Alopecia and me

Long time no blog on this site. Mainly because I’ve gone back to school, and I’d forgotten how much time and energy using one’s brain in an academic setting requires. There’ll be an update on hubby’s Avastin journey within a few weeks though, once we’ve had the latest scan results.

Today I wanted to write about my experiences of alopecia. Fortunately I didn’t lose all of my hair, but at its worse I’d lost almost a third of the hair on my head. I’m not a proud person, and know many people, hubby included, who have to live with facial scarring, paralysis etc, so I was never going to get too worked up about something that to all intents and purposes is largely superficial. But when other people stared, or reminded me that I had large bald patches, even thought they meant well, it stung a little. I like to think that what matters most matters most, but unfortunately for many, this counts as appearance and image. After almost three years I’d gotten used to having bald patches, but I never quite got used to the ‘look’ when some of the other people who noticed, reacted in not the kindest way.

After being referred to the dermatology department I was given steroid injections in my scalp a few times (don’t listen to the doctor who says they won’t make you bleed – a nurse had to help me wipe the blood away), but they didn’t work. I’ve been using alternative medicine alongside conventional medicine since I was a teenager, so after spending some time researching therapies that I thought might help, I made up an arometherapy scalp massage blend consisting of grapseed oil as a base, with added cedarwood, lavendar, rosemary, and white thyme essential oils. I’d massage some of this into my scalp the night before I washed my hair. Not only does it smell gorgeous, it’s also great at helping to keep dandruff away, and at promoting relaxation before bed.

I also started seeing a reflexologist every few weeks. I love having my feet rubbed and it seemed a bit unfair to ask hubby to do it all the time. I realise that treatments such as this are a luxury, and not cheap, but you can pay to have cheap treatments at local colleges where they teach students reflexology, or you can buy a good book on reflexology and ask someone who loves you enough to touch your feet, to get busy. Alternatively, you can do it yourself. I have Laura Norman’s book: ‘Reflexology’, and to me it’s a foot rub heaven bible. The reflexologist I see is phenomenally good, and I always leave feeling like I’m floating on air.

The upshot of all this is that a few weeks ago, I was discharged as a dermatology patient because after over two years, my hair has started to grow back! I’m not yet the wild haired woman that I was a few years ago, but I’m getting close. The dermatologist just said to keep on doing what I’ve been doing, and whilst they cannot prescribe alternative treatments, these treatments definitely helped me. Yes this might well be down to the placebo effect, for those of you who think this way, but my gut instinct says otherwise, and it’s finely tuned.

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