I had the chance to ask the motivating & inspirational blogger Tiffany a number of questions about her journey managing Alopecia Areata. I am personally inspired by the way she handles he condition while remaining a strong and motivating role model for her children. If you want to read more about Tiffany and how she manages Alopecia Areata it keep reading.
Tell me a bit about yourself
My name is Tiffany I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am a mom of three boys, sister to five brothers, and daughter of Maren’s. I am a lover of the arts; music, art, poetry, dance, drama, movies, etc. I also enjoy reading, writing, singing, and dancing. I am obsessed with history and social sciences hence the reason I am social studies and languages arts, teacher. Nonetheless, anything to do with astrology, numerology, nomenology, and palmistry I’m all over it. However, I do believe in an internal locus of control.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system attacks hair follicles. The damage to the follicle is usually not permanent, however, when lupus attacks the same area affected by the alopecia the chances of the regrowth is less.
When were you diagnosed and what lead to your diagnosis?
I had a rash on my face for about a year and no matter what my general doctor gave me it wouldn’t go away. They thought it was fungal, treated it for eczema nothing helped. Then I started to noticed patches of my hair missing, I went to see a dermatologist, and that’s when I was diagnosed with Alopecia areata. After a trip to Mexico, the rash began to spread across the bridge of my nose, that’s when it finally clicked for the dermatologist and sent to a specialist. I was initially diagnosed with Discoid lupus erythematosus in May 2016. Then in November of 2016 after complications with blood flow, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus erythematosus.
How did you feel when you received the news?
When I first received the news, I was scared. I am a mom with three, they need me, and they need me to be healthy. I mean moms don’t have time to have an occasional cold, on top of that I am a school teacher (lots of germs), if I’m medication to lower my immune system I wondered how was I going to manage to be around so many people. To know there is no cure… is very scary. However, it was somewhat relieving to have a name to what was wrong with me.
How do you treat your condition?
Through modern medicine. However, I feel like every visit my medications increase, and flares are not necessarily decreasing. I currently take Norvasc, Plaquenil, Cellcept, and Quinacrine. Elidel cream, Kenalog ointment, and I receive Kenalog shots on my scalp every 4-6 weeks. I also take Vitamin D3, Turmeric, Probiotic, Omega 3, HCL with Pepsin, Biotin, and a daily vitamin.
Besides taking medication what other changes have you had to make?
I keep telling myself I’m going to overhaul my diet. I’m starting by making small but significant changes. Such as, I switched milk for lactose-free, I’ve started adding more veggies, and cut out alcohol (except for a glass of wine on special occasions).
I’m just starting to get back into working out. I’ve had a lot of issues with joints swelling and fatigue, but Pilates seems to be working well. When possible I also like to longboard, roller skate, and bike with my kids.
How has having Alopecia Areata & Systemic Lupus Erythematosus affected your social life/relationships?
I’ve always loved the outdoors and since having Lupus both the cold and hot weather has changed that. I live in very high elevation and have yet to figure out a way to manage going outdoors without flaring. I try only to go outdoors either early mornings or after 7:00 pm. I always have sunscreen, hats, and/or a parasol with me. But again I still manage to flair quickly. I’m always taking personal photos for my blog or social media, so I’ve come up with a system to quickly remove a hat or place my parasol down and snap a picture. I’ve recently started modeling part-time but Lupus hasn’t interfered besides the butterfly rash, and alopecia spots I cover with makeup. So far I’ve been lucky the photo shoots have been at sunset or inside.
Nonetheless, there are still times my friends will invite me to go boating or hiking, but I’m too scared to risk it. I feel caged this summer just waiting for the right lighting to go outside.
As far as the Alopecia Areata, at first I was extremely self-conscious… well I am still! It’s hard. I love my hair and hate to see it thinning, or when I get bald patches, it sucks when the spots become are sore and itchy.
How do you stay positive?
Some days are better than others like anything. But I love life, and I refuse to live a life of misery no matter what I’m going through. One of my aims in life is spiritual enlightenment I believe to achieve that I have to focus on the positive aspects of life.
What inspired you to start documenting your journey on your blog?
Selfish reasons. I’ve always journaled, and I find it is a stress reliever and who knows maybe someone else might relate.
What advice can you give someone that has Alopecia Areata or SLE?
Do your research, and reach out to others in the community. I’m still new to all of this, so it has been beneficial to get advice from people who know and understand.
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