Below is a detailed blog about everything I experienced to give you a great picture of how a HT works…enjoy!
DAY BEFORE HT:
I decided to drive to Ottawa (didn’t want to have to put up with airports)…which was about a 9 hr drive…thankfully there was no snow!!! I had my pre HT consult at 3:30 and brought my pictures with me. The dr and I went through them and he said that my hairline was feasible. I kept stressing how I wanted a nice straight hairline with no widows peak and I also wanted my temple points done as this is a crucial part of hairline restoration. He thankfully agreed with my drawing and he said we would draw the hairline the day of my surgery. I left feeling very confident and at ease in that he saw my pictures and knew exactly what I wanted so there wouldn’t be any surprises the day of…I truly recommend everyone do this before their HT…draw one on yourself and provide the pics to your doctor.
I also signed all the paperwork and consent forms…boy…as all consent forms are…that was interesting to say the least…u sign your life away on those things! But we all know the potential risks associated and we all accept that and I know Dr. Rahal is great and gladly signed everything.
DAY OF HT:
I didn’t really sleep that good the night of bc I was so anxious to just get it over with. You are supposed to shower and wash your hair thoroughly. Also enjoy your last shower for a while as well as a great nights sleep which I def tried to!!! I arrived at 9:30 am and filled out some more paper work in that I had to pick my lunch that I wanted. I then met with the doctor to draw my hairline. He drew it on and we tweaked it from there…it definitely helped having him see my photos the day before and for me as well because I knew how it should look…I was a pain and asked to see a mirror and went into the bathroom to see it in private and from all angles…once I was ok with this I agree to it. In the process of it, I told him that I really wanted this to be as much of a one and done kind of HT for at least a few years in that I didn’t mind if he went further back as I did have further recession that I wanted to take care of while I was here now instead of in a few years. Plus by increasing my temple points this added to increased graft count. So once we started measuring my head and area it came out that I would be covering a 90 cm area…so factor that with on avg. 50 FU/sq cm and that is where you get around 4,500 grafts…we agreed on around 4,200 at that point. I originally was scheduled for 3,000 grafts and didn’t really expect it to come up that much but I was ok with it because I just wanted as much coverage as possible in this session instead of having to worry about further procedures in like a year or two…granted I am well educated in that I may need further work but I just didn’t want to have to come back in a year…i’m sure u all can understand this. I also informed him I wanted a nicely dense packed hairline and he kept telling me I would definitely be happy with what he was going to give me. To confirm this we looked at other patients with similar hairlines and his results were literally jaw dropping…the density is unbelievable…so that made me happy and I was now ready for my life changing procedure!!! Dr. Rahal was so patient during this process as I can definitely be very anal with this…he was great and never rushed me making sure I was happy with the design and I was!
WHAT TO WEAR:
I recommend wearing comfortable clothes…I wore jeans but recommend like sweat pants for my comfortability. Also wear a button down shirt but you won’t be wearing this during the HT…they give you a hospital type gown to put on during the surgery…but u will need your shirt afterwards to wear when you leave.
PRE OP PICS:
Mike (who is the head nurse) is wonderful…he is very nice and down to earth and joked around with me which helped put me at ease. I must say I wasn’t nervous at all and was so excited the whole time to be getting back my hair! He took pre-op pics of me then we went into the operating room to prepare for the strip extraction.
I always thought you were seated face down but I was seated in a barber like chair upright. Mike then shaved my front and I asked to see myself with a shaved head…It looked weird as I never had my head shaved before! So he shaved my top and the back and taped my remaining hair up…it was quite an extensive tape job! Mike then gave me some pills and a sedative in my arm and that made me feel a little relaxed. The Dr. then came in and gave me the numbing shots…these weren’t really that bad…like a normal needle feeling…nothing that crazy at all. The whole strip removal was very quick…I would say like 25-30 min and it was painless. I didn’t really hear anything as some people state it sounds funny but I didn’t really hear anything just felt some pulling as he was suturing but def no pain at all.
Once this was done he started the incisions. He positioned me so I was practically laying on my back as he reclined the chair all the way down. He numbed me up and this didn’t feel too great but def not that painful. After this he started making incisions…this is where the genius happens…he was maticulous and is def a perfectionist which I really enjoyed about his work. This lasted about a good hour give or take. It sounded like a crunching noise as he poked my head over 4,000 times! I kept talking to him asking to hook me up and make it dense! lol. He kept looking at the front and making tweaks to it and that is how he is a perfectionist…he kept tweaking it to make it look just perfect and especially even!
