I am not my hair. Alopecia Awareness Month

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We are so thankful to Megan for sharing her story with us for Alopecia Awareness month!

One of the beautiful pictures Rick captured of Megan at 16 years old
One of the beautiful pictures Rick captured of Megan at 16 years old
A recent picture of Megan with her awesome purple hair
A recent picture of Megan with her awesome purple hair

Hello, my name is Megan and I have alopecia. It is alopecia awareness month and I would like to share my story. The basic description of alopecia is that hair falls out in patches, or total loss of hair on the scalp or the body. Alopecia is different for everyone, and for me, I went through different stages.

When I was around 10/11 I was diagnosed with alopecia. My hair had fallen out in patches and went through the traditional cortisone shots. However, these were quite painful for me, so I started to go to a dermatologist that began a newer treatment called squaric acid. This truly was painful as well but after a few months, I began to see results. My hair started to grow back, and I had all my hair again. However, it did not last forever. I went through another season of alopecia when I was about 13. Once again when I was 14 going on 15, my hair started to fall out more rapidly than anytime before. I tried doing squaric acid treatments again, but my hair was falling out too rapidly. Honestly, it was a very hard time for me, and I decided to stop treatments, and accept the fact that I was going to be bald. This time my hair was completely gone, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, nothing! As a freshman in high school, I truly felt embarrassed and not myself. I felt the pressure of putting on a strong face, but it was hard. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to go to a camp for kids with skin conditions that I finally started to gain more confidence.

Camp Discovery is hosted every summer by the American Academy of Dermatology, and they allow children with skin conditions to go to camp completely free of costs. This camp was a true turning point in my confidence, and help me see that there are other people like me. The next major turning point for me was when I attended the “Love the Skin You’re In” event hosted by A Children’s House for the Soul. This event was fantastic, and such an amazing experience. A photographer named Rick Guidotti, who is such an amazing soul, and positive person to be around, made me feel so beautiful and was super affirming when taking photographs of me. These events helped me become more confident, and I began to embrace my baldness, not just accept it. My hair did not make me who I was.

As of late 2017, my hair started to grow back and my hair grew back by my 18th birthday. I will not lie, and say that I was not excited to have my hair back, but I knew that it was possible that I could lose it again. As of September 2019, I am starting to see patches appear, and my hair is slowly falling out in clumps again. However, I am choosing to not let my hair loss, prevent my confidence. I am currently a university student at UTSA (Go ‘Runners), and I am microbiology major. I am in my second year and I absolutely love it. I also, recently dyed my hair purple, and it looks very cool.

My experience with alopecia is unique to me and I can not speak for everyone, however I would love to raise more awareness about this disease. If you are diagnosed with alopecia, please do not let the disease control you. You are not your hair, and you are wonderfully you. If your child, or someone you know is diagnosed with alopecia, please help them on their confidence journey, because it is a tough road and an ongoing experience. Be there for them, and listen.

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