Alopecia Areata

In 1995 I was 15 years old and nearing the end of my secondary education.  I had discovered My Dying Bride and was in love with their newly launched album, The Angel and The River.  Before you ask…NO! I was not into the practice of any occult whatever, never was!

Since Malta is such a small country, the pressures on students, especially at times like these, are usually high.  I was still unsure what to do in life and although I couldn’t give a piss in the world about anything, I didn’t want to flush my mother’s sacrifices to get me a decent education down the drain.  The quintessence of secondary school education and the basis of whatever academia will follow.

The Ordinary level exams were approaching…  These were the epitome of anyone’s education to date.  To top everything up, to get a decent secondary school leaving certificate, we were the only school at the time whose students had to sit for a school leaving exam……aaaargh.  In retrospect, the school leaving exams shouldn’t have been such a great deal.  We were meant to study the same stuff we needed to know for our O Level exams, but at the time it was something extra on a heavily loaded plate.

In the mean time I lost a patch of hair the size of € 20 cent coin.  I must have left it somewhere behind!


Here I was at the dermatologist’s private clinic for the second time in my life, undergoing Guantanamo style interrogation about things which at the time I thought where as irrelevant to my loss of hair as was the return of Magic Johnson with The Lakers to a two year old.

A diagnosis was made!  Simple and straight forward…..stress induced Alopecia.  Doh?!  It would pass when I was through with exams.  Yes, of course!  I was (again!) advised to stay away from the sun  

and prescribed an expensive, top of the range treatment.  Three months and three tubes of this treatment down the line and no hair grew back.  I still remember feeling guilty about my mother buying these treatments, each costing about a day and a half’s worth of pay at a time when she was working her ass off to make sure I would have everything I needed to get a decent education.  Besides, this patch of missing hair really didn’t bother me much.  I was now past giving a fuck about what others thought and how I looked…and for those who know me not, I am still very much the same!  If you don’t like the look of it just don’t look at it 🙂

A year or so after this visit at the derma man another patch had fallen off the contra lateral side of my head and so the elders decided that I should get a second opinion.  I had to comply.  This time we visited the local dermatology hospital.  I was prescribed a very potent steroid ointment, Clobetasol, marketed by GSK under the name Dermovate.  It was as sticky as marine grade grease.  Priced at much less than a cappuccino, quite logically, our innate Maltese reasoning had us doubt this ointment would work at all but, to some little extent, it did.  Some hair grew back but it was very fragile and soon fell off.  Months and tubes after I discontinued the treatment.  In the summer heat it would thin away and drivel down my neck just like mucous running down a toddler’s nose.  Yukk!  It would look as shiny as if I had rubbed sunflower oil all over my head.  In the cold, whatever I wore on my head was a sticky mess after I got it off.

The hair never grew back and I never ever gave a fuck about it…although I will post another entry about my Alopecia Areata and another visit to yet a third derma man later on.  This was the second sign of my Lupus manifesting itself.  I might have had the occasional joint pains which I myself shrugged off as a normal part of growing up, becoming a man!  At the time I was strong, energetic, and had the appetite of a 10 ton Rhino.  What could have been going wrong inside me?!

My-Dying Bride – The Angel and The Dark River – full album.

One thought on “Alopecia Areata

  1. Pingback: Alopecia Areata 2 | About a Wolf

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