Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doctors, Haircuts, and Friendship

This is a long, sappy, post that might be TMI for some.
But I've always been pretty transparent.
So here goes.
I was sitting down one day about 2 months ago and the person standing near me said
words I'll never forget.
"Did you know you have a bald spot?"
I knew my hair was really getting dangerously thin and I needed
to get in to see a doctor so he or she could tell me I needed to quit my super demanding, stressful, emotional, crazy insane day job.
I just thought I was over-worked and totally at my stress limit and was seeing the physical results.
I took my vain self to my car and cried. And called Hubs.
For the first time since I've known him he wasn't all,
"It's not that bad. It'll be fine."
He was ready to attack.
Papa Bear was on the defensive.

So I forced myself to go in to see a Dermatologist.
Hands folded in my lap, I was fully ready to hear her say,
"Do you have any stress or anxiety in your life?"
To which I would probably tear up and blab about my day job.
But nope.
Not a single question about that.
She said, very calmly and...sternly...I guess,
"You are going to lose your hair."
I'm sorry.
"Some women just lose their hair. But that bald spot is discolored. I'm going to take a Biopsy."
I've heard Biopsy's don't hurt.
Walk in the park.
But man. Let's just say I had a spot the size of a dime and now I really don't have one anymore.
And I got a face lift.
And she sewed my hair up in it so I had loops of hair that would catch on my
 comb as I combed my hair for 2 weeks.

Fast forward.
I go back.
Armed with my mother.
Suck it in, Cass.
"You have Lupus."
"There are several kinds of Lupus and we need to do further testing to find out what kind you have."
Now, it would have been way cooler had the results been LUPINE.
As in, I turn into a werewolf once a month.
I started to cry because I had no idea what that was or what that meant to me.
At the first sign of tears, the doctor left. Just like that. And never came back.
Even my poor mother was all,
What just happened?

So, there we have it.
I've said it over and over and I still don't know what it really means to me yet.
I'm in the works to find a new doctor and get testing done but in the meantime a decision needed to be made about my hair.
 Here it is, in all it's puny glory. :)
Really, though. It took me years to get past the awkward stages and grow it to my shoulders.
But I couldn't wear it down.
Some parts of my hair were super thin and others were normal so it would never
lay right. So, this is what it looked like pretty much every day for a few months.

It took me a long time to get up the courage to cut it.
Because this time it meant something different.
It possibly meant never going back to long.
I wasn't just going to change it up with a new 'do.

I contacted the only person I would trust to handle such a situation.
Donna Harris has been doing my hair for years.
She is also an amazing photographer.
I sat in her chair when I said out loud for the first time that I wanted to be a photographer.
 Leading up to this we had many discussions about this so she was prepared.
"I'm leaving this totally up to you."
I was confident she was the person I needed in that moment.
And because she knew that, she said,
"I'm going to give you a hug now."
 We talked, as we do, about our kids and husbands and photography.
We talked about Lupus.
About how I'm not quite sure about how I feel about it.
About how I feel about telling people. About the decision to blog about it.
Obviously it's affecting my life.
But I'm not dying.
I'm tired a lot. I've lost hair. I have to stay out of the sun or cover up and wear hats.
More than that is to be determined.
But I'm not dying.
So I feel like a bit of a whiner.
(Photo by Donna Harris)
Because she's awesome, she grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots for me.
I wanted to document this.
And I'll tell you the truth here.
The more she cut my hair, the more peaceful I felt.
Let's be honest here. I'm not the thinnest of gals.
And short, thin hair wasn't going to flatter my jowly jaw.
But something happened.
(Photo by Donna Harris)
She finished up, handed me the mirror and I just cried.
Big, soppy tears.
She made me feel pretty.
I didn't look or feel like I had thinning hair.
Her friendship in this moment renewed my spirit.
She gave me the greatest peace hug ever.
I will always remember this act of love, patience, and understanding between two women.
 And 3 people commented on how awesome I looked as I left the salon.
(Photo by Hubs)
I am moving forward grateful that this is nothing worse.
It affects my daily life but it's nothing I can't handle.
It's nothing Hubs can't handle.
I will not die from this.
I will live with it.

I will take it seriously and give it it's due respect.
But this is my body.
My body is strong, despite the fact that it wants to attack itself.
I am strong.
And you know what?
I might not lose my hair.
I have faith.

I have faith that I haven't been brought this far to be abandoned now.

So, there you have it.
Oh happy day!
I am blessed with an amazing haircut.

I really don't want my blog to turn into
"check in on Lupus day"
so if any of you readers have any questions, I'd be happy to answer any of them!

I'm not looking for sympathy.
This is heavy.
But all good.
So good.

Happy Monday!


  1. This is a beautiful entry, Cassie, the photos and the words.

  2. I am so sorry, dear Cassy. Lupus is tough, my mom had it. One thing, you'll keep your beautiful UN sundamaged skin and another thing, it IS a pretty haircut. Hang in there and if guys want a getaway, you can always have a room in Seattle. Big Hugs from Bill and me, Elsie

  3. I stumbled onto your blog through Donna's. Your story is amazing and your writing...a gift. And your new haircut...hot momma :) It looks gorgeous! Best of wishes!

  4. Girl you look amazing. (PS I was the girl at the salon after you!). Stay strong. Its looks like you have an amazing support system around you. AND you are allowed to have your "whoa with me days". I have a friend that found out she had Lupus when she was about 20 or 21 (about 10 year ago now). I can get her in contact wth her. She is great. And on a side note [giggle] we can both strut our stuff at the pool and blind people in the process. I think my white shorts is a darker shade of white than my VERY pale legs. Keep your head up and you will do just fine.

  5. and my email is celtic1020@gmail.com and my name is Katie. For the life of me I could not post and it would not let me sign in! some error.

  6. Hi Cassie, I have lupus, too. I was diagnosed when I was 25, about 4 months after my wedding. I have periods of thinning hair when my lupus is flaring up, but then it goes back to normal sometimes, too. Thanks for this blog post. I hope you are doing well now. ~Carissa (caneup@gmail.com)