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My journey



I started losing my hair at about 22 / 23 years of age. I grew my hair out long when I was 21 and when I got it cut when I was 22 I could see a noticeable difference in my hairline much to my astonishment not to mention frustration and disappointment. When I had my hair long I did notice it to be itchy and falling out a bit when I combed it but didn't think too much of it. So there I was age 22 with my hair receding. Now it was noticeable to me obviously but because I had it long and now it was short no one really noticed it, they just thought it was the haircut. So I continued on with my life not really thinking too much about it. I had no real concern about it as it was very minor and I really didn't know anything about hair loss or how it progresses. Over the years however I did start noticing a considerable recede in my hairline and I started to become the butt of jokes about going bald. All laughed off by me but deep down I was quite hurt. I think when it happens initially you have no idea how quickly your hair loss can proceed and you keep fooling yourself thinking it's stopped at different times. I had at this stage researched a bit about hair loss and realised after reviewing my Mothers side of the family I had inherited male pattern baldness. GREAT!!! :-( 2 out of 4 of her brothers were bald!!!! At about the age of 26 I had receded quite badly but had thankfully kept my crown in tack.

From a social point of view the slags continued and my beanie hat became a staple of my going out clothes. Very similar to how the Edge in U2 constantly wears one. I would have always been confident around girls and had no problem in that area but suddenly my confidence was rocked and I felt like so many others on here suddenly old looking and not attractive. I started looking at bald models...there are none and reading up on guys like Jason Statham to see was there some way to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex. Of course him being a Hollywood star didn't seem to make a difference to me at the time. I started to read what girls really thought of bald guys and although some said it didn't bother them most prefered guys with hair. I continued to wear the hat and girls actually thought it was cool, of course deep down I was thinking OK great but what happens when we go somewhere private and the hat comes off?? I shouldn't have had to worry though as my amazing friends invariably grabbed the hat off me on nights out. I'd love to say it didn't make a difference but I'm not going to lie. 70% of the time the conversation ended shorty after that!! Enough was enough for me, I was not going to succum to this especially at such an early age.

I started at looking at Regaine and managed to afford to buy a bottle as a trial. What I would say I noticed was not a lot. What you are envisaging is a miracle regrowth unfortunately that is never going to happen and of course it states as much. Regardless you still believe it may in your case. I can't even say it stopped the hair loss as I only bought one bottle and read as soon as you stopping using it you continue to lose your hair. I couldn't afford to keep buying a bottle so let it go.

In 2003 at age 29 I read an article on hair systems. After a bit of research I found a company in Dublin that did them. Now what I will say about these systems is depending on the consultant and the hair dresser these actually can work.

Now there are a couple of things to note as to how these can work. You need to be very specific about your hair colour and the density!! Note: you will be going from a balding head to a thick head of hair. No one more than yourself from a psychological point of view will have a harder time accepting how you now look. You also have to realise people you know and love WILL notice a difference so are you comfortable with that and prepared to answer their questions? How will you deal with your work colleagues?? These systems work really well if you are meeting strangers and it is really well cut in. Then you can actually pull it off (no pun intended) without any questions, If however like 99% of the people getting them you will be interacting normally then you will not get away with the sudden change.

My first attempt at a hair system was a disaster. It was the day of a big event I was going to and I was convinced I would stroll in with a new full head of hair. Went to my appointment and automatically knew something wasn't right straight away. The hair piece was the thickest set of hair I have ever seen and it was jet jet black. They convinced me to try it on and cut it in. Being naive I agreed. They shaved the top of my head and the crown area, placed the hair piece (wig) on used adhesive and started to cut out the thickness. I hated it from the moment I put it on. A friend came by to have a look and just laughed. I told them to take it off and I left embarrassed. Due to the fact they had to shaved the top of my head I told them to do the rest. So there I was rather than going to the ball with a new head of hair I went to it with no hair! Not a look I was going for I can assure you.

