Progress is updated regularly! Check back often to see current pictures and videos!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 21 (Sept. 30th)


Everything is going quite well. I mentioned yesterday that my donor area is still sensitive and tender.  Nothing uncomfortable but I can feel it.  The opposite is occurring on top of my head in the recipient area.  It actually is still a bit numb!  I know that sounds strange but when I touch the top of my head I can hardly feel it.  Dr. Vories did say that it would take some time before the numbness went away.

I also have something really strange to report!  As you know, I'm a huge golf fan and I've been watching the Ryder Cup this week.  It is so inspiring to see these guys playing golf for their country with NO prize money attached!  How refreshing!  Anyway....I get goose-bumps when I see the crowds cheering and the numerous incredible shots!  This is strange part.......we usually take goose-bumps for granted and they come and go naturally.  Well.....I can FEEL the goose-bumps on top of my head in the recipient area!  It's really strange!  It just sorta tingles and there is a strange sensation going on.  It's actually pretty exciting because I know the errector pili muscles attached to the transplanted hair is functioning  properly!

A mini-science lesson below.

Erector Pili Muscle:  One of the small fan-shaped smooth muscles associated with the base of each hair that contract when the body surface is chilled and erect the hairs, compress an oil gland above each muscle, and produce the appearance of gooseflesh.

Check out the video!  Three weeks out of surgery!!!!

Day 20 (Sept. 29th)

I do know that some of my recipient area hair has come out but I still have the vast majority of it.  I've accepted the shock-out but I can't wait for the new hair to surface.  It may take a while because it will be generated from the follicle and may take a couple weeks to reach the surface.  A man's hair grows about one half inch per month so I must continue to be patient.

One other thing to report.  My donor area looks really good but it is still tender to touch.  Nothing too uncomfortable but its still healing.  I can certainly feel it when I lay my head on the pillow at night.  However, it does not keep me from falling asleep.

Day 19 (Sept. 28th)


I know the inevitable must occur.  Dr. Vories made it very clear to me that I would experience what he refers to as "shock-out" of my hair in the recipient area.  That simple means that the transplanted hair will go through an accelerated natural cycle and the newly located hair will most likely fall out.  The good news WILL be replaced with new hair that will continue to grow and will go through a normal growth rate like the rest of the donor area hair that I've had forever!  Keep in mind, the genetics involved in my donor area hair is now the hair on top of my head.  The donor area hair knows that its job is to grow throughout most of your lifetime.  The donor hair doesn't care where it is located and will do the job wherever it is placed.  This is the beauty of the FUE process!  My donor area hair as you can see from previous photos already looks good and will continue to fill in and look better!  We are less than three weeks since starting surgery!  Over 5,000 graphs were removed (averaging 2 hairs per graph) and it already looks quite well. I've got to tell you...I have grown quite fond and attached to my hair on top of my head.  I just wish it would stay ATTACHED to my head!  I know that shock-out will occur.  I just don't want to see....SHOCK AND AWE!!!!!

I'm a retired Biology teacher so the above explanation is based on knowledge gained at Carolina Hair Surgery as well as my own research and personal education.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 18 (Sept. 27th)

Big day for me!  As you know I play a lot of golf and today is my first day back on the links!  It was also a special golf day because we were playing at an exclusively private course called Victoria National which is near Evansville Indiana.  We purchased the opportunity at a charitable auction.  Like Augusta National, you can only belong to Victoria National if you are invited to join.  I can't imagine what the initiation fee and monthly dues would be!  

This was a big day for me because my head has always typically sweated a lot during heavy activity and I was a bit concerned.  Naturally I wore a hat and the forecast was for a high of 78.  Fortunately, it was overcast most of the day and I didn't sweat a lot.  My head felt fine all day.  However, I was amazed at how often I tend to take my hat off during a round of golf.  I know this now because each time I reached for my hat I stopped and chose not to remove it....if possible.  Because my donor area is still tender, taking the hat on and off causes just a bit of discomfort but not that much.  Certainly not enough to keep me from golfing! 

