Inspirational Letter about Hair Restoration from “JN” a grateful patient of Dr. Brian Goertz
Hair Transplant Seattle Patient Review
Hello Dr. Goertz,
I’ve debated writing this letter for some time. Largely because as a grown man, I felt silly writing another grown man a sentimental letter. I’ve never really been a “Touchy Feely” guy to begin with, and my line of work certainly doesn’t foster such traits. This aside, I decided to go ahead and just do it anyways, fearing I might not express my gratitude sufficiently in person. I wanted to share my story, hoping to convey how the work you do goes far behind cosmetic vanity or the clichéd “Mid-life crisis”. My life has been forever changed for the better, and I owe much of it to your skill, drive for perfection, and above all, compassion.
I’ll never forget the first time I realized hair loss might be something I’d experience. It was 2005, I was 21, and on deployment in the service. After a long day, I was walking back to my quarters with some friends. I briefly lifted my hat to wipe away the sweat of the omnipresent 110 degree heat. A buddy inquired, “Dude, Nelson, are you going bald?” My gut sank, and I instantly grew defensive. “Huh? Me?” I responded. I’d always known I had a large cowlick, and just assumed it was exaggerated with my short haircut or “hat hair” at that moment. I denied his observation, thinking it absurd, and provided the aforementioned explanation. In my “invincible” youth, I had never even considered the fact that MPB was in the cards for me.
Little did I know, that single moment would begin years of internal stress, self-doubt, and denial?
I’m sure most guys can just shrug their shoulders at their thinning domes with a confident “It’s just hair”. I’m not one of them. Ever since I was old enough to comb my own, I always cared about my outward personal appearance. Primary to this, was my hair, and probably to an unhealthy extent. To me, my hair was how the world saw me. Put together, organized, and healthy. My mom could tell you endless stories about me making myself late for school or missing the bus because my hair wasn’t “just right”. I remember on a bad hair day, I might mess it up and start over three or four times. It was a little ridiculous, I admit. I would often look at my reflection anytime I passed by something shiny, just to check and make sure everything was still ‘in order”. Haircuts were always exciting and scary at the same time.
I could climb out the chair feeling 10 feet tall, or I could sulk for a week, obsessing over how to “fix” what wasn’t right. Pretty unusual for an 8-12 year old, but as my family always joked, I’m “(Age) going on 50”.
After that afternoon in the military, I began to obsess over my crown, watching my “Cowlick” like a hawk. It never left my mind. For a while, I was able to assuage myself with a multitude of comfortable lies. “It’s just the pattern of my hair growth”, “The barber just cuts it short there”, and again with the “Cowlick” excuse. Sometimes I believed it, mostly I didn’t. Meanwhile, my crown got thinner and my temples began to recede. Soon, denial wasn’t an option anymore. I tried every variety of hairstyle – long, short, every type of styling product, you name it….all in an attempt to either assuage my stress or hide my loss. Comments rolled in from men and women alike. “Getting a little thin up there, huh?”, “Hey, baldy!” etc. I felt weak for allowing it to bother me, but it did. These remarks only confirmed the inevitable reality I knew I was approaching. Styling became ever tougher, and I had many time consuming tricks I’d use to lessen the poor appearance of my hair. The worst days would be when I felt like my hair was looking full or great, and a negative comment would roll in. I remember going on dates and catching a young woman’s eyes on my head. I’d “read” her thoughts….”Well, he’s going to be bald someday”. Where I used to do well with dating, success began to decline. At the risk of sounding dramatic, it was crippling, and sucked the life, energy, and vitality out of me. I felt “unclean”, “afflicted”, and “broken”. It’s embarrassing, but I would discreetly observe the hairlines of men with naturally good hair and sulk with quiet envy. I swear I knew every type of Norwood pattern and hairline by heart. I didn’t have any optimism for the future, withdrew from relationships, and opted to “half ass” effort into new romantic prospects. At work, I’d be grouchy, bitter, and short tempered. At home, I would spend weekends around the house, in bed, not wanting to go out and live life. I placed emphasis on frivolous materialism to make me happy. As I’d learn, this was only a temporary, insincere solution with no lasting value. What was previously an outgoing, energetic, driven young man was replaced by a miserable, selfish, unhappy human being.
