During the period between November 2001 to June 2002, my hair completely stopped growing. Now, assuming you’ve just received the best haircut of your life, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Just think of all the money you’d be saving on regular haircuts! (Not to mention expensive shampoos and conditioners).
However, this apparent convenience truly concerned me. I knew that the state of one’s hair was more than just cosmetic, and a true reflection of overall health status. During this same time, I experienced a tremendous change in my appetite.
I rarely, if ever, felt hungry. Not surprisingly, I lost a significant amount of weight. The initial weight loss was welcomed; my continued, intentional weight loss was a major cause of concern. As a result, my nutritional intake fell dramatically. My hair was not receiving nearly the nourishment that it required to grow at a normal rate. My hair felt lifeless and dry, too.
I tried to reassure myself that once my stress levels finally lessened, my hair would resume growing at a regular rate. I had just defended my doctoral dissertation, in October 2001. I was completing a post-doctoral fellowship in psychological pain management. So, it was safe to say that I was dealing with a fair degree of stress.
By this point, I also had been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. During the summer of 2002, I made the radical decision to have my hair cut short. Very short. Shorter than I had ever had it cut in my life. For whatever reasons, my hair started to grow back at a normal rate. Soon, I was requiring monthly trims to maintain my style. So much for saving on expensive shampoos and conditioners!