11 September 2009

Post-Op Hair Growth

Last night, I got home late. And I went to bed late. This meant, of course, that I woke up late.

On top of that, stiff winds drove hard rain through most of the day. So, because I didn't have to go to the college today, I didn't have much incentive to do anything. But I did my laundry anyway.

None of this brought me any revelations or insights. I guess you can't have them every day.

I'm not upset. I know that I needed this day. Bruce reminded me of this when I called to make another lunch date with him next week. "You're not getting any younger. And remember, you've just had major surgery."

About biggest thing I've done in the last couple of days, apart from teaching, was to get a haircut yesterday.

Anna has been cutting my hair for the past two years. Before her, I used to go to Toni, who had been doing my hair from the time I started my transition. Then she went to Paris to study theatrical hairstyling and makeup, a field in which she now works.

Yesterday, the day after returning from her annual trip to see her family and in-laws in Italy, Anna gave me my first post-surgical haircut. I couldn't help but to think about three-year-old Jewish boys getting their first haircuts. It's considered a milestone in the boy's life--perhaps not quite as momentous as his birth, bris or bar mitzvah, but significant nonetheless.

Anna and Maria, the owner of the shop, were even more welcoming than usual. So was Catherine, who washes and colors hair at the shop. They described me with the same words I've been hearing for the past two months: "glowing" and "radiant." Hey, bring it on!

And Anna said that my hair seemed even longer than it was the last time I came for a haircut: two days before I left for my surgery.

So that means a little more than two months had passed since my last haircut. That's more or less my normal schedule. But Anna insisted that my hair had grown even more than it did between previous cuttings. I think she was right: I could feel it.

When I started to take hormones, the doctor told me the hair on my head would grow more quickly, and longer and fluffier, than it had previously grown. That has come true. But now Anna thinks my hair grew even faster than it had before.

I haven't seen anything about post-operative hair growth. It made sense that my hair grew more after I started taking estrogen: That hormone stimulates hair growth on the scalp and sides of one's head, and sometimes reverses balding or hair line recession. Neither of those had been a problem for me, so I just ended up with lush hair that--I'm not saying this to boast--often draws attention and gets compliments. People have told me that it and my eyes are my most attractive features.

Before my surgery, I was taking a testosterone blocker in addition to my estrogen. Now I'm not taking the blocker and am taking a lower dose of estrogen than I was before the surgery. I wonder whether the fact that I no longer need the testosterone blocker has something to do with the hair growth Anna noticed.

The answer to that question probably won't change the world. But it has me curious, anyway.