Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

So, I’m losing my hair. Call in the Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, The National Guard. Come on people, let’s mobilize! This is bad, very bad, I’m declaring it a disaster of epic proportions. OK, so I may be a little overly dramatic, but this is my hair we’re talking about! Whether it’s because of the drugs I’m on or the malnutrition that the Crohn’s disease is causing, I have no clue. I don’t really care why it is happening, I just HATE that it is. Any woman, or man for that matter, who has experienced this can tell you that it can be frustrating and depressing. I would say that I’ve probably lost at least half of my thickness which, let’s face it, was never really stellar to begin with. It’s pretty pathetic when you can see the wall behind you through the thinning locks at your shoulder. Every time I take a shower I notice bigger and bigger handfuls coming out while shampooing. I’ve started to see it on my pillow in the morning and Greg has mentioned that he feels he might be drowning in the hair balls I inadvertently leave about the house. Seriously though, let’s look at the difference. The picture on the left is my hair a few years ago, long and naturally curly. The picture on the right is all that I’ve got left of that… so sad!

Full HairThin Hair

Ugh! Seriously this is getting a bit ridiculous. I mean loosing my hair is feeling a bit like someone is kicking me while I’m down. No… I’d say more like straddling me while sucker punching me after I’ve already been dealt the final blow of the match. So, let’s do what I do best, tongue in cheek. Better yet, get your tongues ready and on the count of three let’s all put them in our cheeks together as you read about my thoughts on this latest development. Tongues at the ready? One… Two… Three… Go!

As I was combing the last five hairs I have left I thought, “Hmmmm I should really get a hair cut, these five hairs are looking a little sad and damaged.” The quandary? What happens when you cut the only five hairs you have, will it look worse? I mean when you only have five hairs to speak of you tend to be a little over protective of them. You start thinking it might be better to let those sad little hairs keep their split ends. Don’t laugh, but I’m trying to grow my hair out as well in a desperate attempt to hold onto any femininity I have remaining. My great-grandmother once mistook me for her grandson when I had my hair back in a french braid. Ok, she was practically blind at the time, but it has stayed with me and I have this enduring complex that I look boyish with short hair or when it is pulled back. Add that to the fact that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight due to the Crohn’s disease which, of course, means that my chest is a bit smaller. By a bit smaller let me just say a full two cup sizes less and I didn’t have very much to begin with. Well… training bras here I come and bring on the “She looks like a boy” comments. Go ahead, I can take it!

After a heated debate with myself I said, “Self? You might as well cut those poor hairs before they break off and die.” So I decided to go for a haircut after all, might as well keep those last five hairs healthy and happy if I have any hopes of them sticking around for a while. I wouldn’t want to tick them off and send them running so I figure I’d better give them some tender loving care. I did, however, draw the line at paying someone $40 to $50 at a salon to spend less than five minutes trimming said hairs. Instead I opted for one of those dollar cut joints. I walk in without an appointment and the girl at the counter gives me a look that says, “Clearly I’d rather be anywhere but here…” Add to that the fact that because she looks so young I’m wondering just how long she’s actually been doing this and I could practically hear the hairs on my head squeal in fright! Oh well, what damage could she possibly inflict seeing as I wasn’t going to ask her to do anything but a quick trim of my thin wisps.

So with a small burst of bravery I allow her to lead me to the hair washing basins. Exactly two minutes later she has shampooed, conditioned, and toweled my hair dry. At which point I’m thinking that this gal is certainly going to get paid much more than this haircut will be worth. Oh well, my five hairs are wet and ready for their big moment. To her credit my hairdresser made a valiant effort when it came to the trim. You know how they divide your hair into sections and then take those sections in layers? Well she at least attempted to do that but I must say it was just pathetic. I kept wanting to say something like, “I realize there isn’t anything there so you might as well just take your scissors to it and be done, but thanks for trying.” You know it is bad when they pull out their blow dryer and less than a minute later say to you, “Well… um should I style it or…” To which I reply, “As long as it’s dry…” The entire visit took all of 10 minutes, two of which were her valiant attempts at dividing my hair into layers to be cut. At least I didn’t have to make small talk with a perfect stranger for a half hour while pretending I actually had any hair left worth cutting.

