For almost a year and a half now, my face has been the residency of The Beard. Most people, I think, just assumed that this was a natural permutation of my personality. And, to an extent, it was. But there was more than just extreme bearding behind the wavy coat of facial follicles.
If you’ve read my posts since the transplant, or that have talked to me in person since then, know about the problems I’m having with my legs since the operation. For the last two and half years I tried to get the doctor’s I normally see to help with one of two things:
- Figure out what’s wrong and how we deal with it
- Realize this is one of those medical mysteries, but help me figure out how to live with it so I can function in society (i.e. work at a job, take care of myself, etc without the need of family dependence)
In that time, the doctor’s said they do a lot, while not doing anything in the end. Every visit I would keep asking for help at one of the two things I just mentioned, and they would keep promising, but every visit they seemed less and less interested in helping me. It came to the point last year where I realized I could either shower or trim my facial hair, but I couldn’t do both because my legs would get too tired to stand. Around April or May of 2011 I decided to start my silent protest: I would stop trimming my beard until any doctor actually tried to help me.
It shocked the doctors the first time they saw it–it had been 3-6 months worth of growth by then–and I told them what I was doing. After two more visits and they still didn’t do shit, I had to start looking out side of these doctors, because protest or not, they just didn’t care at some level.
Last Friday, after waiting seven months for the appointment, I saw a Neurologist at Johns Hopkins that not only given a thoughtful diagnosis to the problem, but is willing and eager to help me. There are tests and therapy a head of me, but there is at least progression towards an answer, as opposed to my other doctors that might as well have buried their heads in the sand.
And so, my protest is over. The Beard has been shorn.
Now, don’t expect a clean-shaven face from me. I’m still an advocate of Facial Hair Tolerance. More so now after my year and half with The Beard. It really amazes me the visceral reactions people had to it. It was not that long ago that facial hair was dignifying. I don’t know what changed or who that it needed to, but some of the looks of disdain I’ve received were remarkable. Especially in a society that has multiple reality shows about hair salons and Pinterest is awash of ways for women to style hair, men can’t seem to do anything but have a clean-shaven face if they want to be considered “respectable.”
I can’t shave everyday. I can do it once, but the razor burn I get form that one shave, I feel for a week. If I try to do it sooner, the pain intensifies three-fold. So, I will always be a little hirsute in the face. But I also think that judging someone differently because hair growing where it’s supposed to grow is a like messed up. I’d get into the whole “women shaving themselves bald” thing here too, but I’m trying to keep this post family friendly.
Anyways, let us take a moment to remember how The Beard touched our hearts and thank it for its help in my fight to live a relatively normal life. I shall miss you, Friend.