Monday, June 23, 2008

Words Of Wisdom About... Alopecia

I started a weekly post titled "Words Of Wisdom About...". Each Tuesday I publish a post written by a guest blogger who will talk about a topic of my choosing. Today's post is my fifth installment of these guest posts. Please enjoy as a friend of mine and a sister by faith discusses something very personal...

“Alopecia Areata (al-oh-PEE-shah air-ee-AH-tah) is a highly unpredictable, autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body.” - The National Alopecia Areata Foundation

When I look in the mirror, I notice a mature woman who is showing her age. I am not thrilled by what I see, but have accepted the tradeoff -- the beauty of my youth for wisdom gained through experience and life lessons.

As a woman approaching 44, health issues have multiplied along with the typical body changes. Nevertheless, the silver lining of the journey was the birth of my precious promise. She was a fervent prayer delivered days before the big 40. Her arrival turned my world upside down and inside out. She took hold of my heart that early morning on Labor Day in 2004, and has never let go.

Pregnancy can be beneficial for a woman besides the obvious. With vitamins, nutrition, and the bodies own means to provide for carrying a child hair can became full and thick.

I remember being impressed at its growth and healthy condition. No one would ever expect what was to come though. Not even me. My hair started to fall out as predicted because of post pregnancy. However, with the bothersome combination of Alopecia and breastfeeding, my hair follicles would continue to be attacked by my own immune system.

Matthew 10:30 “…the very hairs of your head [no matter how many or few] are all numbered.”

Blessed with thick brown wavy locks since childhood Alopecia was never noticeable. It was not unusual for me to part my hair or drop my neck to expose smooth bare skin on multiple bald spots. Dare I say, to the point of boasting. Years of on-going treatment with a dermatologist for cortisone injections on the scalp proved to be successful, though only for months at a time.

I noticed the first bald spot after puberty at approximately age twelve, and the disease has progressed to Alopecia Areata Multilocularis (hair loss occurring on many parts of the epidermis).

Read more here for Believer’s posts on life with Alopecia.

On Mother’s Day 2005, I did more than treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. In a private room at a high-end spa, I was sporting a blond filament wig worth hundreds of dollars and excited about facing the world again. The possibilities of gaining some likeness to my former self seemed within reach.

I choose hair whether it grows naturally or if I put on. Hair on the head frames my face, it compliments my blue eyes, and color choice with wispy strands accentuates my full lips. Nevertheless, Alopecians opt for other alternatives to include hair wraps, caps with hair, or perhaps the ultimate liberation -- going bald. It is a personal preference, and each requires a level of acceptance of the disease and current stage. Yes, Alopecia is not the same for everyone and changes its habits without warning. This mystery disease has no known cause, but some contribute it to genetics or stress. Treatments vary and differ drastically.

Three years later, I am wearing a sixth wig. My choices were of different lengths and color, but all made me feel like the total woman. The reality of going natural was once a consideration, but short sparse hair reveals hard facial lines and the signs of droopy eyelids. Yet, when I show off in a wig, old age seems to diminish, and the evidence of fabricated youth brings a moment of victory when strangers compliment my hairstyle.

Once upon a time, I would only say thank you, but now I feel an obligation to share my secret. This is my moment of liberation and declaration of acceptance.

I believe strongly that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), and the gift of Alopecia is not excluded from all. All means all!

Every minus can be turned into a plus if we take the time to look closer and note the obvious blessings.

Believer 1964 is working it “all” out with Jesus, and has been living with Alopecia for over thirty years. She is a faithful wife and mother who shares her views on Miscellaneous Matters.

Thanks to Believer 1964 for sharing her life, story and testimony on my blog. I am honored as always! Thank you guys for hanging out and reading this post, please sound in, leave a comment!

Peace & Love

13 People Saying Something!

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM 24 June, 2008 01:12

What an amazing spirit Believer 1964 is. I never really knew much about Alopecia and I think it is a truly wonderful gift that she is sharing her experience so that others who suffer from this will know they are not alone and people who do not know much about it (like me) can understand it a little better. 24 June, 2008 05:06

Hi there!

This is a wonderful story!!

Thank you for sharing such a sensitive testimony!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

That Crazy Mom 24 June, 2008 08:31

Thanks to your guest blogger for sharing her story.

Back in March of this year, I cut off 10 inches of my hair and donated it to Locks of Love to make wigs for kids who are dealing with hair loss from things like alopecia and side effects of chemo.

jjbrock 24 June, 2008 10:33

Great article and testimony.

Gill 24 June, 2008 10:45

What an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing.

I posted about a young friend of mine with alpoecia

MsMarvalus 24 June, 2008 14:00

What a wonderful and inspiring post! Thanks to Believer for sharing it...

Shelia 24 June, 2008 20:29

Very informative and sharing. Excellent.

Believer 1964 24 June, 2008 21:40

It isn't easy sharing a personal journey, especially concerning health issues, but I'm glad that I went forward with it. Thanks again Regina for the opportunity.

Thanks to the readers, the comments were uplifting and encouraging.

ShAĆ© - ShAĆ© 25 June, 2008 11:19

BRAVO Sweetie!

Thanks for sharing your personal journey. It was well written and I have much respect for you for not being afraid.

And thank YOU Regina for once again showcasing another wonderful blogger.

Days like These! 26 June, 2008 02:35

This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with us Believer 1964.

FELECIA 26 June, 2008 14:50

Thank you for sharing your heart-filled testimony. I too suffer from Alopecia but mine is the beginning stage. My hair started to shed a lot but i thought it was the usual sheading of hair, however now it falls out in patches and have just started to see a dermatologist for it. Can you tell me if I am waisting my time with cortisone creams and hair vitamins. Like you having a full head of long wavy hair for years, and even at fourty years old, not having one grey strand...i am destined to overcome this and not let it overcome me. If i need to go bald then i will, because i don't want to waste a lot of time and money on something that can't be correct. I choose to look at it as my hair has died and not me or my spirit.

Believer 1964 27 June, 2008 04:02

Thanks for reaching out.

Look up Alopecia World on the Internet. Join the forums and read up on what others have done or are doing. Warning though, it will be a lot of information all at once and it can be quite overwhelming. Nevertheless, it's a place of comfort and camaraderie.

As I mentioned in the post, "This mystery disease has no known cause, but some contribute it to genetics or stress. Treatments vary and differ drastically."

Peace and blessings for your journey.

Visit my blog for more Alopecia news or updates.

Ana 01 July, 2008 12:43

Believer ROCKS in my book! Thank you for your depth of spirit and sharing with such honesty.

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