I Had A Hair Transplant Today

Discussion in 'Hair Loss' started by VinDieselsWifey, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    I had a transplant today with Dr. Cooley from Carolina Dermatology in Charlotte. I got 2,000 grafts for the crown of my head. He's one of the best hair transplant doctors in the country. @ilong recommend him to me & I'm so grateful.

    I've been dealing with hair loss for 8 years now. When I was stationed in South Korea back in 2008, unbeknownst to me I got bacterial infection under my scalp. The Air Force had me living in unsanitary living conditions in mold infested dorms & the water came out the faucet brown. It would eventually turn clear.

    I arrived in Korea in February & by December I noticed a small thin spot in my crown. I thought it was from stress so I would massage the area & use stimulating essential oils but nothing helped. Over time it got a little bigger but it wasn't itching, red, or sore so I didn't think much of it.

    In 2010 I deployed to Honduras for 6 months & when I came back I separated from the military a month later. A few months later the thin spot started being very, very itchy, red, and sore. I would get this grayish crusty scaling too.

    I was made an appointment with the VA hospital but it took about 3-4 months to be seen by a primary care dr. I thought I had ringworm or some type of infection but she thought it was just seborrheic dermatitis but thankfully she referred me to dermatologist. It took another 4 months to be seen by the derm.

    When I told her what was going on she immediately did a biopsy. It came back that I had a bacterial infection & lots of inflammation. She said there was very little scarring so she saw no reason why my hair shouldn't grow back. She put me on an oral antibiotic, topical antibiotic, and a steroid. It helped a little but still wouldn't completely clear it up. I saw her every 6 months for about 1.5 years.

    Another member here recommended I use colloidal silver for the infection & that cleared the infection up but the thin spot kept getting bigger. I tried every natural remedy, essential oil, Megatek, monistat, garlic, onion juice, etc but nothing helped.

    I ended up moving to another state & it took months to get into the VA system to get an appointment. They did a biopsy & said I had scarring alopecia & nothing could be done about it.

    I saw a civilian dr last year & she tried the scalp injections for 6 months but they didn't do anything but leave a dent in my scalp. By now the thin spot was the size of a fist.

    I read about PRP and was hoping that could help me. I talked to @ilong about the procedure since she had it done & it was successful. She found Dr. Cooley for me & I had a free consultation with him. He said I would be wasting my money with PRP since the infection & inflammation killed my follicles.

    I had to get a loan to help pay for this surgery but for me it was worth it. It took 10 hours but he said it went perfectly. Since I got so many grafts & coming far away my hotel stay was paid for. The grafts will go into a dormant phase in about 2-3 months & then start growing. It can take 9-12 months to see the results. I should get back 50% density of what I lost.

    I can't wait to get my confidence back & not worry about the wind blowing & showing my bald spot. I couldn't wear my hair in styles that I used to. Since my hair is so thick no one knew I had a bald spot unless I showed it. I used to hate when people would tell me well you can't see it so it's no big deal. It was a big deal for me.

    I've been praying for years to healed & now I am & I'm so thankful.
     
  2. VictoriousBrownFlower

    VictoriousBrownFlower Well-Known Member

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    Wow...Sorry you had to go through all that but I'm glad you finally got the answers, relief, and now recovery. I have a bit of thinning in my crown (not sure if it's alopecia or nutrient deficiency and stress). I've been taking biotin for almost a yr now and it seems to be getting better but I'm not 100% sure. If the biotin doesn't work and it gets worse I want to get a hair transplant.

    How much did it cost?
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Well-Known Member

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    Oh my! I didn't even know you had an issue with your hair and I am so happy for you. All the best hon.
     
  4. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    I got 2,000 grafts & it was $9,000
     
  5. VictoriousBrownFlower

    VictoriousBrownFlower Well-Known Member

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    That's not too bad. I don't think I will need as many grafts as you because it's not an actual bald spot just a bit of thinning. I could def see myself doing this. Thanks alot.

    I know the embarassment of having to cover thinning hair so I really felt for you reading your story. I've been covering mine with a headband but I'm kinda getting sick of it.
     
  6. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    Yes it was so frustrating & embarrassing. The pic in my avatar was from June 2008 & the longest my hair had ever been. I was so happy with my hair & then this happened. I went natural & cut all that hair cause I didn't know why I was thinning. I didn't want to complicate anything with chemicals.

    I used to love to wear cornrows & twists but couldn't do that anymore because of the bald spot. My hair was always in a boring bun. When I did wear it down, I was so self conscious of someone seeing my bald spot.
     
  7. VictoriousBrownFlower

    VictoriousBrownFlower Well-Known Member

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    The worst for me was going to the hairdresser for the first time since this happened. A part of me didn't want to go because what if she said something or other people saw it. I went anyway and she didn't do anything. She just styled my hair in a way that you couldn't see the thinning area.

