A while back I mentioned my encounter with my dermatologist friend…as a patient. I thought it might be fun to revisit this topic.
If you will recall, my hair was falling out. Feeling I was in danger of going bald, I wrangled an “emergency” appointment with one of the local dermatologists, whose office is just a block or two down the street from my own.
Now, you should understand that many physicians are terrified of looking stupid to their colleagues. Those that say they are not are probably lying. We only go to the doctor when something is very, very wrong. Very obviously wrong. Or we are pregnant.
Physician heal thyself!
But despite the fact that my hair was falling out in drain clogging clumps for months, I had this irrational anxiety that he was going to pat me on the shoulder and say there was nothing wrong. Well, he did confirm that I did indeed have hair loss by doing a pull test. Maybe he was just lying to me to make me feel good. I don’t care because either way, I was relieved. If there is anything worse than losing your hair, it is thinking you are losing your hair and having your dermatologist think/say you are crazy.
Of course, I had already drawn the appropriate labwork (thyroid levels, ferritin) and that was fine. So he informed me that I was either experiencing telogen effluvium, in which case this will stop and my hair will grow back, or I was having age related pattern balding in which case I am hosed. I already knew this, but I was hoping he had some secret serum that would fix everything. He was supposed to be my fairy godfather for crying out loud!
“What does your father’s hair look like now?” he asked.
“It is great! He has a full head of hair. See, I will show you a picture… (scroll, scroll, scroll)….oooooh. Yeah. No, not much hair after all…wow.”
My heart sank.
I was doomed.
I don’t like to think of myself as a terribly vain person per se, but I was about to turn forty and I had these new wrinkles, pregnancy stretch marks and post breast feeding deflated boobs that made my Agent Provocateur undies look out of place, and the genetically induced huge butt I was talking about in yesterday’s post and NOW I am going to go BALD? Shoot me now, please.
He must have sensed that I was pretty down in the dumps about this news, so he says, “Scowl for me.” What? But I obliged. Then he says, “You could use some Botox. Want to do some Botox?”
Honestly, it took me aback. For a minute, I was paralyzed (pun intended). Do I really want to do this, cross this line that I swore I would never cross?
Yes. Ok, yes. Give me the Botox.
I want to say that I did it only for the experience, so I could tell patients how it felt, what it was like having bits of your face paralyzed for months, but that would not be entirely truthful. Secretly, I thought I needed it, that it would possibly be the fountain of youth for me. I was turning forty. I was getting desperate.
Let me tell you, Botox hurts. It feels weird after, sort of numb but not really. My office staff liked the fact that I could not scowl, but as the effect started wearing off and the muscles started waking up, my forehead would go into grotesque spasms at even the slightest provocation…which made for interesting discussions with patients.
“Uh, doc? Are you OK?”
“Yes, yes, I am fine…my Botox is just wearing off. I am not having a stroke, I promise! BUT, you should work harder to control your diabetes and blood pressure or YOU will be having one yourself…”
I don’t think I will be trying that again anytime soon.
My hair…it stopped falling out, finally. Turns out I am not going bald after all. And that matter of turning forty, not so bad on the other side.
Tomorrow, tune in as I discuss the laser treatment on my face…another lesson in humility.