From Total Hair Loss to a Head of Curls…

I’ve had ants in my pants about today’s update for a long time. I knew it was coming, I just had to be patient.

You may remember my past stories about Rachel, the young girl who had been completely bald from alopecia (autoimmune hair loss) for a few years prior to working with me.

[Here is the post from Oct. 2014, when we started. Here is the update from a year ago.]

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Since my last story in April of 2015, several people have emailed asking for updates. I’ve kept in close touch with Rachel’s mom, who said that Rachel has been very hesitant about having her picture taken – understandably.

So I haven’t had any photos – until now.

To give a brief recap, in the fall of 2014, Rachel’s mom, Michelle, wrote, “My 14 year old daughter started losing hair in the 3rd grade. She’s now completely bald. She has MTHFR gene mutation, Hashimoto’s, and alopecia. Prescription meds are mostly what has been thrown at us. Supplements and vitamins have not changed a thing for her. She’s gluten-free for the most part. It’s overwhelming and disappointing because no one has been as to help her so far. We’re lacking a good plan of care and someone with complete knowledge in the field to guide us. Please put her on your waiting list.”

Up to that point, they’d worked with a pediatrician, dermatologist, endocrinologist, chiropractor, nutritionist, and other doctors and nurse practitioners and they’d tried electrodermal screening. Nothing had worked.

Never Linear…
As I said in my last update about Rachel’s progress, it hasn’t been a linear process of healing and hair regrowth. (Is anyone’s healing process ever linear?)

She had stalled out for a while, even while keeping a squeaky clean diet for a long time – much longer than I recommend to any of my autoimmunity clients.

And to be clear, although you can’t see it in this updated photo, Rachel still has some spots at her neckline. I can attest that those areas can be a bitch to grow back. But the curls that you see here were actually longer – Rachel cut her hair recently.

Anyway, Michelle has shared several times that she really felt that stress had played a significant role in the stall in Rachel’s progress. And yes, stress can not only exacerbate hair loss, but it can also up the ante on autoimmunity, creating more antibodies that lead to more shedding.

She said, “I really think that the reason that Rachel stalled out with her regrowth for a few months was because of stress. And those solutions can be challenging to find, especially for a teenage girl.”

So as I was getting email updates that Rachel had turned a corner and may soon be wig-free and that a photo was “coming soon,” I was curious about what facilitated this turn of events and gotten Rachel from substantial progress to the hair she has today.

To back up, after our program and because of her plateau, Rachel had begun working with the prestigious Dr. Amy Myers in Austin, TX. And as I was preparing to write this update, I made it abundantly clear to Michelle that if this positive turn of events was made possible by additional work they’d done with Dr. Myers, I wasn’t going to take credit for all of Rachel’s progress.

As I’ve said before, I don’t take the credit anyway. Rachel did the work. As Michelle said, “People need the time and desire to make this happen. Rachel had to be willing and disciplined and she was…and still is. It’s so important to give this 110% to see what’s possible.”

She continued, “As I think back on this journey, everyone has been a step in the process. Sometimes you can take in the information, sometimes you can’t. But it was the work we did with you that made us realize how Rachel’s diet would affect things so profoundly.

“You explained it in a way that made it all come together – you were so thorough and how you presented the information – your ‘package’ – made all the difference. It does take a village, but you really taught us what we needed to know.”

As I inquired more about their work with Dr. Myers, Michelle said, “By the time we began working with her, Rachel had already done the bulk of her gut healing with your program. We did lots of additional testing with Dr. Myers and nothing came up – nothing – except for an iron deficiency. As you know, iron plays a big role in hair growth. So we got her on some iron supplementation. Aside from the supplements you’d already suggested, Dr. Myers also wanted her on 5-HTP, CoQ10, and evening primrose oil.

“Dr. Myers gave us the same information and the same diet that you did, with just a few new supplements.

“And I think what really helped Rachel turn the corner was acupuncture targeted at relieving stress. If I had to say what was the big difference or big turning point outside of what we learned from you, it would be acupuncture.”

