Update and ideas for #Characterisation

Harmony Kent new author photoHi, everyone! You may have noticed my new author picture around places. The original photo is over 10 years old. Can you believe it?!? How fast the time passes. Another thing you may have noticed is the headwear …  well, there’s a story about that  …

Update—yes, yet another one 🫣

For a long time now I’ve struggled with slow hair loss. The last time it got patchy, I still had enough to put it up in a tight and small ponytail and covered the gaps by wearing various chemo hats and scarves. That was, thankfully, short lived … as in maybe a month or two. Then my hair grew back, and it was gorgeously curly! Yay. Only …

after further slow loss, I washed my hair a week before mum-in-law’s funeral and loads of clumps came out of my scalp all in one go. It was bad. I had an appointment the next morning, which meant a couple of hours travel too. So, seeing how straggly it looked, and that I had no way of covering the many bald bits, I had ten minutes to do something. I couldn’t even put it up like the previous time. Desperate, I got out my hairdressing scissors and hacked at it until enough came off that I could hide the mess under a hat. And off we went on our not so merry way.

Being so lucky as I am, ahem, the prosthetic appointment was a disaster. How the new socket passed any quality check from the workshop I’ll never know. If they do check them! And what point was the test socket if they didn’t use it as a template for the actual socket? Anyway, I digress …

After all that, we decided to come home rather than go somewhere to relax as planned, and I decided to shave my hair. I wanted to use the clippers with their long comb attachment, but hubby couldn’t find them. Yes, you just knew how my day was going, didn’t you?! And no, despite all, while it was a Friday, it wasn’t the 13th 🤣. So, with the clipper teeth on long rather than short, I began and ignored the wet salty stuff pouring down my cheeks.

The result was okay except it showed the patches with no follicles at all. In the end, I got out my safety razor and shaved it down to the wood, as they say. Much better. I grabbed one of the few lightweight scarves and did my best. Then I hit the big A, who came to my rescue with some marvellous stuff, which they delivered the next day 🤩

After a week and a half, I’m happier. And the lack of stress of attempting to stop the hair loss and style the darn stuff, I’m kinda relieved. It will take hubby a while I think, but that’s his problem, not mine. I’m doing my best, and when life leaves you no choice …

Anyhow, I now want to share about this and some other stuff I’ve experienced which we writers can all use to enhance our fictional characters. Because, ya know, when life gives you lemons (thanks Staci for reminding me of that saying!) …

Full Menopause

(For anyone who’s worried by this point, I won’t go into much detail. It’s easily searched online. Phew, I hear some saying! 😉 Suffice it to say, there are common symptoms most people know of such as hot flushes and mood swings, to say the least.

I also wanted to share a couple of rarer symptoms. For instance, cold flushes are a thing. I had cold spells off and on for long enough and had no clue they were another indication on top of everything else the docs kept ignoring. And, huge biggy here in relation to my chronic illness, menopause can also exacerbate muscle and joint pain and stiffness. Yep, go figure.

All of which to remind me, as well as anyone else who isn’t a specialist, that research is key.

 

Hair Loss

Many, many things can cause this in both men and women. Male pattern baldness is as common as air and resembles a monk’s tonsure. Women’s baldness is something nobody seems to want to talk about. And to go full on Sinéad O’Connor isn’t socially acceptable in most places. In this context, it’s much easier for the guys to shave their heads. However, some—like hubby—struggled to make the switch from comb over to shaving.

An interesting point here is most females hate comb overs, whereas the majority of guys believe the comb over is a better look. In hubby’s case, the shave took years off him in looks.

Some common causes are stress, alopecia (men and women), and hormones, along with certain treatments—the most well known being chemotherapy. I’m not sure with mine but suspect the roughly a decade and a half in menopause with no help or treatment, together with about two years on steroids, could be the biggest root of the problem (couldn’t resist that little pun!).

Most likely, I won’t attempt to obtain a diagnosis. One, I don’t want yet more drugs. Already, I rattle when I move, lols 🤭. Two, our health service is broken, and it would only lead to more stress trying to get to the bottom of it. The path of least resistance and simple acceptance seem best for me right now.

