thejessence

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. – Aristotle


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Follicles of Hope

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

Every day, the step into the shower is a frightening experience. The refreshing tingle of shampoo produces apprehension. I close my eyes and gently massage my scalp with my fingertips, hoping I don’t pull out too many strands of hair.

Rinse. Examine the damage.

It never fails that I’m pulling hair from between my fingertips. To keep it from clogging the drain, I plaster it in a pile on the wall for disposal later.

Now for round two. I lightly smear the creamy conditioner into my hair.

Rinse. Open my eyes and hope for the best.

Again, I’m unweaving the long strands of hair released from my head from between my fingers.

It’s almost as if I’m counting each strand as I survey the damage.

With each wash or brush, I dread the horrifying affair of finding another spot. Each hair lost is another potential sign that I will never be rid of the baldness.

Early in 2015 I had raised my count to three spots. At my next dermatologist appointment, I was crushed. This saga was going to be my future. I would never have a full head of hair again.

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

I think the doctor realized I was almost to the point of giving up. Without details, she mentioned another case she was treating. A female patient had a large bald spot on the back of her head that was continuing to expand.

The patient had come in for several months, and was hesitant to take Plaquenil to help. She had shared a bit about my case with her, that I had suffered from alopecia for three years and that I was having success on Plaquenil.

Success. I wasn’t certain she was still describing my case, but it still gave me a little hope.

The patient had decided she would try the “miracle drug.” I smiled.

When I got home, I compared some of the pictures I had taken and relived every advance and every set back for the past three years. Then I looked in the mirror.

I wasn’t fully recovered, but the progress was evident. The hair farm on my head was producing, slowly, but my scalp was yielding fruit.

At my next regular doctor’s appointment, she noticed the improvement as well.

I would give it a year. I would evaluate the progress then before I considered shaving my head again.

I would try and kill the pessimism with the optimism that there was someone else suffering just like me that I needed to give hope to.

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-monster-within/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/peach-fuzz-but-not-peachy-keen/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/beauty-and-the-beast/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/25000-strands-lost/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/1-1-2/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/bandana-bandaid/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/reflection/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/my-hair-is-full-of-secrets/

 

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My Hair is Full of Secrets

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

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.

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

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.

 

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-monster-within/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/peach-fuzz-but-not-peachy-keen/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/beauty-and-the-beast/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/25000-strands-lost/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/1-1-2/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/bandana-bandaid/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/reflection/


8 Comments

1 + 1 = 2

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

Photo by: Jessica McBride On the show House, they do blood work over night. Having to wait two weeks just makes a nervous nelly, well, nervous.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
On the show House, they do blood work over night. Having to wait two weeks just makes a nervous nelly, well, nervous.

For two weeks in October 2014 I Googled, searched WebMD and tried to prepare myself for whatever would happen.

It was a daunting task because the list of search items was pages long. Really, it could be anything and nothing.

Randy and I talked about how we would deal with whatever it was. It was kind of hard to anticipate something when we didn’t have a clue. It was hard to even keep a smile on my face.

As the world’s biggest pessimist, I always anticipate the worst so when it doesn’t turn out that bad, I can be excited.

One day at work during the two week waiting period I was readjusting my head band. I do it several times a day, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. But today was not a typical day. My hand grazed the back of my head just at my hairline. And again, I felt the tears fill my eyes.

A round bald spot was beginning to reveal itself at the lower left side of the back of my head. And this time, my head band wasn’t going to cover it.

I wasn’t even sure what to do at this point. They still didn’t know what was wrong with me so how were they going to stop it?

I decided that the best thing I could do was wait until my dermatologist appointment. Then, she would have two sites to poke and test and do whatever she pleased.

The most difficult thing about watching my hair fall out is not knowing when it will strike and glare it’s ugly head. No one wants to feel like a freak. I had always been the small nerdy kid that was picked on, but I wasn’t the freak. I didn’t have experience in this.

Photo by: Jessica McBride It's difficult to take pictures of the back of your head. Don't judge.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
It’s difficult to take pictures of the back of your head. Don’t judge.

During my research, I had read of several instances of children and teens losing their hair. All of it. Eyebrows, eyelashes, everything. I thought back to my childhood and teen years and couldn’t imagine going through what I’m dealing with as an adult.

I couldn’t imagine being the cheerleader with the big bald spot. I couldn’t imagine being scared the wind would blow my hair the wrong way during games. I couldn’t imagine having to tell the coach that I couldn’t wear my hair like everyone else and that the team would have to match me.