Victoria National was the most beautiful and finest course I have ever played!  Shot 41 on the front nine which included 4 three-putts!  The greens were spectacular but difficult to read and putt.  Came back to earth on the back nine and shot 51 !!!!  I'm a 12 handicapper so the front nine was super for me!  I actually hit 8 of the 9 greens in regulation.  You golfers know what I'm talking about!  Check out the photo taken of me at Victoria National on a difficult but awesome par 4.

Day 17 (Sept. 26th)

We are going to see the Broadway Musical "WICKED" this evening.  My wife and I discussed whether to go hat-less or wear one. My head looks pretty darn good so I think we ligitimately have the option.  I decided to wear one of my english style golf hats.  You know, the ones Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones wore in the 1930's and 40's.  I'm a huge golf fan and golf historian so I still love the style and had several to pick from.

I had virtually no pain today and never took ibuprofen, so now....that has been eliminated as well!  Making more progress every day!  My head looks unbelievably good after just two weeks and over 10,000 holes in it!!!!!!!!

By the way....WICKED was absolutely amazing!  Go see it when it comes to your town and get the sound track and know the songs prior to the show!  AWESOME production!

Day 16 (Sept. 25th)

NO HYDROCODONE!  I am happy to say that yesterday I took no hydrocodone and only ibuprofen!  I really wanted to quit taking the heavier pain meds.  I do not have an addictive personality at all.  I have no fear of getting hooked on pain meds but I wanted to eliminate them from the equation.  Believe me, if I thought I needed the pain reliever, I would take it.

Showering is getting much better and scabbing sloughs off more each day!  Very little irritation from the shower today.

Day 15 (Sept. 24th)

My plan is to NOT take any hydrocodone today and see if ibuprofen is enough.  Each day is progressively better!  I was much more careful in the shower today and massaged very gently.  It still irritated my scalp a bit but I really want to get some of that scabbing "grud" off of my head.  I did take some ibuprofen.  I will see whether I think I need hydrocodone before going to bed.

Day 14 (Sept. 23rd)

I've been looking forward to today!  FULL SHOWER DAY!  Seems strange to blog about taking a shower but hey....I've been looking forward to this!  I kept the temperature warm when I started washing my head.  I normally take very hot showers.  I was also a bit cautious to let the water pressure hit directly on my first.  I deflected the pressure with my hands.  I continued to use the shampoo Dr. Vories gave me and lathered up my head pretty good.  I could definitely feel the scabbing sloughing off under my fingers.  I was very gentle because my head is so tender and didn't want to force the issue one bit.  I think this is very important. While rinsing, I could feel the little "flecks" of scabbing running into my eyelids.  I know that sounds strange but my closed eyes and eyelids collected lots of tiny residue from my head.  I lathered again and gently massaged my head and rinsed again deflecting the water pressure.

About 30 minutes after the shower, my head was stinging a bit.  Although I was very careful, I do believe that the scabbing under my fingers and hands was sloughing off during the event and I was actually moving the loose scabs over my head.  I could definitely feel this occurring under my hands.  I do believe this irritated my scalp and caused the discomfort after the shower. It was similar to massaging sand particles over my tender head and actually felt that way so please be careful.  I took some ibuprofen and that seemed to be enough.  I didn't need the hydrocodone. Check out the close ups!  Looking pretty good!

Day 13 (Sept. 22nd)

Looking forward to taking a full shower tomorrow which includes allowing the shower on my head!  Washing it in the sink has been a little bit of a pain but I have a wonderful wife who has assisted. Still felt some pain upon waking this morning so I took some hydrocodone.  Plan to take it again prior to going to bed.  Pretty uneventful far as my head is concerned.  Pain continues to lessen each day.  Check out the most recent pictures.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 12 (Sept. 21st)

Pain is getting less and less!  Met my buddies for lunch and they were quite impressed with how my head looks!  I really  do look like a guy with a military haircut. My wife still calls me G.I. Johnny (instead of Joe)!