When sharing my fun with follicles with Staci Troilo, she kindly shared this about a friend and this video …

‘My best friend from college also lost her hair. She turned it into a business. She became a model for wig companies and reviewed them on YouTube. She stopped modeling for them and now just runs the channel herself. If you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/@sparehairloveaffair.’

Wow, what an inspiring woman! In resharing, it’s my hope to give you all further resources if you ever want to write character(s) going through any of this stuff.

The Processes of Grief

When reading novels, the hugest issue missed in writing about any of these things—chronic illness, hair loss, menopause, even ageing, etc.—the process of grief we go through gets ignored totally. And it’s so important to keep things relatable and real.

While my grieving for the hair loss was quick, like a day, for certain I went through every stage. The chronic illness, I still have ups and downs and am evidently still coming to terms. My point here is that grieving can be fast or slow and, sadly, sometimes never ending. We’re all individual. Now I’m where I’m at, I plan to experiment with both glam and elegance in my choice of headwear, attire, and jewellery!

To finish on a high note …

The good news is, laughably, I’ve lost so much weight, my facial recognition on my phone refused to accept I was me, and I had to do a new one 🥳


That’s enough from me. I hope you’ve found this post informative and helpful and not too distressing. If you feel you’d like to share and are able, I’d love for you to tell us some of your trials and tribulations in the spirit of adding to character building, either in the comments or with a link to any post you write/have written that’s relevant to this discussion. And if you simply want to say hello, I’d still love you to comment.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I miss you all so much and am still doing my utmost to visit whenever I can. Hugs, Harmony 🤗💕🙂

 

43 Comments on “Update and ideas for #Characterisation

  1. Oh my, Harmony, you’re a formidable force fighting many challenges. Thank you for sharing your journey. I wish you healing and grace. xo
    When I sustained my spinal injury in ’92, 70% of my hair fell out which they attributed to my body in stress. Thankfully, it grew back! I can relate to aging with a disability, too. It’s challenging for sure, but your strength and sense of humour are in true form. Bless you, and you look amazing!

    • Thanks so incredibly much, Natalie! Im glad your hair grew back. Yes, my leg trauma 22 years ago affected my body badly enough to trigger the menopause cycle, which everyone ignored until January last year. So with all these years, especially the last four, it’s little wonder mine has gone. Hugs 💕🙂🤗

  2. Harmony, I think you look beautiful. My hair continues to thin as I age. Sometimes there isn’t anything you can do about it either. Take care of yourself. I’ve not seen you in ages and hunted you down. 🩵

    • Thanks for the hunting! 😉 And for your kind words. Wishing you all the best, Colleen 💕🙂

  3. Hi Harmony, I had noticed your new picture and I guessed the scarf was to do with hair loss for some reason. I think you look great. My hair takes over 45 minutes to blow dry and can drive me a little nuts. A mixture of ups and downs here but that is life, it seems. I’ve spend 18 hours in the ER over the last few weeks. Ugh!

    • Oh I’m sorry for your continued woes, Robbie. I hope things smooth out some for you all. Love and hugs. I’ve never had thick hair, and right now it’s become a relief to not have to constantly deal with hair falling out and blocking drains and hoovers, etc., lol 🤗💕🙂

  4. You are such a warrior woman Harmony – and still manage your ‘lols’ :). You are also brave. And yes, I used to hqve so much hair on top my stylist had to use the THINNING shears. When I lost my husband three years ago, I too lost a lot of hair, as no surprise too when I didn’t care to eat to take a supplement for almost a year. I keep using potions to re-thicken, lol’s’. And yes, the menopause was another time that thinned my hair down too. Gotta love those hormones! You are beautiful. <3 xx

    • Thanks so incredibly much for sharing your experiences, Debby, and for your lovely words. Huge hugs, my friend 🤗💕🙂

