Monday, 29 December 2014

3 Month Update - [After Second Operation]

Seasons greetings, I hope you had a wonderful time however you chose to spend your time during Christmas.  As for me, it's been a great year, new job going well (although it's not so new anymore as I have been there over a year now), our overseas emigration also went well and my wife and children settling in nicely to our more relaxed life style.  I do however have this song annoyingly buzzing around in my head that I heard which somehow reminds me of the first trip to LA (I think it was playing in the Airport in Atlanta during a trip to Texas):

Roam if you want to (by the B52's)      - Is it now in your head too? hehe ;-)


As for my healing, well again it looks different to the last update, however seems to be in-keeping with expectations at this stage.  Please note the following:


Expectation:

0-2 months:  25 - 100% of implanted grafts expected to shed
2-4 months: Scar continues to heal
4-5 months: New hair will sprout in grafted area
12 months:  Should be clear the full extent of success of operation and a judgement may be taken if further grafts or any other treatment might be required
18 months:  Longest expected time for full hair growth to be present


What Actually Happened:

  • Scar has shed 95% of grafted implants (as expected)
  • Scar appears mostly flat, however there are some small lumps near the top - These are not obvious when viewed standing close to me, but can be seen if very closely observed or via close up photos
  • Pigmentation continues to gradually return
  • Impact to my donor area seems minimal as can be seen (or not seen) from the first 4x photos
  • Donor area seems to have completely healed and is no longer sensitive to the touch - There were some small hair bumps at one stage, but the prescribed Erythromycin Topical Solution administered twice per day took care of those in short order
  • Things seem on track at this stage and the scar's appearance is comparable to what it was prior to the second operation


So for now I continue to use Dr. Umar's special Minoxodil solution on my scar/grafted area twice per day and continue to use the Burt's Bees shampoo.  I am able to swim and wear a helmet again, however I will do neither of these until well into the new year just to be safe.  I have just started occasionally laying on back again this week, something I have not done since the operation (as instructed).


See below for this episodes's picture updates:

The first four pictures shows the aesthetic impact and is how most people see my scar under usual daily circumstances.  They also show the size of my scar in relation to the size of my head:







Picture below shows a close up of the scar which is mostly flat.  Also notice how the lumps near the top are not obvious from this angle and proximity:




This photo angle shows the slight lumps near the top of the ridge of the scar - Again note that whilst they present, they are not very noticeable or immediately obvious if you see me in person:




Left and right profile:




And a final couple of close up shots:




Well, that's it for 2014.  I hope that 2015 will be an excellent year for you in all the positive things you wish to do.  Next update in 3 months time (in-keeping with my updates due to Dr. Umar), so I will blog again in the Spring of 2015 (March), 'til then, take care.

Patient-AKN-UK.


Friday, 3 October 2014

2 Week Update - [After Second Operation]

Greetings!

I have but one, small question...  Where is Frankenstein?  (the author pauses to ponder for a moment)...  Where de did he go?  He sure aint here...  I am a HUMAN BEING again, the swelling has significantly subsided, the scabs, the dried blood has all gone.  There is no discomfort, however my donar area (the area from which the hair was removed) is still a little tender.  I moisturise it with Bacitracin gel (my good ole friend from the first operation) as and when it gets dry.  The recipient area (the area that received the grafted hair e.g. the scar area from my first AKN oepration), is still slightly swollen but not excessively so, almost back to how it was prior to the second operation.  No more Frankenstein here, be gone with you sir, be gone!!! hehe

My care regime is now very simple.  From the begining, I had a strict regime of pain killers, antibiotics, Bacitracin and Sonafine mixed together, Dr. Umar's specially mixed Minoxidil product, distilled water and Burt's Bees Shampoo (this stuff smells ssssssooooo good, I could almost drink it...  well, almost).  Compared to the first operation, this 2 week regime was an absolute breeze (so easy).  Now, all I do is use the special Dr. Umar mix of Minoxidil first thing in the morning and last thing at night, that's it!  Sleeping does however continue to be on my sides and I must remain out of direct sunlight, not go swimming, where a helmet etc. for a next couple of months.  Again, this is a small and easily achieavable sacrifice.

