I’ll just drink wine then…

Anyone interested in an Alopecia update? 

Still Bald.

It’s been a whole year now since I shaved off the last of my hair and none of it has grown back. In fact, even more has fallen since the Big Liberating Shave. I’d like to say that I’ve adjusted to it by now, but I would be lying. Mostly I miss my eyelashes and eyebrows. The scalp hair I can learn to live without, I’ve found a wonderful wig company and will be investing in more of them, but for everyday life, I’d love my eyelashes back. 

I have learned that it’s really hard to blink salt water out of your eyes at the beach, if you don’t have any eyelashes. Or when you’re at the gym, your eyebrows stop the sweat from rolling straight down and into your eyes. 

For the past few months I’ve been working with my friend who’s a Nutritionist and who is in turn working with a Homeopath to help my Alopecia. We’ve done a saliva analysis test to see what foods and products trigger an immune response and I need to eliminate them for a while to see if there’s a change/help heal my leaky gut/something like that. According to that I can’t eat: 

  • Chicken
  • Strawberries
  • Capsicum
  • Eggs (even free range)
  • Cabbage (which is interesting as I was wanting to start more gut health options but no cabbage = no sauerkraut)
  • Bananas 
  • Pineapple
  • Rum (these two together = no Pina Coladas!!!!)
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms (no loss there really)
  • Cola
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Calamari
  • White Sugar
  • Almond Milk (interestingly, Almonds are okay though)
  • Nutella
  • Vegemite
  • While or Wholemeal Bread
  • Chocolate (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Vita Britz
  • Weet Bix
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Garam Masala (incase it contains fennel seeds)
  • Milk 
  • Cow’s Cheese
  • Margarine
  • Colgate
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Psyllium
  • Wile Raspberries

And oddly Mixed Feathers and Cigarette Smoke. I’ll definitely have to get those feathers out of my diet. 

I have already eliminated foods containing Gluten for years now, due to my Autoimmune research and in the past three years have become terribly Lactose Intolerant. 

I’m also now advised to eliminate Nightshades from my diet as well.

Looks like I’ll be on the Fruit Juice Diet from now on….. 


Please don’t tell me next that I can’t have grapes…. 

On the upside, since starting the homeopathic remedies as well as the elimination of most of that extensive list above, my fingernails have been the best they’ve ever been in my entire life. They’re long and strong and beautiful, where before they’d crack, split down the bed of my nail and were brittle. 

Hair and Nails are all connected, right? It’s got to mean something that there’s a change. My Naturopath believes my hair will come back opposite to how it fell out, so I’m early awaiting my eyelashes as they were amongst the last to go. Any day now. My Mascara is at the ready… 

Cross your fingers for me, but better yet, send wine! 

Alopecia Areata Awareness Month – or just Be Your own Beautiful Month.

 

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Phoenix dragged me over to a gems and crystals stall the other week, fascinated by all the shiny things that were within her reach. While reminding her not to touch anything I was approached by the stall owner.

“Good Afternoon,” she says while eyeing my head scarf. “She’s welcome to have a look, she can’t break anything.” talking about Phoenix and her wandering hands.

“Don’t bet on it,” I replied with a smile.

“Would you like more information on what I’m offering?” the stall owner asks with a pamphlet, “I do readings and healing with the crystals. Something you might be interested in?”

“Thanks, but we’re heading to lunch,” I reply honestly.

“I know how you’re feeling,” she suddenly presses upon me, still eyeing the scarf “I was in your position five years ago. Your hair will all come back.”

Oh. “Please don’t assume,” I request with a kind smile. “Thankfully I’m not sick. But I do have Alopecia. And no, my hair may not come back, ever. But that’s okay.”

Twice that day I had someone assume I’m going through something more than Alopecia, so with September being Alopecia Areata Awareness month what better time to share my story and raise more awareness.

Every year the awareness day/week/month comes around and every year I want to post something. For the past few years I’ve considered taking pictures of the patches I was battling with and sharing them, to help raise awareness. And every year it gets to the end of the day/week/month and I’ve talked myself out of doing it.

But this year is different.

It’s my 9th year with Alopecia and once again, I’m bald. Not just a little, but completely and utterly bald. And I want to share it. I feel like I need to share it this time. Because it might start growing back tomorrow and while that would be amazing, I might have lost this opportunity.

I want to encourage others, you, to live within the skin you have. To feel confident within your own body, with your own beauty. Because everyone is beautiful, hair or no hair.

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So here I am. In all my baldness glory. Pretty cool, hey? Somedays, I will answer that with a resounding NO. Not cool, it’s hard. But today I’m okay. Today it is cool. Today I’m feeling like this is who I am and if I don’t accept it now, then when? When I’m old and still bald and wishing I’d accepted it years ago. Well, that time is now and today I’m okay. Today I’m being myself, and I’m feeling beautiful.