  5. I noticed the new image and new look, Harmony, and I think you look beautiful! Honest to God. I’m sorry that life is still throwing lemons at you, but you’re making lemonade, it seems, and dealing with it as best you can. Hugs, my friend. <3 <3 <3

  6. Thank god menopause has not affected your sense of humour! Menopause sucks, I went through a range of skin allergies, weight gain and yes, hair loss too. Since I had too much hair to spare, I still have a headful (just about).
    You look sensational! Sending you love and hugs. ❤️

    • I’m sorry you’ve gone through the messy stuff too. Glad you had thick hair to start with. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Hugs, love, and best wishes, Punam 🤗💕🙂

      • You are welcome, Harmony. As I grow older, I realise, it is our heart that makes us look beautiful. Long thick hair, good skin etc here today, gone tomorrow. 🙂

  7. Hi Harmony
    First, I love your new photo; it shows off your bone structure the old one masked, and I can imagine the fun of experimenting with jewellery.
    Second, you asked for experiences. Mine was after a second cancer operation – successful – and hair loss wasn’t related to chemo. I didn’t have it, having not tolerated it well the first time around. It started with hair falling out, and it went on falling out. Hubby’s classic remark? “It’s getting better. I’m not picking up nearly as much.” My reply? “That’s because I don’t have much left.” A friend told me her vet had recommended rubbing coconut paste into the bald patches on her dog. Yes, I tried it – I was desperate. I own a hairpiece, but there was nothing to attach it to, and I couldn’t stand the heat of a wig. What’s more, for me, it worked. A happy ending to a traumatic couple of years!
    Hugs, Sarah xxx

    • I haven’t tried coconut oil, but have tried everything else, including tons of supplements over the last couple of years. I’ll be sure to give that a go. Though I’m sure my pillow cases won’t thank me😉

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Sarah. You and hubby’s exchange had me laughing in complete understanding of the utter irony. That sort of stuff makes for real dialogue in fiction too!

      Ours is: At least the vacuum cleaner isn’t getting tangled up with hair now! OMG.

      I’m with you on a reluctance to go the wig route, not least of all due to the cost of a good one. Perhaps I can find a company looking for head modelling too, lol.
      Hugs and best wishes 🤗💕🙂

  8. Hi Harmony, My heart goes out to you with all your issues – what a shocking ordeal you’ve been through!! But you are still smiling and looking beautiful. Would you be able to get a wig? I’ve had mild but constant hair loss for a few years, and always trying to stop it – but never in clumps. Have you tried an iron supplement? I think it helps, and I now take a very low dose supplement that is available off the shelf, that is less than the daily requirement for iron. Sending you love and healing hugs. Toni xxx

    • Oh, Toni, the money I’ve spent on every supplement, oil, shampoo, conditioners, and in and on, lols.

      Great suggestion, and I’m glad it worked for you. I have absorption issues, and have to take expensive ‘body-ready’ ones, which taste disgusting just for the extra fun 😜
      Thanks so much for sharing and love and hugs to you too 🤗💕🙂

  9. Oh, Harmony, you’ve dealt with so very much, and now this! Yet I hear the resilient spirit in your words, and am warmed by your sense of humor. You are an amazing lady, who continues to persevere despite the many hurdles in your path.

    As for your new photo, I think it’s stunning—just like you! 🤗 💕

    • Oh, Mae, thanks so incredibly much for your wonderful and supportive words. 💕🙂

  10. You are such a phenomenal woman, Harmony, and I admire you so much for the way you always find a way to keep moving forward. Menopause sucks, and I’m in the grips of it, too. For me, it’s the hot flashes and the weight gain that drives me nuts. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂
    http://yvettemcalleiro.blogspot.com

    • Oh that weight gain! And when I finally began hormone treatment that made it even worse until, a couple of months later, my body reset and the lbs finally started to drop again.

      I’m sorry you’re in the grips of it as well. I always believed Menopause was something you eventually got through, but nope, once you’re in it you have it for life. The only options are treatments and learning what foods set your hot flashes, indigestion, etc., off.

