Breakthrough: Scientists May Have Found A Cure For Baldness Caused By Alopecia Areata

Exciting breakthrough! Hoping this may be a viable treatment for me in the (not to far!) future.

Hair Study and Research

Breakthrough: Scientists May Have Found A Cure For Baldness Caused By Alopecia Areata

August 2014

A drug approved to treat a rare form of leukemia reversed hair loss caused by alopecia, a small study found.

The drug, ruxolitinib, helps reduce inflammation caused by disease. But it also helped three alopecia sufferers regrow full heads of hair within five months, according to the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine.

“We still need to do more testing to establish that ruxolitinib should be used in alopecia,” said study author Dr. Raphael Clynes, director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology at Columbia University in New York City. “But this is exciting news for patients and their physicians.”

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that leads to patchy hair loss. It is not the same as male pattern baldness, which has its roots in genetic and hormonal causes.

It’s not yet known if…

View original post 1,036 more words

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New Bowler Hat for my Bad Wig Days!

Hola,

So my last post was rather serious – obviously important to address, but I think it’s time for a rather more light-hearted note.

The past few days have been pretty great. My parents have gone away on holiday to Tanzania…. TANZANIA I know right?! Not exactly your average relaxing beach holiday in the south of France!

So yes – pretty jealous of that – they’re going on bloody safari and then a week in Zanzibar…………..! Jealous is an understatement.

BUT once I managed to suppress the green-eyed monster inside me I was able to appreciate the wonders of having a free house. Now most people would think this means WOOOOOO CRAZY HOUSE PARTY OMG….

Not quite.

What this actually means is that I don’t have my OCD father obsessing over the positioning of the cutlery in the dishwasher or the toiletry line-up in the bathroom, and I can go about my daily life without concerning myself with such trivial ‘problems’.

My boyfriend also came to keep me company for a few days in the lead up to our holiday *ahem* tomorrow *cough cough*

So we’ve had a lovely few days:
We cycled to an old childhood haunt of mine,
had a BBQ and drunken night out with my friends,
watched Spiceworld the movie with a Reese’s peanut butter cup milkshake (the taste of heaven),
went to the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms (bit of Strauss and Beethoven),
and went shopping at the ridiculously over sized, futuristic Westfield in Stratford, London.

Royal Albert Hall - BBC Proms

Royal Albert Hall – BBC Prom

Cycled to the 100 Aker Woods to revisit my childhood

Cycled to the 100 Aker Woods to revisit my childhood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Now, although I’m not a big high-street shopper – I prefer to hunt through charity shops for smelly old gems – Josh and I went to the humungous Westfield in Stratford today.
Not so much for the shopping as for the experience itself. The place is enormous. We got stuck in one sector (probably about a tenth of the whole place) for about 3 hours.
We did however manage to purchase a few things for holiday/life/our bellies.

Josh got some sexy swimming shorts and some swanky new flannel shirts.

We got some Yo!Sushi for our bellies

And I bought a pretty scarf (actually from the charity shop before we got to Westfield) and a cute hipster bowler hat from Uni Qlo.

Gimme a cheer for the head gear!

The scarf will be perfect for the beach (HOLIDAY TOMORROW) and the bowler hat will be perfect for everyday life – keeping cool and easy to whip on whenever a bad wig day should arise!

A sound investment.
I’m quite prone to throwing on a bobble hat, but in the summer and autumn months a bowler hat seems a little more acceptable.

Modelling bowler hat

Moi modelling bowler hat

Bowler Hat and Scarf BFFEs

Bowler Hat and Scarf – new BFFs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So tomorrow night I set off to Istanbul, for the first week with Josh and the second week with Ally.

CANNOT wait. And I look forward to sharing stories!

I am taking my treatment with me in my suitcase so hopefully it’ll be ok until we arrive as I’m supposed to store it in the fridge.

The treatment is going well I think… slowly but surely, so I’ve gotta keep it up even on holiday.

growth

 

Here’s a bad-quality pic of my hair growth so far… 🙂

Oh and I recently bought a new razor for my head called HeadBlade: http://www.headblade.com/

which Nuria informed me about in her post: https://alopeciaareataishere.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/un-invento-para-los-calvos/

I haven’t used it yet, but plan to for my holiday.