Tumbling and stunting would’ve been out of the question.

I wouldn’t have cheered, and that’s the truth.

As an adult, I must not have it that bad.

Randy convinced me that the spot near my neck wasn’t noticeable.

Through all of this I have never been a freak to him. I have always been his beautiful wife, hair or not.

The days when I would come home and cry, he didn’t need to understand.

The days he caught me on the internet pricing wigs, he told me to buy whatever I liked regardless of price.

The many days I came home ready to whip out the clippers and shave my head, he offered to shave his head too.

And when I needed to suck it up and bring my pity party to an end, he was the first person to tell me.

We’ve always had that type of relationship. From yelling at me on the mat when we cheered to quit being a mental case, to being someone to just talk to. Randy is more than just my husband. He’s my coach, friend and shoulder to cry on.

I still remember that Christmas he asked me what gift I wanted and I burst into tears and said that I just wanted my hair back. A simple request. A complicated answer. And if Randy could’ve given me his own hair he would’ve.

I am lucky I have him, because two weeks of being in limbo was a struggle. But I knew whatever was thrown at me, Randy would be right at my side with his battle armor on.

When the doctor’s phone call came, I was prepared and ready to hear anything. So I thought.

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-monster-within/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/peach-fuzz-but-not-peachy-keen/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/beauty-and-the-beast/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/25000-strands-lost/


7 Comments

25,000 Strands Lost

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

For two-and-a-half years my hair fell out slowly until I decided that I could scare kids at Halloween by dressing up as Two Face from Batman.

It was a struggle to look at myself in the mirror. It was a struggle to style my hair. It was a struggle to be around people because I never knew when the hairspray wouldn’t hold or if I was just going to have a bad hair day.

I scheduled an appointment with a primary care physician.

I had to wait several weeks before I could get in, so I decided to prepare myself by doing all the research to try and understand what would happen at the appointment.

WebMD became my go-to website, which actually just scared me even more. I narrowed everything down to alopecia, several other auto immune diseases that had strange names, brain tumors and lupus.

Ever watch Dr. House diagnose patients? It always felt like every time they had a weird disease that was manifesting in a patient they always considered lupus. So, I didn’t feel like the scientist in me could rule it out.

I reviewed symptoms. I reviewed medical procedures. I reviewed any lifestyle changes that might be coming. I read all kinds of internet articles that would help me understand what I was looking at in the mirror and what the doctor might say when I went in.

Photo by: Jessica McBride

Photo by: Jessica McBride
My hair had always fallen out in the shower, and I had always pulled a ton of my hair out of the vacuum filter.
I knew I shed a lot, so it never seemed that I was shedding more than normal when my hair started falling out.

The morning came and I went in expecting to be scheduled for lab work. In fact, I was almost going to demand lab work after my last doctor encounter. Something was wrong and I knew it.

They did the normal weigh-in, blood pressure/temperature check to make a hypochondriac feel fat, old and sick, and then led me to the exam room where I would try to laugh off my bald spot for the last two-and-a-half years.

The nurse informed me they had a medical student that was reviewing cases with the doctor and asked if it would be ok if they joined. I nodded in approval. I mean, I was already the freak of nature that was playing guinea pig for a day. Plus, maybe I would make some student’s ‘case of the day’ list.

The two entered and I removed my head band so they could see my problem. We then went through a list of family medical history. Diabetes, check. Crohn’s, check. Cancers, check. Arthritis, check. Thyroid disease, check. I knew I probably was leaving out a lot of family medical history, but those were the ones I knew about.

Then we started with symptoms. Hair falling out, check. Tiredness, check. Anxiety, check. Skin irritations, check. Joint pain, check. Weird discoloration in the fingers and toes, check.

When you’re a hypochondriac researching diseases you tend to ‘develop’ symptoms. But, I realized I did have symptoms. Maybe I’m not a hypochondriac?

For the past two-and-a-half years I felt that everything just made me exhausted. Like, fall asleep at 7 p.m. on the couch and still sleep til 6-7 a.m. exhausted.

Anyone who’s hair falls out is anxious. That symptom was a no-brainer.

The skin rashes appeared when I was in college. On the L part of my hand between my thumb and pointer finger I would break out in a rash that would spread across those fingers and my hand after being out in the sun. Sometimes I had to spend a long time in the sun for it to appear, other times it was just from being outside 15 minutes.

