50 yr old – 24 months since transplant, April 2016

2 years ago I took one of the most important decisions in my life, when I decided to put my trust in HRBR to perform a hair transplant. It was an incredibly difficult decision for me, because I knew that the stakes were so high. I had, over the years, gradually come to accept my receding hairline, havinglived with it for more than half my life, but I have to say, it still niggled me. The risk I knew I was running was that, if, for any number of reasons, the transplant did not turn out well, I might be plunged back into the world of mental anguish that I had experienced some 30 years earlier, when I first started to lose my hair. Only this time it would be much worse, because it might not even be natural looking. I could become defined as ” that ol’ boy with the dodgy transplant” …

I started to lose my hair at 22, an event that caused me an enormous amount of mental anguish. Having a full head of hair was just something I took for granted and when I started to lose it, there were two overriding emotions, one was grief, the other was fear. Grief over what I felt was the loss of my youth, fear that I had no control over how quickly or how severe the hair loss would be.

I kept telling myself that the sooner I accepted the fact, the easier it would be for me. But I found it incredibly difficult, as hair loss is basically a degenerative process. I remember constantly thinking ” bad as it is now… it’s going to get worse !”. But how bad and how soon ??

The first year was a blur I felt like I was sleep walking through it, everything else was a side show to the main event happening on the top my head (and inside it) . In retrospect, I’m pretty sure I had a mini mental breakdown, trapped in an unwanted present and fearful of a future over which (hair wise) I had no control.

After the first year, I gradually learned to tolerate my hair less, but it required making a conscious effort to avoid “flashpoints”, e.g. looking at my reflection, as the image reflected was variable, depending on the lighting. I also didn’t like avoided having my photo taken for the same reason. When I did see photos, the only thing I looked at was my hairline, and again, depending on the lighting, it would either be OK, or a source of disappointment… and sometimes anguish.

If I confided in someone (which was rare), they would invariably respond with “Its not that important ” , ” you still look great ” ” everyone gets older” blah blah blah and to a degree they were right but only to a degree.

I was also surprised at how much my confidence suffered as a result of hair loss. It wasn’t just the feeling of vulnerability, it was like I had lost my “mojo”.

By the age of 50, I had fully developed my coping strategies. By this stage, my youth had long gone and having a full head of hair just wasn’t as important anymore. As they say…. everyone gets old eventually.

But then a couple of things happened. Firstly, hair transplants became (sort of) mainstream, with a couple of high profile celebs going public… and the results looked great ! Secondly, the internet removed much of the mystery behind the procedures, and also gave access to a number of forums where people discussed their personal stories. And I saw the 22 year old me in so many of those

For the next 6 months I carried out quite a bit of desk research, reading the success stories, the horror stories, the hard sellers, the low cost providers, patient testimonials. Obviously the before and after photos and could be taken with a pinch of salt —I knew all about lighting.

I decided I would visit a high profile surgery in GB for a free consultation. Despite this surgeon being the “hot name” at the moment, I was deeply unimpressed. The place looked and felt like a back street operation. It certainly didn’t look a medical centre, equipped to perform surgery, and therefore not confidence inducing. However, the surgery did give me permission to meet with someone locally who had had the operation carried out. Lovely guy… and so grateful that he took the time to meet with me… but there was something not just 100% right about his hair …

I commended myself for having carried out the research to inform me not to proceed. Too risky.

A couple of years passed and I didn’t really think about it anymore. But a growing number of high profile celebrities were “coming out”, one of whom was featured in HRBR. From the website, Samson House looked like a proper medical facility. But the cost was expensive compared to other providers. Also they didn’t provide a free consultation you had to pay €250 for the privilege!

But, for some reason, I felt compelled to check it out. And so, I met with Maurice in 2013, and immediately felt like I was talking to a proper medical consultant… a surgeon, not a salesman. We didn’t actually get around to talking about a transplant, apart from being informed that the hair at the back of my head (the donor area) made me a suitable candidate, if I chose to proceed. What Maurice was also able to do was provide assurance that medications such as Regaine & Propecia, which I had been taking for a number of years, actually worked, at least for some people, and that there were no major side effects.

