A look back at my 30th year!

I have to be honest, I wasn’t going to publish a blog today because I just haven’t had the spoons or inclination to write since last week. But, I thought: no, Hannah, sort yourself out, do something for your blog you lazy (!) girl. But I’m really not joking when I say I’ve been avoiding writing, it’s been a real up and down week, however, on Friday we had a phone call that we are now classing as, ‘a positive turning point!’ Kings rang and said a CBT appointment had come up for Monday – yesterday – and as I insert this text now, I can safely say it’s been a positive turn of events. The lady that will be doing my CBT with me is so lovely, down to earth, empathetic, sympathetic, knowledgeable, hopeful and professional – winner. But I will go into more detail another time!

This year has had some major lows but some equally lovely, lovely memories made with some truly special human beings. I started my 30th year on the planet being detained in Dubai airport whilst my darling brother used Eurovision results to try to gee me up (a particular low point, if not the lowest!).  I’ve spent many an hour baking, writing children’s books and continuing this blog. The love and support I’ve received has been overwhelming at times and keeps me writing and having a purpose, so thank you. I have loved having friends to visit me, visiting them on good days and catching up with my two Dubai sisters at Christmas. Watching little Mason grow and change and spotting buses as they go past our house on his visits has been a particular favourite too! I will treasure the moments I spent with Grandma and giving her the most beautiful send off. I’ll never forget giving mum the biggest surprise of her life for her 60th when Uncle Chris came over from Canada or chair dancing at our joint birthday bash and watching on as mum performed her now infamous dance to Uptown Funk! Watching dad being serenaded by the waiters at The Cheesecake Factory in Dubai for his 60th was hilarious and one of my favourite days out was at Friends Fest with the best brother in the world and his equally amazing girlfriend. Having several events which raised money and awareness for Alopecia UK has made me proud and having a few nights away in Somerset with my lasagne making queen Claire was a real achievement and worth every second. Going to two weddings, one of two Dubai lovelies and the second being a family one – both treasured memories. I’ve loved being chauffeured around by ma and pa who have just been beyond incredible with their love and support and constant encouragement to keep going. Spending endless hours being lovingly supported by friends I could only wish everyone knew have also given me sunshine. And of course there have been so many other things that have made me smile and kept my spirits high but I can’t go on and on as it defies the point of this short blog!

So, for now, I will dodge the word count for this week and simply leave you with some of my personal favourite photo high lights of my 30th year. Enjoy!

#hairlesshannah

Teacher Appreciation Day

Today is teacher appreciation day and being a teacher myself and coming from a family of teachers, this day is an important one! Teaching is often a thankless job, it’s a job that has so many layers that often parents and society as a whole don’t realise what is involved. If I had a pound or possibly even a penny for every time I heard, “teaching is a 9-3 job,” or “you do get so many holidays” I’d be a millionaire!

This post isn’t going to spend time justifying why teachers deserve their holidays or why it definitely is NOT a 9-3 job, it is going to highlight the amazing job that teachers do. I have been so lucky throughout my life and career to have had, known and worked with some of the most inspiring teachers in the education system. I have always said that teaching is a vocation; if you don’t truly love the job then you wouldn’t do it. It’s not a job you can just put up with because you have the life and future of children in your hands and you owe it to them to be the best and do the best for them each and every day. That isn’t to say teachers are perfect and ‘outstanding’ every lesson day in day out, we are human and things go wrong, not least because we work with children and not robots so lessons can often take you down a different path to that of what you expected!

From a very young age I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I would go into my Grandparents room when they were staying and make them play schools with me – I would take the register and give them activities to do which I would mark! This must have been partly to do with the fact both mum and dad were teachers and I aspired to be like them because in my eyes they were super human. But as I grew older and went through Primary School, I was lucky enough to have some brilliant teachers who gave me the best education and allowed me to be a child who loved school.  At Secondary School I also has amazing teachers – and some bloody terrible ones – and they too helped shape the person I am today. I was able to appreciate the effort and time they out into lessons and could clearly identify the ones who cared about me and my future and I loved the ones who did this alongside having a good laugh and got to know me as Hannah and not just a grade, some of which I am now great friends with.

