My story: I tried it all! - BaldTruthTalk.com
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  1. #1
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    Default My story: I tried it all!

    Hey guys this is my second post here, first one was not a very pleasant one and was a long time ago. Writing here to reflect upon on my struggle with hair loss and share the lessons I learned. the way I first lost my hair is quite peculiar. I lost my hairline to traction alopecia as my parents insisted I wear a turban(born a sikh) lost my temple points and first 2-3 cm of hairline. Until age 21, I had a concave hairline. So I always had long bangs since I stopped wearing a turban at age 17. Then in my early twenties I decided to do something about my hairline. Stumbled upon these blogs, looked for the cheapest surgeons possible and lowest number of grafts possible(being broke sucks!) Started taking propecia to avoid shockloss. Got dirt cheap finpecia from India and started searching for cheap hair surgeons in India or here. The plane ticket was a detterent for going to india for the procedure. Came across sword medical group for cheap grafts and then suddenly noticed Dr Ochs in LA with 2$ grafts. Read up reviews, didn't see any but did see one of his patient's blogs. Real lousy results but the guy stopped updating his blog at 6 months. So thought maybe he was a late bloomer(being young and dumb does that to you). Talked to Dr Ochs and booked up a surgery and planned to pay with my financial aid money. At age 23 with initial signs of balding I was excited for my end it all surgery. Dr Ochs came across as a very "nice" and calm fella. During my first consultation he basically went by what I told him. I had a hairline designed on a piece of paper and he told me he wanted to go much smaller. Then agreed to do it my way. Agreed to 1500 grafts and was supposed to get both temple points as well(wishful thinking!). So on the day of the procedure had a buddy drive me to his office(some third party salon). First thing that threw me off was the arbitration contract that they made me sign, I basically gave up my right to sue. When I objected, I was told that is a standard contract that everyone in california signs and if I have problems I can refuse and forfeit the cost. So I signed in on the spot. Then my hairline design changed. The temple points we agreed to were off the table as it would be impossible to have a good hairline density and a temple points with 1500 grafts(which is true but why was it okay yesterday?!!!) Then after the routine annesthesia he cut out a nice sized strip of donor hair. Harvested donor hair, stapled shut my scar all in 20 mins. Then His techs who were contracted for the procedure started dissecting my grafts. One of the girls was texting on her phone while dissecting my grafts. Then Dr Ochs came in with a needle and randomly punched holes in my forehead in really weird pattern. Then his techs started inserting grafts into the holes. He came back a couple more times and punched a few more holes. There was no pain involved. I was talking to the techs thru the procedure. Then Dr Ochs came back and yelled at techs to speed it up as he has another patient waiting. There was a lot of grafts still waiting to be inserted but magically they were finished in 30 mins after that. I have no doubt in my mind that my grafts were TRASHED! So we called it a day and after starting at 1000 am we were done at 3 pm. When I got home, my grafts looked nothing like the ones I see on some respected physicians blogs. So when I came back to get my staples removed I asked Dr Ochs that this density looks very dismal and I might need another procedure. His answer was simply "Well, this is what it is". I have rarely felt that stupid or cheated in my life. I just shut up and went home. To make things worse, left side of my forehead started to swell. Eventually a lot of pus came out and I obviously had an infection. Then my scar turned out to be quite wide at about 4-5 mm. Very visible on one side. Growth was minimal as expected. Now shaving was not an option anymore. I stopped propecia and rogaine about 10 months later. All this time I had a lot of shedding which I ingnored in denial. I was sure I would never go bald even though my dad is. 2 years after my procedure I woke up to the reality that I was losing my hair real fast. My temples had recessed considerably. I was developing a bald spot and my top was incredibly thinned. Started back on propecia and rogaine right away. I was depressed beyong belief. Here I was ready to take my first real job and this hairloss was consuming me. I was sure I would be completely bald in 1-2 years. crazy rogaine sheds made things worse. My first reaction I went back to a transplant physician. I saw Dr Siporin in LA, I wanted to still keep it local and he was one of the more reputable physicians in LA. He told me I will need another 1500 grafts. I was expecting him to tell me to wait and see how well propecia works for me before we schedule a surgery but he instead wanted to operate whenever I was ready. He couldn't guarantee a better scar and thougt 1500 grafts was the maximum that could be extracted in one session. I gave up on hair transplants. As my shedding became worse I decided to look into hair systems. I got one from toplace, which came back REALLY different from my specifications. But I went to salon and put that on my hairline, came back home looking like Justin Bieber. Another 6 months struggling with glues tapes, density and color I finally got it down to a flawed science. Blending was problem at times as my real hair is wavy fine and soft and system hair is soft for 2 weeks max. But overall it looked good. I would do my setup myself every week spend 3 hours each friday and it would last me 7-10 days. 4 good days and the rest okay days. Got busted one time by a gay co-worker(not to stereotypical but they got the "eye") Didnt let girls touch my forehead and lived in anxiety of getting "caught". Been wearing for a year now. Recently noticed that hair got so much better on propecia only. Even my temples were restored. forelock was back to pre-balding level and the crown even though a lot better never fully recovered but still doesn't look like its balding. I always had this idea of having a dense transplanted hairline and put a small system behind it. So my search for a reputable surgeon lead me to Hasson and Wong. Shapiro medical and H&W were both on my short list for surgeons. I was still on the fence about flying out for a procedure. Met up with Mike Ferko from H&W in LA and decide dto got with H&W. My plan was to get my temple points rebuild and get a 1-1.5 cm hairline and put a system behind it. I was sure I won't be able to get no more that 1500 grafts fro my scalp given the tight donor area and the wide scar. Booked Dr Wong for a 2000 graft procedure and ended up getting 3100+ grafts. He was able to close the donor area quite nicely and I am going to have to right a whole new post on how impressed I am with everyone at H&W!! They possibly changed my life! it remains to be seen. I will continue to post my current progress here periodically.

