Hi, my name is Sienna, and this is a story about my friend alopecia.
She wasn’t always my friend though!!
My Mum first noticed a bald patch on the back of my head, so she made an appointment to see a Dermatologist to check it out. Being told at the age of 11 that I was most likely going to lose all my hair was not an easy thing for me to hear. So, I guess you could say alopecia and I got off to a rocky start.
The initial treatment for the patch was to apply some cream to help the hair grow back. The problem was though, more patches started to appear. The next step was to try cortisone injections into the patches in my head. It sounds scary, having needles injected into your head, but for some reason they never actually bothered me. I guess, I was hoping the injections were going to fix the patches and I was prepared to try anything to have them fixed. Unfortunately, my hair kept falling out making new patches and the injections were not going to be enough as I was only allowed to have a certain amount each month.
My hair was quite long so initially I was able to hide the patches, and nobody noticed anything. As time went on though it became harder and harder for me to hide the fact my hair was falling out. I wore head bands that covered the main patches on the top of my head.
My parents asked me several times if I wanted a wig and I kept saying no as I was hanging on to the hope that it was all going to be okay, and my hair would stop falling out.
The next step in my treatment after cream and injections was to see an Alopecia specialist who recommended a relatively new drug. We started to see results after six months or so which is all positive, however by this stage all of my original hair had fallen out.
I am now 12 years old, facing the reality of complete hair loss, and I have not told any of my friends about my alopecia. I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone. If I was talking about it, then it meant I would be thinking about it, and I DID NOT want to think about it.
Eventually, I went to my parents and asked to talk about wigs. They were quite surprised as up until this point I had always said no whenever they asked me the wig question. I think deep down, I felt that having a wig meant that I was giving up on my hair treatment.
My parents applied to Variety for a wig grant. I think it is pretty amazing that people donate money to all different charities and one of them supports people with Alopecia.
I love my new wig. I wear it to school, and whenever I go out. It has given me so much confidence in my everyday life and made me realise I don’t have to miss out on anything. I have even had sleepovers at my friends’ houses. Without my wig, I would not want to do that.
The new treatment is working so far, and I have new hair growth all over my head, but I am not ready to go out with just my short hair. I always wear my wig outside.
I even told my Mum the other day that if the new treatment stopped working, I am ok because I love my wig.
At first, I didn’t want to talk about my alopecia, and it was hard at the start to accept I was going to lose all my hair. I have now reached the point where I know that my hair doesn’t change me as a person. I am strong, I am kind, I am thoughtful, and I always look out for others in need. I am so grateful for everything I have in my life, and I don’t let the things I don’t have (even my hair) get me down.
My alopecia has taught me to focus on all the positive things in my life. So, because of all of that I am very proud to call her my friend.
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Variety believes all kids deserve a fair go. We help kids 0 – 18 years of age who are living with sickness, disadvantage or have special needs.