Rest and Care, Not Rejected Over Something As Silly As Hair
August 28, 2017 | Posted in: Chronic Life
Over the last few weeks, my hair has been falling out at a steady and somewhat alarming rate.
I posted about it on one of my social media accounts, saying, “It’s part of what happens during flares.
It’s hard to say how many years it’s been happening on and off, or how many years I sought out physicians in an attempt to fix it.
I remember one year, as my dear friend prepared to color and cut it, we were literally afraid it might all fall out in her hands.
And when that same friend fixed my hair for a wedding I had to allow her to tease the crown of my head to hide the thinning hair and resulting bald spot. You all know how I feel about hair teasing, right?
Last night, as I pulled the latest wad out of the shower drain so it wouldn’t create a bathtub, it brought me back to a conversation on the matter I had with Dr. L early in our relationship.
“So what’s causing all the hair loss?”
“Well, it could be your Lyme titers. It could be your lack of immune system. It could be because the little immune system you have is attacking your body instead of disease and infection. And as the dermatologist told you, your ferritin is eight.”
“Can you fix it?”
(Continues looking over my blood work in silence, clears throat, before finally looking up) ” Your husband…”
“Yes. Ryan. When you married him, did he insist you have a full head of hair at all times in order for him to honor his marriage vows?”
“Right, then. And did you require that of him? Male pattern baldness is quite common.”
“I did not.”
“Good. Good. Now, what about you?”
“I’m sorry, sir?”
“Will you love you less if you don’t have a full head of hair?”
“Swallows hard, squeaks out- Probably so.”
“I see. Your body has been through a great deal. It needs rest and care. It doesn’t need to be rejected over something as silly as hair. You go home and make a new deal with your body. I’ll work on getting you better and then I’ll see what I can do about hair. Okay?”
So last night, I cleaned up my hair, threw it away and caught myself saying, “Yes, sir- rest and care, not rejected over something as silly as hair.”
Teased my bald spot this morning so I could take my kiddo to the kidney center.
All you who speak the truth in love- forever grateful for you.”
Within minutes of posting, my inbox began to fill. It seems I’m not the only one experiencing this particular symptom.
Many of my friends offered support. Some said they were scared, ashamed, afraid to go out in public. It brought me back to the days when I’d wash my hair, and my hands would come back from the base of head completely covered in hair. I literally couldn’t see my fingers. One by one, I’d uncover each finger and drop the wad of hair into the drain. And I’d wonder, am I dying?
I think, for me, this thought was tied to watching my brother die of cancer when we were just babies. I vividly remember my brother, Matt, tenuously pulling me aside before his first chemo treatment and asking me to pray that his hair wouldn’t fall out. I prayed with everything in me. All the passion, all the belief, and all the faith I had, I thrust into that prayer, I thrust heavenward. It seemed the heavens were as brass.
Almost immediately, Matt began to shed. Thus, I stood behind him in the bathroom for a sacred shaving of the head ceremony. He hated that bald head. I hated that such a simple request had not been honored.
I no longer think I’m dying when chunks of hair fall out, no more than I think I’m dying when my joints swell and put off enough heat to warm the room. I’ve learned it’s all part of the fun. I now know if I curl the bottom and tease the top, people are less likely to notice the thinning.
I’ve also learned people who don’t want to hang out with me when I have thinning hair probably aren’t people I want to hang out with.
Some of you said you’ve found fantastic wigs that make you feel beautiful and new. Others said you start the day with positive affirmations over your health and body. Still, others said they found supplements or special hair treatments that had slowed down the shedding. Some friends were rocking short, spiky, sassy cuts.
These are all the right answers, every single one of them. Each person is finding what works for them and that’s what this journey is all about, right?I hate that any of us has to walk this road, but at least we don’t have to walk it alone. Click To Tweet
Rock that wig. Talk nice to your body. Go for the sassy cut. Talk to your doctor about additional treatment options. Find what works for you. But whatever you do, don’t for a second believe having less hair means you have less worth. Hair or no hair, you are a stunner.