Wendy recalls her earliest memories of coping with alopecia.
Hi, my name is Wendy. I have alopecia. Alopecia is an autoimmune condition. I have had it since I was 3-years-old. It basically means you lose your hair.
There’s three different stages of alopecia – alopecia areata, which is patches of baldness.
Then there’s alopecia totalis, which means you lose your hair on your head, your eyebrows and eyelashes.
And then lastly there’s alopecia universalis and that is in fact what I have, which is you lose all of your body hair.
From my earliest memory of having alopecia I was around six, even though I started losing my hair when I was three.
I actually was scared by a big German shepherd dog and that, I wandered off into the back garden and my dad came and found me. And then the next day when my mom was brushing my hair big clumps of hair were coming out and this is 1953 and nobody knew then what alopecia was.
My parents took me to tricologists and psychologists and dermatologists and nobody really knew what alopecia was.
And so that was the beginning of my hair falling out, and by the time I was four all my hair on my head, my eyebrows, eyelashes had fallen out.
And I remember going to primary school, as we call it in England, and we had summer holiday, vacation, and that was six weeks.
I went to a national health wig specialist and they fitted me with a national health wig, which was human hair, but it basically looked like a bird’s nest on my head.
And I remember saying to my mom, “Well what am I going to say when I go back to school in six weeks.” And she said, “Well just tell all your friends that you had just crew over this summer.”
That was my earliest memory of having to explain what happened to me suddenly I was, because I was bullied and called baldy and there were the boys and girls that just wanted to pull my hair off my head.
So I started wearing wigs at 7, that was my earliest memory of wearing a wig and that was really the first thing I had to explain about this hair.