Last year, it seemed as if my diagnosis of Alopecia was a #trend. My blogs gained followers, I got pen pals, and even friends that I haven't talked to since high school reached out. A few daytime TV shows tried to "pitch my story" but came to the conclusion that because there was "no clear resolution" the spread of awareness was not as adamant as other diseases. Lord, I kid you not. No clear resolutions? Well, story of my fucking life and the other 6 million people with Alopecia.
Since then, I have tried many things in attempt to grow my hair back. Biotin, sunlight, no hats, shaving my scalp over and over, Rogaine, prescription topical treatments, Laser Cap Therapy, Acupuncture, Gluten-free diets and T-Sal Shampoos, special herbs/teas, and yoga. Eventually, I stopped caring. It was weird seeing my bald head in the mirror but whatever, that was who I was. I stopped all remedies except keeping my gluten-free diet. An Herb specialist I started seeing told me to stick it out for at least 3-5 months, just to help clear out my gut. Soon, I saw some regrowth over the last few months, but with regrowth comes lots, and lots, and lots of shedding.
I couldn't tell you what was worse: losing my hair the first time or getting excited that my hair grew back just to have it fall out again.
Progress of my regrowth:
Within the last two months, my hair growth has been significant. I was able to blow dry my hair for the first time in September. Hooray! On tour, I bought a cheap straightener from Walmart just to try before any more of my hair could fall out again. Wahoo! I could hide my bald spots with a headband and no one would even know I was ever bald. Those milestones were undeniably gratifying. Just to feel "normal" for a little bit. My hair did grow, but my Alopecia stays with me forever.
Sometimes my hair will fall out onto my shoulders, and I'll sneak away to the bathroom to brush it off. Other times, I'll find hair falling out into my coffee cup when I look down, or my scalp will itch extremely bad (because of the shedding) underneath my wig during my show on tour. Reintroducing shampoo into my routine was super fun, until the soapy suds were clouded with hair. Shitty.
Tomorrow, I embark on one last step that I have been wrestling with for a year.
It is one of the last treatments I can undergo that could give my hair a fighting chance at regrowth. Why have I waited this long? A year ago, a doctor by the name of Dr. Alan Bauman wrote in response to one of my blogs. He offered to give me a consultation and possible treatment if I were willing and in the Boca Raton/Ft. Lauderdale area.
Of course, being in New York, I tried to see specialists locally in the city but found out that there was a 2-year waiting list to be seen by the top hair specialists in the country. I gave up on the concept of higher-level treatment not only because of the availability but also cost. Somehow, the stars aligned and it just so happens that the National Tour of How The Grinch Stole Christmas was going to spend the next two weeks in Ft. Lauderdale. So I wrote Dr. Bauman an E-mail.
He remembered me. We set up a few appointments for consultation. We chatted on the phone and had a half hour discussion on the phone about my options. Tomorrow, thanks to the wonderful donation of over $3,500 from Dr. Bauman's office, I am able to afford a treatment I have been wanting for a year. I will be doing PRP Platelet Rich Plasma plus BioD Amniotic Stem Cell ECM (Extracellular Matrix)Hair Regrowth treatment.
In the next series of blogs that I will publish, I am going to walk you through my treatment, my (fingers crossed) regrowth, the physical and emotional journey and my on-going relationship with Dr. Bauman and his Medical Group facility. Unfortunately with Alopecia, there are no guarantees. However, I am prepared for that. If this doesn't work, I have tried everything I could and that is okay. Still...it's all so exciting, terrifying and new. I can't wait to share my new adventure with you all. Cross your fingers for me.