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The TRUTH to Growing Your Hair: Winning Against Alopecia (Jasmine's Story)

Eighth grade is included in that phase where we are just coming into our own. For me, it was the start of a somewhat downward spiral for my health. I began having days where I would have random swellings, radiating pain all over my body, persistent nausea, hair loss, and even constant headaches. My mom would have to constantly check me out of school early due to either me not feeling well or having to go to the doctor to be picked and probed at.  I was tested for everything to include cancer, lupus, and even rheumatoid arthritis.  The doctors still were not able to pinpoint the cause of my symptoms.I graduated high school with a diploma and a diagnosis for Alopecia Areata and Raynaud’s Disease. Going to the doctor remained my norm even as an adult in the military. My hair loss grew worse and worse. My husband and I were engaged in 2011, which was the same year we both were deployed. During this time of being separated, the hair loss got so bad that I had to resort to wearing wigs. So, by the time we were reunited (8 months later), my husband saw a whole new me because this was also at the same point my weight dropped from 133lbs to 108lbs.FINALLY, AN ANSWER…After too many times of going to the doctor to count, I was finally thoroughly tested for autoimmune conditions. I remember the day I got my results back clearly because it was probably the only day that I have ever gotten excited when I heard bad news.  The doctor leaned forward with a chart in her hand, and she showed me that the results showed I was ANA positive and because of this she further tested my blood and found that I was positive for Sjogren’s Disease. She then added that this disease was typically found in 40+ year old women and she was shocked by the diagnosis. She then explained to me the results from an endoscopy she’d had me to do (I’d already had about 3 of these by this time). She informed me that I was showing definite signs of gluten intolerance and should consider going completely gluten free. I didn’t care how bad the news seemed though. You know why? Because after almost SEVEN YEARS of symptoms and being picked and probed at by doctors and physicians, I had an answer as to why. MY NEW LIFESTYLE…Of course, it was at this time that I decided to go completely gluten free. I was a Googling maniac. I researched everything I could think of from what gluten was to whether or not my nail polish had traces of it. I took out everything that contained any traces of gluten, to include wheat, oats, barley, rye, faro, malt, corn, etc. (there are plenty more, which can be found on the Celiac Disease Foundation website). Eventually, I got tired of standing in the grocery aisles reading labels that I figured out I should just keep it simple and eat what God put on this earth, which didn’t include bags of snacks.I did really well being consistent on the gluten free diet and was feeling more alive than ever. My symptoms seemed to really die down. My hair was even trying to grow back in. I thought all was well. However, after a trip to New York with my husband to visit family and overindulgence in the gluten, the hair loss came back with a vengeance. Within a week, I had no body hair, to include eyelashes and eyebrows, and such a small amount of hair on my head that I asked my husband to shave it. Total, I was without hair for about 6 years. Having a condition being linked to your diet means you don’t have too much leeway for “cheat” meals. A NEW STRUGGLE…In 2013 I had a few areas where hair was trying to grow in and my eyebrows and eyelashes were back. My husband and I also found out we were expecting our first child. We were super excited. Everything went great with the pregnancy. I even did crossfit until I was about 5 or 6 months. In November of 2014, I had to be rushed to the hospital due to severe bleeding that seemed to have come out of nowhere. While doctors all around me moved urgently, one asked if I was pregnant and my husband and I answered no. The test came back and not only was I pregnant, but I was almost 18 weeks pregnant and miscarrying (I had not one clue that I was pregnant as you can see).  A little time went by and I became pregnant a third time. That pregnancy also resulted in miscarriage, but this time at 6 weeks. I rushed to the doctor and when he asked if I had any questions, I only had one. Why? He explained that due to my having autoimmune issues, it was very possible that my condition was being passed along to the baby, resulting in miscarriage.Fast forward to 2017, I became pregnant for the fourth time, had a little bit of hair back, and was having symptoms sporadically. It was during this time that my mom gifted me with the services of a holistic wellness coach who helped me over the course of my pregnancy to heal my gut and not just eat healthy. In addition to eating gluten free, I eliminated dairy, soy, and refined sugars for a period of six weeks. I also added probiotics, more leafy greens and variations of vegetables, omega-7 vitamins, fish oil vitamins, and vitamin D3. While going through this process of elimination and addition, my hair grew as healthy as a chia pet’s (I know some of you guys remember those commercials) and my symptoms subsided. Currently, I have about 95% of my hair back, to include body hair.My hair care regimen has been as simple as this:
  1. Wash and condition once a week (I use Jason brand Aloe Vera Shampoo and conditioner and Okay brand leave-in conditioner)
  2. Moisturize hair 1-2 times daily
  3. Comb through and twist hair on wash day and refresh mid-week to prevent tangling
  4. Keep protected…it was my personal decision to stick with covering my hair with a scarf as opposed to wigs and trying to style and cover areas of missing hair
In summary, I do the bare minimum to my hair, which I believe has also played a major role in how great it’s been growing.There are two things I know without a doubt helped to heal my body and that is the change in my diet from crappy to intentional eating, the addition of vital supplements and vitamins, and the addition of probiotics. It certainly wasn’t an overnight process and it took a lot of consistency and dedication. I should note that it still does. I know that I can never eat gluten everyday all day, but the temptation is still there. After all, Papa John’s ALWAYS has a good deal going on…but so does Sprouts and Kroger. What worked for me may not work for you. For me, conventional treatment included sessions of steroid shots in the head. I completed about 3 of these before realizing I was actually doing more harm than good in the long run (my husband looked more in pain watching me do it than I looked getting them). However, I can’t stress enough how healing food is to our bodies when we eat for health and not just pleasure.If you are planning on trying out anything mentioned here or taking on any type of new way of eating (we say diet, but really it’s a change in LIFESTYLE), don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to eliminate and add things all at once. Do it gradually. My journey is not over, but I have faith and I have hope.My current health plan is this:
  1. Get exercise at least 3 times a week (usually I get more, but this is my bare minimum)
  2. Follow a gluten free diet
  3. Have a “cheat” meal or snack as opposed to cheat days or full weekends (I’ve found that this is the best way to guarantee that I don’t get off track)
  4. Try to avoid dairy, soy, and artificial sugar as much as possible
  5. Intake some type of probiotic daily (at least 2tbsp)
  6. Take daily vitamins, which include vitamin D3, prenatal (multivitamin), omega-7 vitamin, and fish oil
  7. Eat some type of leafy green with every meal, to include breakfast (If not, I ensure to do a nutrient packed green smoothie)
  8. Either drink warm water and apple cider vinegar every morning or do Dr. Axe’s detox drink mix at some point in the day. This helps to keep my system clean.
  9. You can contact the author, Jasmine on Instagram: @uniquelyjdanielle Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jasminetucker4 Shoot her emails if you have any questions: jonesusaf@gmail.com

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