The Wig Exchange

Bernadette Bernardi’s Wig Exchange Story.

February 8, 2015

On my sixty-second birthday, May 25, 2013, I had a wonderful time. My son Barret and his wife Lexey were in town to help me celebrate. First, we did some wine tasting at my favorite champagne making winery and then capped off the day with a delicious dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant, dining in the lovely garden. The next day I noticed a red area on the top of my head. I didn’t think much of it. Thought maybe I had sat too long in the sun sipping champagne. A few weeks passed, the spot was getting bigger and I noticed other areas of my scalp were showing. About a month later, I went to see a dermatologist who immediately knew what I had though he still did a biopsy. The biopsy confirmed that I have lichen planopilaris. It’s a rare autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the head. The hair that is lost is believed to be permanently lost, though not all the hair is affected which creates a head of patches of hair mixed with patches of baldness. For more than a year, I wore hats. I’m lucky to be able to wear hats. They looked good on me. I’ve since collected quite a few, including two very lovely ones- one for each of my sons’ weddings that occurred in the period of time between August 2013 and May 2014. Along the way, I had also purchased a wig. I didn’t feel good in it. It was wrong in color and style and I couldn’t stand it on for very long. I kept wearing hats as I lost more and more hair. So much was gone, that in October of 2014 I decided to shave the rest off. I wasn’t brave enough to be seen with my shaved head so I still wore hats, though they didn’t look as good on my now bald head. In mid-November, I visited Barret and Lexey and my granddaughter Graceyn who would be one-year-old November 20th. Lexey had met Martina through her work and Martina shared with Lexey about the Wig Exchange Project that she and Narda were starting in the Bay Area. Lexey told Martina about my hair situation. Without hesitation, Martina invited Lexey to bring me to San Francisco so that I could be the recipient of a wig of my choosing through the Wig Exchange. Martina and Narda and Sandy, the hairdresser, met Lexey and me at Sandy’s Salon in downtown San Francisco on a Sunday morning. The first wig I tried on ended up being the one. I have received many compliments by both friends and strangers. Wearing it does make me feel attractive. It’s a very good wig, it looks likes it’s my real hair and just the right color and style. Most importantly for me it helps me feel confident as I continue to overcome the perplexing challenge of being a woman experiencing hair loss. Thank You! Thank You!