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A Personal Perspective on Redirecting Hope

July 28, 2022

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration for Women, Female Entrepreneurs, People with Alopecia

The denial packets are getting thicker. The reasoning for the rejections is still the same. Time and again the theory of needing something paid for due to “cosmetic reasons” is in every appeal response from Excellus Blue Shield. I’m not sure how to prove I don’t want to grow my hair back for cosmetic purposes.

In the height of losing 70% of my hair in 2007, I turned to a therapist to ensure any mental issues such as anxiety wasn’t causing a larger swath of hair to fall out of my head. Knowing there were many factors associated with why 6 million people get some degree of alopecia, made me question the “stress” angle, but I was running my company alone, producing 40 events around New York State without staff, and writing for our local newspaper, while raising two sons. Stress might have been a factor although I always love every second of my life and career, and alopecia runs in my family but neither my brother or father lost all their hair.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – 2017

“Tracy, where did your vanity come from,” my therapist asked one day. Hmmm, vanity? I bet if I asked every woman, I’ve ever met they would each answer what I said, “I’m not vain, I just want to look the best I can which includes having hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.” Duh…and the question came from a female therapist.

I know she was only trying to push my ego and trying to get me to see a person’s physical looks don’t really count in the scheme of life, it is what we possess inside those matters; but I wasn’t buying it. I’m not sure 15 years later I buy Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield either thus my dilemma in explaining it to people who don’t know me or what I’ve lost career wise as a public speaker in shedding my beautiful hair, long eyelashes and perfectly shaped (never tweezed once) eyebrows now that I’m totally bald with the disease.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – 2019

How do you get a corporation to see you just want to feel like an average female without double looks, questions about having cancer or chemotherapy, ignoring kids exclaiming they saw a bald man in the woman’s bathroom, and waking up each morning to a foreign identity? Simply, you can’t explain what looking good means, you have to feel it. How will an insurance company ever feel my need? Perhaps only if every person who worked for them got alopecia and had to face their own vanity issues in the morning sunlight?

I bike every day to escape feeling abnormal, to empower myself beyond my looks into trying to transform the physical strength and tone of my body to address my vanity issues. If the people denying the new medicine that brings back hair to a person, could walk in my shoes having sweat drip down their heads in the summer, freeze in their own house in the winter needing to wear a warm ski cap all the time, catch more illnesses from not having nose hair or eyelashes to protect them, maybe they would approve this medicine that is working for alopecia-stricken people like me.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – 2022

Never wanting to be negative in anything I write, I simply ask you to be aware that sometimes you might not have the power to change your life the way you want because of someone else’s decisions or your own power. Redirecting hope is all you can do at times. My wish for you is if you need to do this in a current situation, you do it successfully.

P.S. When I was Google searching “beauty” images, not one bald woman appeared! Could this be my basis for rejecting the insurance denial and pushing farther to get the medicine approved?

P.S.S. FYI, according to hair regrowth could be within your grasp at 36 weeks – In clinical studies, some adults with severe alopecia areata taking Olumiant achieved 80% scalp hair coverage at 36 weeks. During clinical studies, some adults with severe alopecia areata saw scalp hair coverage of 80% or greater. For those taking Olumiant 4 mg once daily, some even saw 90% or greater scalp hair coverage at 36 weeks.

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