Wig or No Wig: It’s a Personal Choice:
By: Amy Meservey, Crystal Lake, Illinois
“Are you a boy or a girl?”
I’m a girl. My name is Amy Meservey.
“What stage of cancer treatment are you in?”
I do not have cancer, I have alopecia areata. It is an autoimmune disease that results in hair loss on my head and sometimes on the rest of my body.
“Why don’t you wear a wig?”
Wigs are hot and itchy so I choose not to wear one.
“You look funny without hair.”
I honestly didn’t have the best hair anyway, so at least now I don’t have bad hair days.
These are all questions and the answers I’ve given having lived with
alopecia areata for 34 years (since the age of 13). I’d rather deal with the questions than the stares. (I get a lot of stares.) With questions, I have the ability to educate.
As stated above, my name is Amy Meservey. I live in Crystal Lake. I am a co-leader to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) support group in Crystal Lake. I also colead the St. Charles support group (my co-leader for this group is the one who secured the spaces for the Naperville half marathon).
Because I was comfortable with my alopecia, I started the Crystal Lake group so I could help others with alopecia who needed a space to talk, cry and just be themselves (wig or no wig). I never realized how much I needed the group, too.
Although not a physically hurtful disease, alopecia areata can be incredibly emotionally hurtful. Society doesn’t understand baldness in kids and women. Although more common to see bald men, it’s not as common to see a man with no eyebrows or eyelashes.
Some, like me, have their hair come and go. Others lose it and it never returns. The loss can happen over many months, years, or overnight. Some have lived with alopecia almost since they were born, while others develop it as kids, in their teens, and, others, later in life. More than 6.6 million people in the United States live with alopecia.
I can’t read a magazine, or watch TV, without reading or hearing about hair products and how they will make you more beautiful than you are. One day, I had a wheelchair- bound woman who had thyroid cancer tell me I had life much worse because she at least has hair. That blew me away, but it is a true indication of how important hair is to society.
Not everyone with alopecia areata chooses to walk around bald, as I do. You may have co-workers, neighbors, or even loved ones, who live with this disease who choose to wear a wig or not tell anyone of their baldness. Wig or no wig is such a personal choice.