Hope Floats
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, “In all forms of alopecia, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal.”

Way back when, I shared this with Michelle, who said, “This gave me chills. Several people told me the hair follicles were probably dead because it has been so long. Frustrating.”

Clearly, Rachel’s follicles weren’t dead, even after being empty for a few years. I don’t know that anyone’s follicles are dead.

These kinds of alarmist and irresponsible statements from the conventional medicine communities remind me of when my Hashimoto’s clients tell me that their doctors tell them that their thyroids are “chewed up” or that they have “no thyroid tissue left” simply based on antibodies labs and no real evaluation of the status of their thyroid gland. Like, WTF? Really, you can make these statements based on some numbers?

Pffffttt.

Anyway, in my last update from a year ago, I said that I hoped to share a photo of Rachel with a head of hair. And I have a plan for reaching the far corners of the earth and everywhere in between to help people with alopecia get their hair back.

As Michelle said, “You have something real to offer where conventional medicine has failed.”

And for the thousands of people I plan on helping, it’s more than simply about “hair” – for many, it’s also their sense of identity.

Click on the audio below to listen to a 2-minute recording that Michelle created about their remarkable work with Jill: 

 

Comments

This is so wonderful! Good for Rachel and Michelle for being so diligent and not giving up in exasperation. I fully believe that stress depletes our health. So many of us live in stress mode without even knowing it until we break down. The work you do, Jill, is outstanding. I have been struggling with Hashi's and hair loss however, thanks to you and severaly others out there, I have healed my leaky gut, am working on strenthening my adrenals and I already feel better. The right foods and supplements certainly... also yoga and meditation for stress.

Thank you for putting your work out to the world. We need you!

Jill - This is a beautiful story of healing! I love how this mom was able to identify that the healing process involved many different pieces, but each oh-so important. Your post reminds us that healing takes time. I need to hear that a lot. Though I never experienced the extreme that Rachel has, I have had a history with hair loss and aleopecia. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and thank you to Rachel for her willingess to share her story with us. 

I have been diagnosed with Hashimotos with little to no symptoms noticeable. I have also been told I have parathyroid disorder. I am looking for supplements to heal my thyroid. Do you recommend anything in particular? 

My Dr. said if I take supplements I will damage the thyroid. She also said taking meds for thyroid will further destroy the gland or at best shut it down quicker. Where's the incentive to take meds? What does a person do? 

Wonderful news for Rachel and thanks so much Jill for your dedication to this work and our health!

This is a wonderful story of hope. I am truly happy for Rachel and her mother. A lot has to do with your incredible work too. I do have 2 questions:

1) In the Alopecia group classes, would you be mentioning the supplements you suggested to Rachel? Would there be a Q&A session at the end of each session?

2) In this article you mentioned that Rachel was on a squeaky clean diet for a long time. Did that mean she was on the elimination diet during that duration?

Eagerly awaiting the group classes

Hi Maria, yes to all. I will bring everything I’ve got to these classes, including what I’ve learned since working with Rachel – all the things I’m implementing with my current clients. The classes will teach you everything you need to know about diet, supplements, lifestyle, immune modulation, follicle health – everything. And yes, there will be a Q&A for each class.

Yes, Rachel was on the E/P diet for a LONG time. It’s not what I necessarily recommend…

Hi Jill

It is so heartening to hear this. I have just been diagnosed with Hashimotos and have been losing hair all year and I really want to stop the hairloss and help regrow my hair. I have been on medication for 3 months and my TSH is at 5.5 and antibodies at 200 but I don't see any improvement in my hair. It continues to fall. I have just begun a gluten and diary free diet after reading several articles on the internet on reversal. I want to get started soon on the right path to recovery before I lose more hair. What tests do I need to run to know if I have Alopecia? I have found that most doctors are neither interested nor have the know how to dig deeper to identify root causes of illnesses and address them. They are often addressing problems at a very superficial level.

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