Quest

Today, I had a day all to myself.

I woke up early, as I usually do, around 5:45am. I helped D leave for work at 6:20 and then I ran around gathering all my things like a maniac, throwing it all in my car and zooming off to the train station. As I started the ignition I realised my windscreen was frosted over. In April! Good heavens, what is the world coming to?

But I had a train to catch in 7 minutes and I hadn’t even collected my tickets so I zoomed off anyway, sitting low in my seat so I could see through the gap at the bottom of the windscreen between the hard frost on my car. Heater on full blast, windscreen wipers scraping away furiously as the heater melted the solid ice slowly but surely.

Parked in a carpark right next to the station, that charged me £4 for the whole day. Not bad for Britain, frankly, and for the area.

Grabbed my tickets and flew down the stairs leading onto platform 4, where a pile of people stood close to the edge, eyes bagged and clutching cups of steaming coffee with tired claws, as though they were grasping at their lifeline for the day.

For many, it probably was. A lifeline, that is.

Anyway. I was early for my train yay and as I stared at the large rocks surrounding the train tracks, right on the edge of the platform, my breath coming out in puffy little clouds (it’s APRIL!), I thought apprehensively of what awaited me at the other end.

I mean aside from getting off at the Grand Central in Birmingham and marching through the throng of town to Moor street and getting the train to Warwick and walking it to Warwick Hospital where a dermatologist awaited me.

She checked my hair. My scalp was perfectly healthy. The hair count at the back of my head was normal, but on the top and on the sides my hair count was significantly decreased. Widening part.

‘You have female pattern baldness.’

What. No blood tests? No genetic tests? No checkups? No second opinion? Is that it?

So it seems my research was correct, and I do have androgenetic alopecia? Inherited, most probably, from my father, who was bald at the age of 25? Well. I shan’t take that with a pinch of salt. I will have to get a second opinion, of course, but generally, I (almost) know what is wrong and what my options are.

Anyway. As I said, I had a me day. I went shopping in Birmingham and bought myself a really nice scarf with bold patterns. It would make me look quite classy, I thought. It smells like peaches and brand-new-ness.

I had a smoothie, and sat down for a little bit of spiritual contemplation. And you know what? I am content.

I (sort of) know what is wrong with me. I know it’s not the end of the world. I am a very lucky, very blessed young person. I have so much going for me, why should I waste my life feeling sorry for myself because my hair follicles are choosing to misbehave? Let them. I am me.

I am a Lenora Sparrow, aged 22 years old.

My MIL said to me today, ‘Oh I remember, Len, you had such thick, curly hair.’ because I lamented that I probably always had thin hair, but she (she’s watched me grow up you know) affirmed it. My hair was luxuriously voluminous and I am happy because naturally, I have great hair. It’s just this disease that is hindering it from flourishing.

Anyway.

I am content. There is a cure. There is help. Everything is not bleak. If you have stuck with me this far, I wish you well. So well. And I send you some love.

How to Create the Illusion of Hair

Hello.

Are you a female (or male) with long hair that is thinning? Do you have alopecia, or Female Pattern Baldness? Is our hair thinning for an inexplicable reason?

Are you constantly looking wistfully at people’s scalps, and comparing to your own shiny scalp? Do you dream of long, thick, sensational locks to swish around your face and comb?

Well. I can’t help you with that, my loves. However I can help you look as though you have a voluminous head of gorgeous locks, to save you some upset and increase your daily confidence.

That’s right! Not possible, I hear you say? Ha. Keep your incredulity where it belongs. In the bin.

Now. Get yourself together. Here we go!

Ingredients:

  1. Hair. (Obviously thinning hair).
  2. Deep conditioner (home made or otherwise).
  3. High quality hair oil (natural organic Argan oil, if you can. If not, olive oil or coconut oil is good).
  4. Plastic bag/shower cap/cling film to cover hair.
  5. Heat protecting serum.
  6. Blow drier.
  7. Straighteners.
  8. Hair powder (Caboki, Kerafibre etc)
  9. Strong determination and will power.

Method:

Brush hair first. If hair is very sensitive, take a comb through your locks and get rid of all your knots. Very gently. Oil your roots with high quality preferably organic hair oil. If you don’t have any, never fear. Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil is good enough. Part your hair in sections and apply the oil to your scalp using your fingertips. Rub in gently. Repeat process all over your head. Then deep condition the body of your hair (not roots!) using home-made or bought deep conditioner. If the shining scalp beneath your sparse hair bothers you, ignore it and inhale the scent of natural oils and/or essences instead. Bring your hair to the top of your head in a loose knot (don’t stress your roots) and cover with a shower cap, cling film or a plastic bag. Leave for around an hour.

Now that your hair has sucked in some good revitalising nutrients, give it a good old wash. Don’t scrub too hard, and wash preferably with your head upside down over the bath. I do this because my hair is curly, and when it dries, it springs up slightly because it’s been washed upside down, adding to the volume effect.