Choosing my University degree wasn’t difficult for me, it was always going to be Primary Education. I did enjoy the course, I have to say I wasn’t very lucky with many of my lecturers but I lived for the school placements, that was what it was all about for me. Not the essays but the ‘in school’ part because that is what I had always wanted to do and where I felt most at home. I had some fab classes on my placements but my goodness did I develop a true understanding for what my teachers did for a living (see below a photo of me on the last day of my last teaching practice – fresh eyed, with hair and loving life…how things changed after ten years in the job haha!) The behind the scenes parts to being a teacher were harder than I could have every imagined, the hours and hours of planning, marking, preparation and sleepless nights worrying about observations and if you were meeting the needs of every single child or every ability – believe me, we work hard for those holidays! And then when the holidays do come round we (well most of us) work for some of them and spend time in school getting our rooms and corridors sorted, it isn’t little creative fairies that do that work you know!

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When I qualified, I got a job at a school that I knew as soon as I entered the doors for my interview it was a special place. A school that was safe, inclusive and did everything for the children and with the children in mind. That school gave me the best mentor I could have wished for who taught me so much more than I could have hoped for in my NQT year but also saw me paired me with two teaching assistants who are two of the best people I have ever worked with, have ever known and have the pleasure to call two of my closest friends. It’s during the six years I spent there that I learnt how essential the role of a TA is. They aren’t and shouldn’t be an after thought, they are the people who allow us teachers to do our jobs as well as we do – they are a support not only for the children but for us – from lesson prep to displays, sorting out sore knees to cleaning up bodily fluids, remembering sick bags on trips to contributing their own endless talents to make our classrooms what they are. Teaching assistants should never be taken for granted, they should be involved and thanked and loved every day because in my eyes, they are the second teacher in the room, not just the supporting adult.

I then spent two years teaching in Dubai where I learnt even more about the importance of working as a team and appreciating the TAs. Having a fourteen form entry school is by no means easy but it was also great fun. In a school that size it’s easy to forget to be thankful but out Year 2 team did it internally with a buddy system where we secretly treated each other and it worked a treat. And I have to say, the support and encouragement I got from the parents of the classes I taught there exceeded any expectations I could ever or will ever have again. They were a very special group of families.

I have been very privileged to know so many special teachers and teaching assistants who have inspired me, taught me and supported me along the way over the years. Both in the UK and Dubai I have been part of teams that love what they do, know the importance of having a laugh and do everything with the children in mind and not just to boost the facts and figures. It’s so easy to forget that with the education system the way it is today, there is so much for teachers to try to cram in and get covered and sometimes it can be easy to forget that the children are what’s important. They learn when they have fun and are involved in creative lessons and need to be exposed to experiences that spark their imagination and trigger their passion for learning. That is something I have always tried to do, sometimes I stretch things a little too far like when I wanted to do an assembly based on the book, “There’s a Hippopotamus on our roof eating cake.’ I pictured it being an outside assembly where my TA would be dressed as a hippo and act out the story on the roof…and you know what? We only went and pulled it off and the children LOVED it! The number of children who came up to me after that assembly asking questions about the book and wanting to join story club just showed me that making that crazy idea come true, led to children being enthused about reading.

One of the best parts of teaching for me is getting to know the children and that includes their family as well. A child’s education doesn’t just lay on our doorsteps as often indicated by the press – I mean of COURSE teachers are to blame for every bad thing a child or teenager does because we taught them right?! Shaping a child into the adult they become happens through partnership – working together to help each other and support each other will ultimately benefit the child. Yes that is hard work but at the end of the day it works. Children spend much more time at home than they do at school with us so getting to know each other helps with the process.  So a way of thanking us for all we do would be to show up to courses or events we put on, sign reading records and get involved on days we invite you in to read or take part in activities – we do it all for the children, it’s certainly not for our benefit…if teachers are being totally honest they’d rather be at home or doing something fun rather than waiting for the set of parents that don’t show on parents evening!

Yes, we love getting nice presents but you know what, for me I love getting something personal. Over the past ten years I’ve kept a box of special things I’ve been given and the most treasured are the few cards and hand written letters from parents and children I’ve taught. They mean the most because they are heartfelt, they are personal and time has been taken to think about what you have meant to them. Thanking a teacher doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, even taking time at the end of a day or term to just say thank you means more than you could know.

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So if you have a child at school age, perhaps you could pop up to the school at the end of the day today and just say thanks to their teachers because I bet you that would make their day. And I will finish by saying to all my teacher friends – you are blimmin’ amazing, you may be exhausted after a bank holiday weekend but you’re all fab – not long until May half term – YOU CAN DO IT!

