May 19, 2010


awhile back i blogged about my hairballs (much to the chagrin of my husband)

the hairball thing was nasty
but i found more humor than alarm in it
DR H thought it was falling out due to iodine deficiency
we tested and sure enough, i was iodine deficient
so we started supplementary iodine and the whole family breathed a collective sigh of relief figuring our hairy woes would soon be history.
now, several months down the road, i am no longer iodine deficient. initially, my upped levels of iodine seemed to make a difference but recently my hair loss has accelerated at an alarming rate
my old hairballs ain't got nothing on this level of shedding anymore
in the last 6 or so weeks, i have lost 30% of my hair.
it is very upsetting, disturbing, and panic provoking
which is why it was at the top of my list to discuss with DR D during our in office appt a couple of weeks ago.

graham had recently started taking a multi-vitamin that is "specially formulated for men". i ran out of my own non-gender specific mineral supplements the week before we went to see DR D. i didn't want to buy anymore until after we had seen DR D (because my medications/supplements are often changed after such visits) so i started dipping into graham's "man pills"... which he was horrified over. not sure what he was worried would happen?! then again, not sure what i thought would happen either. maybe at some subconscious level i figured a few man pills might help my noggin as it was rapidly beginning to resemble male pattern baldness.

at any rate, graham reported my 'man pill abuse' to DR D
when DR D responded by telling him that my man pill taking may actually have some merit. i just sat their smugly smiling in all my patchy bald glory

DR D suspected that my hair loss may be due to either low TSH levels (thyroid issues) or some sort of hormonal imbalance (low testosterone). she suggested that we get blood work done to check these levels once we were back in Canada. my lab work has now been done and although all my levels are within the lab's "normal ranges" there has been a significant drop in my TSH. it has gone from a 3.1 to .8 (normal lab range is .38 to 5.5)

unfortunately since we saw DR D, she has experienced hormonal issues of her own- (as in had a baby a little ahead of expected due date). she is now on maternity leave so i cannot get feedback from her. i'm trying not to pull out what's left of my hair over this. i've not discussed this with DR H (yet) but it will be at the top of my list when i see him next week. i'm hopeful that he will be able to pull something out of his magic bag of tricks to save what is left of my last few limp strands.

my family doc here in Canada has not been able to offer me an explanation but
he referred me to a hair doc whom he said has been able to help a lot of people.
i was happy to hear that...
until his office called to say i couldn't get in to see this doc until sept
i nearly had a coronary when i heard that
i told the office that i wouldn't have any hair left to examine if i had to wait til sept
that earned me a new time slot of mid july
until then or at least until i see DR H, i'm seriously considering not washing my hair. after all, hair washing has become a
traumatizing event. somehow my head just feels a lot balder when it is wet...and it's dangerous to boot. the clumps of hair clog up the drain so bad that by midway through my shower, i'm standing in ankle deep water. who knows, i could drown! can you blame me for being tempted to go on a shampoo diet?

the humor of my hair loss is now lost on me
because it is just that. a loss. another loss in a long litany of losses that i have had to face. one more loss to assimilate, to accept, to surrender to and to grieve over. and i am upset by that. i've had a hair cut a grand total of 3 times in the past 3 or so years. partly because i was either too sick to go or to care. partly because there was no point in having a hairstyle i was too sick to style or maintain. and so i've just let my hair grow and grow and grow. and i made myself okay with that by telling myself this long hair thing was a novelty because long hair is not something i have ever had. (ok, except like when i was 4). but my long hair is not something i was ever attached to it. (evidently, it is not that attached to me either.)

while i'd be the first to acknowledge that my egg shaped cranium would not bode well for being an attractive look on me, my looks are not high on my list of priorities these days. so no, i don't believe my angst over my balding state is an issue of vanity rather it is rooted in the thought that getting a hair cut was going to be part of my wellness celebration; a shedding of all things lyme, out with the old, in with the new. and now i feel, well, royally ripped off.

lately, my strength has been coming back and more and more, letting my hair down and ridding myself of my standard low maintenance bun in exchange for an actual hairstyle was seeming like more and more a do-able possibility
and now
my bun has become my proverbial combover

if i am strategic in the arranging of my bun, i can cover up my patchy spots
i also happen to think my hair still appears thick when it is wadded up on the top of my head in a matted mess
of course,most likely, i am just in denial
i'm sure most men that sport comb overs think they do a fairly good job at masking their bald spot too.

my family is begging me to off it
lop it off, hack it off, buzz it off, shave it off
anything to save them from drowning
in hairballs
and me?
well, i'm stubbornly hanging on to my comb over
until further notice,
i'm avoiding my own near drowning by donning a shower cap and going on a shampoo strike


My New Life said...

Dear Shannon,
What a dreadful shame to have to deal with that as well. I once had a neice with Hodgkin's Lymphoma who lost all her hair through chemo - she collected miniature teddy bears so I sent her a tiny one made entirely of crystal, with a note that said "Sometimes you have to remove all the hair from something in order to see the true beauty beneath". Your beauty is shining through even more now for all of us to see. My neice's hair grew back stronger, thicker and more lustrous - I'm sure yours will too. Chin up, honey, good times are coming.
Love you always, Bev xxx

Renee said...

Your humor is delightful, but the loss of hair has to be devastating! I lost some hair at the beginning of treatment, but nothing like yours. It eventually stopped for me. I sure hope Dr. H has answers for you next week. The number of losses you have experienced is amazing to me. Your family's courage is a testimony for us all....but I think it is now time for things to get better for you guys! You are in my prayers, Sister Job!

Anonymous said...

hi shannon
nicole takes a thyroid pill for her hair loss. it is working, not completely but a vast diff.
the articles in the paper again bring lyme out of the dark with a true personal story. way to go!