The joint pain started in college too. I cheered in college so I never really thought anything about it. Ibuprofen never seemed to make it better, but if I iced it and took some Aleve it would go away in a couple of days. I always figured the burning sensation was just from straining my muscles and joints. After college, I just figured all my cheer activities were still taking a toll on me.

The skin discoloration went back to 4th grade. We lived in the panhandle of Texas and I liked to run around barefoot in the house in the winter. My two outside toes on each foot would turn purple. I actually had blood work testing me for lupus since that was a symptom and everything came out clear. The pediatrician told my mom to keep my feet warm.

The doctor asked some more questions and then made a guess. She was pretty sure it was an auto-immune disorder. My thoughts too. She was going to send me in for blood work. My thoughts too. She would also send me to a dermatologist to get my hair growing again. Great. Worst case scenario, lupus. My thoughts too.

My blood work would be back in two weeks. They were going to do an entire panel including an ANA test.

She smiled and talked about lighter things. I think I probably looked nervous and scared. I never wanted to be the 28-year-old with health problems. Then, she looked at my fingernails.

I hate my fingernails. I have nail beds that are wider than they are long. They look like hobbit finger nails. They’re not pretty girl hands, but ridged nails that look old and decrepit.

She suggested that maybe it was just a thyroid disorder. The ridges were a symptom. She made it sound as if every woman had a thyroid problem at some point in their lives.

That made me feel a little better, but I still was not looking forward to a two-week wait to discover what in the world would cause my hair to fall out.

She also said that when one auto-immune disease presented, it also meant that the likelihood more would develop increased. If you have one, you can usually have two or three. I also knew from my research that auto-immunes could be hard to diagnose.

She said the dermatologist might do their own tests, which might include a scalp biopsy. Now that was a new term I could research to prepare.

It also made me feel better that I was prepared, even if I didn’t know all the answers. In two-weeks I would see the dermatologist and have my blood test results. In two-weeks, I would have the answer I had been searching two years for.

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-monster-within/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/peach-fuzz-but-not-peachy-keen/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/beauty-and-the-beast/


8 Comments

Beauty and the Beast

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

My hair was not only falling, but starting to thin. I had to make a doctor’s appointment. I was backed into a corner and had no other option.

I did everything I could to take my mind off of things. I was out of options, but it would be ok.

On a shopping trip to the outlet stores in Oklahoma City, I discovered a wide set head band in the Oakley store. $15 is an expensive headband, but it conveniently covered everything I needed it to. So, I bought it.

I was actually quite excited. This was a small victory in the world of losing your hair in your 20s. I could put my hair in a high pony tail like my cheer days. I could wear my hair down again. I could wrap it in a bun. I could have a normal hairstyle with the head band. It was more freedom than I had experienced in two years.

I styled my hair curly with mousse and tousled it around. I let it dry a bit, and then strategically maneuvered the headband to cover the beast. It was the happiest day for my hair in two years.

Photo by: Jessica McBride July 8, 2014 After being criticized for my new headband to cover my balding head, I spent my lunch crying in my car reminiscent of being called names by a high school bully. Every time I look at this picture I can see the tears in my eyes that I was trying to hide with a smile.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
July 8, 2014 After being criticized for my new headband to cover my balding head, I spent my lunch crying in my car reminiscent of being called names by a high school bully.
Every time I look at this picture I can see the tears in my eyes that I was trying to hide with a smile.

For two years I was stuck parting it and wearing a low pony tail or clipping it to the back of my head. I was victorious in this purchase. I had beaten the beast.

At one of my meetings that day my heart sunk. Correction. My heart was ripped from my chest and brutally stomped on.

Who could ever learn to love a beast?

A couple of comments from the peanut gallery related my new style to that of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. It took all I had not to cry instantly. I dropped my head and tried not to say anything the entire meeting. When it was over, I hid myself in my office with the door shut.

People can be so inconsiderate and so mean. I didn’t ask for a compliment. I just wanted acceptance.

No one knew my struggle. No one knew how bad it hurt to not be a normal woman with luscious locks of hair. No one knew that I was ashamed to go to a hair stylist because of this awful thing that had happened to me. No one knew I hadn’t had a haircut in two years and the only pair of scissors my curls had seen was held with my own hands to trim off split ends.

For once it might have been great to just have someone understand.

