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In March 2015, I just knew that before the end of the year I would be rid of the scarves and comb overs and would be able to put this whole awful experience behind me.
I began looking at short hairstyles that would trim all of my hair to one length. The excitement pulsed through my veins and went as far as to put a skip in my step. The darkness was over and soon this princess wouldn’t have to hide her affliction anymore.
Every day concluded with a trip to the mirror to admire the new hairs growing. You would have thought I could count them.
The Chi straightener and curling iron that had collected dust for the past several years would be dug out of the bathroom cabinet. The colorful scarves I had purchased to match my daily wardrobe would be boxed and stored in the top of the closet.
After thinking all hope was lost, I would wake up from every woman’s nightmare with a head full of hair. I wouldn’t look like a gypsy or cancer patient any longer.
I had another appointment with my regular doctor at the six month mark. Everything was going well, going as planned.
A few days after my appointment, I showered and blow-dried my hair, only to discover that my plans had been canceled.
There it was. Round. Bald. Incurable. On the opposite side of my head.
The color drained from my face as I slowly laid my brush on the counter. I stared for what seemed to be hours. My heart had fallen so hard and fast into the pit of my stomach. It was happening again.
I did everything right. I took my medicine like I was supposed to. I listened to everything the doctors said. I made sure to take really good care of the hair I had.
But it wasn’t enough. My body had killed the hair follicles in another spot on the right side of my head.
I knew how this story line went, because I had lived it before. This would make parting my hair even harder to cover my disgrace, and I knew that eventually I wouldn’t be able to part my hair any more. The head band would be a part of my daily life to hide from the world.
I took the picture, and finished my routine to go to work. I pulled on the head band so the world wouldn’t know, so the world wouldn’t see and attempted to block the new bane of my existence from my thoughts.
I was cursed. I was plagued with an insufferable abnormality of which no one could understand the pain.
When I returned home, I pulled out my husband’s hair trimmer. I sat in the floor of the bathroom with the trimmer in hand. I thought about why I even wanted to keep my hair. I absentmindedly gazed at the device that might be the gateway to my freedom.
The slideshow in my head portrayed images of beautiful, smiling, bald women. I was minutes away from joining the society, shaving the connection to my suffering.
I had a dermatologist appointment in a week. I didn’t know what in the world I would tell her if I chopped off what she had been trying to grow. Then I compared myself to Britney Spears and her head shaving episode. I couldn’t let my unhappiness land me in the crazy club.
I put the trimmer back in the cabinet. I would hear what she had to say.
As I pulled off the scarf in the her office, I strained my face so the tears wouldn’t appear. I told her it had happened again, and looked down so she could dig through my hair to examine the damage.
She stepped back and I studied the grim grin on her face.
“This most likely won’t be the last time,” she said. “This will happen again, that’s part of alopecia.”
I knew this. I knew all along that this was likely. So, why did it sting so much when it did?
I decided not to shave my head. I didn’t think it would help, but it would remain an option. I wanted to give the doctors a chance to make their plan work.
Would it take a year or longer? I didn’t know. She thought my medication would help this one grow back faster. I refused to get my hopes up.
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