My alopecia journey began in May 2009 when I was 50 years old. My parents both lost their body hair at a fairly young age, so I didn’t think that it was unusual that my skin was as smooth as a baby’s behind. What caught my attention was that my eyebrows were falling out, and the whole hair follicle was coming out with each hair. I started feeling so self-conscious and had to start using an eyebrow pencil. For someone who wore a minimal amount of makeup her whole life, that was devastating. I felt that I looked like I was Halloween ready.
I thought that it was all part of the aging process. I had reached menopause about two years earlier and had also been diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2006. Some stressful life events had also taken place over a three-year period. It wasn’t until the fall of 2009 that I finally went to see my dermatologist. By that time, my hair was starting to recede. He wasn’t sure what was going on. Triamcinolone cream was prescribed for my crusting and itching eyebrows. I didn’t know where else to turn.
A biopsy in the summer of 2010 confirmed that I had Lichen Planopilaris. That fall my dermatologist found a Cleveland Clinic article in a medical journal about Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia. Everything that I was experiencing pointed to FFA.
Over the course of the next three years, I was seen and treated by dermatologists at the Mayo Clinic and by Dr. Loretta Davis who is the Director of Dermatology at the Medical College of Georgia. Every single doctor I saw was very caring and wanted to find answers for me, but no one could offer a cure. I tried a variety of medicines to improve my symptoms: Plaquenil, Pioglitazone Hydrochloride, topical steroids, and I’m not sure what else. Nothing helped. I discontinued all medicine because I didn’t want to jeopardize my health for some false hope.
Reality set in. I was going to continue to lose my hair, BUT I was going to do everything that I could to look and feel my best. Since 2014 my hair has receded much more, but I have done things that have made me feel more confident. Microblading and hair pieces are fantastic! They have made a huge difference in my appearance! Also, I continued to stay physically fit. Exercise has been one key for me keeping a positive outlook my entire life.
A strong support system is essential for me. I have devoured much of the information that I have found on the CARF website. Just knowing that other people are out there who have scarring alopecia and live normal lives has helped me. My husband and I have a strong marriage of 42 years. He is such an encourager and always makes me feel beautiful. My closest friends know about my struggle and go with me when I get a new hair piece and get it cut. Above all that, my God has carried me through every single day of this journey. I would not be where I am today without Him. For all who desire hope, “Cast your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7