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About Me

Frank Angelo DeCapite
Frank Angelo DeCapite Alopecia image

I was born on May 20 1997. Healthy and happy with a full head of hair. In July 1998 my mom noticed a patch of hair missing from my head. We made an appointment with our family doctor who recommends we go to a dermatologist. When we went to the dermatologist he said it was Frankie 1997nothing just normal baby hair loss. Obviously my parents were concerned and decided to go for five "second opinions". Finally we found Dr. Daly who diagnosed Alopecia Areata. He explained our options: one of which was topical steroid and other creams that were meant to irritate and stimulate hair growth a tough decision for a parent to make, but we gave it a try. On October, 1998, I was totally bald and had no eyebrows, eye lashes, or body hair. Again, Dr. Daly explained we were now at the stage called Alopecia Universales and at this point we needed more severe action.

We tried all the medical procedures that were suggested. These included: blood work testing, oral and topical steroids, and a tanning bed that Dr. Daly had in his office which aimed to irritate and stimulate all hair follicles.

Parallel to "normal" treatments, my parents started visiting other medical professionals. One was a European doctor who prescribed sun; he wanted me to irritate my scalp (similar to Dr. Daly's suggestions of irritation and stimulation). So, our traveling began. We spent most of the winter months in the beach towns of Florida and the summer months in Long Beach NY.

Still nothing worked. We then tried "holistic medicine" they felt you need to heal the body from the inside. My dad went to a pharmacist in Chinatown, NY, who gave him a bag of miscellaneous herbs and roots. Using this bag of dirt, we would make tea that I was suppose to drink; this was the most disgusting drink I have ever tasted. We tried these holistic procedures for awhile until, one day, the doctor wanted to sell my dad a brush made of nails and instructed my dad to lightly hit me on the head until I started bleeding. We never went back to that doctor again.

Alopecia 1999Alopecia 1999At this point we have been trying the "normal", "holistic", and the European "sun" medicine for one and a half years. On October, 1999, finally there was some peach fuzz on my head but still no facial or body hair. So we continued assuming we were doing something right. But by March, 2000, I was bald again.

Frankie with alopecia March 2000We continued to have hope and followed Dr. Daly's suggestions. One of which, was an over the counter medicine called Rogaine. We started applying Rogaine two times a day and continued to travel to tropical and sunny destinations. By June, 2000, I had facial hair. This was a huge relief that gave my family a lot of hope.

Alopecia 2000

From June, 2000, to August, 2002, we continued to apply the many types of medicine every single day, but there was no progress. We started to prepare for school and this was my parent’s biggest fear. They thought I wasn't going to fit in. So, they created a five page comic book and requested a meeting at school with the faculty and parents to explain my situation. "Nothing is wrong with me, it's just hair loss!" They hope that the kids would befriend me and not make fun of me.

September, 2002, getting ready for the first day of school. At this point, I have never had hair before. But suddenly, my hair started to grow! It started out as just peach fuzz; it then became full grown hair. I made my parents look like liars to the school and the other parents. Alopecia 2001Alopecia 2001Alopecia 2002Alopecia 2002There was no need for the explanation because I finally had hair. I also met a girl in my school that also had and still has Alopecia today.

Winter of 2002 in NY, my first time not in Florida, and I still have my hair. In April of that same year, we found clumps of hair on my pillow. We went back to Dr. Daly in panic. He suggested a stronger topical steroid, Olux, to be applied with the Rogaine. This has been the regimen since 2002, we occasionally supplement this with an oral dose of steroids or a cortisone shot.

I completed elementary school in 2006 and middle school in 2011. I have always had missing patches of hair; sometimes no eyebrows and other times no side burns, but I'm happy with what I accomplished with my fight against Alopecia.

2008I have attributed the growth of my hair to Dr. Daly, Rogaine, and the "sun medicine". I am currently a junior in Chaminade High School, graduating class of 2015, with aspirations in the medical field. I want to focus on Alopecia and continue the quest for education and support for the cure.