I washed my own head this afternoon because my wife was gone all day.  She does a much better job than I do although I think I did a very respectable job.  The scabbing is "flaking" off more and more each day and the pain is much less.  I only took Hydro during the morning and will this evening before going to sleep! Here's a couple of close up pictures of my new hair and hair line.  You can still see the purple mark from the marker Dr. Vories used.  He said this will wear away as the days go by.

Day 11 (Sept. 20th)

Six days since the last day of surgery.  I'm doing quite well.  Dr. Vories has called me several times checking on my progress which I sure appreciate.  Same medication regiment.  Hydrocodone in the morning when I wake up with some pain, and before going to bed.  The rest of the day, I take Ibuprofen as needed, usually three 200 mg. tablets at lunch is all I need. My face is still a bit swollen but much better today!

Day 10 (Sept. 19th)

Because I took my meds about 10:30pm last night, I was able to fall asleep pretty quickly around 11:30pm.  The key is taking the meds about an hour or so before you plan to go to sleep.

I woke up with some soreness so I did take two hydros for the pain.  I can certainly say that the pain is subsiding more and more each day.  Dad a good day and plan the same medication regiment this evening.

My wife continues to wash my head over the sink.  Being a hair dresser, she is quite skilled at this and had washed the hair of clients in the past who had head injuries, stitches, etc.  She is quite gentle but is trying to carefully remove some of the scabbing.  The sink seems dotted with small pieces of scabbing.  After she washes my head I take a shower being careful not to let the water pressure hit the top of my head.

Day 9 (Sept. 18)

Had a much better night now that I have figured out how to regulate the meds.  I took the Hydrocodone about 9:30pm so I was pain free by the time I laid down about 11pm.  It is still difficult to lay my head on the pillow to find a comfortable position.  It takes a little maneuvering but I'm able to manage.

During the day I worked on the computer.  I teach for 3 universities online so I was reading and grading assignments from students all day.  I'm still trying to take it easy each day during this initial healing process.  I am retired but I think I can say with confidence that I could have been back to work had I needed to.  As long as the pain meds are available, I think anyone could be working through this.  I would suggest wearing the surgical cap because your head still looks a bit unpleasant, especially in the donor area.

Day 8 (Sept. 17)

Sunday night was the most difficult night so far.  It actually was VERY painful.  I took my meds too late in the evening and the pain was quite extreme.  I thought I could be a hero and fight through the pain but that was a major mistake.  I finally got to sleep about 2:30am.  I talked to Dr. Vories the next day and described my night.  He informed me that I MUST take the meds when I feel the pain coming on or I will experience a lot of discomfort. He told me to "not be a hero" and take the hydrocodone as instructed. I decided to heed his advice because last night was horrific!  I have to realize that I have over 10,000 holes in my head from the surgery.  An unprecedented amount according to Dr. V.

You can see the "puffy" eyes and face in the photos.  No pain at all but it just looks swollen.

Day 7 (Sept. 16)

Saturday night was pretty uncomfortable.  I took the pain meds too late in the evening and my head was really hurting.  It sometimes takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the meds to "kick in" and begin to ease the pain.  It was a difficult night but I got through it.

Took it easy all day Sunday and Michele washed my head.  It didn't hurt a bit but she is a hair dresser and is very skilled at doing a good job without causing any stress to the affected area.  My face is pretty "puffy" but Dr. Vories said to expect that for a few days.

The pain meds last about 4 hours or so.  Sometimes I take some Ibuprofen instead if its not hurting too bad.  I hate to take heavy pain killers if I don't have to.  Took a few pictures but the lighting is not good.  I'm setting up a better photo studio in my office.

Day 6 (Sept. 15th)

Finally get to go home!  I have my supplies with me which includes a special sponge for cleaning my head.  I am not to put my head under the shower for one week.  I will be using a mild shampoo and "dabbing" the donor and recipient area with the sponge and rinsing with clean water for a week.