Will keep y’all updated with that too.

Right, I gotta go get some beauty sleep, lots to do tomorrow!

Hoşçaka!l As they say in Turkey (or so Tanju tells me on Yahoo answers)…

Anxiety and Alopecia

Spoiler alert: this isn’t an overwhelmingly fun post….

So when I was first diagnosed with alopecia I was pretty much told by everyone – my doctor, my hairdresser and the internet that it was probably caused by stress.

Now I was never a stressful person, like seriously, ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m pretty darn chilled out. My friend’s mum once described me as being ‘so laid-back she’s horizontal’… not quite sure if that was a compliment or not :/

Anyway, as you can imagine, this whole being told stress was the cause of alopecia pretty much pissed me off, because I knew I wasn’t and I also knew that my mum had alopecia too so the likelihood was that it was hereditary rather than stress-induced.

But hey ho, I just got on with my life, yet becomingly increasingly stressed due to my alopecia.

– A horribly vicious cycle – Alopecia causes me to stress and stress causes alpoecia… where is the justice??

I’ve always been quite a confident person and as I grew up with alopecia I never really had any anxiety issues and I didn’t particularly realise that many people who suffer from alopecia consequently struggle with anxiety.
I mean don’t get me wrong – I had serious down days where I would scream and cry at myself in the mirror, depressed at the reflection in front of me, but anxiety was never a factor.

This sadly changed throughout my time at university. I didn’t even realise it was happening but it seemed to creep up on me and before I knew it I was starting to dread the walk into university and sitting in lectures and seminars with my classmates. Thoughts of whether other people were aware of my wig and penciled in eyebrows were consuming my mind rather than reflecting on the text or discussion at hand. I wanted to divert attention away from me and desperately avoided answering any questions or making any points which would put me in the spotlight.
Even at this point I did not make the connection between this growing sense of anxiety and my alopecia – I thought it was just the way I was becoming – more anxious as I got older, as tasks became more difficult – presentations more demanding – and I was started to skip classes in order to avoid my sweaty palms, pounding heart and extreme shakes.

It wasn’t until I went to the doctors around Easter 2012 when it reached it’s peak and the relationship between anxiety and alopecia became clear to me.

I had been referred to my home doctor by my university doctor to seek consultation about steroid injections for my eyebrows. At this point the majority of my left eyebrow had come out and a little of my right too. The doctor at university wrote a letter to the hospital in Plymouth to try and get me an appointment, but also said it was worth trying back in London in case there was a shorter waiting list.

So I went to the doctors back at home and explained the situation. I never used to get nervous at the doctors, but talking about my alopecia and uncovering my patchy head to a stranger made me rather uncomfortable.

At first she didn’t seem to register my angst and I managed to keep myself relatively calm, but then she asked if there was anything else she could do for me, and I said I needed some more contraceptive pills. She said that she would need to take my blood pressure…

so what did my body do at this point?

Soared into a state of anxiety – increasing my blood pressure tenfold.

So then she told me that my blood pressure was worryingly high – which of course didn’t help matters – and then she asked me if I was anxious….

AND suddenly the floodgates opened, tears started streaming down my face as I realised what a shitty place I was at in my life. It was really very embarrassing. I’m not a very outwardly emotional person – which is probably why I had such a massive breakdown in front of a complete stranger but I was finally able to talk to someone about how I really felt.

It was a dejectedly low point in my life as I had allowed all these insecurities (mainly caused by my eyebrows falling out) to build up inside. Living at university in a house with 7 guys, I always had to do my make up before I could leave my room – even to make a cup of tea or have breakfast. I struggled to keep eye contact with people as I immediately assumed they were looking at my wonkily drawn on brows – and all in all I was just so frustrated with it all!

Anyhow, the doctor seemed pretty worried about me – understandably so as I had just descended into a blithering mess within seconds. She asked me if I had ever considered counselling… WHAT alarm bells going off in my head, shit am I going crazy?!

