I HAVE ALOPECIA : WHAT DO YOU HAVE?
Do you know that about 10% of people with Alopecia may never grow hair??
Hey! I’m happy that you’re about to read this but I’m more happy that you stopped by my blog. Thank you!
Oops! If you haven’t read the first part of I HAVE ALOPECIA, then you need to read it here. I promise you’d love it.
Because the human hair is believed to be important in appearance, hair loss can result to feeling unattractive, especially in women.
Alopecia areata cannot be cured but it can be treated and managed. The most common treatment for patchy hair loss into the scalp is many injections of CORTICOSTEROIDS into the scalp or skin about 0.4m apart every 4 to 6 weeks.
Fun facts about Alopecia
• Alopecia does not make you feel sick
• Alopecia is not painful.
• It does not result in serious health problems.
• Lastly, alopecia is not contagious.
I know that last bit made you smile.😊
Let’s get to the interview;
MSF : Hi, welcome to Meedah’s Soul Food. Please tell us about yourself. I’m sure my readers are just as curious as I am.
Moshoodat : Awwn, thank you. My name is Moshoodat Adedeji Badmus, I am 24years old, a graduate of Lagos state University ( Bsc Biochemistry), a makeup artist and skin care therapist by profession.
Oh wow! This is to having a skin care therapist tell us about her journey. Shall we?
MSF : What’s your day job and what else do you dabble into asides that. Your hobbies inclusive.
Moshoodat : I work as a make-up asaistant with Capital Dreams but I wouldn’t really call it a day job since we don’t shoot ( video shoot) everyday.
I love to read when I have the time and I enjoy swimming too.
MSF : How did you venture into the make-up industry? Was it something you liked and enjoyed or stumbled upon?
Moshoodat : I’ve always had passion for make-up since I was a student. People would ask me if I was a make-up artist whenever I was seen wearing make-up. That fuelled my desire to learn professionally. I registered for make-up classes before NYSC ( National Youth Service Corps).
How sweet! *aside*
MSF : So, its September and most importantly, it’s alopecia awareness month. As someone who lives with alopecia, can you tell us from your experience what alopecia is?
Moshoodat : Alopecia is an autoimmune condition that affects the hair follicles thereby causing partial or total hair loss. Alopecia has no cure for now but there are treatments for partial hairloss.
MSF : How many years have you been living with Alopecia?
Moshoodat : I’ve been living with alopecia for 2years and 4months now.
MSF : How did you find out and did you know as at then what it was?
Moshoodat : I had alopecia areata for few months, then my hair loss became extensive in December 2015. I became totally bald in February 2016 and lost my eyebrows, eyelashes and pubic hair a few months after.
#poof!…. That’s quite a lot to take in.
MSF : And you found out how?
Moshoodat : I was on dreads on that fateful day. A week and few days to Nysc orientation camp , it was the last week in April 2015. I was at my hairstylist to wash my dreads when she ( the hairstylist) suddenly shouted ” aunty, se fa irun yin ni”,( “aunty, did you shave your hair”) in English.
I looked at the mirror and saw a small bald patch not too far from my forehead. It looked so shiny as if someone had taken a blade to it.
MSF : So, how did you know it was alopecia?
Moshoodat : I stood up immediately and called my mom. Although, I am not superstitious by nature but for one second, I thought it was spiritual. Lol!
It looked like someone purposely cut my hair
*perks of being a Nigerian*
The spiritual angle was taken and a lot of prayer and fasting was done. I left for Nysc orientation camp and the bald patch only got wider by the time I was back. It was then I decided to do a little research online and I stumbled on Alopecia areata.
That’s how I knew. Although, I still got wrong diagnosis twice from doctors. I was told it’s a fungi infection and placed on drugs. When there was little to no improvement, I stopped.
MSF : What was the feeling like when you figured out it was Alopecia, were you scared?
Moshoodat : I was relieved and happy it was a medical condition. Then I read that total hair loss is rare and I was happy. I had no idea I was going to be one of the “rare” cases.
MSF : That means you were not sad at all?
Moshoodat : No, I wasn’t sad at first but my sadness came to be months after. When my hairloss became worse, I would sleep and wake up seeing clupms of my hair all over my pillow. Washing my hair was like a chore I couldn’t miss but didn’t like.
Losing it all was both relieving and painful.
MSF : It’s pretty clear that you have supportive parents but how did your siblings take the news.
Moshoodat : Honestly, they were amazing through it all, especially my dad. His words of encouragement kept me going.
My mom at that time felt it was something I should hide. She would urge me to cover up whenever guests came around because she didn’t want me to be laughed at. She later came around and allowed me handle my baldness as I see fit.
My siblings have been great, especially my brother. He would make fun of my head, beg me to allow him touch it and he even offered to pay sometimes.
*something about turning the tiniest bit of sadness to happiness* sigh!
MSF : What sort of reaction did you get from your friends and were you ever bothered about how they acted ?
Moshoodat : Different reactions from different people. Most of my friends were understanding and supportive. One thing everyone had in common was they feeling it was something meant to stay hidden.
