September 15, 2009

Alopecia History, Part 2

Junior High - 7th, 8th, & 9th

As sixth grade ended, I was still pretty sparse up top, but there was hope of new hair coming in. I don't know which treatment ended up helping (if any at all), but I was thrilled that I might once again be normal. It was a good thing, too, because junior high usually isn't a very forgiving place. I was an awkward child to begin with, so looking the way I did only added to the effect.

As I've said before, I was a shy kid, so trying to make friends in a new school with only a few of my same friends was a bit difficult. Throw in my crazy-short hair and weird headbands, and kids were a little leery of me (at least that's how I felt). I was lucky, though. No one ever teased me. There were a couple boys that sat in front of me in my Life Science class that would tease me and my friend, but it was never about my hair. One of them did ask why I wore headbands the way I did, but never said anything about it afterward. I was grateful for that.

Throughout the 7th grade school year, my hair grew and grew. I didn't have to continue seeing Dr. Parkinson except for check-ups to check on my progress. It felt good to know that each time I saw him, the news kept getting better and better. No more treatments! I got to let things take their course. I was a bit bummed about not being able to tan anymore, though. :-)

I never realized how similar my hair was to my cousin's. The 'do worked on him.

By 8th grade, I had a normal head of hair. I had a haircut that made you believe I had never had anything wrong in the first place. Granted, I still had an area at the base of my skull where the hair never came back, along with a few other small spots, but they were easily covered. I felt fairly normal again.

By 9th grade, my hair was the longest it had been since I had originally lost it. It was on the verge of needing a major style, but it had been so long since I had had long hair, I was too excited about the possibilities it offered. I could actually put it in a pony tail! During softball season, I was able to actually do braided pigtails! I was so happy!

High School - 10th, 11th, & 12th

Once 10th grade started, I had officially begun high school. Hair-wise, things were still going the same, but now I had to think about boys. I liked boys in junior high, but I never thought much about them. Now, I was in a position where I was getting old enough to date, and that brought on a whole new slew of insecurities. There were still plenty of signs of my hair loss, and I was constantly worried that they'd think I was weird if they knew what I was dealing with. My shyness got worse. I avoided get-togethers, especially if water was involved. My sophomore year was not a lot of fun.

One unfortunate thing about all the new hair growing in throughout these years were the tiny hairs that would grow in at the front of my head. They would stick straight up and I had no way of keeping them tame except to clip them down. Now, I have what you'd consider to be a "five-head;" not a forehead like most people, but a large "five-head." When I clipped those little hairs down, it tended to make my forehead look that much larger. I guess that was the price I had to pay, though. Looking back at photos, I cringe to think about what others thought about me. I looked so funny! (See up top...)

Eleventh grade was a bit better. I was getting more comfortable with my friends and wasn't caring as much about what people thought (at least when it came to my hair). Boys were showing some interest; just enough to let me know I wasn't a freak. I was having to see my dermatologist less and less, so that was a good sign that things were getting better and staying that way. I even braved a couple of swimming parties the summer before my senior year, even though I knew the boys I liked would be there. I finally had the mentality that people should like me for me, no matter what I look like.

My hair was getting a little sparse on the side. See the funky tan line?

My senior year started off great. I was feeling good about myself, I had a boyfriend that didn't care about my hair, and I had one more year until I was free! It wasn't long after, though, that I had a bit of a scare. My hair was getting thinner, and I couldn't really put my hair in a ponytail without revealing some small bald spots. I took to crimping some of my hair underneath so that it would give the appearance that my hair was fuller. It didn't work for long. That's when I had to turn to the professionals.

My attempt at crimping. (You probably can't see it, but it's there.)

You might be thinking that by "professionals" I mean going to my dermatologist again. I did that, too, but the professionals I am talking about are hairdressers. I had heard of a lady in town that did extensions. I had seen her work on my sister's volleyball coach and it looked really good. I thought that maybe this lady could help me, too. Sure enough, this woman was a miracle worker. Somehow, she was able to work with the hair I had, give me MORE hair, and make it look like it was all mine. I kept it short, just so that the change wasn't too obvious, but you'd never have known that my thick hair wasn't truly all mine. She was a life-saver!

My hair was thick again! Too bad my senior pictures (up at the top) will always have to be pre-extensions...

The rest of my senior year went off without a hitch. I kept the extensions and never had to worry about more hair falling out. It stayed in that same state the rest of the year, and even into college, but this post has gone on long enough.

To be continued...

9 Happy Thoughts:

Michelle said...

I have really enjoyed reading your history of your hair loss. You are incredibly brave and incredibly beautiful! So proud of you.

Kimberly Giardino said...

Thanks for posting your story, I to have enjoyed reading, probably because I know the outcome and you already know I love the wigs that you sport!!! Only because you wear them well!! You look great! I missed Brady on Sunday!

denverallens said...

You're awesome Amber! What more can I say. I always love reading your blog. Keep up all the great stuff!

the farmboy's wife said...

Ok seriously Amber!! You have been so beautiful since the day you were born and I don't know if you have ever noticed this so I am pointing it out.. the pictures you hate with the forehead- You are a mini-me of your mom!! I never realized how much you looked like her- big compliment!!
Anyways thanks and I look forward to part 3! Love ya Lori

Erin said...

It is interesting reading your perspective on this. I was there along side you the whole time and had no idea you were havin these feelings! I always thought you were so brave and looked great. I don't think other people thought you had a big forehead or anything like that.

Kristie and Jake said...

I love reading about this. Your are such an amazing person. You could go talk to kids in Jr high and high school and tell your amazing story. You tell it so well.You said that your senior picture was pre-extensions. I think you look great. You are so pretty then and now.

Amber said...

Amber: I always thought you looked good. I often felt insecure compared to how well you looked. I think you were the only one who noticed and thought you didn't look great. And being a teenager doesn't help with insecurity as it is. I think you are ALWAYS beautiful. I could never pull it off.

the Provident Woman said...

You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm interested to read more. Do continue.

Busy Bee Lauren said...

What an amazing story! You are such a beautiful person. xo!