May we meet you?
My name is Ogochukwu Adesina. I am a Nigerian woman currently based in UAE. I work a 9-5 job at a multinational consumer goods company as a Human Resources Professional. I am a Christian and a believer in Jesus.
When did you discovered that you have alopecia?
I started losing my hair in 2005 while I was still at University. However, I did not know that this hair loss had a name until some years after I lost my hair. For the purpose of this chat, I’ll be responding to the hair loss experience not necessarily from the point when it was diagnosed as Alopecia.
What really is the cause of alopecia?
It is an autoimmune disease caused by a failure by the body to recognise its own cells (in this case the hair follicles) and goes on to attack them.
Is there a cure for it?
Medically there is no standard cure. However there have been some interventions that have worked for some but not for others. Solutions like cortisone injections or certain immunotherapy can be used to induce an allergic response that may trigger hair growth. Sometimes some people experience a regrowth and others do for some time and then it all comes back again. Some medical and even natural remedies have worked for some and not worked for others, hence I cannot say there is cure. In my own case, I tried both natural remedies and medical ones but nothing really worked
How did your family and friends react to the news?
Well, my family has been super supportive. From the time when they found out they have been there for me both emotionally and otherwise. I’ve also been blessed with friends who have come to understand what the condition is and who have also been quite supportive. Having said that, not everyone can empathize or understand what a person is going through when they lose their hair so I try not to make too much of it when I get the opposite reaction.
What was the first thing you did after you discovered that you had alopecia?
The first thing I did was call my sister who’s a Medical Doctor. And then following that I started reading up and researching possible medical solutions that were available.
How easy was it for you to accept the situation?
It was not easy at all. I mean I had beautiful, black, long hair. 🙂 and I had been used to growing it and trimming it at will. I loved making my hair, changing my hair styles and generally just loved my hair. So accepting the fact that my hair was falling off was not something that came easily. For the longest time, I did not accept it. Also, culturally, a woman’s hair is one of the features that define her beauty and shows off her feminity and to think that I would no longer have this “great” symbol of womanhood (at least not having it grown on my head) was a big deal for me in the beginning. So it was not the easiest thing to accept and took me a long time to. However, I’m now at the point where I have grown through the experience and I now see myself beyond hair loss. I am grateful to God for helping me understand that beauty is beyond a woman’s hair (or any part of her body for that matter)
During those trying times, who and what did you draw strength from?
I drew and still draw my strength from God. I now understand better that I am not defined by my physical being – what I have or do not have on the outside but rather by what I carry and who I am on the inside. Knowing who I am in the eyes of God who created me helped me see myself in a different light. I will say without a doubt that I drew my strength from God. My husband is/was a strong pillar and my go-to person to cry to also 🙂
Did you suffer any form of discrimination or humiliation from those around?
I would not use either of those words to describe it. I did feel different and sometimes embarrased by the reactions I received and some of the comments that were made within my hearing.
Did you encounter any form of set backs because of it?
No, I did not encounter any set backs. If anything, the limitations were in my mind. You know always asking myself “what would people think?”
What would you say aid your healing process?
How easy was it for you to heal?
Again, I have to go back to God as my source. It was a journey that he took me through. He helped me understand who I really am and it was beyond hair or people’s perception of a girl without hair. I am also learning that as a believer there’s nothing I go through that I cannot bear and that ALL things work together for my good. Just because I do not understand or cannot see the good in it doesn’t mean that it is not working together for my good. My constant prayer is for God to help me see myself the way he sees me.
Tell us about your love life, when did you meet your husband?
I love love (laugh) I met my husband as an undergraduate in Uni. We both attended the same University and were friends for some time.
Was it love at first sight?
Well…no, it was not love at first sight. Haha. It was love after many many sights.
What was the attraction?
I am attracted to him and him to me for many many reasons; if I begin to list, there won’t be enough space to contain i (laugh)
When did you tie the knot?
We tied the knot in April 2012 and have been blessed with 2 amazing children (3years and 5months old)
How did he react to the news?
Well, at the time I told him, we were just friends but we had become quite close and I wanted him to know; you know, just in case :-). I remember being very unsure about what he would say or think but then the only thing he said after I was done explaining, was “Oh, Are you OK?” I realised that he was more concerned about how I was doing/feeling than about the fact that I was losing my hair.
How many kids do you have?
I have two children.
Tell us about your pregnancy. Which trimester would you say was the hardest?
With my first (my son) it was soooo easy! No morning sickness, no adverse cravings (except for yams) no tiredness – if anything I was very active during that time. It was a very drama-free pregnancy and I am grateful for that experience. With my daughter, in the first trimester, there was some morning sickness and the usual tiredness but nothing dramatic also. I think the 3rd trimester….was not the hardest but just the most tiring. That’s when you’re bigger and kinda wobbly, sleeping becomes difficult, the constant need to pee and all the other beautiful things that a big bump brings. Also being pregnant with a toddler is not the most straightforward thing, especially an active toddler. So I’m constantly begging not to be jumped on or climbed. Hahaha. But I’m grateful to have had healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
How would you describe motherhood?
Motherhood for me is a huge divine assignment. It is God entrusting these humans into your care – to nurture and to raise them as people that He can be proud of. It will not come easy or by wishful thinking and hoping. I mean, if you have a toddler, you already know that wishful thinking will not do anything (laughs). I am now all about intentional parenting and by extension intentional motherhood. If I can plan my career and have career goals, even more than that, I must have motherhood goals and put in the work. God remains the source though and it might not be about hearing a deep voice from heaven saying “My daughter, here’s how to raise your son”. It might be about connecting you with the right information and tool that you need. Personally, I’ve learnt so much from social media about this parenting thing.
What’s the high and low of being a mom?
Hmmmm….that’s an interesting question and the response will vary from mom to mom. There are days when I feel like I have it all figured out and there are days when I feel clueless and unsure about what to do. But even in those seeming clueless days, just seeing the smile on my child’s face makes me fall in love all over again. Then all those random hugs and kisses and I-love-you’s bring all the spark I need!
What advice would you give to people living with alopecia?
So you have alopecia, so what? So you’ve lost your hair, so what? You have not lost the air you breathe. You have not lost your purpose. You have not lost your identity. You have not lost your unique place in the universe. You are special. You are awesome. Your hair does not define you in the same way that nothing else about your body should define you. You have no hair but you have a kind heart, you have a gentle spirit, you have a beautiful smile, you know how to make people laugh. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Be grateful for all the blessings that you do have. Also don’t stress, give yourself time to accept the change, it’s a big deal for some of us and might take some time but don’t let it take you joy. Everything happens for a reason and you, my darling alopecian king/queen are a MASTERPIECE. If you are going through this and need to talk – feel free to send me a DM on Instagram (@OgoDesh)