Diagnosis of Alopecia Leads to Hairy Situations

Kacie Stamm surrounded by Girls Swim & Dive teammates.

Photo by: Elaina Plankey

Kacie Stamm surrounded by Girls’ Swim & Dive teammates.

Elaina Plankey, Editor-In-Chief

To deviate from the norm is to be constantly observed — every aspect picked apart and examined. Questioning how you act, talk, dress.

For Kacie Stamm, this aspect is her hair, more acutely her lack of it.

The summer of sixth grade, Kacie sits patiently while her sister braids her brown locks in a moment of tranquility. To the side of her head, a small bald spot reveals itself. Ensuing multiple doctor visits lands Kacie with a diagnosis for alopecia, an auto-immune disease that results in hair loss over time.

Over the course of seventh grade, her hair diminishes to a few strands, finally resulting in the decision to go bald by March.

Kacie is now in her sophomore year of high school and has been dealing with anxiety and self-consciousness.

“I often have to remind myself that when people are looking at me that I don’t have hair, and they’re probably confused.”

People often make Kacie’s hair a topic of discussion, to her directly or otherwise.

A group of children at the pool, murmuring amongst themselves.
A middle-aged man approaches her in a store — asking if she’s on medication.
She says yes.
He asks what type, and it dawns on her that he assumed she has cancer.
A lot of people assume.
She politely explains herself to this inquisitive stranger before continuing with her abruptly interrupted shopping.

Even so, Kacie continues to have a normal life. She doesn’t often wear a wig, viewing them as an itchy irritation. She feels a wig looks out of place on her and is very obvious, wearing a wig everyday would be like hiding herself.

Instead, Kacie views her baldness as an unique benefit — allowing her to accessorize with different hairstyles allowing her to express her individuality in a way no one else can.