September is National Alopecia Areata Awareness Month!

4women.com — By on August 31, 2009 at 12:05 pm

In honor of Alopecia awareness month I would like to share this story that was sent to me by a woman who is living with Alopecia.alopecia-ribbon.gif

“BECAUSE THE MIRROR IS WATCHING”  by Terese

The body betrays.  One day, a normal life is flipped upside down by the most innocuous of things – a mirror.

Beginning in spring of 2004 and crashing with a lid-slamming life will never be the same thud on a chilly November day, I was pursued by a demon created within my own body.  The thief known as Alopecia Areata stole more than my hair.  It helped itself to my sanity a well, and shook me to the core as it shattered the familiar image in my looking glass.

Denial, depression, blind fury, these became my companions as I fought a disease that I thought  of as a monster that was playing with me like a rag doll.  My image in the mirror was a stranger and the fear that I was lost forever was choking me.

My love affair with my husband became a marriage. I was stunned that he could still want a woman without hair and with the lifeless, soulless face of a mannequin.  His love for me fell on a deaf heart, which broke for him, but I couldn’t allow him to love me anymore.  I wasn’t there, anyway.  I went down the drain with my hair.

I gave up on prayers, as they seemed but bargains and poor attempts to nnegotiate with a power stronger than any disease. I was bartering, making promises, pleading for my looks,  for for the pretty girl wrapped in ribbons and bows – anything to make it easier to avoid the exhausting task of being the person created from nothing.  I envisioned God as the dealer in a kind of celestial poker game – and all the cards were stacked in favor of the House.

When my dermatologist offered me immunosuppressive medication as a treatment for the Alopecia, she advised me to weigh the odds of taking a potentially toxic drug very carefully.  Despite my own medical training, my judgement was clouded.  I took a deep breath, told fear to be quiet, and said, “Pass the pills”.

Life flipped over again, and as my hair re-grew, I couldn’t stop watching the miracle in my mirror.  Bit I was keeping a secret.  I was in trouble, as the negative side effects of cyclosporin were becoming evident.  I had to stop the medication.  It was no longer safe.  Within twelve days, all of my scalp and body hair was lost again, and I was back to being fractured.

So began another fight with the demon that wanted to squash my spirit as surely as it had my appearance.  But my battle this time was not with my mirror, but my own sense of who was in it. Who was I?  Moth or Butterfly?

These past few years since my hair fell out again have been a transformation of spirit, slow and still.  As I learned to cease raging and let life move me, I was awakened to the possibility that my future is not certain, never will be, and what a wonderful discovery.

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