To her credit my young hair stylist didn’t say a word… not a single word until she asked if I wanted her to style it. At first it felt awkward but then I was secretly relieved. I always found it disturbing that while getting your hair cut you’re expected to share your life story with someone who probably doesn’t really want to hear it anyway. Why is it that we spill our guts when in the salon chair? It’s probably because we feel that we should be extra nice to the individual with the scissors chopping mercilessly away at our hair. I mean who wants an angry hair dresser, right?!?

As I left her chair I looked down at my pitiable, teeny tiny, little pile of cut hair. She didn’t have to sweep up after me; I noticed she just kind of brushed it aside with her foot on our way to the checkout counter. My, oh my, what I wouldn’t give for just a few more hairs. Am I asking too much when I want a decent size pony tail? Maybe I should just shave it all off and go for a wig. Extensions maybe? I never thought I’d be thinking I’d like a little more hair. I’ve always been the “no maintenance hair” kind of girl. In the past I bemoaned the fact that I had too much hair to handle and so I’d just put it in a bun and go. I never in my wildest imagination figured that one day I would want that hair back…

Who’d a thunk it? I suppose I’m pretty vain about my hair after all. I’d never thought of myself as a vain individual but I’m telling you, when it comes to my hair I am feeling pretty conceited! Who knew? I’m not even ashamed to admit it. I’m suffering from hair vanity and lack of hair depression. You’d think that with everything I’ve got going on and going wrong that my hair would be the least of my worries, but no, I miss it… A LOT! So I started searching the online forums for DIY, at home hair remedies because if you recall I refuse to empty my wallet for a salon treatment on five hairs (well four and a half now that they’ve been trimmed.)

The first remedies I went for were those that could be concocted from items in your kitchen. The one that appealed to me most, or I should say seemed easiest to put together, consisted of egg yolks, water, and coconut oil. So I proceeded to whip up my magic hair potion and then apply it to my scalp as directed. It became immediately obvious that the proportions were all off. I should have taken into account that the “recipe” would need to be cut in half to account for my lack of hair. Truth be told it should have been cut in fourths but that would require my using half of an egg yolk and, well, I’m not much good at dividing egg yolks so… there I was with too much potion and not enough hair. *sigh* Ah well, on with the show!

The instructions suggested leaving the mixture in your hair for a few minutes before washing it out with cool to warm water. After all, you wouldn’t want to scramble the egg with a nice hot shower. All was proceeding according to plan. There I was standing in my shower with a really disgusting mixture of coconut oil, egg, and water running down my face and shoulders. Not being one to waste time I thought I’d be productive and shave my legs while waiting for this miracle cure to work its magic. So maybe this wasn’t the best idea. I mean think about it. Hair potion running into your eyes whilst wielding several sharp blades equals disaster. Now I’m bleeding all over the place and the bottom of my shower looks like a war zone covered in egg, oil, water, and blood. The irony is not lost on me either, I’ve just cut myself to shreds trying to get rid of the hair my legs. While the reason I’ve cut myself to shreds is because the magic concoction meant to restore the hairs on my head is running into my eyes. At this rate I might as well let the hairs on my legs grow out and then transplant them onto my scalp. Why not?

Time to wash this ghastly mixture out of my hair. All is going according to plan… NOT! Instead of helping me keep and grow more hair I’m steadily loosing additional hair. Big handfuls of my hair are coming out with the magic hair potion. It was so bad I could feel big clumps of hair traveling down my back, onto my legs, and landing at my feet. I started sobbing because now I’m down from four and a half hairs to like… two. Several minutes later I’m standing mournfully staring into my overly large bathroom mirror and trying not to panic. I’ve used the blow dryer on my hair for about thirty seconds and have found that at least the two remaining hairs are soft and shiny.

