I wanted to share a story on of our bloggers share with us.
I have a neighbor who is enjoying her retirement! She takes a daily walk for an hour a day come rain or come shine. She is the most energetic person I have ever met (especially for her age). I stare in awe as I see her fast walking past me every morning and I feel slightly guilty that I am unable or unwilling to do the same. I once asked her how she managed to keep on walking no matter how hot, cold or rainy the weather may be and how she seems to never be out of breath or even tired. She told me that walking makes her feel young and keeps her revved up for the day ahead. I am absolutely gob smacked by this woman’s fortitude.
Since I am so used to seeing her pass by every day I hadn’t noticed her absence when I failed to see her for a week…than a month and than not at all for a long period of time. Because she is so admirable and so lovely to talk too I consider her a friend and became very concerned when she seemed to disappear.
Finally, I could take it no more and I walked to her house and knocked at her door. She answered after some prolonged knocking and I hardly recognized her. She stood before me wearing a turban-like device on her head and none of her beautiful white hair was visible. She looked pale and worn out and not at all like her normal upbeat self. I didn’t want to intrude, but I did want to make sure that she was okay, so I asked her if she was alright. What she told me was so sad and surprising that I suddenly realized that maybe I could actually help her with her dilemma.
She told me that one morning about three months ago, she had noticed that there was a more than normal amount of her hair in the sink after she washed her hair. She wrote it off as normal shedding and didn’t pay any attention until she noticed even more hair falling out whenever she brushed her hair. She tried to ignore the obvious, that something was wrong but that became impossible when she awoke one morning to find a whole lot of hair on her pillow. When she looked in the mirror to her horror, one side of her head was almost bald! Panic began to set in and she became depressed. She also stopped going out. I found out that she was having another neighbor do her shopping for her and that she hadn’t set foot out of her house for months except for a visit to her primary care doctor.
Blogging about hair loss and hair replacement has taught me a few things so I offered the little that I know in order to help her. I asked if she had spoken to her doctor about her condition and she replied that she had. I asked her if the doctor had suggested any tests or made any suggestions regarding her gradual but continual hair loss. He had told her to pay it no attention, that it was normal in aging people. He also told her to go buy a hat!
Upon hearing this not so sound medical advice I became angered and suggested that she see a dermatologist or at the very least look for a local hair restoration Salon that could help her. She promised me that she would follow up and I left…feeling sad that she had been left to dangle in the wind with no hope.
A few weeks later I sat outside and once again saw her familiar fast walking self pass by my home. She was not wearing a hat…or a scarf or a turban. She had a lovely, normal looking short hairstyle just like she always had in the past. I couldn’t let her go without stopping her and asking what had changed and what had transpired since our visit. She had seen a dermatologist and he had informed her that she had a form of Alopecia Areata and that it was typical for someone of her age to develop hair thinning and hair loss. He suggested non-surgical methods and even recommended a local Salon that specialized in both hair restoration treatments and wig sales.
At first she rejected the idea of regular treatments and even balked at the thought of wearing a wig. She is very old and possessed the old school attitude about wigs and how “fake” they looked back in the day. The salon owner had educated her and encouraged her to not only get regular scalp treatments along with some fantastic products to keep her remaining hair healthy, but had helped her try on various hair systems that might suit her.
One of those hair systems was perfect for her and she purchased it on the spot. She wanted to keep coloring her hair and having it cut and styled on a regular basis so she purchased a human hair wig made in Europe. She loved the look and felt like her old self. Thanks to the instructions given to her by her stylist she can put it on perfectly and feel secure that it will stay in place. She visits her salon on a regular basis and feels like her old self once again.
This story had a happy ending and although I was very glad to be a part of it, I felt sad for all of the people out there who are passed off by doctors who have no clue what to do about hair loss and simply shove it under the rug leaving the patient feeling hopeless. With hair loss being one of the most common conditions that many, if not all of us, will experience there should be more emphasis put on it when doctors are trained.
Until that happens, it is up to hair stylists to inform their clients when they see obvious hair thinning or balding and to suggest that they seek out a specialist for further help and information to treat their condition. Whether you work for a salon or practice that specializes in hair restoration or not, I feel that it’s the duty of any stylist or doctor to point the way for their clients to seek help where it is offered.
When that happens on a regular basis, all of you in the hair restoration industry will not only be helping people to live a fuller and better life but will see your businesses grow.