And then thinking actually maybe that is just what I need.

She said she could give me a contact but I assured her I would go to the university counselor after the Easter break.
(Okay.. I never went but I’ll explain why in a bit)

So after I semi-pulled myself together and cleaned up my mascara stained cheeks, I went home and told my mum what had happened. She said she had also noticed a change in my behaviour and had been worried about me – agreeing with the doc that perhaps counselling was the best step to take. I did some more sobbing on her shoulder and then went and hid under my duvet for a while.

Now, why I never went to a counselor… I had every intention of going, promise! But then I got a letter through from the hospital in Plymouth telling me I had an appointment for steroid injections in my eyebrows… ok I probably still should have gone to counselling but I thought if this treatment works my worries will be over!

And that is what I did… I got the injections and lo and behold after 4 weeks my bushy brows began to blossom once more. I mean it wasn’t overnight success, but it sorted me out and helped boost my self-esteem significantly.

I would love to say that those injections were the end of my anxiety, but that would be telling a huge lie. If anything my anxiety has gotten slightly worse.
My self-esteem is a lot higher (not to sound vain 😉 ) But actually my anxiety has worsened. And I honestly don’t know why. Maybe because I am more aware of it now?
I think about being anxious before it actually happens and then some completely psychological bullshit turns me into a quivering mess.

So that’s pretty shitty. But I went to my Plymouth nurse and told her that I was getting very anxious in class and was concerned that the physical symptoms of anxiety I experienced would really set me back at university in my final year regarding class participation and presentations.

She prescribed me some beta-blockers to take in particularly nerve-racking situations. I tried a couple out before a seminar and it was amazing. I felt like my old self again – able to join in discussions, answer questions and most of all concentrate on the subject of semiotics rather than the subject of my appearance.

Although this was a wonderful sensation, I knew this wasn’t a long-term solution and I didn’t want to rely on medication to get through daily life.

I did, however use the beta-blockers for particularly intimidating things such as presentations or class debates. It helped me to build up confidence, knowing that without the physical symptoms of anxiety, I was able to achieve so much.

I recently used my last trial beta-blockers to attend an interview (which was unsuccessful in terms of I-didn’t-get-the-job, but was successful in terms of I-presented-myself-rather-well-but-didn’t-actually-have-the-necessary-skills-for-the-job).

Unfortunately I don’t think I would have presented myself as well without those beta-blockers. I know I can’t rely on them and I also feel like a bit of a cheat for suppressing my nerves with drugs while everyone else has to maintain composure on their own.

I haven’t gone back to the doctor for another prescription, but I think I may have to for any future interviews/particularly nerve-racking circumstances.

I feel like I’ve definitely become more confident in myself and my anxiety has lessened somewhat, but I also know that it can surprise me without much of a warning!

Today, for example, I went to the family planning clinic to get some more contraceptive pills, and was absolutely fine until she asked to check my blood pressure. It seems that my brain has now made a connection with that medical pumpy thing and my body’s blood pressure and exactly when I need to be calm and placid my heart starts pounding and I become all flustered.

I explained to the consultant that I get a bit anxious in these situations and she was very nice about it, saying that I’m not alone and that a lot of people have the same problem.
She only allowed me to get 3 months worth because of my high blood pressure, but I was actually just happy that I was able to calm down a bit and explain to her that I do get anxious without just pretending I’m fine (like I usually do!)

So, here I am at this point in my life – still anxious but happier that I am making progress and becoming more confident in myself.

One step at a time.

I would be really interested to know if any of you have suffered with anxiety  or know someone who has and how they cope(d) with it.

Peace out y’all

and I promise some more funny stories soon – but y’know it’s nice to share the serious stuff in life sometimes – a weight off one’s shoulders 🙂

Correlation between the contraceptive pill and hair loss?

So today I had to go to the family planning clinic to replenish my pill stock.

pill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It got me wondering about whether there is any relationship between the contraceptive pill and alopecia.