    I know you must feel so relieved to have the surgury behind you. Now you can just focus on growing the hair out. Are you going to document the growth with pics?
     
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  8. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    I probably will take pics every couple weeks or every month.
     
  9. ilong

    ilong God's Own

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    @VinDieselsWifey - thank you for posting your HT experience. Dr. Cooley is definitely one of the "BEST" in the country and his price point is competitive. Happy hair growing!
     
  10. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    This is my scalp on day 2 image.jpeg
     
  11. IDareT'sHair

    IDareT'sHair Not Hittin' Paynah

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    @VinDieselsWifey
    It's good that you are documenting your experience. I wish you the best.

    I'm sure you will return to your full Glory.
     
  12. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you!!
     
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  13. Guinan

    Guinan Re-Branding

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    I hope everything works out with the hair transplant. Thank you for posting a picture. Getting 50% density back is really amazing. I appreciate you servicing our country and it's heartbreaking that services for veterans aren't always readily available or offered. Thank goodness you were able to obtain a loan.

    I wish you luck on your new and EXCITING journey!!!
     
  14. Godsdaughter001

    Godsdaughter001 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing your story! I will come back to this thread to check your updates. :)
     
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  15. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the kind words. I really appreciate it.
     
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  16. IDareT'sHair

    IDareT'sHair Not Hittin' Paynah

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    Hair and Scalp issues can be very traumatic. So, it's good that you did your research and found a way to rectify the situation.

    A lot of people take hair for granted and say: "It's just hair" but for many, with issues, it is so more than that.

    It's a blessing you are being transparent about it. You never know who you might help along the way.

    Stay encouraged.:kiss:
     
  17. caliscurls

    caliscurls Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing your story @VinDieselsWifey ! There are many people going through something similar and don't know what to do. I have a close friend who has gone through an emotional roller coaster because of scarring alopecia in the same area. I will share Dr. Cooley's name with her.

    As @IDareT'sHair said stay encouraged! Can't wait to see how things progress for you!
     
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  18. sizzle

    sizzle Well-Known Member

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    Thank you @VinDieselsWifey. Thank you so much for your testimonial. You have no idea how many people you have likely helped. Unfortunately, hair loss is big issue among AA women for multiple reasons. And that's so terrible since we are so focused on our hair. Yeah, we have got to affirmatively do something about it rather than suffer and be embarrassed. I sincerely pray that it all works out for you and I look forward to your update.
     
  19. IDareT'sHair

    IDareT'sHair Not Hittin' Paynah

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  20. divachyk

    divachyk Instagram: adaybyjay

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    @VinDieselsWifey, I am so sorry you had to go through this. We are standing in agreement that your hair and confidence will be restored. My sister struggled with alopecia and yes, it is a big deal despite what others may think. It's easy for people to say don't worry about it...you can't tell it...or, you're focusing too much on your hair...when they have hair. If they walked a day in your, my sister and many other's shoes, they would look at things differently. I get fired up about this topic because I know how my sister struggled and I watched what it did to her confidence. I wish you the best on this journey. My sister is a testimony and you are too! Claim it. Stay encouraged and keep the faith.
     
  21. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    @divachyk

    Thanks so much for this! This ordeal really tested my faith. When I had my first dr appointment I said it's not what the dr says, it's what God says. But things weren't getting any better & I started being so discouraged. I would pray & ask for healing, fast, other people would lay hands on me & pray for me, I kept trying to believe & all the while the spot kept getting worse. I felt like God wasn't listening to my prayers or that I didn't deserve to be healed. I tried to not think about it & just be grateful that I have my health, a roof over my head, a job, etc.

    Every time I looked at the spot in the mirror all I could do is cry. Anytime I was dating someone I didn't want the guy to know my head looked like this underneath.

    One of my friends used to always tell me it's gonna get better & God does things in His timing, not ours. I'm just thankful that even when I was starting not to believe, God still saw me out the corner of His eye.
     
  22. almond eyes

    almond eyes Well-Known Member

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    I am so glad you stepped out on faith and decided to do something. And that it will work.

    I have a close friend who has traction alopecia and the issues that she has had over the years in trying to cover it up plus always feeling inadequate makes me sad for her. She has a husband though and he knows that she has serious hair issues and he has seen it. He is very sympathetic. Any man that loves you won't care. I have told her to look into hair transplant but her mind is locked into that there is nothing she can do.

    I am glad you have a solution. Can't wait to see the updates.

    Best,
    Almond Eyes
     
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  23. IDareT'sHair

    IDareT'sHair Not Hittin' Paynah

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    @VinDieselsWifey
    I wanted @divachyk to weigh in on this subject, because I knew about her sister's struggle with this issue and the amazing results of her sister's progress that she posted in her Blog.

    If those pics are still up, you should take a look at Divachyk's Blog. Her sisters results & story was very encouraging to anyone suffering with this issue.