Hair is now visibly present and growing from a good portion of the recipient area.  I beleive that it can take upto 2 years for the hair to grow, so what I am seeing in just 2 weeks is truly amazing!  Anyways, enough cyber-babble and as always, the pictures speak loudest.  So, see below my current progress pictures (with which I am well pleased):

*** CLICK EACH PICTURE TO SEE A LARGER MORE DETAILED IMAGE ***








*** CLICK EACH PICTURE TO SEE A LARGER MORE DETAILED IMAGE ***


My blog is getting some serious hits, somehow people are reading it and taking an interest.  I hope to at the very least spread the word and inform other suffers of this particular option that I chose to use.  What people do once they know is of course their decision, but it would be a social injustice if I knew of a cure and kept it to myself.  I just wish this procedure was available 20 years ago...
  I think Dr. Umar should do a tour of the UK because there are ssssssoooooo many others desperatly seeking a solution and are tired of the empty promises of the many "Guaranteed Solution" adverts so prevalent in the big cities of Britain.

Next update in 3 months (in line with my next update schedule to Dr. Umar).  Unitl then, take care.


Peace and prosperity,


Patient-AKN-UK.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The 2nd Operation - Follicle Unit Extraction (FUE) - [Making it Pretty]


PRIOR TO DEPARTURE:

20-SEP-14:

I had experienced a gout attack the day before and was uncertain whether I could still proceed with the operation, but after checking with Dr. Umar and my local doctor, both confirmed no issues.  So, that was it...  I was still going to be able to return to to Los Angles...  WOOHOO!!!  Me and my sore ankle ;-)

Pictures prior to operation:










DEPARTURE DAY:

23-SEP-14:

Left work in good time and caught taxi, only to be monumentally delayed in dreadful traffic.  I've never missed a flight in my entire life until today.  I missed the closure time by 25mins, but thankfully the lovely lady on the British Airways desk took pity on me (knowing the issues with traffic and seeing me hobbling on crutches) and put me on the next flight to London without charge and arranged special assistance as it was difficult to walk.


24-SEP-14:

Today is 'fly to Los Angeles day!!!' :-D  Superfast breakfast, then a taxi to the airport where I met Mom.  We flew on the upper deck of the new AirBus A380, how incredibly civilised indeed.  Just 10.5hrs later, we arrived at Los Angeles (LAX), where the sky was deep blue, almost no clouds and the heat was relentless.  We picked up the hire car, then checked into the hotel for a quick shower.  Next important step was to hand in the mountain (and I do mean MOUNTAIN) of pre-operation paperwork to FineTouch Dermatology.  The always helpful lady on the front desk thanked me for it, checked it and said with a Californian smile, just a couple more bits of paperwork for you to fill out Mr. XXX.  I'm sure see must have seen the smile melt from my face as I felt I had over dosed on paperwork. 

I saw the prototype design of Dr. Umar's new surgery, WOW, very, very impressive and well deserved for the hard pioneering work he has accomplished.  I look forward to seeing it someday in the future.

A quick hello to Dr. Umar, then back to the hotel to relax and have dinner.  The drive back to the hotel was a pleasant experience with palm trees gently waving to me as I passed and the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean shimmering to my right.


OPERATION DAY:

25-SEP-14 (Operation Day):

13:00hrs:
After starting my day listening to typical West Coast music (Ice Cube) and a very average breakfast, I went for a walk with Mom, then arrived promptly at 13:00hrs ready for my operation.  This time I went upto the Pent House and met two additional and lovely members of Dr. Umar's team.  They were super friendly, helpful, patient and interesting.  Above all, both were very proffesional at all times.  As I settled down, I was asked (yes, you guessed it), to complete more paperwork.  I took a deep breath and duly complied.

All preoperation checks were completed, then I changed into a gown ready for theatre.


14:00hrs

Dr. Umar arrived, greeted me and then got ready for the operation.  I made certain I went to the toilet just before going into theatre, so I had nothing to fear right?   Wrong, about an hour into the operation I had to go, just had to go, I apologised and Dr. Umar explained it was the medication I had taken, phew...

One by one individual hairs were removed from the donor area, an area that was shaved into an... interesting design lol.  These were put in a petri dish and later inserted into pre-cut slits on my scarwhere the AKN had been removed 10months earlier.

