The nuts and bolts-
1030 fu hairline repair with Dr Cole in Cyprus.
I hope some of the more regular poster will know me by now. I post as Nobel Victim as my first transplant was with the Nobel Clinic, London aprox 7 years ago. When I first began to loose my hair in my late teens, I remember thinking that I would happily trade five years of my seemingly endless life for my full head of hair. Well sometimes you get what you want only to be cursed by your dream. I have really lost good five or more years of my life worrying about hair, when I should have been worrying about living. It is such a monumental waste of anyone's life, and it is to people in a similar situation that I really address this open letter too, be reassured ht is not just better than it was, it is really wonderful, don't waste as much of your life wondering if you should try again as I did. Find a Doctor as good as Dr Cole (If you can!) and get on with your life!
When you have had one experience of a ht it is hard to generalise, but I can safely say that my experience with the Nobel Clinic left with me with an unnatural, pluggy mini / micro graft hairline, an uncomfortable donor site (Multi blade knife extraction) and head which took over a year to regain feeling. In all a very poor experience, this had put me right of risking ht again. Despite all the very encouraging photos on this and other sites which support the work of the â€˜top doc's'.
I find it hard to say why I jumped when I did. I guess the main reason was although I was, frankly terrified of going through ht again, I did know that I had basically paused my whole life for nearly seven years while I waited inanely for someone to invent a regain that regained hair.
I had fallen into conversation with Dr John Cole in one of the forums on this site some time ago (Nearly two years ago in fact) in a forum discussion on DHI. Now if I were to open up my hard drive to inspection by the public they would find helpful, honest and well constructed answers by Dr Cole to a whole host of weird concerns of mine, and a whole load more emails from his staff from their repeated attempts to schedule me. Which must have been a nightmare for them as without wanting to sound too Freudian, although I wanted the results of a good ht, I really didn't want a ht, I was petrified, I always half hoped an email would come back saying a date was takenâ€¦ Anyhow enough of my madness, luckily there was an opening to travel to Cyprus at only 3 weeks notice and I went for this, believe me the last week before if I could have sold my booking on ebay then I would have taken a big loss, I was petrified.
As it turned out, I really had nothing to fear. Just to give you all an example of my utter softness, I have often fainted receiving injections at my GP's, and yet I can honestly say I even enjoyed the experience of a ht with Dr Cole.
Things were very laid back in the theatre, two tec's were there from Cyprus (I am utterly ashamed to have forgotten their names, they were both really lovely) and two of Dr Cole's assistants from Atlanta (Nelson and another MD who's name I would struggle to spell).
Initially I was a bit worried, especially as I hadn't had time to see Dr Cole since I had flown into Cyprus very late the previous night, I was braced for the huge needle being launched into the back of my neck without prattling my concerns in the presence of the man I had put my trust in; but in no time at all Dr Cole appeared, a picture of calm and a hugely reassuring presence. Dr Cole wears his hair a bit longer than in the photos of him on his web sites and has just a hint of â€œStar Chamberâ€ Michel Douglas about him, and with his wonderfully relaxed drawl of a Southern gentleman, the very antithesis of panic.
Its very hard now, just over a week later to say when the procedure really begins. Nelson I think drew on my new hairline (just a slight move forward in front of the plugs), I was offered some valuim which I chugged down with little encouragement! I seemed to be sitting in my chair for quite a while, while photographs were taken and a few details were discussed (like a lovely little point to my widows peek which Dr Cole brought outâ€¦)
After some time I was told that my donor area was to be anesthetised, I was ready and had probably buried my fingers as far into the arms of the seat as they were going to go, but I felt only the most mild prick. If any of you have ever experienced an allergy test where your forearm is nicked with a pin and then rubbed with essence of dog, or dust etc). While this was going on, or soon after at any rate saline solution was injected into the donor site to life it from the scalp. I have to say again I was barely aware of this happening, and I was absolutely astounded when I I realised that my head was already partially stuttered closed. I swear, I did not realise my 1030 fu strip was absent, I never noticed it leave!
The stuttering too was remarkably inoffensive. I think some staples may have been used to approximate the wound while some very neat stutters were put in by the team (As I write I can now just feel the ends of the thread at either end of the scar, my last ht I could feel horrid twine like string every half inch or so along the wound, rather like if your Gran had knotted the thing shut, anyhowâ€¦). If I didn't dream the staples though, they must have been removed long before I left the operating theatre, there was certainly no sign of them the next day in the shower. I remember a discussion between Dr Cole and one of the tecs about my hair being too close to the wound and some alterations were made, I just felts so confident by now that I had done the right thing that if I hadn't been sedated I could have jumped for joy. No one at the Nobel clink would have even have thought to worry about whether my wound might itch or have complications etc unless it were closed absolutely cleanly and perfectly.
The next stage was a bit of a lull, I think the tec's may have been helping with the dissection or perhaps they were anesthetising my recipient site, as well as pumping it up with saline. Either way I was offered movies to watch (A good choice too, none with any chainsaws) and more valium but as I was high on life I turned the drugs down and plumped for â€œAnalyse Thatâ€ and
Then of course the creation of the recipient sites started, this certainly hampered my viewing of â€œAnalyse Thatâ€ but was otherwise unproblematic, I was really barely aware of tiny (and I really mean tiny) incisions being made on my head.