Just before I reached the point of begrudgingly shaving my head, I began to research medical options. Everything I found online seemed to give me one of two options – Literally turn into an asexual woman (Finasteride) or Frankenstein with a “barbaric”, “outdated” FUT procedure by a multitude of slick, car sales worthy surgeons. The internet is wonderful, isn’t it? I felt hopeless, and afraid to even call someone for a consultation. What if I end up worse than I began? What if I’m butchered with staples, a mile wide scar, etc.? I’d look even more ridiculous and desperate than I felt. Visions of hair plugs, toupees, and misaligned scalps flooded my mind.
I don’t recall how I came across your website, but I remember feeling comforted by your “Avoiding a bad hair transplant” section. You projected a genuine, knowledgeable outlook on what could be accomplished, focusing on realistic results, and not promising the impossible. No flash, no pitch, no miracle devices, just information. Exactly what I needed. I had my first and only consult with you in spring of 2015. Admittedly, and bear with me, I left the appointment more stressed than I arrived. For one, I realized the degree of my loss was more than I’d previously thought. Secondly, I was terrified of Propecia, and the prospect of it making what miserable life I had even more miserable. I spent a good week wondering if I should take it, and if I should seek treatment at all. Just more creeping self-doubt.
Your materials and consult err on the side of conservative results. I now understand why you take that approach, however, at the time they weren’t the magic words I wanted to hear.
I took a leap of faith. I placed my hair, and my hopes of future happiness in your hands. As it turned out, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I took the medication as you instructed, ignoring the noise surrounding it, and focusing on positive results. As it turned out, after some initial shedding, my hair began to grow noticeably stronger. I grew stronger and leaner in the gym. I felt as masculine as ever, and my mood improved. I had hope. That hope would only be increased after my first surgery with you, which resulted in a scar I could barely find at times. As recovery occurred, people began to take notice, and quickly. Some couldn’t place it, some outright asked, “What program are you on!?… You lose weight AND grow your hair back!? It felt good…l felt good again.
A domino effect quickly began. Once I began to feel confident about my hair, I began to think about it less. It almost always looked good. My perception of what I looked like actually began to match the reality in the mirror. With years of preoccupation ending, I was able to focus my energies on self-improvement, my interests, and living an INTENTIONAL LIFE. Suddenly, I found myself up at five AM on the weekends, making the most of every day. Projects long postponed were tackled, new gym bests were reached, and relationships were mended and improved. I was living again, optimism abounded. I began to find worth/fulfillment in the most genuine place possible – myself.
A sampling of directly attributable life changes since becoming your patient:
- I’ve embraced minimalism, finding value in myself and human relationships, not things.
- I’ve rearranged my finances to live off 25 percent of my income, investing, saving, and helping others with the other 75. Free of debt, I plan to retire at 50.
- I’m in the best shape of my life, cutting nearly 25 lbs., eating healthily, and coaching others to do the same.
- I’ve picked up and began teaching myself the bass guitar, something I’ve wanted to do for at least 15 years.
- I enthusiastically educate myself on any and all subjects I’ve ever been curious about. I make it a top priority, reading at least a book per week.
- I’m once again outgoing, friendly, and genuine with others.
- I date and approach women with confidence, and look forward to starting a family someday. Previously I’d decided to remain a lifelong bachelor, and refused to form any attachments.
- I stand up for myself, calling out wrong when I see it, and making myself my own point of reference.
These are just a few of the major life changes I’ve experienced since my first surgery and the period following my second. MY HAIR LOOKS INCREDIBLE. I never imagined the results you’ve given me, and I’d have gladly paid twice as much knowing what they’d be. I can hardly see my scar at a #2 guard, and only then with intentional searching. I sincerely don’t even remember having this much hair in high school! I’m often mistaken for ages of 26, 27, 28….sometimes by those 25 and younger! It’s truly been a blessing and a second lease on life. I never realized the full extent to which MPB was effecting me until being on this side of the problem.
A few evenings ago, I was out with a beautiful young woman, when an older lady apologetically inserted herself into our conversation. Assuming she was going to make a remark about my pretty date, you can imagine my surprise when she said “I’m sorry, I just had to compliment you, and you have an amazing head of hair!” Although I didn’t reveal my secrets, I smiled, both inside and out.
Thank you Dr. Goertz, I am forever in your debt. There is nothing I can say or do, to express my gratitude for what you’ve given me back. A guy’s hair isn’t as trivial as society would have most believe. It’s a frame of reference, an identity. I think many men suffer silently, as I once did. Thanks to your work, I got my identity back, and greatly improved on it. You’ll always have a friend in me. If there’s anything I can ever do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask. Feel free to share this letter with anyone you choose. Maybe my story can inspire someone one else to take that first step towards a life better lived.