Last Monday, I was feeling a small sense of calm after weeks of high stress. I’d been stressed with the daily tasks of parenting and adulting my household alone. While grieving heavily as the longevity of this loss came into focus.
Monday afternoon I sat down in the chair at my hairstylist because shocking, these highlights are not natural! As she started lifting my hair to start the foiling process, she gave me an inquisitive look.
‘Emily, have you noticed this spot here?’
I had no idea what she was talking about. She parted my hair to reveal a bald patch as I stared in disbelief. How on earth did I not find this myself?
While she stated she is not a doctor, this looked like the cases of Alopecia she’s seen. Then she directed me to call my dermatologist. Finally, she assured me that they can usually give injections to the site to stimulate hair growth.
I am glad I didn’t find this patch myself. I would have gone into full on panic mode and wouldn’t have even known who to call. Her reassurance gave me the calm I needed until I was able to see my dermatologist last Friday.
At my appointment, they diagnosed my hair loss as Alopecia Areata. For those unfamiliar, it’s an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss when your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles as germs. This version of alopecia is usually temporary but how long it lasts and how many bald patches you get can vary and is unpredictable.
I was given two options, having a treatment injected in the area, or taking home a topical ointment to be applied twice daily. I opted for the injections, because another adding a twice daily to-do to my list seemed daunting.
There are several factors that can cause this kind of alopecia and one of them is high stress. I know that stress can manifest itself in different ways, but this was not on my radar. I experienced some hair loss in the beginning, but it was an overall thinning versus what I’m going through now. No warned me this was a possibility but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one out there going through this.
Stress is part of our lives as widows and our bodies will let us know when it becomes too much. I bought myself a daily multivitamin for daily stress relief with plenty of biotin and the other ABCs of the supplement world. The other thing I need to work on is finding ways to mitigate my stress level. I think that probably including programming in some mom down time away from my kids, trying to eat better and maybe even adding some spa treatments to my life. I am programmed to take care of everyone else, I find myself on the backburner most of the time. This is a pretty big red flag that this isn’t working, and I need to make adjustments.