My Rut…

I currently work in a residential care home for the elderly.  Although I am good at my care assistant job, it is not what I want to do and never has been what I want to do.  At 33, now is the time for me to change my life, before I get stuck in this rut.  I currently live in a massive flat above the residential home I work in.  The flat is nice, huge and cheap, but there are a lot of negatives too.  I have 3 dogs and they miss having a garden, as do I, I feel like I have to tip-toe around and watch what I do all the time, and I can never get away from work.  I get paid a measly wage, not much over minimum wage and I work Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, always.  I only ever get a weekend off when I take annual leave.  No one wants to work nights at the weekend, so I can never swap them and after working here for 3 years now, I’d have thought I could swap at least my Saturday night, but nope.

So how do I change my life?  I have set the wheels in motion over the last couple of years and I have a small film editing company that is trying to find its feet, but failing miserably.  Toby Mogwai Productions is selling a service, but not a product.  How do I sell a luxury service?  Ideas please.  We are trying to get the word out about the editing company, but I am also taking a home study course in Dog Grooming.  Since I got my first dog 3 years ago, my life is all about the pooches and I would love to work with dogs.  I always thought as a child that I would work with animals, I even took a GCSE in Agriculture and Horticulture.  I hope to be qualified by August and up and running by October.  When I am qualified I hope I can use social media to find a rental property that I can set up my dog grooming business from.  And in the meantime, I’ve joined a lottery syndicate (fingers crossed), I don’t want to be greedy – £200k would be enough to get out of debt, build our dream timber framed house and start my new life – well I can dream can’t I?

Wigs

As soon as I noticed my hair thinning, I bought an array of wigs. I have not yet been able to afford a full lace wig as these are very expensive as they take a long time to make. These wigs are the most natural you can get as you can part and style them in almost anyway you wish. The closest I have to a lace wig is a lace front wig:

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I find wigs uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. I worry that they will slip and people will see my hair underneath. I also think a lot of wigs look like wigs on me, so I don’t wear them, except for costume parties:

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Clip-in Hair Volumisers

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This is me looking very L.A . wearing my clip in hair volumiser I got for a steal on eBay (a selfie as you can see in the reflection of the glasses).  Although it does look quite natural, I had to mess with it quite a lot and clip it at the side until I was happy with the way it looked.  I wore it for a trip to Whitby and it was quite a breezy day, but the volumiser stayed put thanks to the 4 clips that secure it to your hair.  Again I felt a bit paranoid that people would know it wasn’t my own hair, but as the day went on, I forgot I was wearing it.  It was so comfortable to wear as it was so lightweight.  If I can’t raise the money for a hair transplant, I will definitely consider getting a hair volumiser, but I will probably glue it in rather than clip it.  I hope you can get a full lace one so I can style it anyway I like.

The Lace Integration System

After my hair had thinned considerably, my mum could see that it was getting me down.  There was not a lot of literature on female hairloss and the options 3 years ago.  Even on the internet, I could not find many articles.  Mum had a magazine clipping about the Lace Intergration System that she tactlessly placed in front of me one day, it sounded perfect, but on my 30 hour a week minimum wage job, I could never afford the £1050 every 2 years, plus £160 every 4 months for re-alignment.  Curiosity found me internet searching Lace Intergration and I found a small company offering it near me, even better, they were looking for models and offering it for free, so I got in touch.  I went for a consultation and they were happy for me to be a model.

So in September 2010 I had my half day appointment to have the Lace Integration System fitted.  I was nervous and apprehensive before I went in, what if it didn’t look right, what if my hair looked no thicker?  I found the fitting incredibly relaxing and I could have fallen asleep in that chair.  When the fitting was done, a hairstylist came up to the office and cut and styled my hair.  It was strange seeing my reflection with this beautiful hair, much as it was thick and long and lovely, it was bitter sweet because I had a hard time accepting that this was me now.  See the before and after pictures below:

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I went to the supermarket after having the Lace Integration done, and I got a lot of looks, but I kept asking my mum if the hair looked natural because I could not get passed the thought that people were staring because they were thinking I was wearing a wig. It took me about a week to get used to my new hair and I should have gone for a side part as I have always suited a side part, but I managed to side part it after it loosened a bit.

Pros and Cons of the Lace Integration System

  • Pro – Beautiful, thick looking hair
  • Pro – Comfortable and relaxing to fit
  • Pro – Hair stays in style
  • Pro – Hair needs washing less
  • Pro – Boosts confidence
  • Con – Expensive
  • Con – Tangles and dries out
  • Con – Takes forever to dry with a hair dryer
  • Con – Harder to wash shampoo and conditioner out
  • Con – Harder to look after
  • Con – You can see the micro links under your fringe when you are out in bad weather
  • Con – As your hair grows underneath, it becomes incredibly itchy
  • Con – The hair underneath becomes greasy quickly
  • Con – The system moves around as your hair gets longer underneath
  • Con – Can become incredibly uncomfortable to wear in hot weather
  • Con – Can thin your hair out underneath it

I wore the Lace Integration System for around a year.  I met my husband Michael 4 months after having the Lace Integration System and it was him who convinced me to have it taken back off as he could see how uncomfortable it was the following summer.  I was mortified when I had it taken off as my hair had never looked so fine and Michael had not seen me without the thick hair.  He was so supportive, but I lost my confidence all over again.

 

Coming to terms with Alopecia

My mum has always had fine hair and growing up, it was hard to ignore all the stares she got while we were out shopping.  I was lucky.  I had a beautiful head of thick, dark blonde hair.  I did not understand why mum just didn’t wear a wig.  Surely this would be better than all the glances and sniggering behind her back.  I did not appreciate how brave she was and now I see that I was the one with the problem as I let these people get to me.

So you can imagine how devastated I was when my hair started getting finer and finer from the age of 26.  I slumped into depression, my self confidence hit rock bottom, I put on 3 stone and stopped looking after myself.  Even now at 33, I struggle if someone looks at my hairline, or I am having a particularly bad hair day.

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I have had the Intralace method of hair volumisation and ultimately I would like a hair transplant, but as this is so costly, I don’t know if I can ever afford one as I have to pay off my wedding first.

I have started this blog to offer advice to other Alopecia sufferers, try out new hair growth and thickening ideas and systems and raise money for a hair transplant.  I have tried so many different ways to make my hair thicker and I want to share these with you, but I also want you to share your experiences too.  If I haven’t tried it before, then I will try it out and Blog about it.

I hope you will find my Blog helpful.