My hair loss started out as a smooth spot on the back of my head that I noticed a year after giving birth to our son, Colin, in 1989. Jim and I had been happily married for 18 years before conceiving our son, the miracle child! When Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with the home birth we had planned, 3 days of unproductive labor led to an emergency c-section followed by deep vein thromboses in both calves. The good news was that my son was born healthy and I survived the delivery. The bad news was that I believe this experience triggered my alopecia which systematically removed every hair on my body within six months. My reaction was complete and utter terror! I learned that I was not dying, but rather had an incurable auto-immune skin disease. At the relatively young age of 37, my life was over as I knew it. True, but something else was being born, although I didn’t realize it at the time.
My first sane thought came to me when I refused to attend a show that my Rock Star husband (see the Jim Peterik link) was performing. (Everyone knew about my hair loss because our world is very public.) I then made the life-changing realization that I wasn’t going to let Alopecia change my otherwise wonderful life. Nothing would hold that much power over me! No more Why me? No more crying, anger or self-pity. I committed to moving forward and finding real solutions to living with my hair loss. (I have personally never considered going bald in public, but I have met some wonderful women who have found their acceptance in this form and I greatly admire their fortitude and self-belief.)
So, I took my first steps in learning about hair replacement – facial hair and head hair as they are both extremely important. I literally started at the bottom of the ladder with inexpensive synthetic wigs thinking they would be the most practical for my active lifestyle, but slowly kept upgrading the quality until I was spending around $2,000 dollars on a human hair, hand tied wig. I was still disappointed that even though I had what I thought was the best wig available, I still didn’t feel like “myself” – some part of me was mysteriously missing. There were also the limitations of a conventional wig that I had reluctantly grown accustomed to like skin irritation from the mesh cap, the constant worry of losing my wig while doing very normal things like walking into the wind, trying on clothes or sunglasses, and exercising. I didn’t know that the reason my hair eventually turned into a dry, matted, tangled mess was because the hair had been chemically processed (in an attempt to make ethnic hair look like Caucasian), causing the cuticles to re-open and stick together like strips of Velcro. Make-up was a whole other learning process. (See Make-up Techniques.)
Then something wonderful happened in 1997 when I attended the National Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference being held in Chicago, my home town (see the NAAF link). With much relief I discovered the wealth of support, research information and practical resources available for people Just Like Me! I also discovered something that I could have only dreamed of: a wig that didn’t look like a wig! – beautiful human hair that looked like it was growing out of the scalp, felt comfortable and stayed securely in place throughout all types of activities. Enter the (drum roll) Custom-made Vacuum Hairpiece by Freedom Wigs of New Zealand! (I believe this is to be the greatest invention ever for people with medical hair loss.) My life has never been the same after that fateful discovery. The only thing that tops this is my ability to bring the same discovery to You!