Paula’s Sincere Thank You to Dr. Epstein
I have expressed my thoughts and thanks to you verbally and I am following up as promised with my note regarding my experience with my hair procedure. Please share this with Dr. E, Roxy, John, and all the team. I am coming up on a year since my procedure which was performed in late February 2012 by Dr. E and his team in NY. First and foremost my very sincere thanks on a successful job well done! I am a satisfied and happy patient. This procedure has significantly improved my hair situation resulting in many positive changes for me.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. While this was a long, difficult and expensive process without a doubt, I feel you were honest with me from the start, and stayed by my side every step of the way as I went through various stages of uncertainty, fear, pain and ultimately success & happiness. I feel that this was money well spent as it impacts me every day of my life. I now:
- look forward to washing my hair regularly instead of dreading every shampoo and avoiding it for up to several days to a week.
- am not afraid to look in the mirror after showering
- can wear a hat without fear of taking it off
- can get my hair wet in the rain or swimming without being embarrassed
- can hold a blow dryer to the top of my head and see a normal amount of scalp – this blew me away when I noticed – no pun intended!
- can run my fingers back through my hair on the top of my head!
- am not constantly thinking and worrying about my hair
- receive compliments from friends and family that my hair looks really good and many don’t know what I did
- people like my sisters who know me very well say I am not playing with my hair all the time which has been a habit of mine ironically despite this ongoing issue but seems to have significantly lessened.
- I’m happy about my decision to commit to this procedure and take action to do something about a personal issue that has been a daily struggle.
- DON’T NEED TOPPIK!!!!
- I am much happier about my hair
Before the procedure:
Going into a bit more detail, I have suffered with thin hair since puberty. My condition is androgenetic alopecia. However, I didn’t realize how thick my hair formerly was until it really started to thin progressively after the age of 40. I have always been well informed and conducted significant research about my condition for more than 15 years. I looked into all sorts of ways to address the problem and in short, in came down to the only thing that seemed to be something that would help “naturally” was a hair transplant which scared me out of my mind physically and emotionally – the thought of being a woman and having a hair transplant was absolutely horrifying to me. Now I look back and see how utterly ridiculous this was. My hair condition has adversely affected my emotions and self esteem my whole life. I continue to be baffled why insurance companies consider this a cosmetic issue when it can truly can affect your emotional and physical health – especially for a woman. It was so upsetting that all of the modern extensions, weaves, hairpieces etc. that became available really only work for people with thick hair that these things could be attached to and were not viable for the crown where the most thinning occurs. If these were used for any amount of time, it would significantly damage the little amount of hair I had – so these were not an option as I did not want to damage the hair I still had. I tried Rogaine, vitamins, various over the counter pills and potions that promised miracles to no avail. I was not open to taking any more intensive prescription drugs as I was still in child bearing years and did not want to take the risks associated with those drugs and there was no guarantee about those anyway. I would find special products from time to time that would help but ultimately even these could not hide the thinning. I have the most wonderful stylist who has always supported me. He introduced me to Toppik which was a miracle for me during the couple of years prior to my transplant and the 6 months following the procedure. I went to numerous doctors all claiming to be the best, all listed in the best doctors for hair transplants and all of whom took money from me and with whom I ultimately did not move forward. There was always something that did not sit right with me after my “consultations” for which I would pay two to five hundred dollars a pop out of pocket. I would belabor the decision to make the appointment for the procedure but always delayed and then didn’t do it. Bottom line, I just never felt comfortable with any of them. There was always too strong a nagging feeling. No one would give me a female reference that I felt was similar to my situation and there always seemed to be lame excuses why they couldn’t. So I did nothing and continued to suffer. In 2011, I was referred to Dr. Epstein. I have never been able to quite figure out how I never found him before with all the research I had done online and offline! I received a personal recommendation and I finally went. Most of my contact was with Ed who was absolutely amazing and has remained the same long after my procedure was completed and my payments made in full. He was interested, caring, and knowledgeable and spent all the time that I needed for questions, information, and follow up from the start and continues to the present with the same level of service. I consider him a friend. There was no charge for a consultation. I was very impressed with this and felt it really meant something. Dr. Epstein clearly did not need the money from consultations, apparently enough of his contacts were moving forward to sustain his practice. In addition, it seemed to me that Dr. E and the team didn’t want someone to move forward if they were not really truly ready and completely comfortable with doing so. They were enthusiastic and encouraged you to do it but didn’t push. Dr. E gave me not 1 consultation but 2, before I ever even made the decision to move forward. I believe he would have done a third if I had requested it. I made my appointment. Shortly after I made the appointment and gave my deposit, I lost my job. I needed to postpone the appointment. Ed was completely understanding and worked with me and patiently waited till I was in a position to reschedule. I was originally scheduled for August 2011 and postponed till February 2012. I wasn’t pressured into this date, it was when I was ready and able to do it.
