Bless me father - I just committed the cardinal sin for an Alopecian. I, Susan Beausang, an 11-year veteran of Alopecia, assumed that another person with hair loss had cancer. What was I thinking? Well, I guess I wasn’t thinking and I feel horrible about my faux pas. Fortunately, I didn’t make this assumption in person but in an email, but STILL it’s something that I preach all the time and cringe when someone asks me the dreaded questions - “What type of cancer do you have?”… “How is your treatment going?” It’s been my achilles heal since my Alopecia diagnosis and YET, I just committed the same offense.
Why do we has humans automatically make assumptions about others? How could I, an Alopecian who is constantly on the receiving end of assumptions, assume cancer as THE reason for hair loss?
For one, I never communicated directly with the woman. All correspondence was with her husband as he said his wife’s life was turned upside down by her diagnosis. Assumption #1 - he was ordering the scarves for her. Assumption #2 - she was too sick to pick out her own. He related what a difference the scarves made in her life once she received them. Lastly, he shared with me that her work was having a hard time accepting that she would be wearing scarves. Where would your imagination lead you?
Lesson learned - NEVER assume anything, especially when it comes to hair loss. I have very vivid memories of people crossing into my space with personal, assuming questions when I was first diagnosed. My emotions were raw - it took very little to set me off crying and diving into depression. Once that emotional line is crossed, it’s a slow hard climb back to anything resembling self-acceptance. I can only hope that my beaubeaus succeed where I personally have failed in boosting one woman’s self confidence.