Alopecia

In my last post, I referenced that I had been going through some minor health issues, and that they were clearing up.

Well, it’s not really, and I’m finally ready to tell the story. Four months ago, just as I was gearing up for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and a week or so before Gent and I got engaged, I noticed a small bald spot on the top of my head. But I was preoccupied with the Fringe and didn’t really take time to notice that it was weird that there was a bald spot on top of my head. Then the next weekend Gentt proposed and that further took my mind off it (even though I did feel sad a little that I was getting engaged with this gross bald spot. It was about an inch behind my hairline, so it was definitely visible with my hair down. But it was small enough to be easily hid with a braid.)

A week or so after the Fringe, I noticed the bald spot had grown and started worrying about it. One morning, I was so worried about it that I forgot my entire purse inside my house and was locked out of work, so I decided it was time to go to the doctor. I did, and he told me I had ringworm, which was rare for an adult, and that I should take some medicine and it would all go away.

Three weeks later, it was worse. Much worse. The bald spot had opened up an inch of the front of my hairline and extended about three inches back from my face. I felt hideous. I called the doctor, and he realized he’d given me the pediatric dose of the medicine, prescribed me the proper dose, and assured me that I would have new growth in 4-6 weeks.

Six weeks later, it was not only worse, but I also had five new bald spots. So I called a dermatologist and went to see her. This was about three weeks ago. When I started telling her the story, she looked at me like “What kind of idiot told you you have ringworm?” And she said that it isn’t ringworm, it’s Alopecia Areata, which is an autoimmune disorder whose only physical symptom is hair loss. She gave me some steroid shots in the big one on top, and said that they should help, but that even if my hair grows back, it could fall out again at any point in the future. Maybe even all of it.

It is growing back a little, but not a lot. And I’m worried. I now have the eight big spots as well as a bunch of tiny ones, bringing the grand total number of spots to 22.

I’m worried that I’m going to end up bald, and that I’ll either have to be bald forever or wear a wig. I’m worried that I’ll be hideous or bald at my wedding. I’m worried that if I have to wear a wig, it will fall off all the time while I’m dancing. And I’m sad. And scared.

Ya’ll have probably gathered by this point that I LOVE my hair. I grew it out so long that it reached my tailbone and I made a dance for it. So losing it has definitely been difficult, to say the least. I’m kind of obsessive about it, and it doesn’t help that I could lose all of it in two weeks or have it grow back and never have another bald spot again. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to prepare myself for the potentials of it.

Thinking of Sif has helped. She had beautiful hair and lost it all, and knows what it’s like to lose precious hair. On the other hand, she got new hair that grew of gold, and the best I’ll get is a really nice wig, but there is still comfort in her.

So anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my life. It sucks.

And here it is, the dance that may turn out to be the funeral for my hair. The piece is called Runoff, and was a section of a larger work I choreographed called “The Water Cycle.”