I thought back to when I first went on the pill. I was already suffering from alopecia, but at the time it was only a couple of small patches which stayed relatively the same in size.

When I came off the pill I don’t think I noticed any significant change, and it was actually about half a year after that when the majority of my hair fell out.

So it seems the pill did not affect my hair loss. I have however heard some people say that they’ve noticed a connection between the two so I was wondering if you or anyone you know has experienced this?

The majority of my hair fell out while I was abroad on my gap year in Malawi. At that point I was taking doxycycline – an anti-malarial drug – so who knows if that had any affect?

It seems that alopecia could be triggered by a number of things that affect our bodies, I guess like alopecia itself, it just differs according to each person.

Has anyone come across a correlation between change in medicine or change in diet with hair loss?

It would be really interesting to get some feedback on this.

Thanks y’all 🙂

Anniversary games – anniversary inspiration

Hey guys,

Sorry I haven’t posted anything for ages. I’ve been outta town for a while – visiting my boyfriend (Josh) in Bristol.

We had a pretty good time – eating lots of food, meeting extended family, cycling to Bath, watching films and getting soaked in the Great British Summer at Bristol’s Harbourside Festival.

Beautiful Bath  Cycled Bristol - Bath (and back again) approx. 32 miles... be impressed!

Beautiful Bath
Cycled Bristol – Bath (and back again) approx. 32 miles… be impressed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between all this we chilled out, watching some seriously crap tv – The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (I’m so utterly embarrassed by this!)

– but also some rather inspiring tv – The Anniversary Games – a proud moment for us Brits as it brought back uplifting memories from the London 2012 Olympics.

As I sat there watching Jessica Ennis Hill perform an impressive 100m hurdle race and the likes of Mo Farah and Christine Ohuruogu prepare for their return to the Olympic Stadium, I remembered how motivational the Olympics were and how one gold-medal winner in particular inspired me last summer.

I’m sure you can all guess who right – Joanna Rowsell. I remember during the build up to the London Games the BBC were televising short profiles of the British Olympians and Joanna popped up on my screen – a British cyclist who suffered with alopecia. I was really excited for someone with alopecia to be getting so much media coverage, and I knew she would become such a great role model to inspire a generation but also to spread awareness of alopecia.

More than anything though, it proved to me that alopecia should not be an obstacle in my life. I read an interview with Joanna just after the Olympics last year where she explained her struggle with alopecia during her adolescent years. Although she found growing up with alopecia extremely hard, she adopted a great mentality which pushed her to focus on studying and cycling instead of allowing alopecia to consume her life.

In the interview she said: ‘I used to tell myself it was temporary, it would grow back, even though months, then years, went by and nothing changed. In some ways my way of dealing with it was not to deal with it, to pretend it was a phase.’

– I hear ya girl! I still tell myself it’s just a phase, I guess it’s easier that way. It’s easier to focus on other things – it might seem like this is ignoring the problem, but it’s not necessarily the case – I think it’s more an attempt to make other things in life more important, and let other things, such as hobbies, interests and passions define you, rather than your appearance.

So Joanna is a real inspiration because she did exactly that – she started to put all her energy into cycling and focusing on something that she was really talented at.

When she stepped onto that podium to receive her gold medal with a bald head, she showed courage and spoke out to many alopecia sufferers across the world – including me.

So I guess this is just an anniversary thank you to her!

Adeiu to you

p.s. A little of my hair has started to grow back #treatmentworking?omgaAA (like the smallest amount so don’t get too excited, but I will take a pic and do an update very soon)

Top Twit!

My life is never easy…

So today I went to Trendco in Notting Hill for my wig repair.

I was told the wig was too battered and bruised to mend.

I got a fitting for a new wig.

I got home and realised I had taken the wrong wig in….!

SDKLFJKEFJNSDLKF – this is typical me. #angryface #primeidiot – (I don’t know why I’m hashtagging these things).

Well, that was the short version. I wanted to get my idiocy out of the way at the beginning of the post, just so I don’t spread any illusions of it being a happy ending.