Happy Tuesday everyone,

#hairlesshannah

#hairlesshannah on dating

This month I’ve decided to mainly dedicate my blog to the theme of love. This coming week we will find ourselves dealing with Valentines Day or as I know it, happy singles day! It is also half term so I will be posting daily this week with crafts, recipes and blogs relating to love, dating and relationships! Daily blogging scares me a little bit but I want to give it a whirl!

To start with I thought that I’d let you revel in the fun that is my dating history – there’s not much of it but what there is, is quite entertaining! I can’t believe I’m actually going to tell you some of these stories but I am nothing if but honest!

Dating was something I was always nervous about, I went to an all girls secondary school so to some extent boys were aliens to me! But when I was 16/17 I went on my first proper date, a guy I met when buying a pair of shoes in Dune. That date went quite well and I saw him several times after but he was older than me and was heading off to uni. Because he was the first guy I had ever dated, I was filled with the idealism of movie love so of course, I decided to write a letter to him declaring how much I was falling for him before he left.  If I remember correctly, I decided to include some song lyrics for effect because in the films this works right?! – literally cringing as I confess to this! Later that week I received a text from him saying he got the letter and had to pay for the pleasure of reading it because I’d forgotten to put a stamp on it hahaha the shame! He didn’t mention the song lyrics thank god and we stayed in touch for a while but needless to say, it went no further!

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Then there was the blind date with a friends boyfriends best mate. This was never going to go well because in the lead up we had text a lot and through text we got on really well. But as soon as he picked me up I knew it was going to be a disaster. He was so nervous and on edge and obviously not the person he portrayed via text – that was the trouble then, we hadn’t sent photos, or Skyped or checked out each others face books pages, so it had been easy to construct messages and carefully think what to say. It was one of the most awkward dates in history – he talked about cars, mechanics, bikes, football – like I was one of his blokey mates. It was so bad I even said I was too full for a pudding in order for it to be over quicker! Main course and home please! Then he tried to kiss me in the car when he dropped me off, if you’ve ever tried to dodge a kiss, you’ll know how cringe worthy that situation was and needless to say we never spoke again.

Luckily after those two disasters I met the man that I would come to be with for nearly five years, I won’t go into it because we obviously aren’t together now although we stayed in touch for years after. He was the one that made me believe in love, trust and romance and I have the best memories of our time together.

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Very unprofessionally I then went on several dates with one of my trainee teachers brother, to be fair she set us up! She is now one of my best friends and we laugh about this situation lots. I got on really well with him but we weren’t compatible, it’s funny how you discover what will put you off someone – in this case it was him biting his nails through the entirety of the film we went to see. I can’t even remember the film title because I was just fixated on the biting situation! Awful.

I then tried internet dating. Even then there were proper idiots online only after one thing and not interested in anything else. But I did find one gem amongst them all. This was whilst I was on jury service and he was a well needed distraction from everything that was going on. We talked on the phone a lot, text, emailed and met up several times. After a few dates we agreed there was no physical attraction there but we got on so well that we became really good friends. He loved travelling, cricket and Strictly – even did some dance lessons and loved the old ladies he got partnered with. Although I only knew him for a year, he was one of the good guys. Tragically he was killed, hit by a car, just a few months before he was planning to go travelling around Australia. Luckily, although I hadn’t met them, I connected with some of his amazing friends who met me for lunch one day which I will always be grateful for. He was proof that internet dating can unveil some pretty amazing people who you can make connections with, romantically or not and I will be forever grateful to have had him in my life if only for a little while.

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Then I entered the phase of being set up on several more blind dates. All made possible by my very own Cilla – the ‘best!’ friend who has the nail biting brother!! Two set ups actually came to fruition, one that should go down in history as the most cringe worthy date EVER!

We met at Bluewater, I’d made an effort as one does, to look nice. He on the other hand, for some unknown reason, chose to wear a t-shirt bought at Sea World with a dolphin photograph on, hence why he will be forever known amongst my group of friends as dolphin man! I couldn’t not mention it and commented on how I loved dolphins and had also been to Sea World, to which to replied by pulling on the bottom where the SeaWorld logo was and proudly stating he’d been there too and it was the best day of his life! We then sat down for our meal, conversation didn’t flow too easily because he did most of it, which if you know me is a little unusual! Between main and pudding (yup, we made it to pudding here!) he took out his phone and asked me to choose which set of his photos I wanted to look through – sunsets or cats! I promptly told him I wasn’t a cat lover so sun sets would be my choice. He looked like I had punched him square in the mouth, he was disgusted that I didn’t like cats but still handed over the phone and I dutifully scrolled through the HUNDREDS of sun set photos while he talked about where they had been taken!