So “Hair today, gone tomorrow…”  Let’s have a moment of silence for the hairs I’ve been washing down the drain of late. They will be missed more than they know. They were good hairs, the very best, the kind you’d want to flaunt in public. Alas they are MIA and though I hold out hopes of their safe and eventual return I’m determined to move on. The need for ponytails and barrettes are a thing of the past. Don’t cry for me missing hairs, the truth is you’ve already left me, all through my protests, my constant moaning, I’ll stop complaining, don’t keep your distance… Oh my, I’ve broken into song. My apologies to Andrew Lloyd Weber and the past and current casts of Evita around the world for adulterating that chorus.

I’m done ranting… for now. You may all remove your tongues from your cheeks now, thank you for joining me I’m off to search for my missing hairs. Stina out!

17 thoughts on “Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

  1. I feel your pain! My hair has grown back completely since life has been less stressful, but when it was thin and my hair was all over our house.. I was really sad about it despite the more serious issues. It just added insult to injury.

    Throughout all this I’ve recieved several reasons for my hair loss…
    – low DHEA
    – medication side effect (Wellbutrin)
    – stress on my body

    With the approval of my MD, I used topical Rogain for women (I got Equate brand online through Amazon pretty cheap). Here’s the problem. You cannot lay down for hours after using it because it’ll get on your pillow and when your cheek touches the pillow, it’ll get on your cheek… and you’ll grow facial hair. So while it worked, I can’t sit up for the long twice a day.

    I decided to completely stop using any chemicals on my body, and especially on my hair. My hair got thicker after about two months! Look up “no-poo” and look up the chemicals in our soaps and shampoos. It is scary! The baking soda/apple cider vinegar method didn’t work well for me. I use a dry shampoo I make myself (powdered clay/baking soda/cocoa powder (for color)/potato starch) between washes and right before a wash. Every other day or so, I rub a tiny bit of coconut oil between my palms and then rub it over my dry ends. It takes barely any and it doesn’t make my hair look greasy if I just use a little. I’ve had BAD BAD experiences using too much coconut oil and not being able to get it out of my hair. When I wash once or twice a week, I use lemon juice mixed in water to clarify and get all that dry shampoo out of my hair. When talking about my hair experiments.. my Mom commented the other day, “Your hair doesn’t stink” … thanks Mom. 🙂

    • Thanks for all of the tips, I really appreciate it! I have been slowly removing the chemicals from my hair over the past few years. I haven’t colored my hair since 2004 which I thought might help but I think all of the drugs they have me on are actually contributing to and speeding up the process of my hair loss. Add to that the fact that having Crohn’s disease makes it really difficult for my body to absorb any nutrients and well… I like your approach to hair care though and might try some of it. I’m a huge fan of coconut oil but before the DIY remedy with the egg yolks had never used it in my hair. I’ll try it alone like you said and see if I can’t at least salvage what is left. 🙂 I love your mom’s comment, that’s too funny!

  2. Oh, dear Stina! This IS adding insult to injury. You’re too young to loose your hair. I have lost half of mine for unknown reasons. The hairdresser even asked me if I was sick. I used to complain about having too much hair… It is hard to lose your hair as a woman. I am so sorry. I remember my brother being very, very upset when he lost his hair due to chemo. He was really upset. He wore bandannas and doo-rags which I sent him. Women can wear scarves, hats but still… Let’s hope it grows back. Are you eating enough protein? Or is it the Crohn’s fault? God bless you, Stina. You are beautiful and probably still are and would be even bald but no woman wants that. Hoping for regrowth. xx Ellen. P.S. Thanks for all the likes of my posts!

    • Hi my friend, I had been way behind on my blog reading and really enjoyed catching up on yours today! I probably need to eat more protein but Crohn’s is definitely brutal. I have a cousin who has given me some tips on natural remedies and vitamins I can take so I might ask the doc about those. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can get some of it to grow back if I back off on some of my meds which we’ve been considering lately. We’ll see, in the mean time maybe I need to invest in some cute hats or something! 🙂
      xoxo Stina

  3. Try Biotin. That helped me a lot when I started getting bald patches in my early 20’s, lol! Other than that, I totally think you should spring for a bright pink Lil Kim wig 😀 Love you Sis. Gentle hugs

    • Thanks Jessie! I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about biotin, how much did you take a day? That is the only thing I can’t seem to nail down. I think you’re right, I could totally rock a Lil Kim wig!!! Love you too!