  2. #2
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    That's some story. It's great that you found H&W, I'm sure you'll be happy with your results. Please keep us posted and if you can post photos that would be great.

  3. #3
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    Dude that shit is criminal....Glad you spoke up about it

    Man I hope the best for you... Keep us posted just like Winston said. I myself just had work done and I think one of the hardest things is waiting to see what happens.

    As always be patient....

    Can not wait to see the awesome results.

  4. #4
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    I am going to post a chronological photo posts about my hairloss here, starting with my last healthy head of hair and first transplant.
    First pic is when I was 21, last time my hair was the fullest.
    Subsequent pics are pre-op and post op my fist procedure with Dr Ochs on jan 2 2008.
    last two pics are night before first surgery

  5. #5
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    film

    These pics are from my sudden awakening and acceptance of my hairloss 2 years ago. all pre propecia. followed by two pics with my partial hair system on.

    As a note, I never had any side effects from propecia. I did notice rediced body hair on my chest and especially on my arms and legs but that is a very welcome side effect. My roommate started on propecia and apparently couldn't get it up after 4 days. THen re-started a year later without any sides at all. he's been on it for 8 months, no sides. In his case it was definitely in his head. Rogaine on the other hand was a pain in the ass to apply and shedding was brutal. I think my results got better after I stopped using rogaine a year ago. For guys with minimal to moderate loss I think propecia alone is a better choice.

    Hair systems have their own place in hairloss. They could be a good meantime solutions. For people with extensive loss patterns they could be good alternative, especially for married med. Not a good choice for single guys unless you don't give a shit. Which at times I didn't! They definitely look good if done right. Tedious but relatively easy to maintain. When done right definitely undetectable to sight but NEVER undetectable to touch! Don't let them fool ya! you can always tell its there no matter what if you touch it. They are chap to maintain especially when you can do them yourself. I tried toplace, hollywoodlace and coolpiece, by fat coolpiece was the best systems I had. I wore a very small one in the front and was able cut atleast 2 from the standard sized ones. Oil resistant white glue in the front and walker no shine in back gave me the best attachments.

