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It Was Only a Small Bald Spot

Alan Pallie
Alan Pallie

It Was Only a Small Bald Spot

It was only a small bald spot. Smaller than the size of a pencil eraser. It had been there for years and I thoughts nothing of it…until…

Suddenly, and without any apparent reason, that little spot grew much larger. Seven weeks later, at the age of 27, I was totally hairless. I had what I would later learn was alopecia areata universalis (AAU).

Just before this happened, I had received a business promotion and reassignment to Tokyo, and the Japanese dermatologist with whom I consulted concluded that living in Japan was “not good for me.” I was told that if I returned to the USA, my hair would grow back. Armed with that sage advice, I returned to the United States and went to see the head of dermatology at a hospital in Michigan. That dermatologist gave me no diagnosis, no treatment, no advice, no support, and no recommendations. Nothing. And my hair did not grow back.

The year was 1962, and there was no help or information to be received from any quarter.

I had never met anyone with alopecia areata and the only bald guys back then were Mr. Clean and Yul Brenner, so I felt I had to do something to hide my baldness. I tried hats and ill-fitting wigs, and I went through the emotional roller coaster of partial remission, depression, divorce, and back to alopecia areata universalis. Finally, I told myself, “Just live it it.”

Fast forward about 20 years.

In the early 1980s, I visited a local dermatologist to get a mole removed. He told me that my hair loss was due to alopecia areata and he suggested that I contact Dr. Vera Price, who was an authority on the disease. After serious contemplation, I did meet with Dr. Price, and soon thereafter I became involved with the newly formed National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF).

Finally, I had found the support I needed, and at the same time, I was presented with the opportunity to support others with alopecia areata. At last, help was available! And I had a new mission in life-helping others through NAAF. In addition to growing a successful business, I was able to use my talents by serving as a member of the NAAF Board of Directors and as the Master of Ceremonies at NAAF conferences throughout the 1980s and 1990s, helping hundreds of people.



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