View Full Version : Desperate-Will it ever grow back again?

November 23rd, 2014, 09:05 PM
So I am in my fourth year of medical catastrophe.....the short version, 4 family cancers (2 deaths), 8 screenings for my own cancer, pneumonia, lung granulations, lung nodules, pulmonary embolism, asthma that went uncontrolled for 2 years even thought I was on 5 asthma meds, blood transfusion due to severe blood loss anemia, hypothyroidism which is mostly under control, and a number of MH diagnoses. I've lost a lot of health and now have ongoing conditions and disabilities.

It's been 31 months since the PE which was the participating event for telogen effluvium. I lost 75% of my thickness, my braid/pony was a handful (place your index tip to thumb tip, that's how thinck they were, now it's about the size of a wooden spoon handle. I was at a classic length with copper hair---think pre-raphaelite paintings). First they told me back to normal in 6-12 months (and seriously, I was like, my hair is 41 inches long and grows about 6 a year; it will take 7-8 years if nothing else happens), then well it will take awhile. 31 months later, I have had to slowly cut the length off because it looked more and more pathetic as time went on. First to my bra strap, then below shoulder, which quickly grew to below bra strp (like 4-5 months or in/month.) I even saw a hair expert and she was of the opinion that it would grow back, but said it seemed to be stopping and starting. I have very little hair fall at this point. Maybe 20 strands a day.

Last weekend I got so furious about the whole thing that I spent most of Saturday and a good part of Sunday cutting away at my hair. It looks okay, but I can't do anything with it. It bounces around when i move my head which is fricking weird. It's actually straighter than before (I have Type 2C/3A, with more curls underneath.) even though it's shorter. The hair by my face has now gone straight. I took off about 3 inches. This cutting was not healthy cutting, it was a desperate act. And then everyone was like, OOOOOH! YOUOOR HAAAIR! which just made things worse.

This weekend I am back to the self-loathing....it does not help that my husband and brother both "jokingly" told me that I look like my mother now. So now I hate it even more. Why would you do that to someone you know is super sensitive.

I have an appointment Tuesday to cut my hair further, because it looks like crap and if I have to deal with short hair, I might as well go off deep end and shave it.....I found a pic of a hi/lo bob that I kind of like, but when I look at hairdos, I just think about they won't work for my hair, because my hair is now crap and nothing can make it better. I am torn between a cleanup (because nothing can make it better) and just fricking do something because I have nothing to lose.

So my questions: Has anyone ever lost their hair for good after telogen effluvium? Has anyone ever had it take years to see real regrowth/thickening? I've had a little, but I have this forever fuzzy top line, and it never seems to calm down, but I don't see the improvement. I have read the threads on this, but I am not seeing progress, nor do I not understand what TE is.

How do I come to terms with the fact that the health issues not just affected pretty much every aspect of my health, but also forced me to give up on a 3rd child and forced me to cut my hair? Because I just feel ugly and useless at this point. I hated my hair until my early twenties, because people get the stupid around redheads, then started to like it. Now I am back to hating it again......And I am afraid I'll have another health crisis that will trigger TE again, and then it will be all of my hair that goes. And so gonna smack the person that says, you can hardly even tell.

Sorry TL;DR.....Health is screwed, lost most of my hair, chances at another baby, now disabled, will my hair ever grow back or will I ever come to terms with it? Because right now, I want to destroy it.

Wildcat Diva
November 23rd, 2014, 09:32 PM
My goodness, this is your first post here? You sound like you are falling apart, I so sorry that you are having so much troubles. Sounds like you could use some support about more than hair! But we can support you with that also.

November 23rd, 2014, 09:43 PM
First of all, I'm really sorry you have been through this. The pain you are feeling is so evident in your post that I wish there were something we could say to make you feel better.

Are your health problems under control? If they are then yes, hair can recover but it does take time. I think it takes something like 6 months to START to recover from TE. My sister has been through something similar in recent years. She always had very strong, fast growing thick hair usually around waist to tailbone length. Then it started falling out. It went thin and whispy and grew slowly. This did really effect her, particularly as she has always had lovely long hair without even really trying. Her health got really bad too, constant fatigue and a host of other symptoms to the point we became very worried. it turned out she had a thyroid problem, still does but has been medicated for a while now. She is more like her old self but the relevant bit is once the thyroid treatment started to work her hair started to behave the way it used to. Growth got faster and much of her thickness has come back.