    We are all here for you (and others) going through this and similar.
     
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  24. AgeinATL

    AgeinATL Well-Known Member

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    What an awesome testimony! Girl, this can apply to so many things. Sometimes we really feel as though God isn't listening. I loved your last sentence: "I'm just thankful that even when I was starting not to believe, God still saw me out the corner of His eye."

    Lots of luck to you sis! Praying that everything works out for you!
     
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  25. happycakes

    happycakes Well-Known Member

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    Blessing to you lady. Thanks for sharing your story.

    I have this thread on watch.

    Can't wait to see your progress.
     
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  26. divachyk

    divachyk Instagram: adaybyjay

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    @VinDieselsWifey, my sister was in a very dark place and praises to God, she's on the other side of that. I understand what you mean about praying and wondering if God is listening. I know all the faith based phrases. I also know when your blessing isn't coming when you want it, those phrases are hard to understand. In those moments when I feel weak, I keep praying anyway....I keep believing anyway....although I don't understand what's going on. But then, God appears with his blessings and shows he's indeed listening. Your testimony is powerful and you are helping so many others. We bless and touch more people than we know. I can't wait to see your progress.
     
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  27. Black Ambrosia

    Black Ambrosia Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing the picture. When you compared it to the size of a fist I knew it was significant but I didn't grasp the severity of the situation until I saw it. Even anonymously, it takes tremendous strength to share that with others.

    How does this work exactly? Is it like using a skin graft where they take it from another part of the body? If so, where else would you have that much hair and a similar texture? Or is it taken from the scalp thus changing the density of your existing hair so it seems less full? Or does it come from a donor? I apologize if these are silly question but I've never personally known anyone that's done this. I met a man years ago that had a hair transplant but his scalp was red and inflamed and the hairs stood out so much that it was hard not to stare. I assume it looked better with time but I never saw him again to confirm.
     
  28. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    @Black Ambrosia

    He made a cut horizontally from ear to ear & took a piece of scalp skin about as thick as a finger. He said my donor area was perfect because of the density of my hair. He sewed that back up in a way to leave minimal scarring. Then his team used microscopes and made 2,000 grafts out of that skin. He then implanted the grafts in the bald area. He said one transplant won't give you back your full density but I should get back 50%. You can have multiple implants but that's a lot of money & I don't want to keep cutting away my scalp.

    In his pictures of his patients I couldn't even tell they had lost hair. The implanted hair looked just as full as the rest of their hair. I guess that's why people come from all over the world to see him. His reviews were excellent. He even corrects what other doctors mess up. I read reviews where other doctors had people's hair looking like a porcupine and he corrects that & makes them look normal again. He also teaches other doctors how to do hair transplants. His research team is also working on cloning hair.

    While the grafts are being made, he soaks them in the same solution that Drs use to keep vital organs fresh for organ transplants. Other hair surgeons use saline but he doesn't. He also puts this substance called ACell inside the donor area & the implanted area to make sure there is no scarring. It helps heal wounds.

    He also worked with a chemist to develop this spray I have to use every few hours to make sure the implants take root. It's like fertilizer for them & crucial to make sure it's a success. Dr. Cooley is awesome!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  29. VinDieselsWifey

    VinDieselsWifey Well-Known Member

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    @divachyk

    I have been in a very dark place also for quite some time. Some days I even felt like I didn't want to be here anymore. It was like so many things were coming at me at once. The hair loss was a major issue. When I separated from the military I became a caregiver for my grandma for 2.5 years until she passed. She was 91 & living alone & I turned down a guaranteed job at my old base to take care of her. I wasn't hardly working so I blew through my savings to make sure she didn't go in a nursing home. She told me while she was alive that when something happened to her I could continue to live in her house. I should have gotten that in writing though. When she passed my dad basically said thanks for taking care of her but we didn't ask you to so you need to leave so I can sell this house. He sold her house & didn't offer me one cent. I was even told that she had a savings account with money for me & one of my cousins but my dad emptied out all her accounts. I fed her, changed her depends, bathed her, put my life on hold for her, did everything for her. I didn't do it for money but because I loved her but that's how my dad rewarded me. I didn't have a job so I ended up moving in with an uncle until I got back on my feet. I was thousands of dollars in debt from taking care of her & putting everything on credit cards.

    Finding a good paying job was hard & then I was hit by a drunk driver. Thankfully I wasn't badly injured & used the money from the settlement to pay off my credit card debt. I had a bad break up last year. I hadn't had my heart broken in a very long time & it's a horrible feeling.

    So yes I understand how hard it is to keep trying to believe better days are coming when it seems everything is coming against you. I just keep remembering the answered prayers when I get discouraged & know His timing is not our timing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  30. locabouthair

    locabouthair Well-Known Member

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    Wow OP. You've been through a lot. ((HUGS)) Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope many good things are coming your way soon.
     

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