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Day 14 - Day 90: Ugly Duckling



Day 14:

Ok, so the graft hairs have really shed now and I would say 60-70% of them are gone. My wife trimmed my sides and back today and since I have thick hair in the back, the layered trim actually helps conceal the scar even better than long hair. She did a nice job of layering the hair. I do, however, have kind of the old man Norwood 7 look going with almost nothing on top and then a rim of hair around the sides and back. Not my best look, so I am not looking forward to going to work in a few weeks with this new look. Some may think - why wouldn't he just shave the sides and back too since he cut the top so short? Oh well, I was never very happy my appearance in the last few years, so I can put up with a few more months of funny looks. Plus, people we see very day get used to things pretty quickly. I plan on wearing a hat a lot in the next few months when I am out in public. Good thing it is is winter time now. I have also started to grow a 5 o'clock shadow beard to distract attention. These things are about all I know to do to get through this phase. This is where the FUE people have a great advantage! They get back to looking somewhat normal much quicker. That said, I chose not to go FUE because I wanted to save donor areas for a possible future FUE procuedure to create temple peaks, possibly thicken the crown, and even fill in the scar if necessary. I started back on Rogaine Foam at Day 13 and I dialed down the 1.25mg Propecia from once a day to once every 3 days. I started on Propecia for the first time the day after the procedure. Honestly, the sexual side effect risks of Propecia scare the hell out of me...much more than balding. So I dialed it back to reduce the risks, as I saw that is what some others on the forums have done. Would be great to see a little growth at month 1 or perhaps my native hairs that the doc cut coming back so I could look more like I did before the procedure. I realize shock loss may delay return of native hairs for as long as it takes for the grafts to start growing, so that may be wishful thinking. I am going to try and put it in the back of my mind as much as possible, focus on work, and just be patient!

Day 21

Still shedding, especially in the front. Using Rogaine daily plus1.25mg of Propecia every 3rd day. Scar is doing OK. I have one tender spot with a very small scab (size of a pin head), but I think it is from the staple, not the scar. Wearing a hat about 1/2 the day as well on average, and I'm sure that does not promote healing back there. I have some hairs on the top and crown that continue to grow. I can't tell if it's my native hair or grafts, or a combination of both. My wife thinks it is a combo. Having them there is helping to offset the ugly duckling a little bit, but I know it may get worse before it gets better. Most of the grafts in the front third have shed and I think the Dr. scrapped whatever native hair was there because he knew it would evenutally go. So that front third should be bare until growth begins. But in all honesty, it was pretty bare before as well. I'll post some of the Day 21 pictures.

Day 30:

Shedding completed a few days ago. No hair coming off in the shower, even with aggressive shampooing. I am not full blown Norwood VI, but I certainly look like a bad Norwood V. Many, but not all, native hairs mid scalp and towards the crown survived but the area is very thin and the hairs are shorter than the sides and back. Concealors really won't help much for that area and may actually make it look worse. The native hairs are growing longer and are now about 1 inch in length, almost enough to comb a little bit. My wife is getting a little frustrated that I am not ready to go out in public yet without a hat. So we skip some get togethers with friends for the time being. I go back to work in a few days and then holidays are just around the corner, so going without a hat will have to be acceptable pretty darn quick. Each day the native hairs get a little longer, so the semi comb-over look is just around the corner as well. Kids have seen me without a hat but haven't said anything. I think it looks like I just chose to buzz the top down where my native hairs were thin and quite long before the surgery. The scar is still pink and there are no visible hairs growing through it yet. I am not sue how long that is supposed to take, but I will be looking into it more. The scar is mildly tender in just a couple spots and it itches from time to time. Almost all of the tightness is now gone. Top of the head is still a little numb in recipient area, while there is no numbness in the back. Lots waiting ahead...

6 weeks!

Wow. Possibly one of the longest 6 weeks periods of my life. But filled with great anticipation and no stress. I managed to avoid all work meetings (worked from home) for 5 weeks, and just had 2 days of customer meetings last week where the customer never said anything or gave so much of an odd look. So I feel pretty good that I am very close to my pre-op look, which makes the waiting period a lot easier when not worrying too much about appearance. The sheeding had stopped aorund day 20, but then from day 35-38 I shed a bunch more graft hairs right around my temples and on top. So hopefully I am now stabilized. My donor scar started turning sclap-color and less pink around week 5 as well. It feel much smoother back there now - almost completely flat across the whole scar now. Definitely had some shock loss back there around the ears. Hoping for all of it to return and thicken up in the next month. Can't tell if the scar has stretched, but it doesn;t look like as near as I can tell. I have some minor headaches, possibly due to the Propecia, which I was NOT on before the procedure. They seems to subsizde the day after I don't take a pill.Will be a busy December at work with 3 trips planned, so I hope to keep busy enough to get this off my mind now and focus on something else until the growth begins.

7 weeks - GROWTH!

Dec 6: I certainly did not expect to be talking about growth at week 7, but I definitely have some. There are individual hairs popping up around the hairline and the mid scalp appears to be getting thicker, not just longer. I also see some multi-hair grafts about 1/8 inch long behind the hairline. This has all happended in the last couple of days. I wasn't even looking for new sprouts, but there there were when I took a close look after showering. Now each day I'm sure I will be looking for more, and I need to find a way to get some good close-up photos going as well. I don't feel I have experienced the ugly duckling for more than about a week or so (around the 4-6 weeks mark) when shedding had maxed out and I felt really bald with long sides and back. I am really amazed to see growth and some thickening right now. I expected to have to go through the holidays looking pretty bleak. My scar is quite pink. I think it actually looks worse now than a few weeks ago. I hope that means hairs underneath are aggravting it as if they want to pop through the scar from the tricho closure. I have been treating both my scar and recieipient area with total kid gloves...no exercise at all and basically walking around like my head is in a cast. Been following Dr. instructions to most exacting specs, and I added Bition/Multi Vitamin/Zinc supplements to my diet as a lot of people of the forum seem to think that helps. I take Propecia 3-4 times per week and apply Rogaine once per day at night. I stopped wearing a hat on a regular basis about 2 weeks ago, and that has gone well. I went to a conference for work recently and no one gave a funny look or asked anything at all. I actually think the looks and questions may come in the next few months from people I know as growth starts accelerating and I start to look different. Who knows, maybe the change be so subtle that many people won't notice. Feeling pretty good about it at the moment, but I know there is a long way to go.

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Thanks for the update!


Blake (Future_HT_Doc)

Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant

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