I convinced myself that wasn't an option but after another chat with a sales consultant and a free trial I tried again. This time the piece wasn't as thick and it was the right colour. I wouldn't let them shave the top of my head until I saw it cut in. When it was done I was shocked. It actually looked convincing and to a stranger perfectly normal. I decided to go with it and wore hair pieces for 2/3 years. I took all the flack and slagging I was expecting and got on with it. I changed jobs shortly afterwards so that was one hurdle overcome. What I will say however is this. You need to buy several of these systems while you are wearing them. They do not last. I bought 3 to start and they would cut a new one in every so often. These all cost!!! €€€££££$$$$$ so be aware. Also certain activities will fade them out very quickly and they can turn orange from sunlight, swimming in pools etc. Not straight away but overtime and this is noticeable and your friends will point it out to you!!! I'm a very active person and after awhile I knew these were not for me. Sweat would leave the adhesive loose and the hair piece could slip off your head!!! This happened to me playing football and once after only getting the system cut in. Thankfully I got away with it as no one saw, but I knew that was that for them plus the ongoing costs and to be honest the actually fact I knew I was wearing one which itself never sat right with me.

So my search continued and this is when although I of course was aware of transplants I started to research thoroughly the options out there. Of course all the time I was wearing a hair piece my hair loss continued so I was now a Norwood IV.

One day a friend of mine saw a clip on a morning TV show about a surgeon and his work and that they were holding a seminar in Dublin. I decided to attend but due to time constraints I couldn't stay long. I took a card and followed up with a call. There I met a hair dresser / hair consultant who told me all about his journey. He attended a surgeon named Dr Patrick Frechet. He (the hair dresser) in essence was a rep for Dr Frechet in Ireland. After a lot of research I booked in to visit him in Paris, undergo the first in a series of transplants and I started using Finisteride. The reason there was a series is because he used a technique that actually draws the side of the donor areas up to cover the bald parts. If you can imagine the sides of your head being pulled up to meet each other on the top that's what he did. You do still of course still need to have a classic transplant FUE / FUT to cover the rest but this way allows you to minimise the area of coverage with out having to take any hair from the donor area first. Of course these were not cheap but I was focused and knew I wanted a full head of hair. I made sacrifices to follow my journey but they were all worth it. After the initial operations I had 2 further classic transplants with Dr Frechet. Whereas the initial operations filled me with hope these operations did not give me the coverage I was hoping for and left me deflated. Dr Frechet did not yield as many grafts as I hoped he would and my hair was still quite sparse on top apart from the front of my hair line. I was at this stage so close but yet so far away. I had made huge gains from my days of being bald and yet to me I could still see I was quite sparse. At this stage I had started using topic to add coverage. My search continued.

Whilst I was in Paris I met Dr Jerry Wong from Hasson and Wong. He actually as part of a hair loss conference did a small transplant operation on my hair line. I went investigating further. At this point I would like to point out I started with Dr Frechet in 2007 it wasn't until the end of 2009 I looked at Hasson and Wong. Again I will state I made sacrifices to pay for these operations and they are not cheap. I researched and quickly saw how amazing results could be achieved through Hasson and Wong. They yielded more than anyone else in the world and they had more than enough feedback to back up their results. I suppose the reason I hadn't investigated them earlier was I was kindof partnered with Dr Frechet and H & W are in Vancouver. Regardless I couldn't deny the results so booked a transplant for the Christmas of 2009. From the moment I walked into their office I knew I had made the right choice. I quickly saw the difference in how a classic FUT transplant should be conducted by a team of professionals. This was considered not only a transplant operation but a corrective transplant to tidy up the width of my fut scar. The operation was a great success and my coverage was at a level where I was happy for the first time :-)

I thought my journey was over until 2012 when I met with Dr Wong when he was in Europe to see if he could yield anymore grafts. He was amazed at the laxity of my scalp and said yep no problem. So I booked and had another transplant with H & W in Christmas 2012. Again the results were amazing and I achieved my goal!!!! I had now gone from a Norwood IV to a full head of hair.

I actually have more laxity in my scalp but I think enough is enough and I have to say I am extremely happy with my results!!! There are lots of stories of hindsight on here for me mine would have been to have gone to H & W earlier.

I am currently trying to retrieve my early photos from Dr Frechet and as soon as I have these I will put them up. Proof is in the pudding as they say. In the meantime if you have any questions about any aspects of hair loss please don;t hesitate to contact me. What I will say is having now completed my journey its hard to remember the complete mental torture I went through whilst living as a bald guy. Thus I think now is a good time to try and give something back and to let everyone on here know that it is possible to beat baldness.


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