I somehow managed to move the conversation onto family and friends and I think I spoke a few sentences before we lent forward across the table, looked at me meaningfully in the eyes and asked, “have you suffered any bereavements lately?” I mean….what the actual…?! I said luckily not recently but he then went on to talk for about half an hour about the loss of his mum, how she suffered, died, the funeral… the whole shebang. I felt so uncomfortable but I guess he needed to vent. Luckily pudding arrived at this point although that didn’t stop him talking about other past bereavements he’d suffered!  At one point I stopped eating my lemon tart to have a sip of my drink and in slow motion styley he took this opportunity to lean over the table once more and take a huge swipe with his fork at MY pudding and gleefully chow down on it!! “I hadn’t finished that!” I said, “I know, but I thought we were at the sharing stage!” Seriously, how did you reach that conclusion??

The bill then arrived to my delight (by this stage I have been pinching myself to stop the giggles coming out at the pure insanity of what I was experiencing) but no offer came of bill paying..maybe that’s my fault, old fashioned first date rules? So not only had I had to endure that shocking date, I also had to pay half the bill for the pleasure! Now comes the piece de resistance, we come to say goodbye as our cars, thankfully, are parked in different directions. I went to kiss him on the cheek and say goodbye because after all. at heart I really am a nice person!  However, he put his arms around me and held on far too tightly and for far too long, nuzzled in, found my ear and whispered in a kind of serial killer way, “You’re exceptionally beautiful.” And kissed my ear, cheek and even tried for the lips. I think he could tell by me leaning back so far that he needed to let go at this point!  In any other scenario, on a good date, with attraction, that type of comment would be greatly received but in that way, with that man, with that t-shirt, no. Just no. After retelling this story to my friends and family, ‘Cilla’ then tells me he was also wearing that t-shirt when she met him at the BBQ – seriously??!! Why did I then let her set me up again?!

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Next time I decided I needed support so we set up a group situation – a pub quiz with two of my friends and two of his. To be fair, it was a fun night but they were a bit laddy for me, I know, I’m picky eh?! It just wasn’t my kind of banta – “what’s your best naked uni story?” just isn’t my kind of conversation and maybe I’m odd, but I didn’t actually have one to contribute to that discussion! Then they wanted us to pull sickies so we could drink more wine and get bladdered – again, just not my cup of tea! Nice guys, just not my type of nice guys!

And since then, apart from a few Tinder conversations, dating has been put on pause. Especially since becoming ill and bald, dating seems like a far away planet that is out of my reach. On top of all the usual dating woes, I now have to overcome the issues of fatigue and baldness. Now just isn’t dating time territory for me. I need to concentrate on me, but at 30, that makes me so sad. In many ways I’m glad I’m not with anyone because I would be no good as a girlfriend at the moment and I wouldn’t have coped well with being dumped because of being ill and bald. But then there are so many times when I wish I was with someone who I could confide in, have a cuddle with, be taken care of. I know I’m lucky to have my friends and family around but it’s a different kind of love and care with a boyfriend. I think being ill has heightened my wishful thinking for that life I’d planned for myself – finding someone to settle down with, build a life with, travel with, have children with. I worry that that is something else that is unachievable now but along with everything else I am hopeful about, this is still on the list. One day, maybe, hopefully.

So there you have it, it’s not extensive like some others would be but that’s okay. I used to feel ashamed by that, not having a big dating and relationship history but I’m not now. I made an amazing friend, I had one long, treasured relationship and several funny experiences. Yes I may be picky but I am a strong minded woman who knows what she likes and doesn’t like in a man and that’s okay too. I’d rather be selective and wait for the right one to come along and that’s just my preference.

I bet you all have some funny dating stories –  I’d love to hear them, comment below but keep it clean people! See you tomorrow, have a fab day.

#hairlesshannah

 

 

The Liebster Award!

I have to admit, when I was contacted by the wonderful Vivacious Views blogger Brittany to say she’d like to nominate me for the award, I didn’t really know what it was! In comes Google! It’s an award that has been created for bloggers to nominate up and coming bloggers to help them on their way or nominate bloggers that you simply love – how great is that?!

Brittany’s blog is called vivacoiusviews.com and she blogs about travelling which is what drew me to her blog in the first place. Her posts are always easy to read, helpful and informative and her photos are fab! I’d really encourage you to go check her out.

