We just passed the 4th anniversary of Caroline's hair falling out. I can't believe it. She's lived longer without hair than with it. How crazy is that?! She doesn't even remember what it feels like to have hair.
At that time we were hearing about this thing called "alopecia" for the very first time in our lives. We had no idea what it even WAS. A fellow RUF campus minister connected us with a former student of his who also had alopecia, Molly.
Turned out, Molly was (and is!) a godsend to our family.
The first time I spoke with Molly on the phone years ago, I hadn't quite accepted that Caroline's hairloss was only alopecia. (Caroline was having many more symptoms than just hairloss, and some bloodwork had come back showing the possibility of celiac disease, which is why we put her on a strict gluten free diet to see if that reversed any of the issues she was having.)
Nevertheless, I listened to Molly's story with heightened interest. She recounted her experience losing multiple patches of hair as a teenager. She told me what it was like wearing a wig for years, until she ditched it and felt she could live more in light of her justification in Christ without it, confident in being who she was, free from other people's approval.
I wanted to know how her parents supported her, what they did and said that was helpful to her. I wanted to know how she dealt with people's reactions and stares. I think ultimately I wanted to know things would be okay.
I'll never forget how fast my mind was spinning as she spoke. Will this be MY daughter's story, too? Are we also looking at a LIFETIME without hair? The thought was so overwhelming at the time.
Yet, Molly was one of the most amazing people I had ever met. Her beauty radiated, even through the phone. As she spoke, I realized that where she was now living in CONFIDENCE, I had been living in so much FEAR. What she decided not to place value on, I had been placing TOO much value there. It was such a helpful and unexpected wake up call to me.
I'm sure that was a typical alopecia conversation for Molly, but to me, it was nothing short of life changing.
So when Caroline's diagnosis was indeed alopecia, I decided to make a children's book and call it "Everybody's Got Something." In it, I included a page (above) about different types of alopecia and people we had met with the same condition. (Molly's form of alopecia, alopecia areata, where she loses and re-grows patches of hair at an unpredictable pattern, is actually the most common form of alopecia. Caroline's form, called alopecia totalis, is a little more rare.)
Even though I've only spoken with Molly over the phone a few times and she lives many states away, she has become a household name in our family.
So when it was time to drive from Virginia to Texas (and back) over the holidays, we decided to make a quick stop to finally meet her in person!
And I'd say there couldn't have been a better way for us to kick off 2014! What a special and surreal moment for us to sit across the table from Molly on New Years Day! (She actually said she was a little starstruck meeting Caroline, too! ha ha!)
She and Caroline were instant buddies.
I'm sure we were quite the spectacle of the restaurant!, but you know what?
I didn't even notice or care.
Molly gave Caroline a beautiful gold necklace with a cross and a letter "C" charm on it. So, so thoughtful.
(and just in case you're wondering, my last post about giving too many gifts certainly doesn't apply here... he he)
Even over a quick dinner, these girls hit it off. (I absolutely love this picture!) Caroline told me afterwards in the car that she thought Molly was SO beautiful and SO nice. (You can imagine how happy my heart was to hear that.)
Molly, thank you for being both a friend and an inspiration to us. God was so good to intersect our paths.