Growth

“Come on,” he shouts at what’s left, “get out, Lulu’s hair! We need you out here!”

Getting ready in the morning has procured a different routine this year. It used to start out with a shower, a quick blow dry, and tossing my voluminous curls over my shoulder on my way out the door. Now is just different.

I wake up, kiss my love good morning, go for a walk, stretch, shower, set my hair in pins, sip a coffee, conceal the bags under my eyes, take my hair out of the pins, tear up a bit, put my hair up, kiss my love a dopo and go to work.

I would often spend days in a row being angry at my body. “How could you do this to me?” I would ask repeatedly. I thought that I treated my body so well. I safely ended my relationship with birth control in October 2016, I started eating right, exercising regularly, and finding ways to be happy within my own skin.

 Davide & me, 8 months pre-op.

Davide & me, 8 months pre-op.

The end of my relationship with birth control sent my entire body out of wack, and I am still recovering from it. My body had become so dependent on these hormones that it became nearly impossible to regulate on its own. That’s when the endo pains really started. After the doctors finally figured out what was going on, I ended up getting the surgery to remove the excess endometrial tissue in August of 2017. What was meant to be a 2 hour diagnostic surgery quickly escalated into a 4 hour operation. 

The possibility of my hair falling out or thinning from the anesthesia was something I could have never dreamed of happening in my entire life. I felt helpless at this time. The gas used to inflate my abdomen was still lingering ominously around my joints, and the pain was nearly unbearable. I was finally able to crawl my enfeebled body into the shower two or three days after the surgery. The water level started creeping up the sides of the tub. I looked at my my drain catcher, which would previously hold 5 or 6 strands of hair. It was full, and not from giving Davide a haircut in the tub like I've done in the past. It was full of my hair from this one shower - this one moment of peace that I had after my surgery. I quickly shuffled out of the shower, carefully dried the new scars on my abdomen, and emptied the drain catcher. I didn't tell anyone because I thought, "oh, it's only because I haven't showered in a few days."

The next 3 or 4 showers had the same ending. I took a few deep breaths and convinced myself that it was nothing, and that my body was only under a lot of stress. "I will be fine in a week or two," I thought to myself. After one week went by, I noticed that my once voluminous curls were thin and wilted. My hair texture changed completely. What was once silky and smooth became dry and frail, like straw. Touching my hair quickly became something that I had previously taken for granted. I watched my hair float to the floor with the slightest touch. My bathroom sink was always feathered with short, delicate strands of hair, always decorated with a white 'bulb' at the end.

 My hair, 3 months post-op

My hair, 3 months post-op

I looked up in the mirror. Really close this time. I pulled my hair back in a pin, like I would normally do, even before the surgery. Then I saw it - the sides of my head to the peak of my crown looked like I gave a pair of scissors to a two year old. I was so distraught. I didn't feel 'sexy' or 'beautiful'. I felt so low, that I even gave a blessing my beloved, and supportive Davide to leave me. Seeing the disheartened look on his genuine face from me even thinking such a thing was enough to make me understand that hair is only hair. Of course I was left confused and overwhelmed to this cosmetic adjustment, though. And I knew it would take a lot to feel beautiful again, but having someone like Davide by my side certainly makes it easier. 

I think I spent some time in limbo of being in denial that it happened to me - my hair fell out. That didn't stop me from being extremely anxious when meeting up with people, or being in front of the camera. I reconnected with a few old friends from high school one night at a bar in Brooklyn, and I was confident that my weight loss combined with the darkness of the bar would be enough to give the illusion that my hair was still full and lush. I was about an hour late because I kept trying to style my hair, and it consistently fell flat. I didn't want anyone to know that I'm sick, because that has still been an entirely different beast to mentally combat with daily. Innocently, my friend asked if I had shaved the sides of my head, like a fashion statement. I couldn't help it...my eyes welled with tears and all I could say was, "Nope!" To no surprise, they showered me with positivity, and assured me that everything was going to be alright. Sometimes even when you know that it's going to be alright, it helps to hear it. 

 Me, protecting my hair from the sun.

Me, protecting my hair from the sun.

I started styling my hair in pin curls in the morning, just like women did before heat treatments. It definitely helped, but I knew I had a long journey ahead. I tried just about every hair growth supplement, shampoo, and oil, which only felt effective on some days. After scouring the internet for months, I finally saw it: Telogen Effluvium. Hairloss caused by hormonal changes, stress or trauma from surgery. I immediately booked it to the dermatologist to confirm my internet diagnosis. Once it was confirmed, I started finding holistic ways to treat the hair loss, but unfortunately it's something that just needs time. I started using Forever Wild Organics hair growth tea topically, and drinking it. I'm not sure where to begin when I say the amount of new growth, texture change, and hormonal balance this tea has given me. I eat very well and keep active, which certainly help, but I believe whole-heartedly in the power of herbs.

 Me, October 2018, 14 months post-op.

Me, October 2018, 14 months post-op.

Just one year later, my curls are BACK and bouncy as ever. The help of my incredible hair dresser, Deanna (who has also experienced the SAME THING after surgery), Forever Wild Organics hair growth tea, a healthy lifestyle, and my incredible supportive network of friends and family has left me speechless. If you have any questions at all about my regimens please reach out! I would love to help in any way I can. 

Alyssa D'AdamoComment