By accepting this award, it means my blog will get shared around a little more and in return I now get the pleasure of making my own nominations of bloggers that I’m loving at the moment.

These are the basic rules of accepting the Liebster Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their site on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog.
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 4-10 other bloggers for the award and notify them via Social Media.
  5. Create a new list of questions for your nominees to answer.
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Feel amazing that your blog has won a new award and pass it on!

 

Here are the questions I received from Brittany along with my answers!

Why did you start your blog? 

I started my blog after a close friend suggested it as a way to express my feelings about the situation I was going through. I had recently lost my hair to alopecia and had been very ill but as a teacher I have always enjoyed writing so it seemed like a great idea and I have to say, it has been my saviour.
What is your favourite part about blogging?

It’s therapeutic. Although I am branching out with my posts, I love the more personal blogs I write; I forget about who or how many people may read it and am just honest. It gets a lot off my chest and it makes me feel lighter.
What is your favourite Social Media to use while blogging? Why?

Using social media to promote my blog is still very new to me. Promoting myself feels odd but I am getting used to it! I do love Instagram and Canva is my new favourite app to design my blog post adverts!
What is your favorite unnecessary/luxury item to pack?

I have to say I am quite a sensible packer, I did always pack my straighteners which I obviously don’t need now haha but I guess I do like to pack lots of shoes, most of which I never end up wearing!
Are you a minimalist packer or do you over-pack?

I’d say I’m in between! Since living abroad and travelling a lot, I have learnt to streamline my packing but I always manage to over pack most of the time.
What is the best travel tip you’ve learned so far?

Pack a three plug extension lead and plug-in your adaptors ready to go and wind it up. Then if you only have access to one plug where you’re staying, you can still charge multiple items at once or charge and use a hairdryer! Score!
Where is your favorite place to travel?

That’s such a hard one -I’d have to say home though. No matter where I’ve been in the world and no matter how much I love a place, there is no feeling like landing in London on home soil and knowing that my family and friends will be waiting. I love that feeling more than anything.
What is the most delicious thing you’ve tasted while traveling?

The food we cooked on our Thai cookery course in Chiang Mai – I’ve written a whole blog on it so go check it out!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, money was no object, where would you go?

Ooooo, if money was no object I’d buy a round the world ticket! Cheeky answer but that’s what I’d do! I’d love to go back to Oz and visit New Zealand, but then I’d love to do Bali, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Africa, Greece…honestly, my bucket list is endless!
Where will you be going on your next adventure?

Who knows. I don’t know when that will be possible so in the meantime I will just dream about it!

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Now I get to give you my nominees! This is such a lovely way to make link with fellow bloggers and get to know the community but please support them too, follow their blogs and social media sites, it would make their day!

  1. Spoonie Sophia. Sophie is a true inspiration, she is a food, health and lifestyle blogger who is also battling a chronic illness. She’s recently documented her journey to America for her Lyme disease treatment – these blogs/vlogs are so honestly written and documented – I just think she is incredible and such an inspiration for fellow spoonies and for families and friends of people who have a chronic illness. Please go and read her blog at http://www.spooniesophia.com
  2. Divya at Eat Teach Blog. Divya is a teacher and blogger – two things that I love and am interested in. However, she also blogs about food, fitness and life in general. It’s a colourful, interesting and honest blog that makes me smile and I think it would make you smile too. Find her blog at http://www.eatteachblog.com
  3. Daniella at A Sprinkle of Joy. A fab blog about baking, being a mum and DIY projects. Her chocolate banana muffins look to die for and that’s just one of her scrummy posts! Find her wonderful, happy blog at http://www.asprinkleofjoy.com
  4. Alissa at Not ok, That’s ok. Alissa is a personal development coach who writes the most incredible blogs about various issues that you may face in life e.g the reality of panic attacks, how to step out of your comfort zone etc. She comes across as such a helpful, bubbly woman who’s life goal is to coach others to live more balanced and fulfilling lives. Find her at http://www.notokthatsokcoach.com/blog

 

My questions for my nominees to answer are:

  1. What made you decide to start a blog?
  2. What is the hardest part about blogging for you?
  3. Where would you like your blog to be in a years time?
  4. What’s the one thing that makes you happiest?
  5. What’s your favourite place to visit?
  6. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
  7. If you won a million pounds, what would you do with it?
  8. What’s your favourite quote and why?
  9. If you could invite 5 celebrities to dinner, who would they be?
  10. What piece of advice would you give to a new blogger?