Once it’s washed, wrap in a T-shirt and gently pat dry. Do not use a towel. Towels are harsh and can cause split ends and also hair breakage. You do not want to break your hair anymore than it already is, do you.

Now, use a hair protecting serum first before you bow dry your hair upside down. That’s right. Blow dry upside down so you can have big hair; and yes I know you have very little hair. Very little hair can look big too.

Once it’s dry and big, you can take a comb through it or a brush, and gently comb/brush out any knots.

Now you can straighten.

I generally straighten the top layer of hair, and slightly straighten the bottom layer. The waves underneath the top layer create the illusion that I have more hair than I do. It also makes my hair look tidy as well as thick.

Now. You probably are wondering what I should do with the shiny scalp showing on top. Well never fear, dears. Take some hair powder (caboki is the best kind, to be honest) and sprinkle on top. Muss your hair about with your fingers (you will have to give your fingers a wash afterwards), arrange your hair so it looks thicker (I give mine a side parting), and voila.

Good luck!

Black Hair Painting

A Disturbance in the Force

I have been re-watching Star Wars in preparation for the new film which will be released on the 17th of December 2015 (that is, if I am still alive to see it. Who knows, eh?).

love Star Wars!

My husband has never watched the films, and since I want to take him to the IMAX in Milton Keynes (4D cinema, folks, now isn’t that something?), I thought it was time to get him educated. He thinks the originals are cheesy (“what the heck is that tin can doing with them now!?”) but certainly a classic because they “pushed the boundaries of the time”, to put it in his words.

So Damian is now acquainted with phrases such as “the force” and “I am your father” and “do, or do not, there is no try” and so on and so forth.

So today, folks, I am feeling very down. I have just had a shower, and I washed my hair, my head turned upside down (because I hear it helps blood flow to the roots), watching the black powdery gunk that I shake into my hair daily to hide my increasing baldness swirling down the drain. I swung my head upright, shook my hair dry very gently in an old T-shirt, and stood before the mirror as the fog slowly faded away, to survey the damage.

My heart sank. A wide, shiny baldness greeted me in the mirror. The sparseness of my hair on top goaded me. I bit my lip, because there is no way I am giving into this. I feel dreadful, hopeless, but I am holding on to hope because I am on a journey to find a cure. This is not a post in which I lament my hair… or lack thereof.

I numbly shook the black powder over the bald patch, moving my hair this way and that to make it look thicker. Who am I kidding. All I have are wet curly wisps where once was a mass of thick ringlets.

Anyway, so, feeling blue, I emerged from the loo and pottered about, creaming my legs and arms and getting into my PJs.

I think I must have sighed a little, because Damian, sitting at the desk, typing out an assignment, turned around as I passed him and grabbed my arm.

“What’s wrong, Len?”

“Nothing,” said I, smiling at him.

He looked sternly at me, one eyebrow raised, and then said, “I sense a disturbance in the force.”

Well that made me smile. I still feel an ache in my heart, but all will be well, as long as Damian senses a disturbance in the force.

images

Is This Information Understandable?

This is a scheduled post. I am still here, just drowning under a tottering pile of my work and maybe a little of Damian’s. Why I do this to myself I do not know. But I want that first class degree. So badly. So I am trying my best!

UPDATE: They have put me on iron tablets. Twice daily. The ferritin levels for normal hair growth should be 70mg. That is the level at which hair can grow anew. The lowest end of ‘normal’ is 20mg. The highest, 200mg. My ferritin level is 21mg. Just 1mg above the lowest end of the spectrum, and far, far below the normal rate required for hair growth. Ferritin of course, is to do with iron levels in the blood. They test for iron levels by testing for ferritin.

Have I repeated myself too much?

Is this information understandable?

I hope so.

I am genuinely hoping that this hair problem is to do with iron deficiency. I am monitoring my iron very closely.

I will say, though, that it was me who did he research on ferritin and read research papers written by doctors in the field. I then went to my own doctor with the information. She said she hadn’t thought about that before, and prescribed me some iron.

I am pleased she looked into it further, but can’t help but worry a little as I was under the assumption that doctors should know everything, and should look into everything, ruling each diagnosis out after thorough examination.

Perhaps that costs too much money?

Perhaps our NHS is too weak now, after the Tories have settled in like a disease, and we can no longer get the adequate healthcare that we deserve? After all, so much of our income goes to taxes to keep our healthcare service running!

I can still see my scalp shining like a lonely beacon, through the sparseness on the top of my head. But yesterday I straightened my hair after blowdrying it, and it looked fabulous. So, oh voluminous.

It was long, and the patch was hidden, and if I fluffed it up around my face well enough, it looked like I had professional hair, and plenty of it.

Oh, so voluminous.