Hair loss, or alopecia, is apparently a pretty common event in the life of people with any type of Lupus. I know I have suffered from it since I was about fifteen. There is nothing so demoralising as pulling chunks of hair away from your head each morning as you brush. It happened to me after my last bout of Rituximab chemotherapy. Not just in the morning either, but constantly through out the day tufts and strands of my hair just dropped.
It. Was. Disgusting.
When I was a teenager at boarding school I had short hair. Inches long. For one particular event I had it styled and it was a massacre. Not my hair so much actually as my scalp. The blow dryer was too hot and I was so sick at the time, bronchitis I think, that before I knew it my head was melted. I grew my hair after that but that piece of scalp has never healed. Coincidently enough it is where the surgery a few years back took place so…yay…?
These stories are so you know that when I say I understand hair loss I don’t say it lightly. It is not a simple pat on the back and half-hearted ‘there there’. I’m saying I have a giant bald patch at the crown of my head I can barely cover and I’m only five foot tall! I get it.
When I found out I was going to have another round of Rituximab chemotherapy I was relieved in a way. It meant that I would not be relying on the Prednisolone treatment any longer for my brain lesions (Lupus Cerebritis) troubles. Rituximab is a lot less harsh on the body. There are no sleep, diet, appetite, pain, nausea, mental health or movement concerns associated with it. In fact I find the side effects to be quite pleasant, as far as side effects for medications and drugs are concerned. Overall, I am lucky. The only side effect actually I found with my last lot of treatment was to my hair. I had a significant amount of hair loss. Not so much as to lose all my hair, or even to lose half my hair. But, as I say, I could take a handful of my hair and pull away a few dozen strands. They say you lose 100 strands a day? I lost that by the end of breakfast.
The heat gave me hair loss too
It is a well-known fact I live in Australia. More to the point Perth in Western Australia. More so, we are just coming out of a typical Australian summer. Typical to our region the heat has been prolonged into autumn and my body is starting to fail. With over three months of heat and humidity my head has decided to shed the excess areas on the body it can to make more space for cooling air in. Hence the heat is causing a drastic amount of hair loss. The stress of this climate on my body is having the same effect and resulting in great hair loss. At this point you may rightly be wondering how much hair I have left but don’t worry there is still some there, I just tie it up. Constantly.
Tying up your hair can cause hair loss
At this point I began to fret. This is where I took to the internet to see if I could find some remedies, answers, help to understand why or what. Low and behold, it came as a bit of a shock to me to find out me quick and easy answer for keeping my hair out of the way was actually part of the problem. A few websites I read suggested that typing your hair up too often or too tightly can lead to hair loss. This is in relation to pulling out follicles and snapping hairs or some such scientific answers. So the answer was to leave my hair loose.
Long hair can lead to hair loss
No sooner had I started to leave my hair down than I wanted to scream. I was tying it up to keep it off my back and neck because it was so hot. Leaving it down was clearly not an option. More research was needed. A chat with some girlfriends at university brought some highly useful information to light for me. The girls were all in agreeance that long hair can actually lead to higher levels of hair loss simply because the more hair and the longer it is, the more weight it carries therefore the more pressure it puts on your scalp. Longer hair can lead to higher amounts of headaches apparently, and the girls with the longest hair said they were moulting just all the time.
How I fixed my hair loss
It was about this time that I thought about how long I had been unhappy with the way I looked. Much soul searching occurred as I considered the last time my hair was fun and the upcoming repercussions of my next Rituximab infusion. My hair would become curlier again. It would fall out again. Was I in the mood to pull it out? Could I deal with brushing all those knots and tangles? Was there a better way to handle the situation?
This is why I decided to cut my hair off.