Well at least he’s a boy....shaved heads are trendy!
Well yes, but not when you are 8!
Our son lost his hair the first time when he was about four years old and we tried everything we could think of. We applied creams and potions, we visited doctors and we bought hats, lots of them!
Our whole family still wears hats all the time – me to stop wrinkles (well, here’s hoping), my husband and daughter because of their fair skin and Angus, because he has no hair.
Angus had areata the first time which meant he kept patches/clumps of hair and had other smooth spots on his head – all quite random and unpredictable.
Finally we got to see a specialist, the ‘guru’ at Westmead Children’s Hospital – who noted dark pin pricks on his scalp and said Angus’ hair was growing back; which it did in time for starting school. We were so pleased and relieved.
Alopecia is a funny condition because it can come and go – or be a one-off. We hoped it was a one-off but no....
When Angus was 8 it all started falling out again. And this time we lost the eyelashes and eyebrows....universalis. Every morning there’d be hair on his pillow. He started wearing hats in the classroom. We prepared information we had taken off the internet for his teacher so she could explain he wasn’t ill or contagious or dirty....in the hope it would stop bullying.
I am sad to say it didn’t and that our young fellow didn’t get the support we’d hoped for from the school. Eventually we changed schools, which is not something to be undertaken on a whim, but our current school has been so much better. We have a happy boy again.
Things changed for us while visiting a V8 Supercar Race at Eastern Creek. I approached racing driver Dean Canto, asking if I could get a photo with him, explaining my boy had alopecia. He wrote an autograph in my notebook for Angus: “It’s what’s on the inside that counts, buddy”. Angus was very chuffed as he is a car nut, so sent Dean an email of thanks.
A month or so later, we received an email to Angus’ parents from Dean. He explained he was an ambassador for the Princess Charlotte Alopecia Foundation and would one of us with Angus be his guests at an upcoming dinner? Before the dinner, we travelled to Goulburn so Angus and Dean could meet at a race meeting. This was the first time Angus had met anyone with alopecia. Dean’s lovely parents were there too and we chatted with them.
Craig and Angus were thrilled to go to the dinner – my two boys bubbled over with enthusiasm when they got home that night. They were so excited. We are mighty grateful to Dean!
Angus had met two other boys with alopecia – Mitch from Melbourne and Lachlan from Sydney. This was the first time he had met other kids with alopecia – and boys!!! Sorry Charlotte.
We have spent fun times with those two boys and their families. Lachlan’s little brother was pleased to hear Angus’ sister had hair because he was worried he’d be the only one with hair.
It has been a great and fulfilling thing for us to meet other families with alopecia. I had a few teary phone-calls early on to Di and Kath...but basically we have to get used to it, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep going.
We all have similar stories of dermatologists who say hair is only cosmetic [rubbish!] and eyelashes serve no real purpose! We changed dermatologists...
I told our current one the eyelashes stop dust and the eyebrows stop sweat running into the eyes!! It had not occurred to her, but then I guess they are not taught that.
We’ve all tried stuff and we all know that basically nothing works. It doesn’t stop us from trying. As parents we feel helpless unless we do.
Angus has eyelashes again and fine down over his scalp (not hair) and some faint bits of eyebrows. If he smiles enough, no one will notice no hair.
Our boy won’t need a wig. He needs a bit of understanding sometimes, and a good dose of acceptance. Meeting other boys has stopped him feeling like he is the only one. Fun ‘boy’ things like the Bathurst 1000 (thank you Kath) has made him feel a bit special. Love and encouragement from friends and family is another important component. The most important, is that he feels good about himself because he has to live with it.
As our happy and now confident boy said to a potential bully at school “I can run faster than you because I’m STREAMLINED.” No answer for that one!