Alopecians make progress but are still misunderstood
Thank you, Gail Johnson and the Georgia Straight, for the recent article about Jana Bühlmann and alopecia [“Baby, it’s bald out there: alopecians speak up”, May 10-17]. Having endured this condition since a very young age and then losing most of my hair since turning 50, I can totally relate to Jana’s story and the ups and downs of various treatments. The lack of less toxic treatment options and research continues to be very frustrating.
With the support of my husband, my family, my friends, a fabulous hairdresser, my work colleagues (I am also a federal employee), a great wig-shop owner, and the kindness of some strangers in unexpected places, I’m pretty much okay with my beautiful bald head.
That being said, many people are very uncomfortable with seeing a bald woman. It’s remarks like, “Gee, at least you don’t have a bad hair day,” or the moment’s hesitation by some gals at the gym who are not certain whether to use the shower I just vacated—or at the yoga studio, where some are not sure about taking the mat next to me—that tell me we still have a long way to go in acceptance and understanding.
I wear a wig at work and in most public places, mainly because I get tired of the stares, the awkward looks, and the common assumption mentioned by Jana that we’re cancer survivors. Too much money, time, and attention are spent on cosmetic beauty and not nearly enough on appreciation for the natural beauty of being healthy and alive, both of which are priceless.
> Laurelle Shalagan / Vancouver