Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Have A Secret...

....and an update.

But first things first. I was looking at my page stats the other day, and I saw that this here little blog has had over 22 THOUSAND views. Holy what!? I don't know that many people. And I know that those of you who are on this journey with me, and are reading faithfully, still could not surmount to that number. Which means that I have people that I don't know reading along. Which makes what I'm about to do a little easier. And a little harder.

I have a secret. And it's somewhat embarrassing, beyond frustrating, and incredibly anxiety-creating. And I have been back and forth a million times about if I wanted to write this post or not. But when I saw that huge number, and I remembered the amazing outpouring of love, support, and outreach of people suffering with the same thing, from my post about my anxiety, I realized that I had to do it. Even if just as a release. So here it goes.

I'm losing my hair. Not just your average, end of the season shed. No. Losing it. In clumps. Handfuls even. And nobody knows why. This has been going on since probably the beginning of the summer. My hormone levels were checked around July, and everything was fine. Thyroid was fine. I didn't just give birth. My mom has a full head of hair, never lost it. None of my grandparents were ever bald. There is no reasonable explanation for what's happening. But it's happening.

I have pictures, which I debated posting, but I can't. Because somewhere deep inside, I still have hope that one day, someday, this will all be over, and it will start growing back. And I don't want to stumble across the pictures on here one day, and feel this way again. Disgusted. Annoyed. Sad.

I have an amazing husband, who tells me every day that I look great. I have a wonderful mom who assures me daily that it's not as bad as I think it is. I have phenomenal friends who say all the right things. "You can't even tell!" "It looks like you have a full head of hair!" "You are beautiful!" I have great people in my life who say all the right things at all the right times. But it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter because I still get out of the shower daily and want to cry. Most days, I do. I see a pile of hair in the shower. Another in the sink. Another on the floor. It's everywhere. Piles of hair. I see nothing but scalp, dotted with random hairs, from my forehead to about 3 inches back onto my head. I see a hairbrush that needs to be cleaned out twice during the blow drying process. I see someone staring back at me in the mirror that I don't even recognize. She's gross. And no matter what any of those amazing people say to me, she's still who I see. Gross.

I've tried two different treatments now. One insanely expensive that did nothing. One that I was told is what chemotherapy patients use to make their hair grow back. It's doing nothing. It just keeps getting thinner, and thinner, and thinner. It's disappearing. Every day. More and more.

I ordered extensions. Which is great, it gives me gorgeous long hair. But it does nothing for the areas that there is nearly no hair, because that can't be covered. There's no hair to clip the extensions too. My temples are nearly bald. Almost entirely. I can't cover that. I'm going to try dying it back to a lighter color again, in hopes that it makes the scalp and hair blend a little better. But for all I know, the dye will make it all fall out.

Here's the thing. I know I sound vain. It's hair. It's not cancer, I'm not dying (at least I don't think?). I'm lucky. It's just hair. But. I'm a woman. And it's my hair. I can't pretend that it's always been my dream to be bald. I can't pretend that it doesn't bother me that it takes me an hour to do my hair everyday, and it still doesn't look right. I can't pretend that I don't want to just scream at all those people who say all the right things. That I don't want to shake them and make them realize that it's not ok. Not to me.

Today is a decent day. Everything seemed to fall into place and it actually looks....ok. Which I'm beyond thankful for, because these days are few and far between, and we have to be at a family gathering this afternoon. Around people. People who would see if it was a bad day, and all the spots were showing.

Wednesday, was not a decent day. It was an awful day. Jeremy was off work, and we were going to take Landon to Rainforest Cafe and do a little shopping. It was going to be a perfect day with my little family. I spent an hour and a half in the bathroom. Putting extensions in, taking extensions out. Teasing and spraying, then brushing it out. Curling and straightening. Sobbing. Throwing things. Telling Jeremy I didn't want to go, I didn't want to be out in public. Somehow, he got me out of the bathroom, I put a hat on my head, and we left. And I'm glad he got me out, because I felt better when I was out. The bathroom and the mirror have become my hell. And I need to get out of it as often as I can. But still, despite the fun that we had, and the fact that I felt better, I had resorted to a hat. A hat. I couldn't leave my house without a hat on. Sure, it's a cute hat. But it's ridiculous. That I needed it to leave my house.

