“Deal with it.”
That’s actually one of my favorite lines and running joke from a canceled sitcom called “Better Off Ted”. Two characters on the show start making bold choices in their personal and professional lives and their response to the controversial decisions is to simply utter the phrase, “deal with it”.
Comedy aside, I have found it be a rather profound statement in my current life. As you know, I’ve been losing my hair (literally) in recent months and random bald spots are appearing over my scalp. (See below) On good days, I am confident and unaffected by my odd looking appearance, but like most people, I also have bad days and am extremely self conscious about it.
I’m learning that dealing with Alopecia Areata is quite tricky because of the nature of the disease. It is a complete unknown factor. Medical reports are unsure of a cause or what triggers it. There is also no known cure. This hair falling episode can last for months to years. My hair may grow back in 12 months, or it may be permanently gone. More hair could fall out and I may go totally bald. The uncertainty has made this very difficult to cope with. If I knew my hair would regrow again, I would have fewer bad days dealing with it. If I knew my hair would all fall out, I could at least start processing that reality. But nothing is certain with this, and I’m just left in the dark, not knowing what’s to come and deeply unsettled.
So how then, am I supposed to “deal with it” when “it” is completely unknown? My first step was to refuse to hide it. I contemplated growing my hair out to cover up the bald spots, but decided against it. I like my hair short. Always have. Hiding our problems may make us look better to the world, but it doesn’t address the issue. I’m not advocating that sunlight exposure on my scalp will generate hair regrowth, but I don’t want to live in hiding. I don’t want to always be thinking about my hair, if it’s hiding the bald spots and if anyone notices. That is too exhausting of a life to live. So here you are world, I have bald spots on my head! Deal with it!
My second step was to come to grips that no matter how much I try, I am not in control of my life. Once I was diagnosed, I’ve been trying multiple treatment options to both slow the hair loss process and the regrowth. None of them are a guarantee and none of them have worked so far. I attempted them knowing that, but was hopeful that just one of them might help. I don’t think that’s necessarily unusual to try treatment options, but deep down I knew that I was trying everything because I desperately wanted control back in my life again. But each day is met with more strands of hair falling out, with no sign of any regrowth and the reminder once again that I am not in control.
What’s comical about the situation is that I’ve never been in control of my own life to begin with. God orchestrated when I was born, where I would live, how I would look and every other facet of my life. Intellectually, I’ve always acknowledged that. Yes, I know that God is in control of everything but that hasn’t seemed to have made the necessary emotional connection to my heart until now. Intellectually I can acknowledge that having God in control of my life is the best thing for me and everyone. But emotionally, it’s very unsettling to fully realize that my life is entirely in the hands of someone else… but I am dealing with it. 😉