• Julia Sidwell

A trip to the hairdresser RUINED MY LIFE

I wrote this shocking story about Amanda, whose life was completely destroyed by Hashimoto's Disease. Read what happened in this week's Take a Break. Do you have a health story you want to share? #sellmystory #takeabreak #health

take a break hashimotos

Here she tells her story:

I sat in the chair and the hairdresser looked at me in the mirror.

‘Wash and blow-dry?’ she said.

‘Yes please,’ I replied.

Once a month, I came to the salon for the same treat.

I worked as a paralegal and in my spare time, I was a squash champion and enjoyed skiing and cycling holidays. So when my hair wasn’t tied up, I liked it to look its best, especially when I was out with my friends.

I lowered my head into the sink and relaxed as the hairdresser worked my hair into a lather before rinsing it. Then she showed me a small bottle.

‘Would you like me to use Olaplex?’ she said. ‘It’s a conditioner that will help repair your hair.’

My hair was bleached and I agreed it probably needed some TLC.

‘OK then,’ I said.

Once my hair had been blow-dried, I admired my fresh look.

But hours later, when I caught a glance of my hair in the mirror at home, I gasped in shock. It was standing on end and when I touched it, it broke off in my hands.

I returned to the salon to complain.

‘This has never happened before,’ I said. ‘It must be the conditioner.’

The hairdresser took photos to send to Olaplex.

Next day, I didn’t feel myself, I was confused and kept falling over.

I hoped I’d feel better after a night’s sleep.

But I woke up feeling the same.

Later, I was in the living room chatting to a friend when suddenly my whole body started shaking.

My friend called for an ambulance and I was rushed to hospital where I was told I’d had a fit. Then I had some blood tests.

‘You have Hashimoto’s disease,’ the doctor said. ‘Your body is attacking your thyroid gland.’

He explained that in severe cases like mine, it caused normal functions like breathing and heart rate to be affected.

‘It’s likely you suffered a toxic reaction to the hair product, which has triggered the disease,’ he said.

I was prescribed levothyroxine and told I had to take it for the rest of my life. The doctors also suspected I had encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.

‘We’ll give you a lumbar puncture for diagnostic testing,’ the doctor said.

A trainee doctor performed the procedure, but it took him several attempts to get the sample of fluid from my spinal cord.

By the time he finished, I was in agony.

That evening, my symptoms got worse and my eyesight deteriorated so badly that everything was blurred.

Every day I woke up hoping it was all a bad dream.

My sight eventually returned but I started having screaming episodes, which the doctor described as a tic.

After six weeks in hospital, I finally returned home.

I was housebound, suffering with weight gain, thinning hair, skin rashes and throat problems. The trauma of the lumbar puncture had left me with the random bouts of screaming and I could no longer concentrate on anything. I couldn’t even read or watch TV.

Now my sporting days are over and so is my career – my bad health caused me to be made redundant. Being bedridden most of the time means I’ve also lost contact with my family and friends.

Doctors say my case of Hashimoto’s disease is among the worst 2% in the country. I still can’t believe an innocent trip to the hairdressers stripped me of everything, all because of a reaction. It’s unlikely I will ever get my old life back, but all I can do is hope.

From Amanda Wilkinson, 56, Pinner, London

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