Here is where I'll address the "update" portion of this. On my anxiety. In some ways, I'm killin' it. I'm doing great. In some ways, it all depends on the day. Somedays I don't care if there is a cheerio on the floor. Other days, I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing the grout on my bathroom floor because it doesn't look white enough. But, now I have this hair issue. And it is making my anxiety go crazy. I can't stand the sight of hair on the ground anymore. I cleaned our master bathroom today, and I can't tell you how many millions of hairs I cleaned up. After I got out of my shower, I stopped, every few seconds, to pick hairs up off the ground. I couldn't handle them being there. Partly because I spent almost 2 hours scrubbing the bathroom, and I wanted it to stay clean for longer than 30 minutes. Partly because each hair is another reminder. Another reminder of what is happening. And I can't take it. I hate the reminders. I hate the hairs. Hate them. I walked into Landon's room and saw one laying on his dresser. I nearly panicked. Over a hair. Almost cleaned his entire bedroom because of a single hair. But, and here is where I'm making at least a little progress, I didn't. I just picked the hair up, threw it in the garbage, let myself be sad for a couple seconds, and then moved on.

At the end of the day, the hair makes me sad. Incredibly, horribly sad. I wish it didn't. I wish I could say I didn't care. That I am focusing only on the positive and this is such a minor, stupid thing. But it's not. At least not to me. And I'm sad. I can probably even say depressed at certain times. Like when I'm cleaning the third pile out of the bathroom sink. Or when I take a hair tie out of my hair and there is another huge clump stuck to it. Or when I want to just be able to throw my hair in a pony tail, but it's all bald spots, and you can see them all. I cry daily. I get angry daily. I pray daily (over hair, yes.). I am defeated daily. And it is sad. I don't know what other word to use to describe it besides sad.

So that's where I am. And now I'm exposed. Now everybody knows. Which is embarrassing. Because now I know you'll all be searching my head when you see me. Looking for the thin spots. Looking for the bald spots. Just looking. But I also know that I have people who are going to step up. Step up and tell me they love me, full head of hair or no hair. People who are going to ask me if I need anything. People who are going to offer to just listen to me complain when I need to. And maybe, someone will step up and tell me the same thing happened to them. This is how they fixed it. Maybe they won't. Maybe someone else is going through the same thing, and thinking they are the only one, and feeling so alone....because let me tell you, that's where I'm at. Very alone. Nobody seems to get it, and it's lonely. Maybe it will just continue to fall out, and soon I'll need a wig. I really don't know, honestly. I have no idea where this is going. And it's scary. But I'm trying to stay hopeful. Some days it takes more to be hopeful than others. Some days are like today, when it seems "ok". When the spots are covered, at least mostly (and at least they were when I walked out of the bathroom 20 minutes ago. I could walk back in and it could have all gone to which case, if you have to see me today, just be ready. I probably won't be smiling and chipper), other days it feels like with each hair that falls out, a little bit more of me breaks, gives up.

But for right now, all I can do is try to be proactive. So I'll keep using my special shampoo. I'll try to fix the color and hope that helps. I'll go back to see the endocrinologist again, and hope that he finds the source of the problem, and that it's an easy fix. I'll keep taking my Biotin three times a day. I'll try to believe everyone when they tell me it looks fine. I'll keep crossing my fingers that this is just a weird, crazy phase. I'll try to keep hope...

Let's end this on a high note. Some pictures. Of my adorable kid. Who doesn't care if I have bald spots or not. He loves me just the same.
Total amazement at Rainforest Cafe. He was in complete awe.

He doesn't care if I have a hat or not, he's just happy to hang with his Mama. 

So amazed. At the sights, AND the food.

Also, I'm working on a couple very special posts. I have read numerous "birth stories" from so many amazing mamas. And I love each one. Every one is different. Everyone is perfect and special in its own way. So I want to write Landon's. But I also want to do it justice, so I'm taking my time. I want every single thought and feeling to be articulated just right. Which is so hard. So hard to write about the day that changed your life forever. The day that you were scared out of your mind, but so unbelievably happy at the same time. The day that has portions of it that I really struggle remembering. But I will get it right. Eventually. And then Landon will always have it to look back at, and he'll always know just how much work, sweat and tears went into getting him here. How much he was loved from his very first breath. How perfect he really is. 

I'm also working on a post about the night Jeremy and I met. We're coming up on the 5 year anniversary of that night, and each year, I get sappy, and I feel retrospective over the night that truly did change me forever. So that's another one that needs to be written just right. I need to find the right words to honestly describe what happened to me on November 3, 2007. And again, it's hard. Hard because yes, there is a LOT of that night that I don't remember, but for much different reasons than during Landon's birth. And hard because it was the night I met my soul mate. My perfect match. How do you put into words what that meant? Sure, I could write all day about the ways he drives me crazy and makes me insane, and how we fight. But to put into print that way I felt that night? The way I still feel, truly, about him? Beyond all the silly stuff? It's going to be perfect. So when it is, it'll show up here. Stay tuned ;)

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