As I previously mentioned in my Intro., I have alopecia. In February, my poor hairdresser noticed a bald patch and had to break it to me gently.
You would think I’d have noticed a 1.5″ in diameter bald spot on my own previous to then, but apparently not.
I called my neurologist and informed her that it must be caused by the MS medication I’m on. This was when she informed me of the arguably worse news: it’s highly unlikely to be the medication and more likely to simply be alopecia areata, another autoimmune disease.
THIS was a bit of info I had never heard before. Or maybe I had, but there weren’t any clear flashing warning lights “hey! Don’t go overworking yourself or getting hugely stressed out!” like I did in December and thought all through it, “oh what’s going to happen? I’m going to get MS? LOL 😂”
Oh. Haha. Not quite…
So then I went to a family doctor in March, who did a bunch of little Kenalog injections (an anti-inflammatory to scare the follicles back to normal) into my then 2″-diameter bald patch, & said that should do the trick.
I had peeked at a couple reputable websites beforehand and they said it would probably take a couple/three/few rounds, but they weren’t 100% definitive by any means so I didn’t mention it to the doctor.
Over the next few weeks my hair continued to fall out in an expanding circular pattern, while a jaunty tuft of hair in the middle started to grow thanks to the one round of Kenalog. Yay Kenalog worked! Boooo, one round clearly didn’t fix it and BOOOO some more, my scalp got these little divets at the injection sites. As in, I was like “am I basically touching my skull here? There’s essentially a thin layer of skin between my finger and my skull right.. here. Well that’s ever so lovely!”
I was scared to even ask for more Kenalog injections because what if those little divets never ‘puffed’ back up? Did I really want to get more injections so my scalp would forever be like a bigass golf ball?
In May I got my wig so I was okay to just let the alopecia do whatever it wanted for a while. By then the bald patch was about the size of the palm of my hand but my wig is the best hair I’ve ever had, so..
🎉YAY WHO NEEDS NORMAL HAIR?!🎉
Except.. the wig is like wearing a toque. An itchy wool toque (woolen hat, for you non-Canadians). I have to take a Claritin every morning so I can tolerate it until I’m back home, at which point I usually yard it the hell off.
Yeaaaahhh… pretty or not, I’d still be okay with not wearing a wig forever…
End of July I went to another family doctor for a referral to a dermatologist. She did up a referral, agreed that more Kenalog would potentially be a bad idea so I talked her into also giving me a 6-week course of prednisone pills. She said “it probably won’t work but you can try”. Ah well, it was something to try until I could see the dermatologist.
Six weeks of prednisone is fuuuuunn in a not-at-all sort of way. I’ve had it several times before to treat MS relapses – I’m aware that I’m slightly nuts on it. Not OBVIOUSLY nuts, just a little, and unpredictably. Mood swingy. Like, “lalala, I love everybody, lalalala OH MY GOD, MORONS!! HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE?! BURN ALLLLL THE BRIDGES!!”.
My friend calls prednisone “Satan’s candy”. 😆
Did it work? Yes…? And not really. Hair grew back in, but was still falling out around the edges of the hand-sized bald spot. So.. no. It didn’t work.
One bit of good news to come from this dragging on for so long is that, in my case, the Kenalog scalp divets did puff back up after a few months. Soooo, theoretically, if I had spoken up about possibly needing more shots of Kenalog back in March I could maybe have avoided months of stress and worry while I watched my hair slowly fall out from, you know, stress.. BUT. The Kenalog divets aren’t permanent and I have a lovely wig. Bright side. Focus.
So. I finally saw the dermatologist in September and half expected/hoped for him to trot out some magical 🌟dermatologist-only🌟 medication; you know, some thing that would validate this taking forever.
Kenalog scalp injections, to be given every six weeks at his office until he assesses and decides that it’s done its job.
You know… it’s moments like these that make me vaguely ponder the potential benefits of picking up a bad habit/addiction. It’s possible that I have let myself down by not cultivating an appreciation for wine, maybe…
Carrying on: Dermy also prescribed Rogaine as well as Biotin 2500mg daily. He added that neither of these are of any use on their own to treat alopecia, but do speed hair regrowth in conjunction with the Kenalog.
So now we wait for the treatment to do its thing and hope it never. happens. again (I hear it has a good chance of recurring but SSHHH. FOCUS. BRIGHT SIDE). Hey, there’s regrowth already, which makes it already more effective and cheaper than a lot of MS treatment options. It doesn’t even make me nutty (I don’t think..)!
It’ll be fine.
And in the meantime I’ll get another backup wig because these pretties only last 3 to 6 months whereas hair regrowth may take longer, especially when you futz around and waste a crap ton of time. 😜😂
UPDATE (November): Hair is happily regrowing after only one Kenalog treatment at the dermatologist’s (with no scalp ‘divets’ this time!). A couple more treatments are likely to be needed, but all signs are positive that my hair will be coming back with no ill effects from being gone for a few months.