Did you know that 2 percent of people have some type of Alopecia? It can range from smaller coin sized ‘patches’ of hair loss on the scalp (called Alopecia Areata) to complete scalp hair loss (Alopecia Areata Totalis) to total body hair loss (Alopecia Areata Universalis). At the moment mine is flitting between Totalis and Universalis with all my scalp, eyebrows and most of my eyelashes gone but every couple of months I still have to shave my legs. #notfair

I’ve talked about it before. I’ve written many posts about my Alopecia, how liberated I felt shaving the last few strands off and how I went about getting my eyebrows tattoo’d on. If you’re a regular reader of my little blog, you know all about my Alopecia.

But I bet you also know someone else with it. Maybe they haven’t spoken up like I have. They might feel reserved, shy and even ashamed of what it’s doing to them. Yes, ashamed. Ashamed that they don’t look like who they feel they are. After writing about my Alopecia I’ve had more than one friend message me about their own battle. I bet you have friends who are battling too. I battle, often, with how I look. But the acceptance is starting to win more often.

All I ask is that you be aware. Don’t assume. Be kind. Be beautiful. Be yourself.

 

How I got my eyebrows back.

Unfortunately for me, my Alopecia isn’t restricted to my head. While I’ve already lost my scalp hair, I’ve also lost my eyebrows, top eyelashes and lots of other body hair.

Except for under my arms for some reason, I still have to shave there… #rippedoff

A couple of weeks ago Hubby dropped me off at the gym and as we pulled up he noticed I had a fleck of something on my eyelid. Reaching over he wiped it off, as well as half my eyebrow.

At the time, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. So much was happening in our lives that I felt I was hanging on by a thread, and he just unknowingly wiped that thread away. I cried. I cried big ugly tears in the car as Hubby raced us home to try and fix my eyebrow like that would fix everything. While I could redraw it back on and pull myself together enough for a gym class (that I absolutely smashed) it didn’t fix the issue. I don’t have eyebrows.

I think I’d been coping pretty well with this round of Alopecia up until then. I bravely shaved my head, felt empowered, owned it. I wear scarves mostly now, with the wig coming out when I’m over the looks the scarves get me. I’ve even learnt how to do liquid eyeliner – that in itself deserves an olympic sized gold medal! But the one thing I just couldn’t get my head around was having to draw my eyebrows on everyday. It became a constant daily reminder of what I’d lost.

So, after much research, I fixed that too.

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I visited the absolutely wonderful Deb from The Beauty Spot at the Gold Coast and after a lovely chat, she cosmetically tattoo’d my eyebrows back on. It’s the only tattoo I have that my Mum approves of!

I have to say, the experience was amazing. I felt relaxed the whole time and in her very capable hands. The procedure didn’t hurt at all, the only feeling was the weird scraping of the micro blade as she drew the lines. Deb has a specially made numbing cream from a compound chemist and that took away any pain.

She also took away the anxiety, the stress and the constant morning reminder of what I’ve lost, in giving my eyebrows back. Again, I was leaving  place in tears over my eyebrows, but this time big, happy, tears.

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If you’re considering any kind of cosmetic permanent makeup, definitely visit Deb at The Beauty Spot on the Gold Coast first. If you have Alopecia and are needing your eyebrows back as well, message me and I’ll happily tell you more about what Deb did for me.

*not sponsored, just amazing.

Just brows-ing around….

All in all, I’m kinda okay with my Alopecia this time. It’s all happened before, the major hair loss, wearing scarves and wigs for months on end, drawing on my eyebrows and lashes. It’s odd how normal it feels now.

Recently my hair has all fallen out again. I don’t share this as much as I feel I could, as I find it personal and confronting a lot of the time, overwhelming. For me Alopecia doesn’t stop on my head, that’s just where it starts. At the moment I’ve also lost the majority of my eyebrows and lashes.

But still have to shave under my arms #rippedoff eyebrows

I’ve had to start drawing my eyebrows on each day, and am considering and looking into a cosmetic tattoo, mainly so I don’t scare the bejeesus out of the parcel lady in the morning if she gets to me before I get to drawing.

Out of all the hair loss I find the loss of my eyebrows the most confronting. My scalp hair can be dealt with, a wig or a scarf and I feel okay. Most of the time. It’s the eyebrows that do my head in. Probably because I can’t just cover them and get on with my day. I now have to wear makeup everyday – which is something I never really did unless I was working. How I look, how anyone looks for that matter, without eyebrows is more confronting than a bald head, to me.

So I try to find the good in the picture. I can shape them how I want. I don’t have to worry about over or under plucking. Or waxing. Or tinting. I love any way I can save money.

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YouTube is my friend at the moment. I bet you don’t realise how many tutorials there are on drawing on eyebrows!

So mostly I’m okay with my Alopecia. I’m aware that I may never get my hair or my eyebrows back again, but there’s a possibility. A little light. And where there’s light, there’s hope.

AIP Diet for Alopecia.

