I have started then erased this post a thousand times. I can tell its going to be a long post. I’m in a weird place of needing to talk about something and having no idea how to go about it. That always happens when I’m posting something that’s more than “this is what we did today.” I over-analyze.
I actually debated whether or not to talk about this, but after encouragement from several people to just go ahead and put it out there, I decided I’d just go for it. After all, I function much better when I’m transparent. That might not always come through on the blog, but if you know me in real life, you know that I’m pretty open about everything. Talking things through helps me process.
Actually, that quality has probably been a helpful thing in my life. God has blessed me with lots of situations where I’ve had to let go and trust Him. The fact that I verbally process in the midst of those situations has proven to be a great way to share the crazy, scary, amazing things God has done in my life. I’m just not very good at keeping my experiences to myself.
In the past couple of weeks, God has given me another one of those opportunities to walk openly through something difficult. So once again, for better or worse, I’m just going to put it out there and we’ll see where this takes me.
My hair is falling out.
I’m not talking about a little post-partum hair loss. I was diagnosed last week with an auto-immune disease called Alopecia Areata, which causes my body to attack my hair follicles. Crazy, right? First my body attacks my babies’ blood while I’m pregnant. Now it’s attacking my hair.
I found two large bald spots (about 2 inches in diameter) on the back of my head on December 21. Since they were so big and in a place where it’s really easy for me to feel them when I run my fingers through my hair, they must have happened pretty quickly. Within a couple of weeks, I have about 4 more small spots, and several more areas where I can tell I’m about to lose more.
Originally, I thought it must be hormonal after a twin pregnancy, so my doctor ran some blood work. It came back normal, so he sent me to my OB, who sent me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist positively diagnosed me and told me alot more about it. Basically, my hair is going to fall out in patches. It might start growing back in some of those spots, but then it will move somewhere else. It’s random and unpredictable. The best description I’ve heard so far came from Nate: “It’s like balding whack-a-mole.” In my case, it is happening pretty quickly.
The dermatologist suggested I start getting steroid injection treatments into my scalp. So I went back the next day and got 15 injections into the bald spots on my head. It didn’t feel too great. And unfortunately, there’s a good chance it isn’t really going to help. Even if it does help, it’s only going to start regrowth in those spots and won’t keep any other spots from falling out.
So far, I’m able to cover the spots with the rest of my hair. The problem is that I’m in the process of getting a very large spot right on the front top part of my head, and it will be impossible to hide. The dermatologist says that when it gets to that point, the only thing I can really do is shave my head and get a wig. Or shave my head and rock the rebellious biker-chic look.
So now I’m just waiting…and that’s the hard part. Every day the spots in the front get bigger, and every day I wonder how long it will be until I have to shave my head. I wonder how I’ll handle it emotionally when that day comes. I mean, in the grand scheme, it’s just hair… but it’s my hair, you know? A pretty significant part of my physical appearance. And still, part of me just wants to go ahead and do it so I can just skip this whole awkward in-between stage altogether. The waiting and not knowing is driving me crazy.
But then, it seems like God has been spending alot of time lately in teaching me how to wait and how to trust Him in the unknowns. It feels like He’s giving me a masters-level education in these areas at the moment. But I’m okay with that.
I know that God is taking my hair away because He loves me, and I am confident that He knows exactly what is best for me. If baldness is best, I’m on board. But I’ll be honest and confess that I don’t understand it. I don’t see why this is better. It’s hard to see the so-called silver lining. But when I compare my blind vantage point with his all-knowing sovereign view, I’ll just choose to trust Him on this one. That’s why He’s in charge and not me.
And amazingly, in the few short weeks since I’ve been dealing with this issue, He has already taught me a boat-load about myself and about Him. Maybe I’m just hard-headed and it takes a whole lot for Him to get his point across with me, I don’t know. But if knowing God better is a side effect of going bald, then I’m all in.
And if you happen to think about it, I’d love some prayer as I sort through all of this. I am praying that I’ll be able to handle this gracefully in a way that honors and glorifies the Lord. Of course I’m praying that my hair will just stop falling out, but I also know that God might have other plans, so I’m praying for an obedient heart either way.
I was reading last night and happened across the verse in Matthew where Jesus is telling the disciples not to be afraid as they proclaim the Word because God loves them and watches over them. He emphasizes it by saying “even the hairs on your head are numbered!” (Matthew 10:30) I laughed to myself and thought “well that’s quite a job to stay on top of these days, because my number changes by the second!” But it’s true. God knows me well. I’m his girl. He loves me enough to keep track. So every time I run my hand through my hair and another handful comes out, I’ll remember that God is keeping count… so I don’t need to.
Thanks to all of you who are willing to walk through this with me. We’ll just wait to see what happens and take it step by step. Nate is, of course, the greatest encouragement I could have ever asked for. My family and friends have all made sure to tell me that they couldn’t care less if I am bald, and that’s actually reassuring. Kelly has told me that, as my PR rep, she thinks I would look like a rockstar.
So here we go. Just another exciting leg of the journey (: