I saw it, staring at me. This big bald spot on the top of my head. It wasn’t completely bald, but I could see my scalp. I was floored. I took multiple pictures and videos and kept touching it because I couldn’t believe that my hair my gone. My beautiful hair! I searched my mind, trying to figure out if it came out in clumps or if it was little by little and I didn’t’ notice it. I couldn’t remember. All I know is that I instantly felt ugly. I’ve already been struggling with being overweight and trying to not hate what I saw in the mirror… and now this. I couldn’t believe that this happened to my beautiful hair. My favorite part of myself. Even being overweight… at least I had pretty hair. Or so I thought. I sighed heavily and put a wig on.
I made an appointment with my primary care physician, who referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist poked and prodded and finally said for me to make an appointment to come back in a few weeks for a biopsy of my scalp. I immediately envisioned myself looking like Frankenstein’s Monster after the procedure and wondered how long it would take for me to heal from that. I braced myself and made the appointment. The weeks leading up to the appointment I kept talking myself out and back into going. I almost cancelled, but I wanted to know if it was permanent. I looked at images of women that were bald and bought myself some hats that covered my whole head. I began to mentally prepare myself to never be able to wear my hair out ever again.
So, I got the biopsy. It didn’t hurt, but I could hear the sound of the scissors as she cut into my scalp. I had my cellphone on looking on the internet and she was doing her Frankenstein’s Monster transformation on me. She then began to sew my head up. She said it will take about a week, then they can tell me the results. When I got home I looked at my scalp. I could barely tell where she cut.
In a week I got my diagnosis. Alopecia areata. Undefined hair loss. Hair sometimes comes back, sometimes it doesn’t.
I had begun taking some biotin supplements and putting a castor oil/jojoba mixture on my scalp daily. After a while, I noticed the spot getting smaller and smaller. Eventually, I had hair in that spot again. It’s not as thick, but it grew back. I could go back to wearing my hair out.
Something happened during that time. I had to find something else beautiful in myself. Something that’s unchanging. I had to realize that physical things can change. The thing I found most beautiful in myself couldn’t be physical. So, my most beautiful feature is my ability to see the silver lining. In the craziest situation, in the meanest person… I have the natural ability to see the good, to see the silver lining.
I don’t know if my hair will come out again. I still worry about it. I still check my hair every few days. But if it does, it’s ok. I have some cute hats. I have some beautiful wigs. And I’m still beautiful.
A former children’s counselor and church peer counselor, Anita Wildmone enjoys encouraging others. After taking a break to get married and
This article was originally published on 11/13/2018.