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HER STORY: Alopecia may have stolen HER hair, but Tamara was NOT about to let it take HER confidence!
My name is Tamara Thompson. I am 45 years young, and married. I have four beautiful daughters ages: 29, 25, 24 and 23. I also have three grand kids: 9, 4, and 2. I decided when my last baby graduated from high school, in 2010, that I would go back to school for a college degree. I kept the promise I made to myself, and enrolled at The University of Phoenix. In 2012 I walked out with my associate degree in human services. Three years later I obtained my bachelor’s degree in human services with a concentration in addictions and mental health. But, I'm still not done, because in January 2016 I will begin my Master of Social Work degree, concentrating on family and children.
My battle with Alopecia began in 2007 when I noticed a patch of hair missing from my head. It was small, so I didn't pay it much attention. But, then it became bigger and more noticeable. I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata, which is an autoimmune skin disease resulting in hair loss, and possible baldness. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches on the scalp and progresses from there. Oftentimes, Alopecia is triggered by stress, and I was definitely under a lot of stress! At the time I was battling with my husband’s on-again, off-again addiction to heroin, which became like the other woman in our marriage. We would split up, then get back together over the promise he would stop using. He never did stop for long, just long enough to fool me, and get things back on track. Then off he went, again, to the “other woman.” As much as I tried, I couldn't compete with the high she gave him. With that going on in my life is it any wonder that I was losing my hair?
The dermatologist started me on shampoo and cremes for my scalp, but that didn't work. The next thing he tried was scalp injections. And in case you didn't know, it is PAINFUL!!! It hurt so badly I cried tears, and my body would sweat tremendously. It felt like they were literally pulling my brains out! Thinking about it makes my head hurt!
After two injections my hair started growing back. I was like, "THANK YOU JESUS! ,” because I loved having ALL my hair, not patches of it! For several years I kept up with the injections, but then my hair started falling out in bigger patches making the injections even more tormenting. It got to the point that the injections were no longer working. My dermatologist told me that my hair follicles were dead, and there was nothing more he could do. He sentenced me to a life of baldness, but my reply to that is, I serve a God that performs miracles, so I will wait patiently for mine.
When over 80% of my hair fell out, and I could no longer hide it with hairstyle tricks, I turned to wigs. I was so ashamed of the way I looked I covered my head even when I was at home. I would catch my husband and daughters staring. I saw the pain in their eyes and the shame they felt for me. I prayed about it. I asked God what I should do? In a soft voice He told me, ‘Hair does not define you my child, just cut it all off and you will be free of all your worries and fears.’
I struggled with that for about a month, and finally on September 2, 2015, after 8 years, I did the ultimate, I went completely bald! That was the first time in years I felt free!!! I am now bald and beautiful! Since then you wouldn't believe how many women have been helped by my courageous act. I’m learning that there are many women struggling with Alopecia. Every where I go I get compliments, hugs, and words of encouragement. I cried with a young lady who thought her life was over simply because her beautiful locks were gone. I can honestly understand her pain, because in the beginning I was so hurt. I went into a deep depression and would not leave my house. What helped me through the process was the support of my daughters. I wish I could say the same for my husband. He knew how sensitive I was about my hair loss, and would use it as ammunition against me, calling me "Patch Head," or "Bald headed," whenever we argued, or had a disagreement.
My husband have since left me. Yes, you read right, he left me! He has tried to come back, but I am praying about that one. Consider it a... to be continued! I will say this, since he has been gone my confidence has come back.
If you are a woman struggling with Alopecia my advice would be to pray, and do what works best for YOU! Some cases are worse than others. Sometimes the hair grows back, and sometimes it doesn’t. In my case, I was told that my hair will never grow back, but God has the last say on that. But, for now all I can say is that I have let go, and let God! It was my ah ha moment. I am free, and I rock my bald head with pride. Don't get me wrong it’s a lot to keep the maintenance up on a bald head, so I still wear wigs until I can get to my barber.
"I WAS SO ASHAMED OF THE WAY I LOOKED I COVERED MY HEAD EVEN WHEN I WAS AT HOME..."
Tamara Thompson with her four daughters
Tamara Thompson sporting various hairstyles before bearing her baldness!
My Bald is Beautiful!
Disclaimer: Any information shared on this page is not intended as medical advice. Consult your health care provider for questions pertaining to your individual need.