I wore a surgical cap to the airport so folks would not be freaking out and looking at my head.  It looks like I had a bike accident and wasn't wearing a helmet.  The TSA at the airport did ask me to remove the cap prior to going through the explosive detection device at the airport. My head really doesn't look that bad and was glad to accommodate.

I had a nice flight home and my head never really hurt.  Of course, the pain meds make that possible.  It was wonderful to see my wife for the first time in nearly a week.  I went home and just laid around and watched golf.

Day 5 (Sept. 14th)

Today was the final day of surgery for me.  By the end of the day Dr. Vories and his staff had removed 1,100 graphs and finished my hair line.  He was very pleased because I still had plenty of donor area from which to extract more graphs had they been needed.  As always, Dr. Vories took many pictures and videos in his own photography studio and also took pictures and videos with my camera so I could continue to document my own progress.

The pain once again was minimal.  The only feeling I had was from the needles inserting the Lidocaine in the affected areas.  You can see in the photos that my head has swelled from the procedure and anesthesia.

Had a nice dinner, took my meds as prescribed and had a decent nights sleep despite looking pretty ugly!

Day 4 (Sept. 13, 2012)

On Thursday, I was picked up at 7:45am and we started early.  Our goal today was 1,500 graphs!  By lunch time they were all extracted.  Today was a bit different.  I had to lay on my stomach so the doctor could extract from the back of my donor area.  With the light Valium, I slept through most of it.  After lunch we implanted the graphs and the process was complete and right on schedule. I now have 4,025 implanted graphs!  That's roughly 5,000 hairs redistributed in the right places!  I'm really pleased at this point!

Tomorrow should be my final day of surgery with the goal being 1,000 graphs to reach my hair line!  I'm really looking forward to going home to show my wife who is a hair dresser.  I have been able to text her pictures each day!  I sure do miss her and our 4 legged child Paris who is a french poodle.  Yea, it takes a real man to admit his only child is a french poodle!!!!!  She's the way!  Check out the video from Day 4!

Day 3 (Sept. 12, 2012)

On Wednesday morning I got up and had breakfast at the hotel and was picked up by the Hair Mobile about 9am.  The second donor area was extracted and implanted much like the previous day.  When I returned back to my hotel my head was hurting quite a bit so this time I took both pills at the same time as instructed.  This worked very well. It eliminated all of the pain.  I took a bath (no shower allowed) and laid around the hotel room relaxing and watched my favorite Fox News programs.  Yes, I'm a conservative and proud of it!  I took the sleep aid, experienced a little pain but actually had a decent night sleep and all was well.

Day 2 (Sept. 11, 2012)

On Tuesday morning I was picked up by the Hair Mobile and delivered to Carolina Hair Surgery.  About 9:00am one of the assistants washed and then cut all of my hair off similar to what I would call a military cut.  This is done so Dr. Vories can have a good visual of the donor hair as well as the recipient area.  About 9:30am, Dr.Vories used a medical marker and began drawing lines on my head where he would be moving my hair.  After explaining the process.....he began injecting Lydocaine as a local anesthetic in the area where he would be working.  There was very little pain with this.  It was sort of like going to the dentist to get a shot of Novocaine.  He used a vibrating machine which helped mask the sticking of the needles and help distribute the medicine to numb my head. The numbing process was very quick and he began extracting the grafts from my donor area with the FUE machine (which is an incredible instrument).  He said I averaged 2 hairs per graft which was a very good ratio.  He continued extracting grafts and I absolutely did not feel anything.  I laid back and listened to some good music from his I-Pad.  He also gave me antibiotics and a small dose of medicine which made me drift off to sleep at times and the entire procedure passed by quickly.  This is a 360 degree video you can view prior to Dr. Vories beginning the FUE process.

