Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive May 2017 Show 1720 Nichole Jackson - Living with Alopecia

Nichole Jackson - Living with Alopecia

Nichole Jackson - Living with Alopecia
Nichole Jackson - Living with Alopecia

Nichole Jackson - Living with Alopecia

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Oklahoma Baptist University

Show Details

Show 1720: Nichole Jackson - Living with Alopecia
Air Date: May 14, 2017


Message from Nichole:

At the age of nine I was diagnosed with Alopecia areata (bald spots) and quickly progressed to Alopecia universalis (entire body hair loss; this only occurs in 1-2% of people who have Alopecia areata) in my tenth year. By age eleven I was completely bald and have been so ever since. I am currently 32. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where one's hair follicles are attacked by their own body. The inflammation at the hair follicle site leads to varying degrees of hair loss. The disease is not life threatening or contagious. There are possible genetic links but the etiology of the disease varies and is at times unknown. Many people with the disease have periods of remission (hair regrowth) and there are some treatments that have varying levels of effectiveness. I did have some minor treatment therapies when I initially developed Alopecia areata and even Alopecia universalis; however, I have not sought treatment for the disease again since age eleven.

At the age of ten (right before I began losing all of my hair), I became a Christian. As my disease began to progress and my physical appearance changed rapidly, I realized that my true identity can only be found in Christ and His love because all other things are fleeting. In this realization, I found a peace with who I was and quickly became comfortable 'in my own skin' (that's all I had left!). With my heart secure, tremendous family support, and a healthy dose of humor, I chose to forego covering up who I was (wearing a wig) and have since chosen to allow others the opportunity to accept me for who I am from the start. This is not to say that at times I don't wish for hair (often just so I could have it washed and blow dried-this is so relaxing and it is not the same without hair) or that I do not ever wear wigs. On rare occasion, usually 2-3 times a year, out of necessity (at graduation when I have to wear my hat) or fun, I sport an auburn-hued wig (red heads have more fun, right?!). However, in my day-to-day life I choose to be who I am and embrace my appearance wholeheartedly. I especially make it a point to do this when I meet new people. I feel that it is important to let others know that life is about acknowledging the heart of a person and not just one's physical appearance. Also, I would imagine it would be quite alarming to someone to meet a person 'with hair' one day and to see them completely bald the next day. Over the past 23 years, I have learned a lot about myself and others and I have grown through different seasons while having an appearance that 'stands out' at first glance and perhaps the second and third glance too, but ultimately, I have come to know that 'different' truly just means 'individual'. Everyone is different, not the same, unique, individual and we all have a purpose. I believe I was given a rare gift at the age of ten when I lost my hair, I began to see purpose beyond myself and found an extraordinary comfort in that purpose which shaped the person I am today. I hope and pray that my small story impacts others who may struggle with similar things and give them courage to allow their hearts to shine beyond their physical appearance, ailments, and/or abilities. Everyone has innate value that is rooted far beyond their physical exterior and I am grateful to have been able to come to this understanding at such a young age.

Nichole Jackson, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE

Simulation Director

Assistant Professor of Nursing

Oklahoma Baptist University

College of Nursing

500 W. University

Shawnee, OK 74804

Office: 405-585-4463