Ok, I’m getting a bit OTT here, it wasn’t that bad. Just a minor inconvenience that I am not looking forward to sharing with my parents, because the eyes will roll, the mouths will tut, and the familiar look of exasperation will take over their faces.

Nothing is ever easy.

So from the top… back to my blissfully oblivious state of being last night:

Yesterday evening I thought, oh I’ll be nice and prepared – find my old wig tonight so I don’t have to faff around finding it tomorrow morning.
I went to the shoe box at the bottom of my wardrobe where I thought it was residing – no luck. There was my first ever wig, and an old synthetic one in there, but not the trendco number. I then frantically looked through some of my other draws. I wasn’t prepared for this – I started to panic, thinking that I might have left it behind at university (a hairy gift for the next tenant).
I then remembered the other shoe box sat beneath my mirror. It was hidden in a bag under a couple of N64 controllers, and a sparkly handbag.
I pulled it out, opened the box, and sure enough, there was my old trendco wig inside.

Satisfied with my find I went to bed, safe in the knowledge that I was being responsible. Happy that I wouldn’t be running around like a headless chicken tomorrow morning and running late for my appointment.

So this morning I got up (actually got woken up at ridiculous o’clock by tree surgeons or some other people with noisy machinery). That combined with the heat forced me out of bed at around 8.30am. My appointment was at 12, it takes me 40 minutes to get there. I was NOT happy.

Anywho, I got up, put a wash on, had some breakfast, did a bit of reading, got ready and went.
Luckily I was going in the middle of the day, so the tube was relatively quiet. I really don’t know how people travel in those stifling tin cans during rush hour.

Got there at 12, went in and saw Michael who always takes care of me. He’s a very bubbly character and we always have a good chinwag when I go in. So I opened up the box and showed him the wig I wanted repairing. A frown started to appear on his face as he told me it was beyond repair. He said that the yellow discoluoration (a sign of perspiration – lovely!) and the couple of rips in it meant it would just fall apart too quickly after repair. It had reached the end of it’s poor little wig-life.

My adaptation on Thug Life... I think I need to find a job.

My adaptation on Thug Life…
I think I have too much time on my hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael said it would be silly to waste the trip to Trendco though, and said he could take my measurements for a new wig which I could order at a later date. So we did that and had a nice little chat… (except for him sharing a horrible experience he had recently where he witnessed a girl jump in front of a train. – A cheery story to send me on my way :-|)

So measurements taken, and lifeless wig stowed back in it’s shoe box, I went off to enjoy the sunshine and take a walk down Portobello road.

Portobello Road in the glorious sunshine

Portobello Road in the glorious sunshine

Dungaree dress bought from hipster shop in Notting Hill

Dungaree dress bought from a hipster shop in Notting Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then went and sat in Kensington Gardens with a meal deal and The Catcher in the Rye.

In order to avoid rush hour on the tube, I started heading back. As I was walking, however, I began thinking about the state of my wig, and in what bad shape it was. I didn’t remember it being that bad. And that is when it eventually dawned on me that I may have taken the WRONG wig with me!

With a sinking feeling in my stomach I got on the tube. Oh shitballs… WHY me?

I got home and had a sudden inkling as to where the right wig might be hiding.
I went into the garage, unzipped the top of my big travelling backpack which I had used for maneuvering my life possessions from university last month… and sure enough… there it was – mocking me in all it’s not-overly-damaged glory.

The moral of this story boys and girls… always check you’ve got the right wig.

So, I gave Trendco a ring, and rather embarrassingly had to explain to Michael what had happened. He was very good about it, excused my stupidity by blaming it on the hot weather and told me I could send it in the post to him and he’d check it out and see if it was eligible for repair.

Not all bad then… at least I don’t have to trek to Notting Hill again. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get lost in the post… would be a strange surprise for the discoverer!

And it wasn’t a complete waste of a day – at least I got a new dress and a wonderfully sunny day out around the hip streets of Notting Hill.

TTFN peeps

A gay guy,a pole dancer, a stripper and me….

Just a heads up – this post doesn’t have much to do about alopecia – just a funny experience.

I honestly get myself into the strangest situations.

