Guest Post: Tereza - Alopecia

It's an honor to have Tereza writing on the blog about her experience with alopecia.

Even now when I'm at the age of 20 Im still confused when it comes to presentations. To keep it short and simple:

My name is Tereza and Im 20 years old (as you know). Born and raised in Sweden but my roots are originally from Uganda. Ive been there three times now and I am now sure that I will continue to visit my family there.  As I said I was born in Stockholm the capital city of Sweden. But at the age of five we decided to move from the ’’big apple’’ to a tiny tiny town that doesnt even exist on the map. The whole moving part was hard but eventually I got used to it.

The most negative part about growing up in a small town was the racism. I was basically one of 10 black girls which made me very special and unlike everyone else.  I struggled a lot with that and sometimes it really broke me down. When I look back I remember that I had a lot of self hatred.  I didn't like my skin color, my face, my personality but the biggest of them all > my hair. I just wanted straight, soft hair without any curls. I remember that I begged my mother to always have braids and I never wanted to have natural fro. Anyway, through the years I learned to accept my curls and I realized that I couldn't complain or do anything special about it.

At the age of 16 I started high school. I remember that I was so tired of braids and changing my hair dos every minute. People then started to recommended that I should have it natural, because they thought that it could look good. So one day I decided to go to a barber and cut my hair short. Once I did it, all of a sudden I started to LOVE my hair, my style and everything that came.

In the summer of 2013 I found a bald spot on the back of my head. I knew exactly what it was but I started to google (which I wouldnt recommend). I found a bunch of crazy stuff but most of all I realized that I had alopecia. I got so nervous and devastated because I though that I would loose all my hair before my graduation which was Summer 2015. For those who dont know what alopecia is, I thought I could give you a short:

"Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp due to the body's failure to recognize its own body cells and destroys its own tissue as if it were an invader.Often it causes bald spots on the scalp, especially in the first stages. In 12% of cases, the condition can spread to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or to the entire epidermis (alopecia universalis). Conditions resembling AA, and having a similar cause, occur also in other species."

So this is what I got at the age 17. During the whole summer and fall I remember that I was so nervous because I didn't know what the future would hold.

I was raised into a Christian family which means that God has been the center of my life since I can remember. Ive been the rebel in the family and decided many times to do my own thing. But somewhere in there I knew that only one person could fix this.
However we decided to go to different doctors to get a bigger explanation and they also confirmed that I had alopecia. I remember that every doctor said ’’We cant to anything because we dont know what this is for 100%’’. So I gave God a chance and started to pray every single day. Something simple as ’’God help me’’. Same prayers everyday for a whole year. During this time my spot started to grown more and I also got another one which means, I had two spots on the back of my head. I remember that I got more sad but also more motivated to pray to God. I knew that anything was possible as long as you believe. My worst nightmare would be to not have any hair on my graduation.  
During this time a lot of people in my environment commented on my spots. They laughed and asked question of what it was and why I had it. I remember that it was so hard and every single time someone said something about the spot I just wanted to cry and get away.
So the time flew by and I kept on praying to God. When I started senior year at high school my faith was still going strong and it kept on growing even with the spots on the back of my head.

Anyway, I graduated from high school with ALL OF MY HAIR. During my last year through senior my hair grew back and today I only have a tiny tiny spot left. Its almost impossible to see it. Nothing says that it wont grow back but now I know for sure that God will be there and will help to fix it. He hears everything that Im thinking and wondering. Im his own beloved child and I know that it hurts to see his child being sad. The only thing I needed to do was to pray and believe that everything would be alright - which it was in the ended.  

I think that alopecia is something that we have to talk about. I didnt know about this before I got it. And I think that we should know that its not something to be ashamed of. Its a problem, and we need to talk and deal with it. I got alopecia at the time when I finally started to love my afro and loved to have natural hair. Alopecia broke me down but I will never let it affect me the same way again. It doesn't matter where I am in life I will always love my hair and keep on taking care of it. Today Im in a period of my life where I use weave a lot and I love that as well. I love the fact that I can have both long and short hair. Im beautiful no matter what and I dont care what society says about it.

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