Monday, August 21, 2006

Bald as a Bean: The Experience of Sudden Hair Loss

Bald as a Bean: The Experience of Sudden Hair Loss is at the top of my must read list. The author, Nancy Parsons, draws the reader into a world turned upside down when she is diagnosed with the disease, alopecia areata totalis universalis. (total hair loss over the entire body)

Nancy shares her intensive and sometimes agonizing physical and spiritual struggle when faced with this disease. From the initial shock of finding large clumps of hair on the shower floor, to the overwhelming diagnosis, Nancy chronicles the medical and holistic treatments, as well as the emotional and physical obstacles that she fights to overcome.

By revealing her most intimate thoughts, Nancy eloquently affirms the statement, "Although alopecia areata is not life threatening, it is most certainly life altering." We become aware of how much society values hair, and when one loses it, the emotional loss is as significant as the physical loss.

One notable theme throughout the book is that of our natural world, particularly the change of seasons. Loss and rebirth in nature entwines itself with Nancy's physical and spiritual being, and with that comes inspirational hope. How others react to Nancy's hair loss shapes her internal struggle. Not only do her present interactions with others affect her, but her childhood experiences with her hair are discussed. Through comical reflections we see how the importance of hair is instilled in all of us at a very young age. Nancy's humor is an important defense against this disease. We see this humor when she talks about her wigs affectionately known as "the girls."

A disturbing statistic about alopecia areata is revealed. One study indicated that "forty eight percent of alopecians had considered suicide." By sharing such a personal struggle, Nancy shows us that through perseverance and self reflection, one can find the strength to live with the disease. The journey of shock, denial, fear, anger, and depression, is a journey worth taking.

Not only do I recommend Bald as a Bean, The Experience of Sudden Hair Loss to those suffering from alopecia or hair loss due to a treatment such as chemotherapy, but as well, to those who enjoy reading true stories about the triumph of the human spirit.

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ISBN: 0978539508ISBN-13
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Parsons, Nancy Posted by Picasa


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