The Bearded None-der

Diabetes sucks. I don’t need to tell anyone that. There’s all of the usual stuff – the blood-letting, the doctor visits, the expenses. Despite all of that, we’re always told that we can live like “regular” people. We can play sports, eat sweets (as long as we bolus correctly), and have babies. I’ve done all of those things (I’m pretty good at the last 2, the first one…meh).

Thanks to diabetes though, there’s one “regular” thing I can’t do – grow an effing beard. It seems simple enough, right? You just don’t shave for a few days, and it should be there. It’s the epitome of laziness. It’s winter time. It’s what people do. They wear sweaters and grow beards and swap out their iPod playlists for gloomy acoustic indie rock (no? just me?). But unfortunately, my beard has some rather noticeable bald spots. I should clarify that it’s not diabetes directly that causes this, but rather another autoimmune disease that goes by the heartwarming name of Alopecia Areata.

Not me...but something like this.

In this case, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, much in the same way it sought out my pancreatic cells 20 years ago. Why it can’t put that effort into fighting off a common cold, I’ll never know. Of course when you research this condition, you come across that all-too-familar “occurs more often among people with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes”. I get so sick of seeing this. I can handle the diabetes, I just wish it was JUST diabetes.

Is not growing a beard the end of the world? No, of course not. I realize it could be worse. Better bald spots on my face where I shave normally anyway than in the area where I expect to have hair. But how am I ever going to fit in if we move to Seattle? I guess the bright side is that I’ve read that the hair often does eventually regrow, so maybe I can try again in a few years. Perhaps that will inspire my pancreas to do the same!


4 comments so far

  1. Adam on

    So first off, yes It sucks. I hate reading those same things “occurs more often… diabetes.” F you diabetes!

    Secondly.. just curious, have you been beardly challenged forever (or a long time?). I’ve had a beard for quite a while(10+ years) but I’ve noticed just recently that i have a couple of small spots that seem to have just stopped growing. I assume it’s Alopecia Areata.. since I’m also just generally challenged by Alopecia on my head region.

    • Harry on

      It’s probably been about 5 years for the spots. I never really tried to grow a full grizzly beard before, but I know the bald spots are a newer development.

  2. Karen Hoffman on

    I’m with you – although I’m not alopeciaed. I’m Hashimotoed. Seems like we T1s have all the luck!

  3. Zona on

    I have Hashimoto’s as well. However, I was only recently diagnosed with Type 2. I have the opposite problem…being female…I don not want facial hair and there it is anyway! Go figure!

    Former Diabetes Educator for approx 15 yrs.

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