I’ve never had long hair as an adult, so it’s a cruel irony that I got sick and started losing my hair after 3 years of growing it out. Last fall, when everything started falling apart, I was at an all-time length record:
I’m not sure why it started falling out. Maybe Lyme disease itself is causing this. In retrospect, the same thing happened in 2005 when I had my first “MS attack”, which I now understand to be a neurological Lyme flare. Or it could be that the Lyme disease has impacted my thyroid function, as I’m very borderline hypothyroid and testing positive for Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. I may never know. But seeing my beautiful long hair shed in such high volume, and the development of thin patches that were bad enough that I hesitated to pull my hair back broke my heart. So after it worsened over several months, I cut it all off!
This short shag was better, for sure. But the shed was still super noticeable. And the thinning patches by my forehead were actually a little more visible at this length. So I went even shorter!
Now this, I liked. I barely noticed the shedding and my thin patches were nicely disguised and I thought for sure I could hang here for the duration if needed. Only….. hair this short takes a lot of upkeep. $50 haircuts every 4 weeks, in fact. And as soon as I paid my first treatment fees (nearly $1200 out of pocket for a 30 day supply), I realized that that expense just wasn’t in the cards anymore. So when I came due for another trim, I did a DIY job!
So here I am: Stripped bare and with complete acceptance of where I am health wise and financially. I’ll admit there’s definitely a bit of loss here. I’d felt beautiful with that long hair in a way that, as a usually short haired gal, I don’t often get to feel. At least, it felt beautiful until I got sick. Once it started falling out, that beauty felt like a lie. People would compliment me on it and I felt disingenuous. I’d hide my thinning patches, I’d strategically color it, I’d swiftly stash hands full of shed hair after running my fingers in it so no one would see. I don’t know. Living with invisible illness sucks. Nobody can see how sick I am, how much pain I have, how hard everyday life has become for me. The short hair feels like at least one truth. Even if it’s not quite as traditionally beautiful as the long hair was, it’s a look I’ve liked even in my healthier days, and one I still like now. Shaving it this time felt empowering, strengthening and like I was getting ready for battle. And anything that makes this weaker-than-usual gal feel strong, I’ll happily take.