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I have Alopecia and currently, I’m bald. I have been for around two months now.

I’ve been eating gluten-free for years now from the advice of a doctor due to how gluten can affect our autoimmune system. All these years eating GF and I’m still bald.

I developed a nasty lactose intolerance around two years ago now and had to cut out my much loved dairy. Nearly two years of gluten and lactose free and I’m still bald.

Otherwise I’m pretty healthy. I get a little tired in the afternoons (but I’m a night owl so that can be expected). Sometimes my weight goes up and down, but only by a handful of kgs so it’s nothing I can really complain about.

A year or so ago I decided to quietly go full Paleo, and stuck to it for a good six months. I cut out all dairy (incl. lactose free options), gluten and grains. I felt amazing. My skin was clear, my weight stabilised and I had more energy all day – loosing my afternoon dip. The hair I had would still fall out, but remember noticing the everyday loss was less.

After a while the occasional GF treat snuck in. I went back to using Zymil in my coffee instead of a dairy free alternative. Then I needed an extra coffee in the day. Then my clothes got a bit tighter as I put on a few kilos.

I became complacent with what was really working for me. I would think that I had it all under control. I thought my body could handle the odd sweet. The odd treat that could be ‘good for me’ because it was ‘gluten free’.

I thought wrong.

I stopped being 100% Paleo and over the past six months I’ve become tired. My skin breaks out. My moods go up and down more, especially around ‘that time of the month’.

I was advised recently to start the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for my Alopecia. It’s like Paleo, but on steroids. Despite my additions to eating, I’m still gluten and grain Free. I’m still lactose intolerant. On top of that the AIP diet cuts out eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades.

Gulp.

I’ve had a hard time getting my head around it, and with some upcoming travel commitments I’ve started stressing myself out about what I might be able to eat while I’m away from home. How ridiculous is that? Stressing about something that may happen next week.

Did I mention that the main cause of Alopecia is stress? No? Well, it is.

I’ve also done a bit of research, and found that while the AIP diet works for a number of other autoimmune diseases, it hasn’t yet for Alopecia specifically. So after a lot of thought I’ve decided to put the AIP diet on hold for a while. I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life lately and I don’t think I can be completely committed to it. I haven’t made this decision lightly, I’ve given it a lot of thought and reflection and time.

But with the reflection, I have decided to go back to Paleo. Not 98% paleo, 100%. I know I feel great with that and my body works at it’s best and when I feel ready, I’ll try the AIP Diet.

I’ll be posting any new recipes over on my dedicated food blog Mix Taste Eat. Check it out and subscribe.

Liberated

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Liberated.

Mornings are always the worst time for my self-confidence to take a battering. Spending precious time in front of the bathroom mirror, pinning back stray strands of hair that don’t serve any purpose other than to remind me of what I don’t have. They fall this way and that, showing the many large patches my Alopecia has imposed on my scalp.

After my shower today I again stood in front of the mirror and sighed. There’s not enough hair there to wear it out and too much to not pin back to cover. The usual inner dialogue started up again ‘What if some falls forward from under your wig?’, ‘That patch is as big as my palm’, and the ever present ‘Yuck.’

Today I’m over it. I’m over waisting my time at the mirror when I could be doing something else with my life at that point. Cuddling my children, working, prepping for demos, chatting to hubby, playing the piano…

“Shave it off,” I instruct Hubby who’s relaxing on the bed beside our ensuite.

“Really?”

I take another big breath. Last time I resorted to shaving it off was this time 9 years ago. And it was a great big head fuck. I hated it. After all, I was a 24 year old otherwise healthy woman who’d just gotten married and loved her hair. I still love my hair, it just doesn’t love me. Shaving has always been my last resort because all I remembered was crying over a sink and watching the pittance of hair I had left fall from my head. It was hard for both of us and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

And here I was again.

“Yup, really. Shave it off.” I reply. It’s not doing me any good anyway. I’m over the wasted time. I’m over the stressing every morning. I’m over it owning me. It’s about time I own it. “Now. Do it now,”

Hubby obliges, pulling out his clippers and turning them on. Again, I stand with my head over a sink, watching the last of my hair stragglers fall past my eyes. They land in soft waves, strands and stands and….oh. There’s actually not very much at all.

I wait for the tears to come. For the overwhelming feeling of helplessness that flowed through me last time, for the raging hatred of Alopecia and what it takes from me, but they don’t appear. They don’t even make a mention.

Instead, I feel liberated.

I own this decision 100 percent and with that knowledge came a strength that I thought had disappeared when my hair eventually grew back. I felt a calm, strong, liberation from my Alopecia and with it the anxiety that came every morning. No longer do I have that stress, and only because I took charge and took the step that needed to be done.

My inner dialogue started up again, but instead of the worried angst ridden words that usually come to mind, it was a simple and resounding.

That’s better.’

And you know what, for the first time since the patches started again, it’s right. It is better.