Pages - Menu

Saturday, 27 September 2014

September: Alopecia Awareness Month. This Is My Story

9 years ago at the age of 12 I started noticing all this hair on my pillowcase. It wasn't until I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school that I had gone into Miami's Children Hospital to get a biopsy done of my scalp to only find out that I had Alopecia. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. Meaning my immune system thinks my hair is an invader and well, knocks it off my scalp. Here's an a better explanation of Alopecia: 
"Alopecia areata is a condition that causes a person's hair to fall out. It is an autoimmune disease; that is, the person's immune system attacks their own body. In this case, their hair follicles. When this happens, the person's hair begins to fall out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The extent of the hair loss varies; in some cases, it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater. On rare occasions, the person loses all of the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis)." - WEBMD. 

It's basically every girls worst nightmare, and I was living in it everyday. About 50% of the female population will experience some sort of hair loss or thinning by 60 years old, and out of those 50% around 20% happen to have alopecia. Now I happen to be one of the, dare I say, lucky ones? Because my alopecia was different, at 14 they told me my hair would not grow long after about a year or two and that by 5 years I would be bald. Well I am 21 and my hair grows crazy long at a rapid pace and I am not bald, God has shown me so much grace. On Instagram the other day I saw the hashtag #alopeciaawarence and I read all these amazing stories of these beautiful ladies and I thought wow y'all are so brave and I decided it was time to share my story.

Frozen is an all time favourite of mine. And Elsa's motto of "conceal, don't feel, don't let them know" was my motto for 9 years of my life, until today. I concealed my hair loss and thinning with every updo known to man, hats and little tricks, I blocked any sort of feelings, and I most definitely never let anyone know. People never noticed because my hair is quite long it is easy to cover. I do get a couple of remarks like: "why do you put up your hair so much?" "I don't think I have ever seen your hair completely down before? Have I?" "Oh your hair is so thin and long!" I use to dread them, but not any more. 

I could easily say that I have felt God's love and support through this entire thing and that I have taken this with grace and strength but if I said that I would be lying. 

The last two years have been officially the hardest years of this process. It's also been the first two years of my life in which I have really encountered God, go figure. Last year, my hair was at an all time low, like nothing I have ever seen, I was so angry at God because I wanted to wake up the next morning and have my hair back. As the year past I saw nothing change.

But this year, 2014, has been different, Theres been a dramatic change in my hair, it is getting thicker and stronger and it feels great. But this year, I was sad. All the years that I have been bottling my feelings up decided this would be the year it would explode. Alopecia not only attacks hair, it attacks self esteem and self confidence. I was in a dark pit that no one could help me out from. I thought God no longer cares and because of that I am no longer going to care too. I had my weeks were I was fine and happy and the whole world was amazing and in those happy times I decided to take pictures of my hair to see the progress of it (pretty cool actually in the long run) but then there were my very sad long days, weeks, and months. The worst week happened three weeks ago, the emotional pain transformed into a physical pain that I had never felt before, it HURT and it hurt real bad. If you know me you know I pride myself in my womanhood, my feminism, my strength and independence. But everyone has a weakness and mines happens to be an autoimmune disease. 

After that day I had a series of breakdowns and anxiety attacks that lead me to just giving up and surrendering it all to Jesus. I thought I had before but I really hadn't. There were many things I still held on to and me wanting to fix myself by my own strength was one of them. I allowed myself to finally feel and be completely broken because I was ready to allow God pick up my broken pieces and create a beautiful mosaic. 

My healing isn't going to be a "snap of the fingers" type of healing. It's been a 9 year journey, and my healing is going to be a process. A process that I am learning to love and to accept. We are not defined by hair, clothes or makeup, We are defined by who we are, who we inspire, who we help, who we love, and who we have compassion for. 

I lived off comparing my hair to others, but I stopped and learned to love my own thin strands that make me, well me. I hope that whatever you are struggling with right now makes you stronger, that you embrace everything that comes your way, good or bad. That you love without limits. That you have a heart full of gratitude in even the saddest of days. But you can't do it alone. Run to God, He is there, and it may not seem fair or right that you are going through this trial but know that all things work together for your good! And even if I go bald, or if I get a full set of hair back, I will love my God no matter what! He knows my path, and he knows yours. You just have to cling to him. Trust me life is so much better when you let go and simply let God be who He is suppose to be in your life. 

Besides God. I would like to thank my parents for being my solid rocks. Mom, from being there with me the day they told me I would be bald for life, and for the nights you held me saying everything was going to be alright. Dad, for taking a day off just to take me to the doctors because I felt sad. 
To Dylan, for the past three years you have seen my hair get to it's thinnest form to slowly getting thicker, I thank you for always saying "I love your hair" since the beginning. For holding me in the car like a baby and just cry with me and pray life into me, thank you for making me giggle till I forgot the hurt and for loving who I am and looking past my imperfections and accepting me, I am a lucky lady. And last, to Sandra, my mentor, my spiritual mother, one of my very best friends, thank you for crying with me and telling me how it is when I need it, for loving me from the day we met and letting me into your family like one of your own. Thank you guys for being the people I run to when my skies are grey and allowing me to see the rainbow. 

Even though I thought the day that I would share my story would be the day I was completely healed, God had a bigger plan and he is urging me to share my story to bring awareness on a disease that is often embarrassing, shameful and saddening. I love you all! Y'all are beautiful and worth everything this world has to offer!! 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

Here's what we are all dying to see, a picture! I don't know if you see the difference but I do hehe, and it's still not there yet and I have a while to go  but God is faithful and I'll continue updating on my blog about my journey!

 I hope this brought awareness to Alopecia and know that their are many suffers of this, both men and women!! 

Never judge, always love! 

With love and grace 
Diana C

No comments:

Post a comment