My Battle with Hair loss: An Introduction and a Blog
How I learned to live to the fullest in spite of the degenerative disease: Multiple Sclerosis and Me
Nobody teaches you that. Nobody teaches you to live life with little to no expectations. God knows I had too much of that.
I expected to be a doctor after my 10th grade. I expected to be a journalist after my 12th grade. I expected to be a medical engineer and join my mother's company after engineering. I expected to make friends for life during my master's in Ireland. I expected to be happy in a foreign land, living a life other's wish they had.
What I didn't expect was Multiple Sclerosis, a word that used to send a shiver down my spine. What I didn't expect was how understanding and loving my family was towards me. What I didn't expect was how my parents were brave enough to send me 8,000 km away from home, so that I could make something of myself. What I didn't expect is how MS made me a better human being.
Cue cliché quote: "Always expect the unexpected."
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
In medical terms, MS is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue.
I know. Scary! I thought so too. I remember when the doctors told us that it could be MS. My parents spent the whole night Googling it. I would say that was the only mistake they have done so far when it came to dealing with my MS. It’s true what they say. Never Google your symptoms or your disease. Let this be one of the pieces of advice I give you.
My tryst with Destiny: How I learned to be grateful
We were at the doctor’s one evening, my mother was with me. She accompanied me for all the visits and hospitalization. Have you noticed how between the father and the mother, the mother chooses to be physically present with the sick child? Just an observation. I could be wrong.
Anyway, back to the doctors. There was this woman with her child and husband sitting next to me. She asked my mother why we were here. I looked at her.
She had a lazy left eye with a mind of its own. It moved around while her right eye stayed constant. It didn’t startle me, nor am I being insensitive. It was just an observation.
My mother told her she was here for her daughter. Of course, she asked what I was diagnosed with. I remember my mother looking at me like she was seeking approval. So I said Multiple Sclerosis.
I saw the relief on the woman’s face. Her husband interfered with the conversation and said ‘So does my wife.’
I swear at that moment, I could hear my mother’s and my heart sink 6 ft under.
When I was diagnosed with MS, my first symptom was the loss of sight in my left eye. The doctors told me that we caught the symptom early and it was treated with high steroids. This woman wasn’t lucky like that.
Her husband went on to tell how she lost sight in her eye too and that the doctors were not experienced enough to catch the MS.
That’s the thing about this disease. No two patients are the same. Would you believe it if I told you that my symptoms were loss of vision (which was cured), and then constipation and extreme fatigue? Both of which can occur to any normal person.
That’s the second thing about MS. The symptoms are common and could be anything from a bad diet to well, Multiple Sclerosis.
The third thing about MS is there is no cure.
It was at this moment I became a little more grateful than I was a minute ago.
How I stay brave on the Good Days and the Bad Days
Doubts, depression, and anxiety come along with anyone suffering from a disease that can restrict your ways of living.
I fight my doubts each time I see my parents struggle to take me to hundreds of appointments, medical scans, and painful medical procedures. They are old. They are tired. But they do it anyway. I sleep on the hospital beds and sometimes they get a night of restful sleep on the plastic chair.
So, yes. No room for doubt. I have no doubts that I am the bravest girl on the planet because I have the bravest and strongest parents by my side.
I fight my anxiety by taking a step back and looking at my life from a stranger’s perspective. It looks good! I have no complaints.
I fight my depression…..every day. When I was in my 3rd year of engineering, my doctor had prescribed me medicines for depression.
He asked ‘Do you feel depressed lately? Don’t worry it is a common symptom of MS.”
I looked at my parents and they were looking at each other. Had I failed them? Did they see this coming? How does it feel to be depressed? Am I depressed?
‘I don’t know’ I said, still confused.
He let out a burst of compassionate laughter and prescribed them to me anyway. I never took them. Because I never thought I needed them. I still don’t.
On a good day which was most of the days, I am fine. The most symptomatic problem I have is my feet begin to hurt at night, and I get tired very easily. Fatigue is a common symptom.
On a bad day, it goes from 0 to 100 real quick. I remember waking up one morning and the whole room was spinning. It was vertigo. Not a good feeling let me tell you that.
How I battle depression every day
Whoever tells you depression isn't curable is full of it. Sure, you can medicate yourself, but are you really confronting it? Now, everybody has their own way of dealing with it, but here is my scoop.
I had, no I have everything. I have a supportive and loving family, a healthy and fun sibling bond with my baby brother (He is the funniest), a handful of loyal and encouraging friends, a good education and other stuff too that are pretty cool if you ask me.
My mental health took a brunt once the hair loss began. The bullying didn't help either. But I could handle a few imbeciles. The worst was when your own people had nasty comments. How do I explain it was the steroids and medications? How do I explain it was hormonal imbalance? Also, why do I even have to explain it to them?
"Why don't you try putting oil every day?" "OMG, you are losing so much hair!"
Uhh, thank you for your guidance and your kind words. I was obviously unaware of my hair loss!
Oh, wow oil? Never thought of that before. Pfft!
It took a while before I could wire my brain into ignoring the nasty comments, people's curiosity and the pitiful looks.
And so, I began an affordable Human Hair Extension company from scratch -
A One Woman Army.
What's the goal you ask?
To remove the taboo on hair loss. Let other men and women like me know that losing your hair doesn't make you unworthy of looking and feeling your best self.
So, hop on board and join me in this battle of Hair Loss Vs Self-Worth! It's an important one.
(Feel free to replace the word Hair Loss with whatever threatens your self-worth. Trust me! It works the same)