It was the end of February 2018 after what had been a brilliant summer, I slowly noticed two or three coined shaped patches of hair on the top of my head that weren’t growing more than half a millimeter in length on my already shaved head, a style I had kept since about 2014 for the look and easy low maintenance. At the time I didn’t think much of it as the patches still contained hair, I just wasn’t sure why they weren’t growing.
I soon visited a dermatologist who instantly diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata. While I hid any emotion after being told the news, it was a big kick in the guts as I knew alopecia already ran in my family with my Mom and her sister (my aunty) having Alopecia Universalis and also knowing from a recent genetic test, that these autoimmune problems were caused by a gene mutation found throughout my Mom’s side. I tried to stay optimistic regardless, but not long after, a few more patches began to develop as well as them increasing in size and my overall health and immune system started to decline in what would lead to an extremely tough winter and spring, that also involved losing my sister to cancer. Throughout this time I would get monthly steroid injections into the affected areas and I gradually got back on top of my health with supplementation and exercise and by December I had achieved basically full hair regrowth.
2019 soon came and with a head full of hair (although still shaved to a short length), I was back to the old me again, full of confidence, and shortly found myself back, dating and in a relationship. I soon forgot all about my alopecia from the previous year and life carried on as normal but as the latter half of the year arrived my relationship came to an end, so I soon went on a holiday for some time off to relax where I drank more than what was good for me. Halfway through the holiday I noticed a small bald patch the shape of a coin on my head and thought “here we go again”. I was confident it would be short-lived and that I would grow back straight away as I had already beaten alopecia before. Unfortunately, I guessed wrong and within a month I had lost about 70% of the hair on my head and elsewhere on my body and sadly knew it was time to go through the entire process again of trying to regrow it.
Throughout 2020 I would be back on monthly steroid injections to the scalp and would try multiple supplements, health products and try to look after my health as best as I could. As October of 2020 arrived, I had gotten back to about 85% regrowth and was confident that I would soon beat alopecia once again, but suddenly without any clue as to why my progress started to reverse. This brought me to the worst my alopecia had ever gotten, and in early 2021, My Alopecia had reached about 96% total hair loss all over my body. I was devastated and thought about just calling it quits and learning to live with the total hair loss. But being both stubborn and always optimistic I couldn’t just leave it at that, so I made the decision in April 2021 to roll the dice and start a new JAK inhibitor medication called Baricitinib to aid in the fight. I usually tried to stay away from immune-suppressing medications with steroid injections being about the only thing previously I was willing to take, but after a lot of consideration, I decided to go through with it alongside the aid of multiple holistic approaches. At the time of writing (September 2021) I am still on my journey of living with and trying to beat Alopecia. Win or lose, I will be glad knowing I had a crack and know I’ll learn to live and be happy no matter the outcome.