I have not been so lucky, I lost much of my hair when I became very ill in 2007. That started an ongoing battle with hair loss that at one point left me with a ponytail circmference of only one inch. Unfortunately my health problem is ongoing (T1 diabetes) so it is a constant struggle to keep on top of that but also since then I had other issues that didn't help like having no money so going three days at a time without eating. However my hair is better than it was, there have been things I did to help it and they really did work, combined with lots of patience. Bringraj oil, methi packs, massage, BBBing, essential oils and herb washing all helped me go from a 1 inch ponytail circumference to 2.5 inches in about half a year. It wasn't the thickness I had before but it was a huge improvement.

I can sympathise with your rage, I felt it too, many times. I stopped coming here because I felt it just wasn't worth trying anymore. I would just rip through my hair not caring how much I heard it snap because it seemed pointless to try and be gentle when it just fell out anyway. It would almost feel like my hair was doing it on purpose and I know how ridiculous that sounds.

Anyway my advice to you would be not to give up but first and foremost focus on looking after yourself and keeping on top of your health problems. Then maybe look into growth enhancers, I find this in itself s very relaxing and puts me in a positive state of mind. Plus it's fascinating and you begin to feel armed with information. Pamper yourself and your hair, treat yourself to oils, treatments, professional massages or DIY cheap pamper treatments that in themselves reduce stress. Stress is a hair and skin killer. Another hing I would say is that if you had classic length copper hair (I'm so jealous!) once you know you have the genetics to get it again. That would be a big comfort to me, some people want hair that they just do not have the genetics for, you want hair you already had so it's within reach for you.

I hope you don't give up and I hope you stick around to share your journey with the rest of us. This site can be a great resource both for information and support. I am rooting for you to get well and regain your beautiful pre-raphaelite hair again and I'm sure many others here will feel the same.
Good luck :)

November 24th, 2014, 10:27 PM
Thanks. It's nice to know that I am not the only one that this has me freaked out about.

What are these things that you are talking about....BBB and herb wash etc....?

My health problems have been sucky. Had the PE which they think was the trigger. Then a blood transfusion, which can also trigger. In fact, just about every single heath problem is enough to be a trigger....apparently, even an asthma attack can do it, or a bad week at work or any of a number of other things. This year it's been asthma, head trauma, work stress, and god knows what else. IN fact I seem to have some issue every 3 months or so.

So I don't know, maybe I just need to accept that this is the new me (who knew I would despise this person so much).

The worst part, is that short hair always looks the same. You can't do anything with it.....you can't braid it, bun it, etc.

My biggest fear is that I am going to cut it again and hate it all the more, and yet, I cant stand to have it like this.

November 24th, 2014, 10:28 PM
Thanks. It's nice to know that I am not the only one that this has me freaked out about.

What are these things that you are talking about....BBB and herb wash etc....?

My health problems have been sucky. Had the PE which they think was the trigger. Then a blood transfusion, which can also trigger. In fact, just about every single heath problem is enough to be a trigger....apparently, even an asthma attack can do it, or a bad week at work or any of a number of other things. This year it's been asthma, head trauma, work stress, and god knows what else. IN fact I seem to have some issue every 3 months or so.

So I don't know, maybe I just need to accept that this is the new me (who knew I would despise this person so much).

The worst part, is that short hair always looks the same. You can't do anything with it.....you can't braid it, bun it, etc.

My biggest fear is that I am going to cut it again and hate it all the more, and yet, I cant stand to have it like this.

Wildcat Diva
November 24th, 2014, 11:14 PM
BBB is boar bristle brush. There is a ton of interesting things to learn about on here, plus there are some really fun threads too. Maybe learn some stuff and catch up on your reading while our hair is growing? We'd love to have you around here, no matter your hair struggles.

Zebra Fish
November 25th, 2014, 01:41 AM
I'm not of much help here, but can just give you :grouphug:

I think you can find a lot of interesting reading around here along with different stories that can help you get your mind off your problem (at least for a little while) and keep your hope on. Seconding the suggestions ChloeDharma mentiond. And keep in mind that skin and hair need time (sometimes lot of time) to regenerate and stress is a big enemy there (I know is a closed cycle and hard to get out, but more stress more problems, and more problems you stress more about them...). Don't loose hope and you can always share your journey here.

I just need to add that the hair you had is the hair I want but my genetics doesn't think so.

Good luck :flower:

November 25th, 2014, 01:43 AM
:blossom:I'm so sorry you have had such a difficult time with your medical issues...and your hair problems, kmdcrowley! Can't begin to imagine your frustration and anger and everything else!

