My COVID Chronicles: The Hair Loss

One of the side effects suffered by long haulers that you don’t hear about as much is hair loss. This can randomly show up weeks after your illness. Then the duration and severity of the loss varies from person to person. For me, this was one of the more difficult side effects to deal with. And again, I was one of the lucky ones.

I had seen it mentioned in my long haulers group a few times – people losing excessive strands of hair, or even clumps. A friend fo mine who had contracted COVID in February of 2020 talked about how thin her hair was getting. But I had been lucky in that regard.

My individual hair strands are thin. I just have a lot of them. My haircut back in October had trimmed the length to just above my waist. I finally had the length I had been craving since childhood, though a little thinner thanks to hormonal issues.

Then the one weekend it happened. I had taken a shower and was using my wet/dry brush to comb it out. Strand after strand after strand kept pulling out. That brush that I had just cleaned was completely full again by the time I was done.

I cried.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, hair loss is not that big a deal. Hair can grow back. But for some reason, as shallow as it sounds, it is horrible to have happen.

This continued for a few weeks. I was definitely pulling more strands out in the shower and that brush just kept filling. Luckily I had no bald spots. A friend of mine who was sick around the same time I was sent me a picture of the giant bald spot she now has at the front of her head, like men get. She has to now wear a wig. But then that hair coil was needing to be wrapped around my bun or ponytail more times. My best friend commented how dull and lifeless my hair looked in the selfies I would send her. And the ends were just breaking off like crazy.

I ended up somewhat fortunate in that I was able to borrow some keratin shampoo and conditioner from a friend for a couple of weeks. At least some shine was starting to return, even if the ends were still dried out. But most of the time, I was still wearing it in a bun. I knew I needed a cut, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Finally, my friend whose salon I go to posted she had some openings on the following Wednesday. I jumped on it, figuring that was a sign to get it done.

I cringed when it was time to go in. After all, it was now down to my waist, but a mess:

I asked that she just cut off whatever was needed to go back to a healthy head of hair, relatively speaking, no matter how much it had to be. So she did and then blew it out and styled it. I did better than I thought:

Now, I’m not about to take the time to do this every day. But it sure felt good to have all of that ick cut off. I feel like I am starting fresh. The loss has slowed down or stopped, so this feels like yet another step in the right direction.

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