No one knew the pain of having one small victory ripped away. Going to the salon or styling your hair a different way is a typical part of being a woman, but not for a woman losing her hair.

I went out to my car during my lunch break. I wasn’t hungry. All I could think was that what I thought was a brilliant idea made me even more of a target for the people around me.

I’m a very self-conscious person. I’m always so anxious about food in my teeth, about my eye brows being brushed into funky positions, about mismatching socks, about mixing black and brown clothing, about my bald spot showing.

I cried for at least 30 minutes straight. I was completely broken. I told myself that I was letting the comments get the best of me and that they would just have to deal with my disorder. I had to deal with it, so they did too.

A doctor’s visit was inevitable. I could no longer deal with this on my own and my anxiousness of having something terribly wrong with me was eating away at what dignity I had left.

Photo by: Jessica McBride July 8, 2014 That same day I decided I needed to start facing the fact that this was something that would be around for the rest of my life. The small battle turned into an all out war, which I was determined to win.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
July 8, 2014 That same day I decided I needed to start facing the fact that this was something that would be around for the rest of my life.
The small battle turned into an all out war, which I was determined to win.

I had to face myself in the mirror every day, yet all I was doing was covering up the problem and not dealing with it.

I hadn’t documented my journey. It was difficult, but the beast needed to be released.

I took a deep breath and pulled off the $15 Oakley headband. I pulled my hair away from the bald area so that there was no mask or camouflage.

I raised my hands which grasped my phone above my head, and I snapped what would be the most monstrous and repulsive photo of me.

I forced myself to look at it, and in turn forced myself to understand that this wasn’t me. Though it wasn’t beauty on the outside, I needed to remember to love myself and not let this tragedy define me.

Don’t be deceived, for true beauty is found within. And that’s something I knew I had to realize to make any of this better.

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-monster-within/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/peach-fuzz-but-not-peachy-keen/


12 Comments

The Monster Within

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

I was sad. I was angry. I was dejected. I was stressed. I was scared. I was heartbroken. I was tired. I was anxious.

Photo by: Jessica McBride

Photo by: Jessica McBride

I was depressed.

My doctor’s appointment was in late October, early November of 2012. For once, I don’t remember the date.

As the date approached, I was hopeful that there was a cure. I told myself that this wasn’t a weird symptom to an unknown disease. I told myself that it wasn’t weird that I could grow more hair on my legs than I could in this bald spot on the top of my head that seemed to grow daily.

And then the darkness would creep in and remind me that this wasn’t normal. It reminded me that this spot was getting to me mentally and that I was starting to lose it. Forget a magical cure for a strange patch of scalp, I was a mess mentally.

Every time I would think about the fact that I had a doctor’s appointment the tears would flow. How would I bring up this oddity to a doctor without crying? How would I be able to convince the doctor that I didn’t need anxiety or depression drugs?

Those symptoms hurt most of all. I didn’t want to be a mental case. I just wanted to grow hair.

I couldn’t go outside of the house without creating my right part and using the hair that I had to cover up the monster on the left side. What was once slick and smooth was growing three albino white strands. I held onto those strands. I wouldn’t pluck them. I wouldn’t cut them. They were my hope to grow hair in the future. If I could get more then maybe I could look like Rogue from X-Men.

Who knew. Maybe I would develop mutant powers too.

I really did feel like a monster. A creature from the black lagoon to be banished to the darkest depths of the earth because I was incapable of one human function.

I prayed. I cried. I kept everything concealed so others wouldn’t know how I felt.

At my appointment, the girl took my temperature, weighed me and began asking my medical history. I was blind, never had braces and tried to remember to take a multi-vitamin every day. They had me fill out a form in the waiting room describing my symptoms, and I was completely honest because I thought it would make my condition easier to treat. I was brutally truthful about everything, the anxiety, the depression, the stress, the growing bald spot. I wrote down everything like a hypochondriac would.

She asked me the reason for my appointment and I explained that I had written everything on the paper. She told me to give her a summary to write on my chart. I was hesitant, but explained that I had an incredible amount of hair loss on my head. She looked at me and asked where exactly it was because she hadn’t noticed it. She wasn’t rude, just inquisitive.

I pulled the hair tie out of my hair and dragged my left hand backward from my forehead to the back of my head in one swift motion. Having curly hair, my fingers usually get tangled toward the end, but with the bald spot, there wasn’t any hair to get tangled.

