Wednesday, April 22, 2015

And the doctor says...

Thank you to so many of you for reaching out after my last blog. It was wonderful to know I had so much support, and I am grateful to everyone for sharing your similar stories. There is so much comfort in knowing we're not alone, and I am extremely grateful for this unexpected blessing!

As we last left my hair falling saga, I was to visit the dermatologist next. Hormones and thyroid issues were ruled out as causing the excessive hair loss. It took almost 3 months to get in to her office, but it was worth the wait (except for the piles of hair on the floor).

It is so wonderful to meet a new doctor and feel immediately at ease. She carefully listened to my issue, medical history and examined my hair. She asked if I had been under stress, just like my primary care physician had first asked. She was surprised that I was losing hair on my entire body. She said that the hair on my head was thinning, but it wasn't falling out in patches. She looked at my legs and said the hair that was growing, wasn't normal hair. Actually it's the same way my arms look now. I look like a turkey (my description, not hers). Do you know what I mean? When you prep your turkey you can see these thin hair sprouts popping out? That's me right now. I have turkey legs (and arms).

After worrying, and worrying about why my hair was falling out, I found out that the cause was...worry. Oh the irony! Yes, stress had most likely caused this. 

She felt that my hair loss wasn't permanent. And giant exhale...phew. Next she told me what I needed to do. And she kept repeating the mantra "And you will do this, right?" It was very sweet, as it was the voice of concern and caring. I was grateful for it.

So here are my instructions. And of course, keep in mind I'm letting you know my specific treatment. I'm not on any other medication or have any other health issues. So if you are experiencing hair loss, of course see your doctor first and get to the "root" of it. There are many health issues that can cause it. Here we go:

  • Use Nioxin cleanser and leave-in scalp treatment. (I'm using the rinse-out conditioner too without her instruction). They come in different numbers based on untreated, treated hair and other types. I'm using #4 for chemically treated/thinning hair. Only wash my hair twice a week (Omg, I usually wash my hair every day or else an oil well sprouts atop my head. This is not going to be pretty.).
  • No hair dye, hair dryer or heat products on my head. I have to treat it like baby hair.
  • Take Viviscal Extra Strength Nutrient Tablets twice a day.
  • Take Biotin 5,000 mcq once a day. There's many brands out there.
  • Take a multivitamin once a day. Here's my choice.
  • Eat a palm-sized serving of meat protein 3 times a day. "You'll do this, right?
     I nodded yes. And I'm not allowed to diet (Permission not to diet, things are looking up!).
  • Take 1 hour to myself every day. And a very serious "You'll do this, right?" I told her yes, absolutely. No phone, no distractions, and a"do not disturb" sign on the door if I need it. I am supposed to do things that will relax me: meditate, yoga, bath, etc.
I am scheduled to go back to see my dermatologist in 3 months. She said my hair won't be the same, but it should grow back. This is an amazing lesson for me on the mind/body connection and how important it is to take care of every aspect of ourselves. I feel grateful that this only affected my hair, and I didn't have a stroke or something worse. So I am on the road to calmness, with instructions in hand and a new appreciation for caring for the house that holds my soul.

My next blog will be about the ways I'm learning to relax! Thank you for coming along this journey with me.

In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern

Monday, April 13, 2015

And then my hair fell out...

This was certainly not something I was expecting.  I held out writing about this sooner, because I wanted to find out what was happening to me first. Even though I had my suspicions...

I had been feeling wonderful.  Despite the job loss, the next job with their unethical procedures, six months of unemployment and the stress of a new job in a totally different career, I felt good.  I was meditating, walking, immersing myself in my small business which all gave me joy. I felt that my attitude was positive and I was looking at all that happened as leading me towards something greater.

And my then my hair fell out... 

It started last November. I had very long hair, it was straight, but very full.  I was always finding my hair all of the house, but this was different. Groups of hair were coming out together in my hands in the shower. They never did that before. There was always a bunch of them, but they traveled alone. It just didn't seem right. I just had a complete blood workup at the end of October and I was tested for thyroid imbalance since it runs in my family. It was normal.

I let things slide through the Christmas holiday because I was just so busy. I thought I would be ok, but the hair continued to fall. I made an appointment with my primary care physician in January and had her take a look. The first question she asked was if I was under stress. I said yes. Even though I felt like I was handling it all well, I knew the circumstances over the past year were stressful. I thought it was interesting that it was the first thing she asked.

We looked over my blood work and I talked to her about my age (47) and peri-menopause (you know I googled every combination of "hair loss" on the internet prior to my appointment). She wrote up an order to get a hormonal blood workup and suggested that if it was normal (which she suspected it would be), that I should make an appointment with a dermatologist so they could look at the hair under a microscope.

Yup, the blood work was normal. So on to the dermatologist. I made the appointment but it was going to take a few months to get in. I must have lost a dozen or so hairs just thinking about it. Knowing this probably was stress did not quell it. Thinking about my hair falling out because I couldn't relax, made me worry about it more. I needed to stop this! More angst, and another twenty strands fall to the floor...

A month went by and it was becoming noticeable. I was losing my bangs. I was losing tons of hair at the top of my crown. It was falling out everywhere. And then another realization, I was losing it all over my body. I should be happy I don't need to shave my legs, but honestly it made me cry. My eyebrows were thinning, my eyelashes fell out in excess. I felt embarrassed and stressed.

So as I await the dermatologist, I'm doing a little reflection. I told myself that I was meditating and practicing gratitude, but was I really? I took a look in my gratitude journal, and there were huge gaps up to ten days in between writing. I tried to meditate every day, but there were days I was "too busy" and skipped. I wasn't eating the healthiest I could be (not even close) and I wasn't exercising with any type of consistency.

I was convincing myself that I was being healthy and on a great path, but I realized most of my healthy living was in my head! So, without beating myself up about it, I'm revamping my path and living as I believe will be in the best interest for my body and soul. And no matter what, I will live from a place of gratitude.There is a lesson in everything and I am grateful for all of it, even the challenges. I wanted to share this journey with you to help anyone else who may be going through this or something similar. I know we're not alone, and sharing helps all of us. 

My next blog will be about my trip to the dermatologist! Wish me luck!

In Gratitude,

Kerri Mulhern

Reiki Master

Several months after the Reiki II class, I attended the Master class. The class was fantastic. The energy of this group of students w...