I debated for a long time whether I would share this journey. The blogs, tutorials, and testimonies that helped me cope are the reason I’m sharing my story today. A sensitive spot for me, y’all. Even talking about it now still makes me nauseous.
April 27, 2015. That date stands out for various reasons. Baltimoreans were protesting through the streets of West Baltimore because of the death of Freddie Gray. Also the day I had an anxiety attack because I found a bald spot in the back of my head almost the size of my fist.
Just touching it and looking at it made me sick to my stomach. My friend was at my house, with her jaw to the floor in disbelief. I called my mother crying hysterically and she, per usual, was shrugging it off and telling me to quit being a drama queen. Until I sent her a picture. All she could do was gasp.
April 27, 2015 was also the day I decided to go natural, with no hesitation. I had NO idea how this spot got there. There wasn’t a big glob of hair in the shower. I just went to a beautician and had a straw set done a few weeks prior and she never mentioned seeing a bald spot. I literally had a head full of hair one day, and the next day was touching skin instead of hair. I was scared. I was discouraged. I was sad. I was embarrassed. My entire life I’ve been known for having a head full of hair. Then, suddenly I wake up with half my hair missing.
At the time, I worked in a health clinic. When I went to work a few days later, (our office was closed for two days due to the Freddie Gray protests), I went to one of the doctors and he immediately said, ”
You have Alopecia Areata.”
I made an appointment with a dermatologist in the area. An asian woman, I was concerned that she wouldn’t know how to fix my afrocentric hair issues. She prescribed me a cream to apply twice a day and suggested that I get Cortisone injections in the spot to make the hair grow back faster. I had done my research and saw that not many people got astonishing results from the injections. I decided against the injections and continued the cream. Every follow up appointment they continued to suggest injections and I continuously declined.
The spot continued to get bigger with no sign of any hair growing back, despite me applying this cream twice a day as directed and buying every hair growth and scalp treatments under the sun that I could find. I was hurt. My self-esteem declined drastically. For about 8 months, my hair just continued to fall out and not show any signs of new growth. Every time I went in and she measured my spot, it was getting bigger and bigger.
I decided to try a black dermatologist. I found one in the area who actually had openings for new appointments that I could see right away. Although she continuously pushed for the injections as well (These Cortisone injections must bring in BANK for these dermatologists, cause both of them were RELENTLESS), she also suggested different remedies.
After a few weeks of trying her prescribed remedies, I began seeing hairs growing in and filling the spot. After going on almost a year of my hair continuing to fall out, I was finally seeing growth. Although minimal, I was happy that after months and months of not seeing any progress, I was finally seeing some hair! I continued to see great growth and relieved that this was FINALLY over.
Fast forward to 2017. I found ANOTHER spot. This time, this one right about all the shorter hairs from the previous huge spot. I was back to feeling devastated and very concerned that this spot would expand and all the progress I made with the new growth was going to disappear. I started the regimen again and after about 4 months of no growth and the spot getting bigger, I’m finally starting to see the spot fill in.
If it wasn’t for prayer, hair blogs, youtube tutorials and that black dermatologist, I probably would’ve really gone into a state of depression and felt hopeless about growing out my hair. The crazy thing is, throughout this entire journey, I learned to LOVE my natural hair. I decided to go natural BECAUSE I developed alopecia. I got more compliments than ever on my hair. I was getting creative with hairstyles, endlessing watching tutorials on different ways to style my hair and learning about the versatility of my hair because I was trying to learn the best way to cover up my spot! Every picture from April 2015 to now was an experiment. My biggest secret that i’ve been hiding for two years was a big spot in the back of my head. While everyone would compliment me on my hair and tell me how much they love my hair and wish they could do their hair like mine, in the back of my mind I always thought, ‘if only you knew.’
You NEVER know what someone is going through. On the outside they can look like they have it altogether. But on the inside and behind closed doors, there may be so many struggles.
Check out my next post on the regimen that actually WORKED and helped me grow my hair back!