      • Well that cinches it! I have heard several people mention Biotin and so I asked my Rheumy about it today and he said go for it! Thanks for helping me out with the amount to take. 🙂

  4. In the mood for more hair advice? I seriously think I have tried them all. My sweet mom started having me drink Jello water before I was even old enough to remember not having hair. In high school I tried shock thearpy to stimulate hair growth, it made for a good story around the dinner table but no extra hair. I shop for hair elastics in the new born infant dept. I use the little teenie tiny elastics for my entire pony tail. Hair potions, vitamins, expensive shampoo yep tried them all. In the last couple of years it has gotten worse, way worse. I know it may be considered by some as cheating but 2 years ago I finally found something that works. OK stop here and check out my hair on facebook. Impressed? I know. I really love it. I have enough hair that I actually look like a girl, the cheating part is I buy my hair at the store. I have been seeing the same hair dresser for years, by what I consider to seriously be a tender mercy I went in to have my hair done right before a girl who uses hair extensions. The hair extensions just happened to be sitting out. Maire, my hair dresser said I should try them, “it’s just like a boob job, everyone is doing it”. (not the best way to convince me, as I had already seriously thought about a boob job and decided against it) I was a little worried that everyone would know, and the truth is everyone who knows me does know, (because I was cancer patient hair girl) but the most common reaction I have from people is they want to try it. The hair is attached to clips that I clip in to my own hair every morning. I wash it and curl it about once a week. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough hair to cover the clips up, I do. Another bonus, it is fast, because it is already curled I can do my hair in under 10 minutes, blow dry to done. The hair lasts about 6 months when you wear it everyday before it starts to get split ends. I actually cut it, so it lasts a year before I buy new hair. I can’t believe how closely my hair was tied to the way I feel about myself. Seriously hair trumps over boobs in my book any day (probably not my husbands book, but that is a whole other discussion), Hang in there, good luck with Biotin. Let us know how it goes

    • You know I have seriously considered extensions but I just didn’t know if we could justify the cost because we need the money for my health care. Although lately, the more hair I lose the more I’m convinced I should try that option. I love your hair!!! I had no idea they were extensions, that is awesome! 🙂 Thanks for the advice, I really do appreciate hearing about other’s experiences with all of the different hair options.

  5. H Stina,
    I’ve seen your Gravatar a bunch of times on various blogs and finally clicked on it. I’m not actively blogging (just sort of) due to current crisES (note plural), but figured I’d drop by your blog. I’m dealing with hair loss, as well. Of course, it happened after spending over 2 years growing out my thick, curly hair. As I do have loads of hair, it appears normal to others, like my hair stylist who had gastric bypass and says I have more than her, but I have huge hairballs wading in the tub and all over me when I shower and honestly have no idea how I’m not totally bald by now! For me, this started 2 months after corneal surgery and I had to use ocular steroids (pred) like crazy and got the horrid, systemic effects for 21 days before I said, “I’d rather have permanent haze than this!” which I didn’t get. Argh! Is your hair super dry/coarse and falling out or just falling out and healthy looking? My already coarse hair is now like a Brillo pad (clue #1 that it’s likely from the pred) and I literally can’t get shampoo through it! I just wear it in a puff on the top of my head and call it a day.

    It’s now 9 mos later and I do have new growth (horrid looking, kinky hair), but the long hair is still falling out! A few other ideas… My thyroid levels are okay with levo as I checked on that and not sure if you’re hypothyroid (that caused massive hair loss 12 years ago). Due to my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), I have major GI issues and am horribly underweight, so I can relate to someone with Crohn’s. I don’t know where my C-cup boobs went, either! Lol! I’m a bit in reverse: I can control my symptoms by following a very strict diet so I don’t get enough calories or nutrients due to that now, but a much better way to live! As someone mentioned, I do take biotin (big dose) and have for years due to my weak nails that tear, but as the new growth is relatively new, I don’t think it’s regrowing from that, although I did start a multivitamin that doesn’t bother me a few months ago… Hmmm. A fellow EDSer on here takes liquid vitamins due to digestion issues if you haven’t tried that as I presume you may absorb more of it.

