Health and Hair Loss

I just made a post on Instagram about this but I want to talk about hair loss. Let’s be honest here, when we think hair loss we think male pattern baldness, Rogaine, and cancer patients. The thing is, it’s a part of a number of chronic illnesses including hypothyroidism, lupus, and alopecia areata.

Maybe 5 years after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia we had a brutal winter storm here. It was the original Snowpocalypse. The weather people called it a “snow hurricane” and by time all was said and done we had A LOT of snow. We also had a serious drop in barometric pressure. Low pressure means fibro flare and pain. I didn’t seem to be able to recover from this particular flair, so off to the doctor. That flair was bad enough that it caused a downward spiral. It threw my thyroid out of wack and I developed thyroid nodules. I had to have them biopsied at one point to make sure they weren’t cancerous, but that’s another story. Thyroid problems don’t run in my family so this was something new and unexpected.

We discovered very quickly that my hypotyroidism and fibro were connected. A bad fibro flare means my thyroid gets worse and meds have to be upped. My thyroid being out of wack means the fibro gets aggravated. It’s a no win vicious cycle. My doctor tried to send me to an endocrinologist to help with the problem but after two appointments I refuse to go back to her, and my doctor knows it. She admitted right off that she knew nothing about fibromyalgia (no big surprise) and did nothing but bitch at me about my weight and how I needed to do aerobic exercises and drop the weight. Yea, I don’t think so. The only thing I have been medically cleared for is yoga. I have scoliosis in my back that has caused chronic bursitis in my right hip and shoulder. I have had chronic bursitis in my left knee since I was 13. It also dislocates easily. Aerobic exercise will land me in the hospital with, at best, an injury, and at worst, needing surgery I have been trying to prevent. I walked into her office with a cane and she’s telling me I need to start Sweatin’ to the Oldies. I tried explaining to her why this wasn’t happening and that she was going to have to suck it up and live with me doing yoga and it was met with “I don’t know how any of that stuff affects the body. You really need to be doing aerobic exercise.”

My doctor and I had a “discussion” about the endo. At one point I told him, “You would think that specialists would have some idea of diseases and conditions that they see a lot of and proceed to educate themselves – maybe read a medical journal article or two – about other conditions that their patients have. No. Not this woman. I wouldn’t have a problem with her if she would respect your medical opinion and that of the rheumatoid but that’s not going to happen either.”

It ended with my doctor letting out a huge sigh and saying “I hate it when doctors ping one thing and ignore everything else.”

That brings us to the hear and now (after skipping a lot of stuff). Another bad fibro flare resulted in my thyroid checking out again. The problem was my blood work was coming back mostly normal. However I was symptomatic. If sleeping 14+ hours a day wasn’t enough, my hair started falling out. My doctor didn’t want to change my thyroid meds right away because the blood work wasn’t saying he needed to. 3 months later I was back in his office still complaining. I had lost a lot of hair. My test results are still within normal range but he changed my meds anyway since I am having symptoms. Strangely, hair loss is the first thing I notice when my thyroid starts going south. I shed as bad as my dog, which is saying something. If you know anything about the shedding of Great Pyrenees dogs , then you know what I am talking about.

The thing is, there is really no way to treat hair loss except wait for it to grow back. I am not even sure some of it grows back. I have lost probably half of my hair at this point. This is no exaggeration, and it seriously stresses me out. To cover this up, in the last three weeks I have done braid in twist braids, which I really liked, only they work out easily. I then did crochet in twist braids. I love how they look with the curls. I ended up taking them out not long after they were put in. When I got in the shower and they got wet, they became extremely heavy. I expected them to be heavy, but not so much that it hurt my neck and aggravated the arthritis there. I ended up getting my hair cut. The stylist had to cut off half my hair to make it look presentable. It was that or shave it.

I have always had a serious love-hate relationship with my hair and this just depresses me.

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