Ok, so I made it onto here. This has been a short but hard journey, convincing myself that I'm actually losing it and then finding out that there are actually promising treatments.
My hair was always important to me. In highschool days I would wear it very long and had thick and beautiful hair girls were jealous of. Then in my twenties I wore it quite short, spiked up with gel. This is still the hairstyle I'm having at now 34. As far as my family history is concerned my mother's father lost his hair at about 22 and went to having nothing in about 2 years (I believe this is NW 7)! So really fast and devastating hairloss. My other grandfather was the receding type with high temples but still had white hair when he died. My father is receding in the front up to a point but has very thick and dense hair at the back of his head. Nice hairloss kind of. And almost made for HT IMO but he couldn't care less.
It started 2 years ago for me. I only was concerned about my hairline as I always assumed that I would never go bald in the back. Well in my early twenties it receded a bit. But maybe a third of an inch, so next to nothing I cared about. So I thought I was doing good. Had my 30th birthday and still a mane on top. Then two years ago I thought that the hair on the back of my head was looking less dense and was difficult to style. Still I didn't pay much attention. To be on the safe side I mentioned it to a dermatologist. She looked at it and didn't think I was losing it, but told me of Minox and Fin as only alternatives. But she would rather use the Minox. So I figured, just to be on the safe side and catch it early I ordered it. And so I did. I used it twice daily, but my head was itchy and the hair very dry. So I went to use it only once a day. To this day. I also went through an inital shed where I would have up to 100 hairs on my pillow where before there was nothing major to report. Then I knew how hairloss felt. It was scary. But I read about it and I rode it out. It stopped and I don't remember when which is good. For two years I went on with that and always had my itchy head but still hair on it.
I was very conscious about it though and looked at it very often. Last year when I had a very short haircut, I found that for the first time there were clear signs that the classical patch on the back was shining through. Still plenty of hair. I have very thick hair and no problem wearing a "haircut".
But then in June of this year I started getting worried and would look at my hair a lot. Also I noticed that I lost quite a bit of hair when applying my gel in the morning. But hardly any hairs on my pillow. I was starting to get really worried. I decided to go to a dermatologist (stating the treatment of hairloss on this webpage). This was a good decision. He confirmed that I was losing it. I truly had to hear that from him to really believe it. I was so convinced that it wasn't really happening, yet unsure. My girlfriend and family thought I was doing ok on top. Only someone at work made a stupid comment which really hurt me (who at three years older still has every damn hair on top).
Anyways the doctor mentioned what I had read on the web to me. I knew he would bring up Propecia, which I planned to not take because you only read so much about the sides. He sold it to me because he said he took it himself. Also he was extremely nice and understanding and could share my pain. For some time I was devastated but very decided to fight against it. I also started to openly talk about it with my girlfriend and family. Very hard for me, but very relieving. You start to realize that it isn't such a big thing for others.
So here I am now. I read all I could on the net. I found lots of forums and tons of posts with everything you have read and written too. I found this forum and I read through the recommendations to start a regimen. This was really very well written. It motivated me so much that I decided to join this forum and post my story here. It was the first time I understood why my minox wasn't doing the job properly alone. I thought about stopping it but was unsure. The doc gave me two good shampoos to treat the itch and little dandruff. I started to pop the pill daily and made pics.
After one week I started to get sides. Not the usual ones but diarrhea. Yes, very unlikely. Not reported often. But I knew it was from that. It was again devastating and I was so determined to fight hairloss. But my body just didn't tolerate the pill. I was feeling miserable and bloated all the time. then I read that you could actually take half a pill and have almost similar success with it. This is what I'm doing now. I take a quarter in the morning and evening for the last 1 1/2 months. I started the original Propecia which I seem to tolerate better together with a quarter of Finpecia.
Now I'm doing better. No more diarrhea although my stomach is a bit upset constantly. But it is something I can bear at the moment (the lactose in the pill doesn't help either). I'm seeing quite some shed at times and some sides (I feel my testies sometimes and an urge to urinate aside from the stomach problem). Funnily enough these things aren't constant.
Anyways. I decided to take the advice on this forum. I will ride out the shed. I will take a year with my current regimen. I will not let myself drive crazy by the many posts about sides and what not. I will be a success story here. I want to grow back what I have lost and do my best to maintain as much as I can. I still have a lot to lose. I will not be impatient and I will not forget to take my pill.
Thank you for all the motivation on this forum. For the outsider this is hard to understand and it is not the most important thing, but there are many that share your pain.
Comments are very welcome. I will post pics too and try to document what's happening. Apart from the shed not much. Thought I'd seen some hair in my temples?! But that could be wrong.