This is hard to write...
Since January, Kaylie has been losing her hair. She has Alopecia Areata. It's when your immune system starts attacking your hair follicles and the hair doesn't grow. For some it may just be a patch or two, but for others it can be the entire head. It's true Kaylie never had thick hair. It was always wispy and on the thin side, but she had hair all over.
I first noticed the bald spot on January 12. It was the size of a quarter on her left side. I was in denial. I thought it would grow back, so we played the wait and see game. I thought she had maybe bumped her head when she had a pigtail in and it pulled some hair out. Then that spot doubled in size by February. Well, by early March, her hair was thinning out and another patch had developed. We had her tested for things like vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, and thyroid. All blood work came back fine. So this is where we are at--alopecia. There is no known cure for it and they really don't know what causes the onset either. She may continue to lose all her hair and be that way forever, or it may grow back and if it does grow back, it can happen again. It's a very unpredictable disease. In all honesty, I believe when she had a virus in December that lowered her white blood count level to 2.1 (very low), it triggered something to make her immune system start to attack her hair follicles but I am no doctor. Or else, she just has bad genes (which I feel guilt about).
The reality is that Kaylie shouldn't even be here with us--she beat the odds. I am eternally grateful to have her in my life. I know she could have a life-threatening disease like cancer or something and I am so thankful she doesn't. But on the other hand, I'm so saddened by the fact that she may have to go through life being bald and DIFFERENT. I'm so worried about what this is going to do for her self-esteem. I'm worried about how this is going to change her. Right now she has no idea that she is beginning to look different. We are almost at the point where we need to shave it off completely because she basically is bald on one side of her head and it looks a little silly. I'm just waiting for the day when she asks me where her hair is. It breaks my heart. Bob has made me see that WE are the ones that are going to have to help her get through this and become a self-confident individual. The question of HOW remains.
In the grand scheme of things this is trivial, but I am mourning the fact that I won't be able to brush and braid my little girl's hair. A mother's dream gone. I have read that when people (or parents of kids who) are diagnosed with this disease (or any for that matter) later in life, they go through the five stages of grief--denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I'm not at the acceptance stage yet. I'm happy that Kaylie won't have to go through these stages--or maybe she will at some point, some level, I don't know.
I do know that Kaylie is one tough girl--she's been through so much already. One thing is for sure---she is a fighter. We will try to do our best to raise her with self-confidence.