Her eyes widened. “Oh, that’s a large patch.” I nodded. She seemed to brush off what she had seen and told me that the doctor would be with me. I re-created my part and pulled the hair back the left side of my face.

The doctor was kind. I opened up about my feelings and stress from work and the wedding.

She looked at the patch and touched it and the hair around it and then smiled.

“You’re stressed, my dear. You’re hair fell out because of stress.”

Well, that wasn’t the answer I expected nor necessarily wanted.

“It’ll grow back. You just need to relax.”

She said she could tell because I didn’t have any signs of infection and my Rogue strands were beginning to grow. She told me most likely the regrowth would be the same color.

I left the office surprised. I hadn’t anticipated any of that. She said to come back if I hadn’t seen any progress in 6 months to a year. That was a long time, but if it meant not being poked and prodded then I was on board.

I tried to remind myself of the doctors words. That would get me through this waiting period. I buried my emotions.

As Christmas neared, my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas. I remember that evening and am even tearing up as I retell it.

I cried. My response? “I just want my hair to come back. I just want to be able to grow hair.”

Such a simple request. What human couldn’t grow hair?

All my life, I’ve hated my curly, brown hair. I’ve hated the texture, I’ve hated everything about it even dying it a different color because everyone was brunette. I blamed my mother because she had the same type of hair, only black in color.

But I would’ve given anything just for it to grow back. I just wanted something to grow from the barrenness. I didn’t care if it was white. I could dye it. I could sport the Rogue streak. I just wanted hair.

That night I found it difficult to sleep, just like most nights. But I told myself that 6 months to a year really wasn’t that long of a time. I would do what I could to help it grow, and in time, I would be alright.

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/


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And Then It Appeared

Photo by: Jessica McBride

Photo by: Jessica McBride

READER WARNING: Content and photos in this post may be considered graphic by some individuals.

I remember the day, April 9, 2012.

I had spent the last 10 months to the day wedding planning. The excitement was both thrilling and overwhelming while trying to balance a full-time job and planning what everyone believes to be one of the biggest days in your life.

I woke up just like any other morning to go to work. I followed the normal, day-to-day routine. I showered. I dressed myself in a collared shirt and slacks. I put on make up. I brushed my wet hair.

My hair wasn’t laying right. I mean, I have strange hair that does its own thing, so I just needed to tousle it so it would not look like a cowlick. And then I noticed it.

Photo by: Jessica McBride

Photo by: Jessica McBride

…A round showing of skin about the size of a quarter on top of my head

I thought I had brushed my head too hard and pulled some hairs out. No clumps in the brush. I thought there might have been gum, or a huge tangle, or a culprit that pulled it out. No clumps on the ground.

There wasn’t anything wrong with me, right? Do I have cancer? Did I roll on it in my sleep and yank it out? No clumps in the bed. Did I accidentally and sleepily run my razor on my head during my shower? No clumps in the shower.

It didn’t hurt. It was straight bald. There were not the usual prickles of hair that had been broken off or shaved.

With tears in my eyes, I told my fiance. He told me not to worry. He was probably right.

How do you get a bald spot in the middle of your head? I brushed my hair back and pulled it in a ponytail at the back of my head, covering the spot.

It was nothing, right? I went through every scenario on my way to work like a typical hypochondriac. I wasn’t crazy, right? I touched my head. Yep, it’s still there.

When I arrived at work, I’m pretty sure I told everyone out of shock and paranoia that someone might notice it. I mean, it was a bald spot in the middle of my head that anyone would notice if my hair slipped away from it.

What in the world could this be? During my lunch break I took the above picture. I sent it to my dad in a text message saying,”I guess I got a bald spot lol.” But in reality, I was afraid.

I couldn’t tell the difference between laughing about it and crying. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I couldn’t stay off of Web MD at work. If you’ve ever been on the website, you probably know exactly what it pulled up when I searched random bald spot. EVERYTHING!

Researching didn’t help. I couldn’t find comfort in myself. I struggled to find comfort in everyone else’s opinions and thoughts.

“Go to the doctor,” they said. “It’s probably wedding stress,” they said. I couldn’t decide what to do.

So I did nothing.

It hurt my heart. With a smile on my face I laughed about it, but on the inside I struggled to hold back the tears. What happened? What did I do? Was it the shampoo? Was it something I ate? Did it just fall out?

My wedding was in five months. This would be fixed, right? This is all just a dream, right?

I couldn’t sleep that next night. I contemplated what I should do.