I was so comfortably on the operating table, that I must have fallen asleep during the operation.  I know this because I awoke to a jolly good telling off from Dr. Umar "Keep still, keep still, you must keep still, stop moving and you have to keep still!!!".  To be honest I had no idea what was going on at that point, then I got my senses and remembered I was in theatre and had previously been instructed to warn the team before I move.  I was sweetly enjoying a deep sleep and must have moved to make myself even more comfortably, this did not go down well with Dr. Umar.  With this reprimand, I somehow snapped back to my senses pretty quickly, apologised and made absolutly certain I kept perfectly still, or at least gave warning before moving... oh and of course, I made absolutely sure I stayed awake after that! ;-)  No harm done and the operation was a success.


19:40hrs:

Operation is over and I feel elated.  The operation lasted 5hrs and involved approximately 500 grafts.  I look like a psycho with my medical style hair cut, but I frankly couldn't care less, I have a chance to be 'normal' again, so I proceed with confidence.


THE NEXT DAY:

26-SEP-14:

All must have gone well as no need for a check up.  Mom and I went for a drive to Santa Monica and picked up the plethora of required medication from the pharmacy.  An early night, then ready for the flight home in the morning.

I have been instructucted to sleep on my sides.  Here is how my pillows looked first thing in the morning:




And this is what I looked like the morning after the operation and pior to cleaning (notice the black dots on my old scar, these are the implanted hairs taken from the sides and back of my head):







And same shots, this time after tablets taken and all medication has been applied:






HEADING HOME:

27-SEP-14:

Heading home.  Returned the hire car, got to the airport and returned to the UK.  Said my fairwells to Mom, then waited for 3hrs before begining to board for my European flight home.  Upon arrival, I was greeted by my lovely wife and children 2hrs later and grinned at the comments from my children.  My daughter (6yrs) said "Daddy, the back of your head doesn't look the same, it doesn't look very nice now".  My son (4yrs) said Daddy your head has shrunk and your ears stick out".  I laughed so hard, it was sooooo good to be back.  Call to Mom to make sure she got home alright and then a shower, some dinner and to bed.


28-SEP-14:

First full day back home.  I look less like Frankestein as each day passes, but joking aside, the progress is clear to see.  Once the swelling subsides and the scabs are gone, I am optimisitic of the results.  Follow with me and see how things progress.


Thanks for listening, next update in 2 weeks...



Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Nine Months Later...

There are no excuses for being late, but...  My family and I have emigrated and the move last month took up an enourmous amount of our time and we were without internet for several weeks.  So, not so much of an excuse as such, more of a... hmmm, partial reason?  ;-)  Joking aside, I have extended the timeline slightly so that my next update will be a month from now and perfectly timed for my next trip to Fine Touch Dermatolgy and my next operation where I will cover the whole experience in detail.

So, back to the serious business of overcoming AKN.  I've become quite attached to the new me and I think it looks more natural each month.  The skin looks almost the same as the normal skin around the back of my neck albeit without hair, but it is very smooth and very flat and level.  The little lump at the very top right hand side of my scar is still there, but seems noticeably smaller and I have absolutley no issues with it whatsoever.  It is really not obvious at all.  I raised this with Dr. Umar and he said he'll keep a close eye on it, but it was not likely to be serious.  Also, when I return to his surgery next month he will take a much closer look then and if neccesary resolve any issues at that time.  To be honest, it is a very minor thing and I'll will play it by ear once back in LA.  See for your self and contrast last month's pictures to these and note the consistency of the pigmentation, smooth steady colour across the entire area - progress:






Just a month to go now, until my next operation... WOOHOO!!!  As previously mentioned, I will no longer be having the scar revision, instead I will be having hair transplants.  I want to make it clear that the AKN has gone completely and this second operation is purely for aesthetic improvement.  I am really looking forward to seeing the team again and seeing the lovely Redondo Beach (I could seriously see me retiring there).  I am also looking forward to seeing Dr. Umar's enonurmous, house-like dog (Zeus).  Honestly, this dog causes an eclipse he is so big!  One of the most magnificent canines I have ever seen.

