March 26, 2013

Update on Second Laser Treatment

Nothing's happened that is worthy of making a vlog.  There haven’t been any huge shedding “events” this time around.  Starting the day after the laser treatment I usually lost a couple of hairs a day.  Impatient, I started gently pulling with tweezers to see if any were ready to let go, and a lot of them were.  I still have some stubborn areas on the sides of my chin, but I never had the guts to imagine that I would ever come so far as to only have to shave my chin every morning.  It feels quite miraculous.

The picture is some hyper-pigmentation I noticed a day or two after the session.  I was told it could be a possible side-effect but I didn’t really know what to look for because, to me, they just look like dark freckles... or food on your face.  ;)  They faded within the first couple of weeks. 

I do have a few dark hairs still growing along my jaw, but I trim those instead of shaving the areas completely.  This has allowed all the blond vellus hair we all normally have to grow back, and it is... weird.  When you’re hirsute, I think it is so much easier to be ashamed of all your body hair, normal and abnormal.  I catch sight of it in the sunlight when I look in the mirror in the morning, and a part of me is thrilled to see it, while another part still wishes to hide it.  The emotions are proving to be more difficult to change than the physical symptoms of being hirsute.

But despite the self consciousness that is going to take a while to leave behind, every morning is exciting, because the process of hiding my hair is far less stressful.  I can keep my shave gentle, which means I have less redness to cover up.  In fact, I haven’t had much opportunity to take a picture of what is left on my chin because I don’t have to give my face a break from shaving.

I’m still trying to learn all I can about hair growth in general and how six sessions of laser hair removal could have worked, yet afterward still allow me to grow a full beard.    This is the current mystery, and I hope to find a way to make sense of my experience, for myself and for you guys.

Also, I really want to thank you all for your patience!  Between the psychological turmoil of the laser treatments, a huge year-long project coming to its conclusion, and all the amazing messages I've been receiving from ladies who have stumbled upon the vlog, it's been extra difficult coming up with relevant posts for the blog right now.  Even keeping up with all the notes and questions has been a challenge--but a happy one!  :)

March 5, 2013

'Zine Call for Submissions

Armpits 4 August is probably best known for organizing a "Movember-like" event for a PCOS charity in summertime.

But they've just announced on Facebook that they're putting together a zine to further raise money for the charity.  They're asking for submissions in the form of art, poetry, and prose about PCOS and body hair.  This sounds like a really cool project, and it's most successful if they get as many contributions as possible.  I'm trying to think up something to send.  I hope you will, too!

Submissions are due April 30th. 

March 1, 2013

Vlog: Second Treatment

Well, here we are at treatment number two!

And I am happy to sum up the video for those who aren’t comfortable watching me talk.  (Maybe it’s just me who hates watching myself talk.)

The laser technician was pleased with my progress, in fact she said (and this isn’t in the video) that my sideburns look “pretty much fine.”  She increased the laser’s intensity and did some of my stubborn chin hairs a couple of times.

What surprised me, though, was that she said I may only need to come in on an “as-needed” basis now.  I’m still trying to get my head ‘round this.  She thinks that the series of treatments I did eight years ago might have permanently damaged at least some of my follicles, because she doesn’t see much of a new hair cycle starting.  Normally it takes several rounds of laser to start seeing a noticeable reduction, because we’re killing off active cycles each time.  But as it had only been one treatment and no new hair coming in to replace it, perhaps the old treatment really did make an impact.

And, now that I’m on medication, I don’t have testosterone stimulating new dark cycles.  I may not need six treatments after all.

But I’ve scheduled an appointment in six weeks, just so I have one, and if I find I don’t have any hair to laser by then, I’ll cancel it.  I really can’t imagine it.  It’s frightening to think this may actually work.  Will anyone read a blog about hirsutism by an ex-bearded lady?

I also mentioned in the video that after my laser treatment I went right over to visit my cousin, who had just had her wisdom teeth out.  I muscled past my own embarrassment--I know I would need some cheering up if I ever had to have dental surgery.  So I talked to her about my issues a little, and she had never noticed but she was not startled or horrified by the news.  She told me about some of her own cosmetic concerns, and it was a great bonding moment.

That’s the first time I’ve told anyone in my family that I’m hirsute, besides my mother, and it was anti-climactic and an all-around relief.  And now I know someone who can use the products I’ve tried that don’t work for me.

Why does it get easier to tell people your problems once they’ve been taken care of?

Well, let’s see what falls out in a couple of weeks...