"My husband, John R. Suttle, lost all of his hair in under 2 months due to alopecia areata."
My husband, John R. Suttle, lost all of his hair in under 2 months due to alopecia areata. I noticed this on September 25, 2008 as a patch the size of a quarter developed above his left ear. I’m a cosmetologist and am fully aware of skin, hair and nail issues when I see them on clients. I’ve had numerous clients over the years who have suffered from varying degrees of alopecia. Some are still struggling with their permanent hair loss.
I first hammered out the Mayo Clinic’s website on alopecia, and just as expected, my observation was correct. I told John to not worry, I’d get him into our doctor and then to my dermatologist, Dr. Schlesinger. John saw our doctor on that next day, Friday, for a full work up and physical. He was booked to see Dr. Schlesinger on Wednesday and followed up with his lab results which showed nothing to explain the alopecia.
John was losing clumps of hair upon getting into the shower. I began a personal photo journal of John’s hair loss. It was hard for him to allow me to do this but he understood why so he conceded. I’ve never published those photos and have only shared some with our mothers.
Then began the injection treatments of 3 syringes filled with Kenalog, “the juice,” given every six weeks by Becky Repaire, Dr. Schlesinger’s physician assistant, or Dr. Schlesinger. In addition to the 3 syringes every 6 weeks, he applied Clobetasol steroid foam on his scalp & face one week on one week off. He is still using that prescription as well as taking Biotin four times a day. We knew there was no cure or guarantee that those injections would help John re-grow his hair.
When we finally had to shave his head November 1st weekend, he appeared to have these dark patchy areas that looked like tribal tattoos all over his skull. This visual was telling me that his papilla was still viable and that there was still hope that he could grow his hair back with continued treatments! John didn’t like having to shave his head and said to me after the holidays he was going let it all go and see from there. I didn’t give him another shave or a haircut but did keep his neckline cleaned up and tweaked his sideburns once in a blue moon. We were both amazed that the alopecia hadn’t affected his chest or back or brows, lashes or mustache. Amazed and grateful!
In less than 2 months the treatment contributed to his new hair emerging behind the hair that was exponentially falling out. John’s hair was coming back slowly. He looked like an old man with a flattop! The tips were shocking white with a new dark brown color right behind the tips. The patchy areas began to fill in with a vengeance come June/July. He then allowed me to give him a very light trim.
John’s hair came back with curls! Massive amounts of corkscrew curls! Little old ladies would beat him senseless if they saw the perfectly tight “finger curls” in the back of his head that occurred naturally after he got out of the shower. His face still has some naked areas where facial hair isn’t growing – John says it’s one less thing to have to shave. He was so glad when his hair re-grew. All he’d say for months was “I just want my hair back.” That was pitiful to hear and heartbreaking too.
That’s the success story of my husband, John R. Suttle and his experiences with Dr. Schlesinger and his staff.