10 sessions, 3 weeks per session... 30 weeks since I started treatment. It's been over a year since I first started losing my hair. When I think back to the past year, I of course think of my wedding and my amazing honeymoon, but I also think of the emotional turmoil I have been through. It started with shock and denial, escalated with anger and embarrassment, and ultimately culminated in what my therapist called a "mild depression." The depression led to overeating, less exercise and subsequently a significant weight gain. A new year signifies new beginnings, and although it is February, I am finally realizing that significant changes are in order if I truly want to put the past behind me.
My first step was of course treatment and making myself feel better as I came out of my shell and reentered society. Treatments have been incredible. Every three weeks I go in to have an abrasive chemical put onto my scalp. It burns, it itches, and often it blisters and peels. It certainly hasn't been fun. In fact, in spite of nurse Janette's upbeat attitude, it has been miserable. But yesterday, when I took my hat off and my jolly nurse looked down at my scalp, she couldn't believe what she was seeing. Her staff had been treating me the past few months, so it had been a while since she'd seen me.
"You are doing so well!" she exclaimed. "I love seeing success stories. Your hair is just so beautiful."
My hair? Beautiful? I almost began laughing. I sat back and prepared for my scalp to be drenched in acid. She took the end of her giant Q-tip and began running it through my hair, inspecting all my bald spots, searching for new ones. By now I was used to the drill so I concentrated on the book I had in my hand.
"You know," she began, "on your next visit you should make an appointment with Dr. Cruz."
"Why?" I asked.
"Well, you are doing extremely well. I think you are ready to be dismissed. I just need to put a little here and a little there, and other than that you are good."
She had literally barely put anything on my scalp. Dismissed? Done? Is this really happening? Had my hair actually grown back? The good news was more than I could take. I thought it would be years since I would hear something like that. Tears instantly started welling up in my eyes. This is really happening!
So now that my hair is on the mend, it is time to take a hard look at my other issue. The long-lasting result of my depression - the weight gain. It's time to fully focus on getting myself healthy and fit again. I really don't know where to begin, but I know I will figure it out. I have so much support - my family, my husband, my friends. I tackled allopecia, I've got to be able to tackle this. I just need to develop a game plan...