Learning I have this crazy thing called frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) left me feeling both numb with grief yet mysteriously relieved. By the time I was diagnosed in the summer of 2016, I had already run the gamut of hair camouflage techniques and futile attempts to get my hair to start growing again. Extensive Google searches led me nowhere my heart and my head wanted to go; my hairline was receding and would only continue to do so…permanently.
Driving in my car listening to Christian radio not long after my diagnosis, I heard the “verse of the day”, Matthew 10:30, which says, “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” I chortled out loud and thought, “why on EARTH would someone choose THAT as the verse of the day?” It seemed like such a cruel reminder that I was going bald. My mind raced with questions: “Who gets FFA? And why ME?” I desperately wanted to know. No one I knew in my family had ever had this – heck, no one I’ve ever known has had this. And why does God care so much about how many hairs I have on my head? Sheesh.
In the fall of 2016, I realized I was grieving the loss of my hair. People often think grief is reserved for the loss of a loved one, but grief takes on many forms for a variety of reasons. I quickly learned to embrace the grief I felt from losing my hair. To experience the numbing sadness, the acknowledgment that I couldn’t fix it, the anger towards God for allowing this in my life, and then the welcome peace that came when I finally accepted there is no “fix” for FFA…at least not yet! With acceptance, there came a “lightness” to my soul. There was no more searching and striving to fix the unfixable. How exhausting that is. Instead, I found I could move on with “plan B”, which was to learn how to live – and live fully – with FFA. For me, this came in the form of a bonded hairpiece which gave me tremendous self-confidence, not to mention took ten years off my appearance.
To this day, I still sometimes wonder why I have FFA. It’s such a peculiar and odd thing with no definitive cause and no prescribed cure. But I’m okay with that. And, hey, I now chuckle when I think of that verse. At least it doesn’t take God as long to count my hairs! I have found peace and acceptance and have learned to appreciate the abundant blessings in my life. Author and musician Sheila Walsh said, “It is one thing to keep going no matter what; it is something far more beautiful to do so cheerfully and hopefully.” I don’t want to just keep going. I want to relish each moment with joy in the fact that life is, indeed, good, and there is so much for which to be thankful.