As part of the consultation, I was given the option to return 2 months later to meet with the transplant team, and I decided to go, more out of curiosity than anything else. However, the set up was so impressive and the team so professional and reassuring regarding my concerns (No, I didn’t have to shave off my hair pre—op… No, there wouldn’t be a noticeable scar… Yes, I could go back to work within a week and no-one would notice) that I suppose for the first time, I began seriously to consider proceeding with a hair transplant. I wondered, “could it be true ?” a completely undetectable treatment that would turn back the clock (hairline wise, by about 10 years) and how this might affect me.

This meant considering the financial implications. The team estimated that, to provide total coverage I would need 1,500 to 2,000 grafts (€15,000-€20,000). This was totally out of the question for me, as I had a young family and a big mortgage! … But what if I went for 500 grafts initially ? taking out a €5,000 loan and paying it off over 3 years That’s only €5 a 3 day for 3 years. That was
doable !

And so, having talked it over with my wife, I booked myself a hair transplant. I have to say that I had 2nd thoughts regarding having the procedure on a regular basis. When you leave the security of Samson House and go back to the outside world, there is definitely a dip in confidence, and the “what if nightmare scenarios start to play in your head again. But I didn’t cancel… and this basically came down to a question of trust. Did I trust Maurice and the team to carry out this life changing (one way or the other) procedure? And the answer is… I did.

You’ll have, I’m sure, have read through the details of the procedure on the HRBR Website. Well, it’s exactly like that. I think I maybe fell asleep during the procedure.

And then it was all over.

And then the first look at the new (old) me l first sensation was one of overwhelming relief ! it wasn’t a disaster, it didn’t look unnatural, there were no “Tiny Tears” holes in my head ! It was still me in the mirror… but, as someone on the website has said… it was a little bit more of me ! The scalp with the newly transplanted hairs had very little blood on it. The newly transplanted hairs gave almost like a shadow effect, covering the previously bald area. It was like seeing my reflection in the most favourable lighting I’d seen in years. And I could have walked out of Samson house and down the street, into a cafe and I honestly don’t think anyone would have been the wiser.

Back to Brookville Guest house (highly recommended) and followed the post op procedures (hourly spraying) to the letter.

Back home, and my children didn’t notice !! even though I still had the stitches in the back of my head and was spraying my scalp every hour, so that I had a towel around my shoulders The only giveaway was that, for about 3 days, as previously advised by the team, there was swelling on my forehead (not that my kids noticed it !)

I remember my first public interactions with people. It’s hard to convey the exhilaration ! It was undetectable, after 2 days !!

If I recall, the stitches got removed after about a week and within another week the newly transplanted hair fell out. There were no scars, no redness, no soreness, a bit of tightness at the back of the head only.

So now you’re supposed to wait for 6 months until the newly transplanted hairs grow again. I began to notice a difference after 4. And this period from 4 months post op to 18 months is just the greatest feeling in the world.

After 30 years of fighting a losing battle with hair loss, I felt like I had made a comeback, like taking a count to 9 and then getting up and fighting back!! I hadn’t had control of my hair loss since I was 21 . To get that control back it was like lifting a 30 year old weight off my shoulders!! And mentally, it freed up so much head space.

I didn’t avoid mirrors anymore, when I caught my reflection it was a pleasant surprise! Did I look another 6 months younger, since the last time I saw myself? Weird and wonderful time !

And I started to feel and act like i was 10 years younger, almost like experiencing an incredible endorphin rush that gave me increased energy levels. I was probably about a stone off my ideal weight — not overweight as such, but sort of out of shape — alright for a 50 year old with a couple of kids .. I think that, part of my acceptance of the hair loss process had included, subliminally, a general “letting go” of my appearance. I lost this stone weight in 6 months, because it seemed like a natural thing to do in keeping with my new youthful self.

Y’know 20 years ago, you couldn’t have done this. When you think about what is involved… transplanting hair follicles from the back of your head to the front, so that they live and function like the rest of your hair, in a completely undetectable way.

And now my new hair has stabilised and is fully integrated with the rest of my hair as if it had never gone away ! My hairdresser couldn’t even spot the scar.

Here’s my advice to whoever reads this if you are losing your hair and it is affecting you mentally

  1. Find yourself a great hairdresser
  2. Go for a consultation with Maurice

Take control back
Good luck

Contact Us