The procedure and shortly after:
I was so scared about the procedure itself. I was truly frightened but had committed and wasn’t turning back. I got sick with a very bad cold the week of the procedure and was concerned I might need to postpone. Dr. E looked into my illness and researched what my regular doctor had found. Between the 2 of them, they advised I could go through with it. I felt confident neither of them would have had me proceed if it was not in my best interest. My biggest fear was the cut across the back of the donor site. In hindsight, the procedure was the easiest part. Dr. E finished the incision at the donor site before I even knew it had happened. It was nothing. There was truly no pain during the procedure, I felt it was a piece of cake. All my worrying and fear about the procedure was for naught. The team that worked on me seemed extremely knowledgeable, competent and confident. The only improvement I would cite was the office was a bit harried and my experience a bit less private than I would have liked. My fear about this scar across the back of my head was unfounded. If there is a scar there I don’t notice it or feel it.
After the procedure:
I was prepared for some discomfort and pain, I was informed and knew it could be different for everyone. I was pretty sick and very uncomfortable for about 3 days. Staying home, taking pain meds and extra sleep was all that was required – it was not excruciating. I covered my head and caring and shampooing as advised was not difficult or painful. I was sore but it wasn’t bad. It felt weird. Several days later, I did develop swelling from my forehead through my face which lasted a couple of days. That weirded me out a bit but with a phone call to Ed, I found out this can happen and it did go away within a couple days as I was told it would. The donor site incision was painful on one side and seemed to heal more slowly and have more irritation and scabbing. Unfortunately while I was aware and advised about shock loss, I hoped it would not happen to me, but it did. I suffered shock loss, and significant shock loss, both at the donor site and the transplant site. I had about a 1 inch round size bald spot around the more painful area of the donor site incision. For a couple months following the procedure, my hair was much worse than it was to start with. Not only did I lose the new transplanted hair as expected, but I lost hair I already had at both the donor and transplant sites. This was very difficult for me. I had understood this might happen, and had decided from the start I would draw no conclusions about my procedure before Dec 31, 2012 which would be 9 months after my procedure. While this time frame was extremely difficult for me, Ed and all the staff were there to listen to my experience, were very caring and assured me that in time this would reverse. I had asked Dr. E for one guarantee only which he gave me- to guarantee I would not be worse off than when I started. This was the only commitment for which I wanted a guarantee. A few months after the procedure I was worse off than when I started but it did turn out to be a temporary situation and I am now much better off. For anyone who experiences shock loss as I did, they have my deepest sympathies, it is very difficult to endure while it is happening but it did reverse for me in time.
I started laser treatment about 3-4 weeks after the procedure and have continued to the present. I truly believe that the laser helped with hair growth old and new, and reduces shedding and hair loss overall. I found following the regimen to significantly reduce the hair I saw coming out in the shower and in my combs and brushes. It seems strange and I’m not sure I understand why, but I am a believer in following the office laser regimen as recommended. In NY, the staff who handles this is AWESOME. Kelly, Jana, Natty, Bernie especially! They are so supportive have become my friends. It is a pleasure to go for my treatments.
I stayed the course of waiting patiently as best I could throughout this process. I was pretty unhappy, although not drawing conclusions, until about July. From August on, I started to see the positive change. My hair got thicker and was growing in – both the new hair and the old hair. By end of October, I did not need to use ANY Toppik. I continue to not need it and my hair is still growing out. I believe I am still not finished seeing the final positive results.
I consider my procedure a success. If advised by Dr. E and team and if my finances were to allow, I would consider doing it again although probably not before 2014. I’m not sure yet, but even with the suffering I went through, I would do it again if I wanted and if Dr. E assured me I would see similar results.
THANK YOU AGAIN DR E., Ed AND TEAM ONCE AGAIN! YOU are experts and the BEST! See you Friday when I come in for my follow up and when I trust you will be treating my aunt with your best care.