    Just some random, disorganized info I thought I’d share, but if you have the massive change in texture, it’s the steroids in my mind and I seriously think all the damaged hair has to fall out and be replaced… And I’m totally vain and HATE this and all the rest that EDS has done to me! 😉

    I’m not following people as I have low vision and go crazy from my inbox, but will bookmark you like I do with other blogs of interest.
    Hang in there and hope you don’t mind my unsolicited advice… If you want a dark brown, modified ‘fro wig, I can send you my hair from the shower. I wonder if it’s long enough for Locks of Love–they’d send it right back to me for sure. That’s so sad.
    A 🙂 (l-o-n-g comment!)

    • I LOVED your “unsolicited” advice. Made me giggle and hurt for you at the same time. I’ve pretty much chalked it all up to the prednisone and Humira. Humira wasn’t really helping the Crohn’s or the arthritis or anything for that matter so they stopped it a few weeks ago. My hair is also really dry and I have to use what seems like most of a bottle of conditioner to get a comb through it even as thin as it is… anyway. It looks like I’ve got some new hair growth starting but I have to start a new biologic for the Crohn’s on Wed and guess what one of the side effects is? You got it, hair loss. Well, here’s to being bald – apparently I’ll have to try and make it the new “beautiful”. Wish me luck, I don’t have high hopes. 😉

      • Phew, I was so worried as I tend to sound like a know it all! My grandfather had RA (never took meds to my knowledge) and my step-cousin in her 70s has severe RA and takes MTX and has very thin hair. It looks dry, but no one in my culture has good hair in my opinion. So, I think you may be right, but I’d check the forums as something may help w/biologics. I don’t believe my cousin is on steroids anymore so thinking it’s the MTX (and the dry look is just natural), and maybe it was only the pred that caused your damage/dryness. It made my eyebrows and face super dry and flaky, too–and all from ocular drops! Lovely. I so hope the new drug won’t be as bad for you and that it will work. Fingers crossed.

        Per the conditioner, I’m right there with you but I can’t even get it into my hair and I use natural products for ethnic-type hair, so my conditioner is super thick. The one thing that does work is some cheap garbage I bought that’s like the conditioner that comes with boxed hair color (yes, I’m of that age now and color just makes the Brillo pad hair worse). I found Vidal Sassoon One Minute Mask (in a tub and under $5) and use it with my conditioner and it’s like silk and then I can get everything through my curly mess, plus the wide tooth comb. I think Loreal had a similar thing for more money and I have major allergies to hair products and no problems. It hasn’t fixed my hair, just makes it a hair easier to deal with (pun intended).
        Thanks for the follow, btw! I have you in my bookmarks as mentioned and try to check on my few peeps weekly.
        Talk soon and hang in there!
        A 🙂

      • Thanks again, I loved browsing your blog. I was reading it more last night but got rather bleary eyed around 1 in the am. 🙂 I’ve been meaning to try some of those deep conditioning treatments like the masks etc… Thanks for keeping tabs on my blog as well. I’m not worried about being “followed” if you’re like me I keep it to a minimum or I start feeling overwhelmed! Thanks again for the advice, I really do appreciate it!!!

        Stina 🙂

      • You’re welcome! I pulled my huge, weekly hairball out of the drain tonight–I swear If it weren’t so thick/curly I would be as bald as Mr. Bigglesworth. Oh, I have a post on that (“Ms. Bigglesworth”) after my CXL surgery and the start of the hair fiasco! Lol. Thanks for poking around my blog as it takes a year to get through those posts and it has turned into a cat blog if you noticed, but still is a *sick* blog, nonetheless–just my sick cat. I will do the same over here when the week of Dr. appts. calms down. Yes, I get totally overwhelmed by my inbox, especially as some people post daily and it’s too hard with my vision and need to clean out the ol’ inbox daily. I followed a couple people at the beginning and switched to the bookmark method!
        A 🙂

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