and talking about everything. Even when we didn’t talk for a while, we would catch up like nothing ever happened. Upon learning about her lupus and what she’d endured when I returned home during a college break, my emotions told me I should not be bothered by a bald spot that I can disguise. There are people in this world who have autoimmune diseases that attack their organs, causing unbearable pain.  How can I be upset about my circumstance in comparison? After college when my outbreaks resurfaced, I always thought about my friend and I’d mask my emotions by telling myself that someone else in this world has it worse.

 

When I moved to Dallas after college, my spots started coming back. I found a dermatologist, but the wait time to be seen was lengthy, which caused stress. But the first rule of alopecia is: Don’t Stress. Hahaha My spot would grow and literally grow back right next to the old spot. It was like a worm in my head, and they were just sliding from one spot to the next. I waited over an hour just to get to the examining room and then waited more than 30 minutes just to be seen by the dermatologist. At that moment, I decided alopecia will not have me going through this foolishness, so I left the doctor’s office and never returned.  I was recommended to go to another dermatologist, Dr. Philip Eichhorn, and he was fabulous. My hair grew back without any coming out. He told me when to stop coming and to give it time. Eventually, I went natural and my hair started growing back without shots. Life was looking better. No serious spots. I was at peace. I wasn’t worried. I was enjoying my natural locks and life.

 

My rollercoaster ride of life was good. I had a great job. My handsome bundle of boy was born and I’m lovin’ my career, my church and the people in my life. But everyday my life was going full speed up a roller coaster. But, of course, with any rollercoaster ride, with a huge high comes a massive DROP. My hair started coming out in excessive amounts. I changed my hair style to make sure no pressure was pulling on my scalp. I went to a dermatologist in the city I was residing in, but this was all in vain. My hair loss was about 40% of my head. I felt I had no choice but to start wearing wigs. All I heard from people was, “Everyone is wearing weave and wigs”. OH how they didn’t understand. Wigs and weaves weren’t my style and didn’t mesh with my identity. I wore my wig because I had too. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was this contraption on my head. It made me sweat profusely, didn’t fit my face, and it was a pain. But I felt I had no other choice, and my self-esteem plummeted. I jammed India Arie I Am Not My Hair on repeat for over a month to adopt the song as my mantra.   But no matter how much I listened to the song, when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t happy because I was indeed my hair.  Yes, I knew it was other facets of me but my hair was my crown and glory.  At night I cried. At night when no one was around and my child was gone to bed, I pulled off my mask and let my emotions flow freely.  Constantly I was sad at night and faker than fake during the day. Nothing I said to myself made me feel better. Never had I felt I looked ugly. Yes, that’s the word that I had eventually said to myself. That, alone, was hard to admit. You might have guessed it but it caused an avalanche of new tears.

 

I went to the dermatologist again because I couldn’t stand the internal struggles. I received steroid injections in my arm so I would not have to take the injections all over my head. My hair grew back within 6 months. However, I had Charlie horses better known as leg cramps in my legs that woke me up in the middle of the night crying and praying for relief. I had massive weight gain. I felt like the marshmallow man. But my hair grew back. I was happy to rock my own hair and remove the wigs. Then it happened… the roller coaster dropped. The 6 months it took to gain my hair it literally took 6 months to lose my hair. This time it was over 60% of hair loss. This time my emotions hurt bad, really bad. I was frustrated. I read alopecia sites and read other people stories and I figured I was destined to wear hot boxes on my head for life. My besties got me a wig made and it was the first wig that I felt complemented me. I felt like I looked like me again. I was coming to terms and trying to accept the inevitable. I wore quick weaves and I looked normal so to speak.  I was coming to terms with my alopecia, just trying to accept it. Right all these years, approximately 18 years and I just started to try to accept my alopecia. 

 

But starting to accept is clearly the same as accepting.  I decided after months of no treatment to go one more time to the dermatologist. The steroid shots given in my head started working but stopped and I started gaining weight again but without the leg pain. My doctor recommended PRP treatment. It was so painful but I went through it twice. The second time was better but painful, but very little results.  At this time, I understand that alopecia is an auto-immune and it’s up to my body to accept that my hair on my head isn’t foreign so I felt fine about the PRP not working.  However, the amazing part of all this is during my last treatment I was tired of the pain, the alopecia, the shots, the weight gain and the battle to lose it all over again, shopping for hair and being hot all the time, not loving myself as I once did I was tired of the HOLD it had on my life. I eventually decided to take back my life slowly.

 

Now 22 years later I got it. My pain, my circumstance, my situation has nothing to do with anyone else problems. My problem is not to be judged to someone else’s situation. Each person problem is as worst as their mind allows it to be.  I personally allowed my alopecia to take control of my life, my mind, my emotions, my thoughts. I allowed it to take control of my personality, my spirit, my awesomeness. But as of today I AM NOT ALOPECIA! Alopecia is a condition. I am K Nicole. I am a child of God. I finally understand two scriptures that because of the pain I was too blind to see:

 

  • Psalms 139:14 - I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 

  • Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

 

God doesn’t make mistakes. I am great, I’m blessed, I’m wonderful, I’m in his image, I am Radiant, I don’t take this to mean I’m perfect but if I’m perfect for him I’m perfect for me. I love me and I love my naturally shaved head.

bottom of page