So yesterday I got invited to a birthday BBQ. It was my friend, Karina’s (pole dancer) 22nd birthday. Now, we’re not all that close; I met her through my group of close friends and see her out and about with them.
She invited us all to this BBQ of hers, which I immediately said yes to, and immediately started to regret once I realised barely any of my other friends were able to attend.

Don’t get me wrong, Karina is really nice, but it was a family/friend occasion, where I hardly knew any of the other people going.
Well it turned out that most of the people who showed up were in the same boat as me.
I went along with my friend Kate and her boyfriend, Will (no, not the prince and duchess). We were the first to arrive, bar the dad, his (rather young) girlfriend and the grandma who were taking care of the BBQ.

After that, a few more unfamiliar faces trickled in:
Nina – a stripper who Karina works with (Karina works behind the bar – I’m not entirely sure about Nina…),
Ryan – a life coach who they go to the gym with,
Karina’s sister Carmel – who was fucking crazy and brought the weed along,
her boyfriend who uttered about 2 words the whole evening (I guess Carmel was making up for his silence),
their son – who was really sweet and was trying to catch wasps (probably not the safest game ever)
AND this gay guy Iain, who was once really close with my friends, had a huge falling out, and haven’t spoken since.

An interesting bunch to say the least…
Well the evening progressed, somewhat awkwardly with staggered conversation between people who clearly didn’t have much in common.
Iain and Kate weren’t really talking to one another due to a festival feud which occurred a few years ago.
Carmel kept obsessing over everyone’s hair – especially Kate’s.
She did at one point compliment me on my hair and started touching it. I quickly thanked her and changed the subject before suspicions over my lovely locks arose.

All in all it was an awkwardly bizarre evening.

As it got later, Nina and Karina decided they wanted to go out to a few clubs in Watford. Iain was dragged into the equation, and next thing I know I’m agreeing to go with them.
WHY GOD WHY?

I am so terrible at saying no to things! So as I enviously watched Kate and Will walk into the distance and towards the train home, I grabbed a glass of wine and proceeded upstairs to get ready for a wild night out on the town… :\

Now, when I say get ready, I mean I put some more lippy on and was ready. Karina and Nina changed their outfits a few times until they settled on a couple of very sexy, tight-fitting dresses coupled with some impressively high shoes.

I felt ridiculously under dressed in my summery shirt dress and sandals compared to these toned, big booty, stiletto wearing girls.
Well at least Iain was wearing shorts and converses – we had a whole 2 glam, 2 casual group thang going on…. (i’m such a loser)
Karina’s dad came in to wish us all a good night out and compliment everyone on their good looks… especially Nina! This got drunken dad a door slammed in his face by his rather embarrassed daughter.

Then off we went… I went in a taxi with Nina who had to drop her bag off… at the strip club. So we ended up round the back of a strip club getting the owner to come and give her the key. Me just standing there thinking, WHY am I here?!
The owner taking one look at me and clearly thinking the exact same thing!

We then went and met up with Karina and Iain, receiving many stares on our way down the high street.
Now, funnily enough on a Sunday, it seemed to be relatively dead (who’da thought it right?!). We went to a club called walkabout which immediately closed when we entered. We then had one option left – a place called ‘Bed’ which was pumping out some dreadful club music. The clientele was a random assortment of folk, yet most of them were fairly dressed down, and I no longer felt too out of place in my summer dress.

Fortunately we only stayed for one drink and agreed that the night had hit a dead end. I ended up in a taxi back home with Iain, drunkenly advising him to make up with my friends and come out with us more.
I’m not sure how pleased they’ll be with my advice….

So, now I am writing this post in a hungover state, asking myself WHY? How did I end up going out clubbing on a Sunday night with my gay mate, my pole dancing friend and my new bff stripper?

I wish I had a picture from last night. Instead I have a picture of me hungover this morning regretting my bad life choices…

WHY

WHY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well that’s all for now folks.

Tomorrow I am going to Trendco – my wig shop – to get one of my wigs repaired so I’ll let y’all know how that goes.

Adios Amigos