Looking at these pictures above, I realise I need another hair cut... YIKES!!!  Or maybe I should let it grow, until they turn into dreadlocks and then I will start referring to myself in the plural third person narrative e.g. "I and I..."  Lol.

So, next time I will post from California once I am in the hotel and prior to my operation, then give a detailed update of the whole trip.  So, until then, stay safe and prosperous in all the good things that you do.

Patient-AKN-UK.


Monday, 30 June 2014

Eight Months Later...

Am listening to a tune that my wife has dedicated to me:

 The Man - By Aloe Blacc


She said this tune must have been written about me and she almost cries whilst I'm working away and she hears this...  Kinda romantic huh?

Right then, onto my progress.  I have been in contact with Dr. Umar and there has been a change of plan.  I will no longer be having a scar revision as the results may not reach the desired goal and my scar will not lend itself to that proceedure well as there's a possibility it could make it even wider than it is.  I will instead, be having a hair transplant by a process called FUE, using 300 - 500 grafts.  Although wide, my scar is very flat and this type of scar lends itself well to the graft technique.  I am soooooooo excited about the procedure and the possible outcome as I consider any improvement a good thing.  I am almost all set, flights, hotel and car have been booked and the operation will be Thursday 18th September (woohoo).  I am also looking forward to seeing Dr. Umar and his lovely team again, they are all such hard working, yet jovial and proffesional.

One observation is that there is a raised hard bit on the top right hand side of my scar.  I suspect it is just one of those things, but it is visible in the photos.  There are no issues with it, it does not weep, irritate or flake, it is just there and silky smooth to the touch.  Will mention to Dr. Umar, but am not concerned about it.  See pictures belows for further details:








Yes, yes, I know... very average photos and a less than average hair cut.  Well, that'll teach me to cut my hair and try to take photos at almost midnight after a very busy weekend and when I am half asleep... [big yawn]...

Anyways, that's it for now.  Keep well and more to follow next month.

Patient-AKN-UK.




Saturday, 31 May 2014

Seven Months Later...

Well, this month I want to explain a lttle about how things actually feel.  I now have full mobility of my neck without any undue tension which is progress.  To the touch, it feels silky smooth even though the pictures imply wrinkles.  I also have feelings in the scar again.  After the operation, I seemed to loose the sense of feelings in the scar, but now I can.  When I explained this to my wife, she understood completely and likened it to the feelings (or lack thereof) after a C-section birth.  I hope this makes sense. 

OK, so the scar is still wide, although very stable and settled, so I am more than ever looking forward to the next operation.  The pigmentation is slowly return and the skin looks more like skin rather than pink flesh.  People still look and look again, but not as they did prior to the operation.  Before the operation, people would look scornfully, grimace, make eye contact with a friend and pull a face.  Now after an initial look, they may look again, then just look away... PROGRESSS!!!  If you are wondering how I know how others respond to the back of my head, I have become an expert in the art of using reflections in trains and lifts (elevators). ;-)

To date, no issues to report since last posting so all is well.  I expect to have booked my flights for the next operation in September by the next posting to this blog.

Anyhoo, here are the pictures for month 7 take a few hours ago:






Take care and more to follow next month.

Patient-AKN-UK

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Six Months Later...

Where on earth have the last 6 months gone?  Wow, seems as if I had the operation years ago, but it's only a matter of months.  I really have forgotten about my AKN as there is still no sign of bleeding, itching, flaking etc. and life continues without a care in the world.  I don't have to maintain it with special cleaning or care, I just live my life AKN-free woohoo!!!  I can, for the first time in over 20years rub my hand at the back of my neck.  This might not be a big deal to most people, but for those of us that suffered with AKN with know what I mean.  I even now allow my wife to do the same ;-) hehe.  My scar is wonderfully settled, but wide.  The width I am for now OK with as I am to have the second operation in September (Scar Revision) to close it further.  The date is now scheduled for Thursday 18th September 2014 so I will cover that 2nd operation in detail as I did for the first one.  I love the neatness of the scar and am elated at the prospect of a new, thinner line - I can live with that! :-)

Anyways, here are the 6 month photos:









Take care and talk again next month.

Patient-AKN-UK.