First of all, I'd definitely find another doctor/health professional who can do a thorough workup on all your medical issues. Blood panel, thyroid, and everything in between. A trichologist might be a good thing too.

To have such acute hair loss...and to dread the possibility of it happening all over...especially when you value your mane, must be very hard to deal with! I love your analogy...copper colored hair...coupled with Pre-Raphaelite hair loveliness! I know what you mean! Those PRB ladies had such scrumptious hair (especially Alexa Wilding of the copper locks, Fanny Cornforth of the incredibly long locks, and Jane Burden, of the dark, very wavy mane!).

Have you examined your diet to see if you can eat anything that might help with hair growth? Have you tried gentle daily scalp massage in the bent at the waist position?

What do you do to your hair? Do you detangle and comb it daily? Do you ever brush it? How often do you shampoo it? Do you use a lot of hair tonics/creams/treatments on it?

Your genetics also play a crucial part in how long - or short - your hair will grow.

Any meds might play a crucial part too!

Do you wear your hair up to protect the ends?

Ah, let me rephrase that, since you have short hair. How do you wear your short hair? Do you pin it up? Ponytail it..or just leave it loose?

Depending on how short it is, there are 2 short hair updos you can try (Gibson Tuck/Peacock Twist).

It if it shorter than your chin, then your options are about nil and you'll need to wait til it reaches collar bone to really put it up.

Lastly, work with your doctor about your fears that you'll lose it again after you've spent so much time coddling it and hoping to grow to greater lengths.

Remember hair only grows so fast each month..and some folks grow faster/slower than others. Growth might be effected by many factors and if you and your doctor can find a happy medium among all the stuff going on with your hair, perhaps you'll find a way out of the mess and can start growing with confidence. Good luck!

November 25th, 2014, 01:43 AM
Another double post...But...kmdcrowley, what a G O R G E O U S shade of red your hair is! Oh, it is to die for! I'd kill for hair that color (disgruntled brunette dtr of a mom who had glorious deep auburn hair, and a mat. grandmother who had exquisite red gold hair). I adore red hair!

November 25th, 2014, 03:57 AM
HUGE hugs, you need them.

I have not walked your exact path, but between severe hypothyroidism, migraines, and the meds for both of these, I've lost 2/3 of my hair volume. My ponytail used to be an inch in diameter, and I'd struggle to get the larger hair holders (yes, the metal crimped kind that makes me cringe now) around my pony tail twice. Now, I can use hair holders designed for toddlers, and I cheered when I gained enough length that my BUN was bigger than an inch in diameter (for me, somewhere between collarbone and BSL-bra strap line).

I am slowly gaining back volume, but I only got the hypothyroidism turned around in July, so I've got a large crop of wispy baby hair. I don't care that it's frizzy and unable to be contained without a hairnet or snood, it's GROWING! It's very frustrating to wait for it to catch up, but the fact that it's growing back, and I'm not continuing to lose volume is giving me hope. I hope that this gives you some hope, as I've been the one crying and wanting to hack all my hair off, and I can tell you, it will get better.

Since you have cut your hair, and are unhappy with it's shape, I'd say to go ahead and make an apt. with a hairstylist. Let them shape it up, and prepare it to help you re-grow. I know there were tricks that my stylist used to help me through my ugly duckling stage (I hate my hair when it's between chin and collarbone), so he kept the 'bangs' shorter for a bit, until my length was there, and since my bangs grow faster, he evened them out with the next two trims, but letting them grow to match up.

Just remember, this is only a problem because you were strong enough to make it through the medical difficulties, and after them, the hair is an annoyance in comparison. My only other advice is to put your hair scissors somewhere where you have to work to get them (example-the cabinet above your refrigerator or with a trusted friend). Having to go to an effort to get to them might help give you time to cool off and not cut again before you're ready to.

Keep thinking positive thoughts!

November 25th, 2014, 04:13 AM
First off, i'm so sorry you've had such tough times to go through :( :grouphug:

It's a fact that all health and stress related problems reflect on hair health. Actually, hair is the first part of the body to show any illness/ malnutrition; together with nails. When body has so much to fight against, it cuts back on less vital functions like producing hair cells. I do believe you can get back to your former thickness, but for that to happen, you should get your health problems sorted out somehow. If you can, go to a different doctor and have everything checked out. Hair shouldn't be your primary concern right now in my opinion, please take care of yourself, try to rest and eat a very healthy diet to get back on track. When you start feeling better, hair will start to get thicker, although it takes a long time.