Afterwards, there was a little time in between as they were slicing up the strip…so Patrick (a nurse) asked me to pick about 2 movies and I did…there was quite a good selection of movies and the TV was right in front of you and pretty big! I chose Mr. and Mrs. Smith so I could stare at Brad Pitt’s great hairline hoping mine looked half way good as his! lol. The nurses and staff were soooo great asking me if I needed a break all the time and they were so diligent too.
I was feeling good at this point…just felt my back of my head was a little tight and my face was tight too almost like what a face lift would feel like! The whole time I just kept invisioning my new hairline!!! You need to totally trust your dr. because I couldn’t see what my incisions looked like at this point and knew Dr. Rahal would hook it up! So the movie started and so did the implanting..I was now sitting in an upright position as they did this. There were a lot of staff…I would say around 10 people in total…they all were working like a very well oiled machine as each member knew exactly what was their role and communication was great between them…i guess they did this a few times before! lol. This was the worst part if I had to choose one…worst in that it took a LONG time for this to be completed and there were a lot of staff working on me. It took at least like 5 hours because I burned through over 2 movies and then more time afterwards! I surprisingly didn’t get anxiety for sitting still for so long as all I was thinking about was I am sooo close to getting my hair back and I was so excited the whole time I think I had a smile on my face the whole time! The Dr. kept coming in asking how I was doing every so often and he also was doing some quality control in watching the staff and often directed them. He then came in and said that they were able to get 4,600!!! I was like OMG…so he had to make additional incisions…I was worried that he wouldn’t hit the mark and would have to cut me open again but thankfully it was the opposite…guess it was all those scalp exercises I did! lol. I also had a good density in my donor too which is great also! Often throughout the procedure he had to keep freezing my head as the numbness wore off…this happened a few times but didn’t really hurt bad.
When the implanting was over…it was now around 7:30 pm ish…and I was shot…just such a long day. They bandaged me up quite extensively, I changed and Mike went over with me my meds that I had to take and also gave me a care package of everything I would need to clean my head so you don’t have to buy anything as they provide this for you which is great! The Dr. was so nice in that he drove me back to Foxbar…it was like 8 pm at this point. I got home and felt pretty good actually…I didn’t feel any pain really just a lot of tightness in my back. I had such a huge smile on my face in that it was finally alllll over…and my road to new hair has started!!!
NIGHT OF HT:
I started feeling some discomfort and pain in the recipient area so I took a Tylenol 3 and that didn’t really do the job so I took a Percocet and that seemed to help dull the pain. They said to sleep in a recliner for the first 5 days so I didn’t have a recliner in my room so slept in the recliner in the living room at Foxbar. It is really comfortable but my sleep was rough…didn’t really sleep well at all…was up all night…the airline pillow wasn’t really working for me…so I just put a towel and rolled it up and that seemed to do the job and have been doing that ever since.
DAY 1 of HT:
I woke up and felt ok…took my antibiotic and kept with the percocet pills for the pain…the hardest part was me getting a cold…so fighting that was the toughest part not the HT recovery ironically!!! I kept sneezing which didn’t feel that great as you could imagine! All I felt was the tightness in the back of my head. I was told to stay off my feet and relax in the recliner all day so that is what I tried to do. I had my cleaning at 4 pm so I walked there and the cleaning was great…Mike does it and sits you in a barber like chair and cleans it for u and cleans your scar too. The Dr. then comes in and I had my first unveiling…I was sooooo nervous to see it for the first time scared that the hairline wouldn’t be what I wanted…but I looked and was like OH MAN!!!! It looked amazing!!!! The temple points are so perfect and the hairline is so straight and nice and low (low meaning at a very reasonable level as we didn’t technically lower it but kept it even with my frontal hair and just made it straight across from there). I was sooo happy when I saw that and it just justified my great job in selecting Dr. Rahal as he is a perfectionist and it totally showed. He came in and said it looked very clean and everything looks great including the scar! I was very relieved!!!
I went back to Foxbar (where a lot of patients stay together-see my blog about Foxbar) and was informed to spray saline solution every 3-4 hours which is easy to do. I looked in the mirror and suddenly noticed how swollen my face got….like alien swollen…my cheeks swelled up so much and my head looked like a light bulb shape! lol.
DAY 2 of HT:
I feel good today…no real pain anymore just normal discomfort. I am going to get my cleaning in a little while.