I first approach Dr Angela Woods Campbell early in 2005 and was diagnosed as Norwood 3. For most men, that is not an uncommon happening but for me baldness threatened my survival. You see, I was not a normal man but I was born what was previously known as a hermaphrodite but is now known as intersexed. About 1:2000 are born with the condition. Simply put, I was both male and female and it presented a different and difficult twist on male pattern baldness for me.
I had been operated on at birth in order to be ‘normalised’ and raised as a male but they made the wrong choice because I never felt ‘normal’ when growing up (and everyone else felt the same way about me). Living as a boy and then growing into a man was extremely hard for me, but when I started going bald like my 2 elder brothers I really freaked out. It can be tough enough for a normal man to deal with baldness and even harder for a woman but I had struggled with every onslaught of masculinity that afflicted my body and the pending doom of becoming a bald old man was more than I could bear.
One of the biggest differences between men and women is the hairline contour and distance above the eyes, and my distance was increasing daily! I was frantic to find a way to turn things back …otherwise I would die. I not only needed to turn back the mpb but I also needed to feminise my hairline.
I began investigating hair clinics and found it pretty confusing. Many of them advertise heavily and used all the emotive tricks to attract clients, something that is always a turnoff for me. There was mini grafts, micro grafts, mega sessions, plugs, strip methods; follicular unit extraction and I struggled to take it all in. The local hair clinics were telling me that a scar across the back of my head would not be noticeable and besides, not everyone is suitable for single unit extraction… I was becoming perplexed. Furthermore, none of them had put me sufficiently at ease for me to even ask if they could feminise my hairline.
I approached Dr Angela Woods Campbell at first because of her lack of disclaimer which I found unique but then her way of putting me at ease became the prime motivator. However,initially Dr Angela Woods Campbell was reluctant to accept me as a patient, explaining that if I decided not to continue in changing back into a woman then I would be left with a female hairline and male pattern baldness would proceed behind it. Sort of like the flotsam that the high tide leaves behind on the shore when the tide goes out…and not a pretty sight. Her stand in this matter confirmed to me that she was placing my best interests first and foremost and I was comfortable in trusting my appearance to her hands. After psychological assessment at her bequest confirmed my true gender she agreed to feminise my hairline.
As it turned out, on the morning of my first procedure she was delayed so Dr Ray Woods performed the first session. I found him interesting and talkative and he was quite adept at the transplant procedure, though he didn’t bring my hairline forward but merely filled in some of the receding area. Still, I was happy with his results.
The second procedure was performed by Dr Angela Woods Campbell and if I thought the lack of major discomfort and only slight pain from her brother was good then Dr Angela Woods Campbell was something altogether amazing. It was as if she could feel each needle herself and knew exactly how far to go and how much pressure to use. In my first procedure with her brother each local anesthetic each needle (and there were lots of them) stung but Dr Angela Woods Campbell had a way of being so delicate that there was nothing even remotely uncomfortable or unpleasant the entire time. She inserted the needles with such sensitivity that I often couldn’t tell that she had just jabbed me. She was certain also to ensure the anesthetic was taking affect as she gradually progressed the insensate line. When inserting the hairs she was just as delicate and feeling as she had been during the extraction process. I was in awe of the empathy and consideration she displayed and realized that her dedication added many extra hours to her work. I made sure that she performed all the remaining procedures!
In all I had 7 procedures of 500 grafts which not only filled in the receded and balding areas but also brought my hairline forward to an acceptable female appearance. Apparently, filling in the receding and balding parts was straightforward but creating a female hairline for me was not as easy as cut and paste. She would normally spend around 12 hrs for each procedure but when she was working on the hairline she would spend 16 hrs. She wanted to make certain that it was perfect… and I would go home afterward thinking to myself “wow, this woman is not a doctor…she is an Angel”… At all times she displayed a deep concern for not only the transplant results but also for me as a person. I have never known a doctor to be so genuinely caring of their patient.
It has been over three years since my first procedure and even after 12 months I was receiving compliments about my lovely hair from other women. I was pretty chuffed myself.
I have asked her to give me a copy of the photos she took at the start so I can post some before and after shots. But needless to say that she has my eternal gratitude for her part in taking me from a balding old man (or the inevitability of it) to an attractive young woman. A failed hair restoration at that point in my life would have been catastrophic but her commitment to her patient has given me life.
I realise that most men don’t need the same results that I did and perhaps their circumstances aren’t as pressing or unusual as mine but I believe she would be just as caring with plain balding old men as she was with me.