For now, i think you should avoid stress related to hair. Tell your hubby that his comments are making you feel worse. Your profile picture looks perfectly fine to me, but if your appearance is making you feel upset you should do whatever it takes to make you feel better. Maybe try heat styling? Or some highlights? How about extensions? You can fake it till you make it :) (i know i did LOL)

November 25th, 2014, 04:24 AM
Hi, sorry you are struggling with your health and hair loss. You've been through a lot, so cut your self some slack, be kind to yourself and allow some time to grieve for your hair loss. Your life has been turned upside by the sounds of it, you are changed as a person but your hair and self image will recover but it'll just be of the new you, a survivor of many many things.

My only piece of advice is that before going for an even big chop is to consider how it will grow out. If you do plan to grow it long again then try to avoid anything uneven or heavily layered. The regrowth will be even move miserable!

And welcome to the LHC, an awesome place to hang while you're waiting :p

November 25th, 2014, 06:32 AM
Is your profile picture your current picture? Don't cut! That's not bad, and you can still do a few things with it like clipping the sides back. First of all, try only combing when you wash it while your hair has conditioner in it, then let it dry without touching it again other than maybe fingering a bit of curl creme or non-alcohol gel through it. It won't look so fluffy that way and will bring out your curl.

I understand getting frustrated and depressed with health issues. I have ulcerative colitis and asthma, and sometimes I feel so sick and old and useless. However, both are inactive right now - oh how I enjoy that! I also had to cut significant length this year due to injury making me unable to deal with a lot of hair. That has improved also.

Take care of yourself. Hopefully you can enjoy a long period of relatively good health and hair regrowth.

November 25th, 2014, 07:52 AM
Hey! I've dealt with hair loss and don't worry, it will grow back! :blossom:

Yes, it takes years. A couple of years at least to cover your head, that's totally normal, because hairs don't start growing back at the same time and they don't grow at the same rate. You need a few more years to be able to tell your hair completely grew back. You may want to add even more time to that to let your body completely recover.

It's normal that it's straighter because:
- if it's short, then it will lie on your head more than curl up. 2c/3a is like that, mutant hair.
- Less hair => less volume (=less lift).
- Since there is less hair, it means each single hair has to absorb more scalp oil.

It's also normal that the strands by your face are straight.

Your hair is beautiful, please don't cut it. IMO the only reason to cut hair is damage. You will have to deal with fuzzy sprouts for a while whether you cut it or not. Also fuzzy sprouts = hair is growing back = happiness.

The solution is to enjoy it. I used to hate my hair and now I love how messy my hair looks compared to others (much like Fran Drescher in "The nanny" :D). You already grew thick hair to classic, you will do it again for sure! Just let your hair do its thing. Rule no. 1 of 2c/3a is: your hair knows better, don't try to make it look the way you want.

As it grows back, you will love your hair more and more.

And when they say you look like your mother, tell them they look like their granpa!

November 25th, 2014, 11:34 AM
I've also lost a lot of hair due to health problems. For me it happened slowly over years until recently when I started having to style my hair in very specific ways to hide the thinned out or bald spots. Actually I was really past all of that because I couldn't even hide the thinning through styling. After coming to LHC and reading this thread http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=20983 I have started to see alot of new growth. This is the first time in fifteen years that I have seen regrowth. It seems that different things work for different people, but scalp massages are just fantastic on a number of levels and you can use oils that you probably have on hand like olive oil.

You could also look into a new routine that might work better for your new hair. For curly hair the curly girl (CG) method, liquid oil cream (LOC), and conditioner only (CO) seem to be popular. (Please correct me if I'm wrong y'all! I am definitely still not an expert!) If you're having trouble with seeing your scalp through your hair, there are hair powders you can buy that are suppose to do a great job disguising that.

One other thing that has helped me is cleaning up my diet. Sometimes long, drawn out health problems can cause or be caused by chronic inflammation, and I think the best way to combat inflammation is through the diet. Have you tried mixing it up with your diet to see if that makes a difference? If not I would suggest trying to cut back on white flour and sugar for a few weeks and see if that makes a difference
Also, if your profile picture is what your mother looks like, then you shouldn't feel so bad about looking like her. Your hair is quite pretty! I don't think you need to go shorter, but obviously you know better than I do.

November 25th, 2014, 09:55 PM
Welcome, and wow, yes! Color and curls are wonderful! Everyone else has given good advice, so I'll just say that your hair is lovely and that I hope with time and these good recommendations it will grow more :blossom: