Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another reason I like my husband

The thing about Roland that bothers me the most is his tendency to only remember whatever was immediately necessary for him. This means that I can be talking about something for any length of time, but if the information doesn't change his life or require a decision from him, he just doesn't remember.

Take for instance the issue of my hair. About 15 years ago my sister pointed out to me that my hair was thinning. She is also the person who noticed my first grey hair when I was 18, but that really isn't relevant. In any case, once I noticed, I was bothered. I went to the dermatologist who gave me a couple of options. After eliminating a couple of them it came down to two: hormones or spironolactone,  a diuretic that also somehow interferes with testosterone. It is taken by women with female-pattern baldness and male to female transsexuals. I chose it, and the results were not fantastic, but it was good enough.

Now, I am pretty sure that during this time I said things to Roland like, "this diuretic won't work as well, but if I never took hormones for birth control, it seems silly to take them for hair." I am sure that I did, because over the years I have debated whether I should use them. Last year when I went on hormone treatment for 3 months I was very interested in whether it would make  difference to my hair. (It didn't, but the dosage was very low). 

Anyway, now I am older and my natural estrogen levels are falling. I don't think I have hot flashes. (This is not simple because I have always been the sort of person who tended to sweat a lot when she gets hot. Now it is easy to attribute them to The Change.) I don't mood swings or anything like that. I am however, losing hair again. It's been getting worse for a while, and well, it is just got to be unacceptable. So I have been debating whether to take hormones. I float the idea past people who I know would normally be cautious or even opposed to hormone treatment. They glance at my head, look uncomfortable, and say something that sounds like, "This is your HAIR. Bald women look ridiculous. Of course you should take hormones!"  Of course the words they say are more like, "I learned a long time ago to never say never" but that isn't what I hear.

Of course, since I was fishing for an opinion, I can't be upset about it.

I guess I feel like if enough people tell me that taking hormones for what will certainly be for as long as I want to have hair (15 years?) doesn't mean that I am a vain woman willing to take unreasonable risks with my health, then I won't feel bad about doing it. There is however one other option: head coverings. I ran it by Roland 15 years ago and he vetoed it promptly. No, he did not think that it would be a good idea to wear scarves, bandannas, and hats all the time. Modern medicine existed for a reason. Take the pills. 

I have been talking about going back to the dermatologist, and about whether I would take the hormones, for some time. Yesterday I went to Roland and said I wanted his opinion: hormones or scarves?


"No. Scarvvves. For my head. I could cover my hair instead of taking hormones."

"HORMONES? What, you mean like testosterone? What would that do to you?"

"No, I mean like estrogen. It should make my hair grow. Since you have to look at me, I just thought I would ask you. Which do you prefer: hormones or scarves?"

Of course he denied that he had ever heard me even mention that I might take hormones. Of course I did not argue with him about that. After 25 years there are some arguments you can just not bother to have. He said he didn't know, would I have side-effects? I said I didn't know yet. He said that I should probably talk to the dermatologist before deciding. He assured me he would love me either way, which I told him I had already assumed.

Later he found me and asked if there weren't serious risks in hormone therapy. He knows he heard about that. I told him that the risk for individual women was really very low, but that it was a big issue a while back because so many women were on them and they weren't getting any benefit. He said okay.

He found me again later and looked agitated. He said, "If there is any risk at all, I mean ANY, if the hormones would make you uncomfortable, or even if they would make your breasts tender, it is not worth it. You can buy wigs, or lots of pretty scarves, whatever you want, just don't risk your health for hair."

And I realized that was the answer I wanted from him.


  1. This is so sweet, it made me cry.

  2. That is sweet. And especially meaningful to me as I come from a family of what I lovingly refer to as bald women. I know my fate. LOL

  3. Just passing this along:

  4. I was just going to say it will be interesting to see what the dermatologist says about hormonal treatment -- I am not sure it has really ever had much benefit for hair at all and certainly understanding of the risks is much different than 15 years ago. In 1995, we were still trying to talk everybody into taking them, because (we thought) it was going to help prevent heart disease.

  5. I just laughed so much from your post- thank you! I'm exactly like Roland and it drives my wife nuts- I swear we don't do it on purpose! And he gave the answer I would have, too. A beloved wife is a treasure, whether in tresses or a beautiful scarf, and it sounds like you've got a good man who knows it!


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.