March 2006 our world was turned upside down. I write this and then think of what my friend Sheye has been through recently and think well not really upside down. But at the time it was devastating and actually Sheye was one of those beautiful people to ask how I was and give me kinds words to get me through, as were a few others. Some of my friends still to this day don't know what we all went through.
I'd noticed a spot on the top of Georgia's head where her scalp was a different colour and it seemed that her hair was thinning. Then I noticed another one at the front of her hair line. I said to Mark I am going to take her to the dr the next day to see what it is. A little time later as we were getting ready to go out for dinner I put her hair up and at the back on her hair line was a huge amount of hair missing. My heart skipped a beat! We went to dinner and I just watched her the whole night wondering what on earth was wrong.
When we arrived home I put the kids to bed and then googled hair loss and children. What I came up with was devastating. I self diagnosed through googling that she had "Alopecia Areata". I know I know don't google!!!
"Alopecia Areata" is an Autoimmune Condition in which the immune system, which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles and the hair falls out in patches all over the head and sometimes body. This condition is not life threatening and doesn't even hurt but the emotional and psychological effect can be devastating.
- If the patient loses all the hair on his/her scalp, the disease is then called Alopecia areata totalis.
- If all body hair, including legs, arms, eye brows, eye lashses is lost, the diagnosis then becomes Alopecia areata universalis.
- If the patient loses a few spots on their head it is Alopecia Areata.
Mark got on the phone right away to a wonderful lady here who is the one in charge of our local Alopecia Areata support group. She was just so wonderful and supportive. Every time I spoke to her she calmed me down. It is a weird condition. Whenever she falls pregnant she gets full regrowth of her hair and then once she has her baby her hair falls out again. I think this must be because your immune systems lays dormant for a while so it doesn't attack the baby as a foreign body thus allowing your hair to grow back. And yes it can grow back. One awful thing about this condition is nobody is the same. It affects people in all different ways. I have heard of children waking up in the morning and having lost their hair overnight.
Ok back on track. I booked in to see a Trichologist who is an expert on skin and nails. Not a professional like a dermatologist more like an Naturopath. Anway she was weird to put it mildly. I think she may have done a few pills before she saw me or a line of cocaineLOL. She gave us some magic powder which G had to take twice a day. Anyway didn't do a darn thing. After everything I read I came to the realisation that if it was going to regrow it would by itself. Nothing that you do makes much of a difference or for very long anyway. But it was getting worse. I couldn't put her hair up anymore because she had lost so much. But after much talk with her we did start putting her hair up. She knew what to say if someone asks about her hair and her wonderful Preschool Teacher was there to help her as well. Thanks Janelle for all of your support through this. I would ring Janelle from work just to see how she was, especially if she had worn her hair up that day and you could see her hair loss.
Late last year I went to see a Dermatologist. One of the top ones in Brisbane, my dr even said he had stopped taking patients. But I think because she was a child with this condition he agreed to see her without even hesitating. He explained it all to me and confirmed that it was AA and gave me some steroid cream to put on her head once a day on all her bald spots. I so don't like steroid creams. G had excema as a baby and I refused to put cortizone on her. But I was desperate. The thought of my baby having no hair was not something I wanted to contemplate.
Forward to today and she has full hair regrowth YAY!!! Everytime her hair gets wet and I see some gaps (which are completely normal) my heart skips a beat. Georgia will always have AA it doesn't go away. She may never ever get a recurrence again (lets hope). It may come back soon, in a year, in 10 years, in 50 years. I've spent to so much time crying over this condition. I would be on the bus on the way home from work and just cry. I think it is that time just sitting and thinking. No it isn't life threatening it won't debilitate her but hey kids can be nasty!
I can't believe how many other autoimmune conditions there are out there. Scientists just can't figure out why out body turns and fights itself, some conditions are - diabetes, arthritis, lupus, MS (they think), Celiac, Chron's, Graves, Chronic Fatigue just to name a few of the better known ones.
How could something like this happen to someone so sweet!