Around lunch time, we all sat around a large table and had sub sandwiches ordered at a local shop and then got back to work.  It was time to place the new grafts in the needed areas.  He began filling the area with 1,250 grafts extracted earlier.  He explained that he was starting in the crown area and working forward.  By 4pm he and his staff had completed implanting the graphs and it was time to go back to my hotel.  I was delivered there by the Hair Mobile, was given a bottle of solution to mist the area on the hour and was given medication for any pain and a sleep aid.  The sleep aid was basically for me to sleep without moving around for the purpose of not displacing any of the implanted grafts.  I did have some pain early on and took only one tablet (Hydrocodone) for the pain.  This was a mistake because the nagging discomfort did not go away.  I took a second pill about 10pm along with some ibuprofen and the sleep aid (Ambian) but I did have a hard time falling to sleep.  I think I finally drifted off about midnight but it was an uncomfortable night.  I really think I over-compensated for where the grafts were implanted and the circular pillow (that you use on plane flights) was uncomfortable.  I just could not find comfort to fall asleep.  I did manage but it was a very difficult night.

Day 1 (Sept.10, 2012)

On Monday morning I was picked up by the "Hair-Mobile" (see picture). Dr. Vories clinic was absolutely gorgeous and we met in his office right on time.  He examined my hair line and we discussed a plan of action.

He gave me a tour of the facility and I met all of his staff including a Physician Assistant named Morgan that assists with the procedure. 

Dr. Vories examined my head and took extensive pictures and videos of my head.  We also discussed the procedure and took care of the necessary paper work, consent forms, etc.  Dr. Vories was already scheduled to operate on another patient so my work was actually scheduled to begin the next day (Tuesday). He said I had excellent donor hair on the sides and back which in his estimate was about 80+ hairs per square centimeter.  He was hoping for 50 or better so I was a great candidate with great donor hair.  We discussed filling in as much as possible based on what the donor area would provide.  He estimated that we could possibly do 4,000 or more graphs!

On my way to Charleston!

The big day has arrived!  On Sunday September 9th I flew from Louisville Kentucky to Charleston South Carolina and Dr. Vories had a room arranged for me at a very nice hotel at a Courtyard Marriott which was less than10 minutes from his clinic.  The hotel was VERY nice and had a very nice breakfast each morning that was very reasonably priced.  I'm looking forward to getting started on Monday!

Why I chose to pursue a hair transplant!

Let me introduce myself.  I'm 50 years old, recently retired as a public school administrator and its time to get in better physical shape, play lots of golf, and generally try to look and feel BETTER!  I have a beautiful wife of 19 years who is a hair dresser.  A while ago I presented her with the idea of investigating hair transplant procedures.  I have typical male pattern baldness.  She was very supportive and said "When I married you, you had hair!"  That response inspired me to do my homework and look into the different processes and procedures.

After investigating different procedures I was convinced that I DID NOT want to do the strip procedure where they remove a strip of hair from the back of your head and then suture the scalp back together.  That completed turned me off and I had no desire to pursue that process.

After lots of consideration and research I decided on the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) procedure.  I also wanted this performed by a medical doctor and NOT someone who did not have extensive medical training.  After all....this is surgery!

I searched the internet for days, read many articles and viewed many YouTube videos before deciding to contact Carolina Hair Surgery for additional information.

I contacted Dr. Michael Vories after viewing many of his videos on YouTube.  After a phone conversation and personal consultation, I had no doubt  I wanted Dr. Vories to perform the procedure. Other companies want you to meet with their consultants about the procedure but Dr. Vories wanted to meet me in person to examine my hair and give me the honest truth what he could do or not do for me.  After our meeting I was convinced beyond any doubt that he was going to do the procedure.

I decided to devote an entire week for the procedure not knowing exactly how many days it would take.  One thing I did know for sure....if I was going to invest in this I wanted it to be done by the best physician and fill in the most area based on what my head would allow.  The week of September 10th was scheduled for my procedure.  I was ready both physically and emotionally for the most transformational week in my life!