My health story I was ter­ri­fied of go­ing bald

When Ju­lia Jol­ley lost her hair, she lost her con­fi­dence too, but now she’s smil­ing again

Woman (UK) - - Contents -

Whether it’s chunky thighs or cel­lulite, we all have a body hang-up. only, mine is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than most. You see, I have alope­cia and I’m al­most com­pletely bald.

I first no­ticed I was los­ing my hair when I was 19. I was at univer­sity and, as I tied my hair up, my pony­tail seemed thin­ner than usual. I didn’t think much of it – but in the years that fol­lowed, I couldn’t ig­nore that my part­ing was grow­ing wider. I re­mem­ber dye­ing my hair black and be­ing shocked by how eas­ily you could see my scalp through my newly dark­ened locks.

So, af­ter grad­u­at­ing in March 2001, I went to the GP, who di­ag­nosed me with fe­male pat­tern bald­ness – also known as alope­cia an­dro­ge­net­ica. There was no known cause, and it would only get worse. Leav­ing the GP, my chest heaved with sobs. I was cer­tain that any hopes of get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing chil­dren had been ru­ined. How would any man find me at­trac­tive now?

Des­per­ate, I re­searched ways to make my hair grow. I used ex­pen­sive sham­poos and took a con­tra­cep­tive pill with higher es­tro­gen. When that didn’t work, I re­sorted to styling my locks into a blonde pixie crop to make the bald patches less ob­vi­ous.

Then, in Septem­ber 2006, I met Mike through a mu­tual friend. He was un­fazed by my alope­cia, say­ing he loved me – with or with­out hair. Then, af­ter two years to­gether, he pro­posed. Of course I was ex­cited, but my ela­tion quickly faded when I re­alised that I’d be a bald­ing bride.

I spent hours on­line search­ing for thick veils and huge head pieces – un­til, one night in June 2008, Mike said he’d been search­ing for so­lu­tions to my hair loss and came across the Lucinda Ellery web­site – a hair stu­dio with over 30 years ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­vid­ing hair loss treat­ment.

I booked an ap­point­ment and at the stu­dio, Lucinda showed me her unique In­tralace sys­tem – a mesh that is placed be­tween your ex­ist­ing hair and scalp. Ad­di­tional hair is then added to the mesh and plaited into your own re­main­ing hair. While it wasn’t a cure for my alope­cia, it would com­pletely dis­guise it and, un­like a wig, I didn’t have to worry that it could slip off.

It took a full day for the In­tralace sys­tem to be fit­ted, but when it was com­plete I was left speech­less as I looked in the mir­ror. For the first time in years, I had a full head of long, thick hair. Back home, even the sim­plest tasks, like wash­ing or comb­ing my hair, felt like a treat. Our wed­ding in Septem­ber 2008 was one of the best days of my life and, rather than a heavy veil, I opted for a del­i­cate tiara. Since then, I’ve gone back to Lucinda Ellery ev­ery eight weeks to have the mesh tight­ened and ev­ery two years I’m fit­ted with a new In­tralace sys­tem. Now, I’m a mum to Erin, six, and Zachary, four, but I al­ways find the time for my ap­point­ments – I don’t see it as a lux­ury, but a ne­ces­sity. I don’t buy de­signer make-up or ex­pen­sive clothes and we bud­get for my hair ap­point­ments through­out the year. I thought I was go­ing to spend my life mis­er­able. But now when I look in the mir­ror, I’m happy with the per­son I see. ✱ lu­cin­daellery-hair­

‘my CHEST HEAVED with Sobs’

Ju­lia looked beau­ti­ful on her wed­ding day

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