The longest part of the procedure was unquestionably the placement of the grafts ( I would guess this took around three hours) I really have no idea how this is done exactly all I can say is that it is just a matter of time for the patent, and patience for the doctors and technicians. In my case especially as I was by all accounts a bit of a bleeder! I have always had thin blood (perhaps this goes some way to explain my soft fainting!) which has doubtlessly been exacerbated by my vitamin junkie lifestyle. I had dropped almost all supplements with a week to go, but rather stupidly erred on the side of what I wanted to hear regarding some organic sulphurs (I take MSM for my sore knee, and zinc which, well I figured, is recommended to people for wound healing). In hindsight I am monumentally sorry about this as I'm sure I made the day longer and harder for the team than it might have been.
Despite this, they kept on placing the grafts, and after an age, then they were all checked and a large number of them were subtlety repositioned, presumably to get the top of the graft exactly parallel with the surrounding skin. I cannot believe this is at all easy, with the general refusal of my blood to coagulate etc. Next time I will be swapping my green tea and kelp lifestyle for full on black puddings and sausage to get my cholesterol up as much as possible!
In the last half hour, or possibly longer things wound down, there were generally only one or just maybe two people working on me at once, a lot of cleaning was done of my head with little spray guns, like you might use in your green house, and I really didn't feel bad at all. Pantelis who runs the Cyprus office who popped in from time to time to see that we were all ok, popped in again and asked if I would like a Cypriot kebab, and I certainly didn't need asking twice.
When we were done a few more photos were taken of me by the kindly tecs and I completed a few formalities with some of the Cypriot staff. I said goodbye to the team and was given a lift a few 100 yards to the flat used by skinflint patents like me who don't want a hotel, kebab in hand.
I got in and put some herbal tea on to brew and tried to find something on Cyprus tv to watch that I could both successfully tune in and understand, but soon wrote that off as a futile plan. I turned my attention to my kebab which was the most beautiful thing I have eatern bearing that name. It has no resemblance to the vile â€˜elephant leg' type donner's you get in England. It was lovingly roasted or fried cubes of pork, presented in a huge pita bread with a tomato salad at one end and a wedge of lemon and cubed cucumber at the other. It was gorgeous. Just what the Doctor ordered you might say, as Dr Cole had had a bit of a running joke with me in theatre about cucumbers, as when Pantelis had emailed me earlier in the week to see if I had any requests then my cucumber fixation had come to light.
Anyhow I had been told not to move about too much, so I drank my tea finished my food and went strait to bed.
The flat is very Mediterranean, and to an Englishman it seems a little uncluttered, all tiled echoing floors and whitewashed walls, but it is certainly clean and comfortable, my only gripe might be that the bed had only a single pillow, which is four less than the ht aficionados optimum of five. (For maximum drainage!). Anyhow, I improvised a fairly convincing wedge out of an extra duvet and went to bed, without further pain relief or sedation.
The post operation recovery.
As I am a bit of a bleeder. My head was quite crusty the next day, but I decided to wait 24 hours exactly, presumably to repent for the zinc, before I washed my recipient site for 1 minuet exactly. So I had an easy day around the flat. I did pop out briefly for supplies and I can assure anyone else who worried like me about having enough food there are plenty of sources of lovely Cypriot (or indeed generic if that's your thing) food within a minuets walk from the flat. I would say Cyprus is roughly on a par with England for the cost of groceries. There were also paper shops and the like, so all in all a very good place to recover. Not pretty, but cheap clean and functional.
The next day I flew home to Manchester, and apart from getting a kind of communal Cypriot taxi as arranged for me by the very helpful Cyprus office things went realy smoothly. The taxi did save me about Â£40 so it was probably worth the worst fear and nausea of whole trip as tiny streets were flown down at breakneck speeds, I drive a sporty old Volvo myself, it would get nowhere near a Cypriot minicab!
The flight home was a bonus too, due to my late booking I could sit at the back on an empty row and spray as much saline solution on my head as I wanted without too much embarrassment.
I should say that by this time ( 3rd day post opp, after my head had been washed three times, I could pass among people sans- hat with just my hair covering the grafts without any comments, not that I really cared, I'm not seeing these people again)
Back in England I was so happy, I had been away just three nights and I had, if you can forgive this clichÃ©, changed my life very obviously for the better.
I popped into a large supermarket on the way home to buy an abrasive sponge to aid crust removal and again I did not see anyone looking at me like I had an alien on my head. I am sure they did not notice. Obviously every day that passed I looked more and more normal, and five days after the opp, I was out for a whole day with a large group of friends celebrating a wedding (No alcohol for me, but as Mr Green tea this seemed pretty normal I think), no comets at all. That is how good ht is in the hands of Dr Cole.
As the crusts came away I was more and more amazed by the ht. The single hair fu's were tiny, I could not see even the tiniest disturbance around the hair, they looked as if they had been there all along, even angled to match the few dht tough survivors in my hairline.
In all the following week I have not needed to use any pain killers or sedation.
I can feel the donor site but it much more an awareness than real pain, I can turn my head without feeling it pulling or being tight, I can sleep on it without discomfort.
I am absolutely sure that when this all grows in my hair will be utterly natural looking, for the first time since my early 20's.
So a big thanks you to Dr Cole and the team, to all of you who have posted in reply to me over the years.
With love and thanks
Hair Transplant solutions
Disclaimer:I am not a physician. My opinions are not necessarily those of Dr Cole. My advice is not a medical advice.