  6. #6
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    This last post is my transplant with Dr Wong in Vancouver, very pleased with it so far. You can see from the pics that my propecia has worked quite well for me. My hair quality is definitely a lot better. Hopefully I will maintain this for a while!! Fingers crossed.
    Now my experience with H&W!
    Compared to my previous surgery, it was a night and day difference! Definitely it cost me more than my first surgery but overall it was all worth it! I am going to break it down into segments:
    FUE vs FUT: I was considering a FUE so I won't get another scar but Dr Siorin talked me out of it as I already have a scar and FUE would be a waste of money.
    Dr Jerry Wong: Guy is a genius when it comes to transplants! He came of a little dry on my first consultation. My donor are felt rather tight as I was a lil tense and he kinda yelled at me for not doing my scalp exercises! GUILTY! I didn't! We weren't really communicating in the begining but then we ended up on the same page real fast. So on the day of surgery we met up, I was a lot more relaxed, he asked me if he could record some of my video for an IAHRS seminar in Korea and I said why not. After my valium things got even mellower. I was really relaxed, he spent good 2.5 hours extracting my donor strips! Compare that to 15 mins by DR Ochs, that says a lot about somebody's work ethic. He took his time, to my biggest surprise he was able to get 3100+ grafts! Donor closure was slightly light but that was expected and he closed it pretty good. Making recipient holes was another work of perfection. Frequently communicating with staff on what kind of grafts he would need and re-assessing based on what is available. Using different sized blades for various sized recipient sites. I totally see why Hasson and Wong have such consistent results, its the scientific and a systemic aproach they have towards the process. With number of procedures they have performed, they have quite mastered the art of it! And yet he seems so passionate about what he does. There wasn't one tiime when he commented on Dr Ochs work even though it was obviously shoddy. Even when I tried to solicit comments out of him, he gave me very professional answers. I never talked to Dr Hasson but I was impressed beyond belief by Dr Wong. I am cardiac nurse and often send my patients for open heart surgery, most our cardio thoracic surgeons are less passionate about their work than Dr wong is about hair transplants.

    STAFF: His support staff I think is the biggest part of his success. Those ladies have been doing this for YEARS at the same clinic. One of them started with Dr Wong in 196 before Dr Hasson and Wong merged. They were all out passionate people, highly proiffcient at what they do. Compared to on rent staff of Dr Ochs this was an amazing experience. They were so worried about my grafts, the wouldn't let take one step withou reminding me not to bump my head. One of them called Dr Wong from her home to remind him to give me some medication he was supposed to. I can't thank his staff enough for all they hard work and compassion. Being a Nurse I can definitely relate to their spirit and I am so proud of people in my field of work. We CARE!

    PROCEDURE: It was slightly more painful this time than it was with Dr Ochs but they spent a lot more time with me then he did so the anesthesia wears off over time. They did however top it off periodically. I was able to dose off for a bit, kinda watched a movie. Most of the time I am a chatter box so bored he crap out of him and his staff! I took forever and I was glad when it was over!
    Post Op: So far I had no major swelling. Oozed a bit on first night Post-Op, feel bad for the sheraton as I did mess up their pillow. Slelp on and OFF for the first night, kinda uncomfortable for next 2, it getting better now. It does hurt a bit at the donor area at times. I left my Tylenol # 3 in canada as I didn't wanna go to jail for trafficking narcotics but luckily have a bottle of Norco 10 at home that I did't use before. So it helps. No just waiting for 3 months to come! Dr Wong didn't dense pack my hairline as there was some scar tissue from traction alopecia and previous procedure but i think he gave a decent enough density. My forelock is quite strong anyways. So hopefully there won't be any see thru hairline! Hopefully this will be and end to my hairloss struggle. Just want to live a normal life! No more hair shenanigans.
    I will keep you guys posted on my progress. Thank you for your time. And hopefully my story can help somebody else.

  7. #7
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    5 for first 2000 then 3 per graft for 1100

  8. #8
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    This is going to drastically change your life for the better. No more worries in a few months. After all you've been through I really hope you get the result you deserve. I'm sure you will. Keep us updated.

  9. #9
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    Hairline and temple design looks great. Good luck and thanks for sharing !!

    All the best

  10. #10
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    Default 1 week update

    Its been a week(6 days!) 95% of my scabs are gone, Has some frontal swelling at day 4 but has largely subsided since. Donor site is slightly swollen, from the feel of it, its healing a lot better than last time. Still hurts when I lay on it. tender but numbness is 90% gone. Actually it is all gone! Still slightly numb in some parts of the recipient area. Some of the hair fell with the scabs, most are standing strong.
    Pics post op day 1 thru day 6. My native hair has come along so great since I started using Propecia!!!!!

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