 

And there you go – pay it forward, pass the nominations on and let’s get new and existing bloggers out there and getting noticed by a wider audience. It’s a tough thing to do, writing a blog is the easy part but we actually want people to read it and that can only happen with the help of fellow bloggers, friends, family and social media.

So thank you Brittany, you made my day!

#hairlesshannah

 

It’s my party..

 

Without realising, I’ve gone MIA since my return from Dubai. Not intentionally, but I think subconsciously my body went into self preservation mode. The last few weeks have possibly been the toughest in this whole nine month whirlwind. I can only put this down to the fact that for the first time I’ve allowed myself to give in to emotions that thus far I’ve managed to push away, cover up and put a mask on. For the first time, I’ve found it really difficult to put a positive slant on things and make my own sunshine.

I had a talk with a friend the other day and explained that although it sounds odd, I don’t really know who the real ‘Hannah’ is at the moment. I’ve tried so hard to be happy and cover my true feelings when around friends that the lines have become blurred between this facade and how I truly feel. This situation has changed me as a person and I don’t know who I really am, all I do know is that I don’t like this new me. I feel like I’ve been stripped of the person I built back up that managed to go to Dubai and have been crumbled back down into someone who once again has an emotional breakdown at the thought of leaving the comfort of my home.

Dubai was always the beacon of hope, that I would be able to get back and work, do my travelling and make more memories and I feel extremely resentful that that wasn’t able to happen. I feel like I am living day to day life not knowing what comes next, afraid to make plans. I feel like I have been stripped of everything I worked so hard to overcome and am once again living an isolated, bare minimum life. My thirtieth year should have been an exciting year, full of plans and steps towards whatever exciting things came up. Instead, I sleep…a lot, I cancel plans, I take 35 tablets a day, I cover up the constant pain, I feel guilty about letting people down and just feel indescribably sad.

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Although so many inspirational people with alopecia seem to grow to love the skin they’re in and embrace the bald, I feel like that will never happen with me. The word ‘hate’ should never be bandied around with ease but I can honestly say I hate being bald. I do not feel like me in any sense of the word, I feel like an alien in my own skin. I am in a situation where my hair will grow to about 1mm and will then break off above the folicle. Apparently, through talking to others on the Alopecia UK site, this is the case for others too. In some ways this is even more frustrating for a few reasons. 1) Because I have a dark shadow on my head and you can see a little regrowth, people will comment and say how amazing and positive it is that this is happening but, 2) although it’s ‘positive’ it snaps off most days and I face that repeating sense of loss and frustration that my body continues to fight itself and won’t let me get back to normality. Whilst other girls get to pretty themselves for weddings, parties or day to day life, I am sat in the loft with my electric razor, shaving my head to keep up with the alopecia.

I have finally been referred to a specialist at Kings London so am waiting patiently on that appointment and feel hopeful that this may help me take the next step forward. The constant pins and needles from the neck up has become even worse and in the past few weeks was accompanied by horrific break outs which resulted in several new doctors appointments and a new course of antibiotics to get rid of a bacterial infection.

In preparing for our joint birthday party this weekend, I feel sick to the stomach about the whole event. Of course, I am excited to have all my family and friends, bar a few, in the same place, having a good time. However, I feel so apprehensive about every aspect. I haven’t managed a late night in nine months, been in a crowded and noisy environment or been faced with repeating how I am over and over. Mum has been my rock as always and helped me find a dress that I feel vaguely feminine in and I may even get my Dubai sister to help me try false eyelashes!

This all sounds very low and sad but I am trying to still face things with a smile and positivity, it’s just been more of a challenge of late. I am determined to enjoy our party, I will go prepared with ear plugs and with the idea that if it all gets too much, I can take a time out somewhere quiet!

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So, if you’re coming to our party and ask how I am, I will politely reply, “I’m fine, it is what it is.” Please don’t take this as gospel, it really isn’t fine and it’s definitely not okay, but for one night, I’d prefer not to talk about my situation.  I want to try and forget and just have a fun time with all the people who have literally propped me up and kept me going since October. I will dance to 5ive and sing badly to Kelly Clarkson and pretend that the reason my heels get kicked off half way through the night is because of how much dancing I’m doing rather than the pain in my joints and muscles. I will bring back the craze of chair dancing and I will use toilet breaks to take a breath and compose myself. But most of all, I will take the time to soak in the evening and be thankful for all the amazing people that I have in my life, with whom I couldn’t live without.

Hairless Hannah

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