Written by an inspiring and beautiful client from Vancouver. Thank you, Laurelle, for sharing your journey with us. We hope it inspires our clients to realize their beauty through the difficult journey of hair loss.

June/2014    Vancouver

If you have alopecia or know someone who does, maybe you can relate to my story.

In many cultures people judge and are judged by their appearance, and that can become more important when an individual is compromised in their ablility to influence that very thing.   Clothes, hair and make-up are a big part of many daily routines, regardless of social status, income, education and your Facebook profile. 

Alopecia is an auto-immune condition and has been linked with under-active thyroid condition and severe stress.  Unfortunately, there has not been a lot of research about cause and effect, so diagnosis and successful treatment with return hair growth is not well documented.  This can make it difficult to  deal with as a common reaction when seeing a woman without a head of hair is something like, “OMG, poor thing, must be going through chemo.”   

My experience began about nine years, when I was had a very stressful job in a fairly dysfunctional working environment.  My hair was getting thinner and thinner and even without my glasses on, I could see clumps of it going down the shower drain.  No success with either toxic dermatological treatments, or the Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture.  Nothing worked.  I had a pact with my wonderful hairstylist of many years that we would go wig shopping when there was no longer enough hair to cut and colour.   When that day came, I cried all the way home from her salon, thinking that this was the absolute worst thing that could happen and wondering what else was in store as I had just turned 50??????

So we made a lunch/shopping date and a few weeks later, I picked up “May”, a custom made human hair red-gold layered affair.  Yes, I name my wigs, usually after the month in which I purchase them.  “She” took some getting used to and felt like I was wearing a baseball cap, but it was very interesting to see and sense peoples’ reactions, friends and strangers alike.  Perhaps the best compliment was from a complete male stranger who passed me on the street and asked me who did my hair as his girlfriend would love the style…….a pickup line????

Lots of things can happen……my wig even blow off on a very stormy day, when my umbrella turned inside out and it was pouring rain.  When I got to our front door, my husband looked at me and said, “Hmmm, maybe a chin strap?”

Since then, I’ve switched to synthetic blonde styles and this past January, met Angie at the Compassionate Beauty salon in my neighbourhood.  What luck – finally learned how to properly fit a wig, chose a longer style which I’d never had before and got a great cut.

All of this being said, I’ve learned a lot about myself these past years and have become more comfortable and confident with both my baldness and the wigs.   Have also figured out how do deal with the insurance company for some reimbursement.  I’ve stopped worrying about what people think and try to smile at people who I think are staring.  The kindness of strangers has been inspiring and the attempts at empathy “gee, you never have to worry about roots or a bad hair day”  aren’t  as upsetting as they used to be.

I love my wig, but, it’s a wonderful accessory.  What has become more important though is recognizing that your natural beauty is what counts.  That can only come from good health, love and support from family and friends and maybe a wacky sense of humour.    Namaste.    

laurelle alopecia

This is me, “January” the blonde, and Nan the dog.

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