      Thanks so much for sharing, Yvi. Sending you all the good energy I can and much love and hugs 🤗💕🙂

  11. Hi, Harmony! Good to visit you. Despite the hair loss, I can see your sense of humor is still active. My hair was already getting thin, and the drugs I’m taking for my cancer treatment is causing further hair loss. It hasn’t totally fallen out, and probably won’t unless I do IV chemo in the future. In the meantime, I had it cut shorter and I wear caps when I go out. My doctor tells me to protect my head from the sun, but I am a bit vain, so I have to cover it. LOL (And of course, the baseball fan in me just HAD to get a Texas Rangers World Series championship cap. 🙂 (The hair loss was a good excuse.)

    I’ve missed you, but I hope to be more active with blogging soon. Maybe an occasional post here and there, and I’ll stop by whenever I can.

    Hugs!

    • I just knew you’d go Texas Rangers! 😉

      You’re doing so well, Joan. And we all miss you too. It will be lovely to see your posts when you can manage. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Hugs 🤗💕🙂

      • By the way, I know about those cold flashes. I’ve had them less since our weather turned hot, but last winter and spring… They would come on as quickly as a hot flash. I kept a lap blanket nearby.

  12. I love you, Harmony! Thank you for sharing your journey. Just a plot twist in the story of your life, eh?

    • I’m full of plot twists! 🤣
      Thanks so much, Annette. As ever, your words warm my heart. Thank you. Hugs 🤗💕🙂

  13. Aging is not for the faint of heart, and most of us don’t have your other issues. I’m glad you came to grips with it so fast.

    • Oh, Craig, you said it! Sure ain’t for the faint hearted. Thanks for your lovely comment 💕🙂

    • Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into an orchard of lemons! 🤣 🍋 Thanks so much, Jacqui 💕🙂

  14. Your new photo is stunning! I love it.

    I’m glad you found anything remotely useful in our email exchange. (And on behalf of Roni, thanks for the shout-out for her YouTube channel.) You did more than make limoncello with your lemons. You made sorbet, chicken piccata, and a fabulous cake. Maybe a spa treatment, too. The way you attack and rise above any issues you encounter is so inspirational. I love you for how you deal with it and love you for sharing your outlook with us.

    Continued prayers for all the best for you.

    • Your share was so helpful, Staci! I love how many things you listed for me … you’re incredibly imaginative. Thanks so much for your support, kind words, and prayers. Hugs 🤗💕🙂

  15. The trials and tribulations you’ve gone through would break most people Harmony. But , you just bend and then snap back again. You’re an amazing lady and I ‘m sure you’re an inspiration to your family and friends. You certainly inspire me to stop moaning when I compare our problems in context. Huge Hugs to you, never stop being who you are, a most special person.

    • Oh, David, your words have brought both tears of gratitude and smiles. Thank you so much, my friend. And never minimise your own difficulties. We each travel our own journey. In your own way, you inspire us too. Huge hugs 🤗💕🙂

  16. “when life gives you lemons” — seems like you’ve had more than your share of this acidy fruit, Harmony. I love your photo. It’s a beautiful reminder of the mysterious journey we all share. If we can emerge from our challenges, like you, with a smile, then we deserve a virtual applause. You have mine, dear friend. ❤️

    • Thanks so much, Gwen. And I’m so pleased my new look is going down well. Yep, I reckon I’m going off even lemonade, lols! 🤣 You, too, deserve applause with all your citrusy stuff. Huge hugs, my friend 🤗💕🙂

  17. Oh, Harmony, what a stressful time. I’m sorry both for your hair loss and your disappointment over the prosthetic.
    Over the years my hair has thinned, but not to the extent of needing to do anything drastic.
    And I agree about the comb over.😖.
    I have my own story that I’ll post later today on http://aspholessaria.co.uk

    • I look forward to seeing your post, Viv, and a BIG NO on the comb overs 😂
      I’d be grateful if you could share the link to your post in the comments to ensure I don’t miss it. Sorry for the extra clicks! Hugs 🤗💕🙂