I’d hear comments like ” thank God you can use wigs” or ” thank God you were covering your hair before”.
I’ve even had people argue with me that I don’t have alopecia and i just shaved my hair off on purpose.
*waawu… People be living in denial fellas.
Despite all explanations on social media, a friend said to me ” don’t you know it’s islamically wrong for a woman to shave her hair”?
I’ve also had guys asking me out that stopped checking on me after they got to know.
*you definitely don’t need those ones hunnie*
MSF : Did it ever happen that you felt less of yourself because of your condition?
Moshoodat : Sure, everyone says things like “hair is the beauty of a woman”. Losing my brows was the worst of it all, I couldn’t go out without drawing them. It was frustrating.
*all hail make-up skills*
MSF : How did you overcome that phase? Did you have to ignore people or constantly reassure yourself that it’s okay to be bald?
Moshoodat : Time helped. The realization that I’m different also helped. It was then I decided to put myself out there; I posted my pictures on social media.
The turning point for me however was when I met Jasmine Oguns, the founder of Heroic Alopecian Foundation(HAF). Knowing I was not alone helped me through it all and I realized I could either face my fears or let it pull me down.
MSF : This brings us to the question of Alopecia in Nigeria. Do you think anything tangible has been done in Nigeria for both awareness and treatment?
Moshoodat : No! Nothing has been done whatsoever. On my quest to know more about Alopecia, I found a lot of support groups outside the country but none in Nigeria. At that moment, I felt like the only person going through it in Nigeria.
Although, the dermatology clinic in Yaba really helped but I feel if there were support systems in place, I should have been linked to one or two in helping me deal with my condition.
Since it’s a condition with no cure, that sounds like a death sentence for some people. It’s a condition that’s easy to hide and most people feel they have to hide it.
I know people who have kept their condition hidden for more than 20 years from colleagues and friends. Imagine using wigs for more than 20 years and never taking it off in public or amongst friends even when it’s uncomfortable?
MSF : As a Muslim, was there any time your condition affected your faith? A time where you felt neglected or stronger.
Moshoodat : Both! When it started, I prayed. I made promises to God but my situation still got worse. I felt alone and neglected. But overtime, I realized how lucky I am.
Most immune conditions are really bad and life threatening but here I was, living with one that affects my hair and nothing else.
I give thanks to him all the time because I know Alopecia is part of his plans for me.
MSF : When did you start wearing the hijab?
Moshoodat : Well, I can’t remember but I started covering my hair in 2014. I was alternating between scarfs and hijabs.
MSF : Did it ever cross your mind to cover just to avoid peoples prying eyes?
Moshoodat : I don’t think so. It’s not a yes or no answer because I was already covering before I lost my hair. I basically continued my lifestyle. Some people however assume that I use the hijab to cover up my hair loss and I always made sure to tell them that isn’t the case.
In fact, my biggest dilemma was deciding if I should keep using the hijab or not because I felt like I had lost my reason for using the hijab.
After losing my hair, I felt like I was living a lie. People made comments like, ” it’s nice you’ve started covering your hair”. It made me feel like a fraud because I wasn’t really covering anything. After a while, I found my reason.
I cover because Allah says I should and it’s my identity as a muslimah (Muslim lady). I know I ignore covering sometimes for picture sake, so that I could post about my baldness but I’m dealing with life in the best way I can. I don’t really care about people’s opinion.
Whenever I post a bald picture, some people would say ” when did you start opening your hair” or ” I thought you were a hijabi”?
I just tell them “which hair”?
MSF : To the most important part; how do you get treatment and is there a regimen of taking care of your head?
Moshoodat : I don’t get any kind of treatment now. On my first visit to the dermatologist in 2015 before I lost my hair, I was given steroid shots on my scalp where I had bald spots.
The treatment was supposed to be for 6 months but after 2 months, I lost all my hair and I was told I couldn’t continue the treatment because it was just for partial hair loss.
Right now, I don’t really do much. I just wash my scalp with a mild soap and rub Shea butter once in a while.
MSF : Wrapping up, how has Alopecia changed how you view life?
Moshoodat : I see things differently now. Nothing is permanent and change is the only thing constant in life . Even things that are part of us and feels like we can never lose can be taken away in a blink of an eye.
We should cherish every moment with the people we love and things we hold dear. I can say I’m a better person now than I was with my hair. I’ve grown so much and I’m grateful for that.
MSF : Thank you so much for having this session with us.
I’d like to say a big thanks to Bayo. It was really amazing working with him. He made me feel at ease during the photoshoot that I felt like a model. Thank you for telling my story!
“The things we regret most in life are not the things we’ve said or done but things we didn’t do or say”
Photographed by : @bayo_shot_it on Instagram
Make-up and Model : @deebeautees
I hope you had a good read and have learned a few things. The fight for alopecia isn’t just of those who already go through it, but also for others who still have their lush hair. To take care of what they have before it’s too late. Being the story isn’t an option anymore, be the help.
Don’t forget to drop your thoughts in the comment section below and share for the benefit of thers.
COMMENTS ARE GEMS!!!
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