A Brief History of Cate

As promised, I thought I would share my story, albeit a little late. Fear not…I will not bore you with the mundane details of my life. I just want to share some major events in my life that have influenced choices I have made, and have made me who I am today, and have led me down the path to this beautiful life I now lead.

I had a wonderful childhood growing up on a farm in a small town (when I left there in 1994 the population was 4000) about 1.5 hours East of Toronto. It was relatively uneventful, so I will get to the “good” stuff.

My life started to take some wierd turns when I was 18. For some unknown reason, the powers that be decided to shake my life up a bit by adding some….let’s call them “challenges”.

First came the Cold Urticaria. I am allergic to cold. Yes folks, it is possible to be allergic to cold. I was diagnosed just before I left to start University in Ottawa. When I am in direct contact with something cold, the contact area swells and I get hives. Even better, when I breathe cold air, my trachea swells making it difficult to breathe. A sort of uber-asthma attack if you will. I still question my reasoning behind sticking with the plan to move to Ottawa, a city colder than my hometown. Key word COLDER!

Then came the Alopecia Universalis. In May 1996 I moved back to my parents’ house after my exams were over and school was finished for the year. I had plans to find a job and work for the summer. The powers that be had other plans entirely.

When I got home my mother remarked that my hair looked thin. I didn’t notice any difference, but I saw myself everyday. The difference wasn’t as subtle to my mother. I went to see my doctor and was tested for iron deficiency. That wasn’t it. So I was sent to a Dermatologist. It still confuses me why this type of hair loss is lumped in with skin diseases, but I don’t have a medical degree so who am I to question?

In june of 1996, shortly before my 22nd birthday, I learned that I had Alopecia. I was going to lose all of my hair. He wasn’t kidding! By the end of July, I was left looking like a feminine Telly Savalas. Only he had to good fortune to have eyebrows and eyelashes! I do not! I have to draw them on every morning. Not my favourite thing to do!

So, there you have it. I am bald as a cue ball! I went through a lot of self esteem issues, but managed to go back to school in September. I decided to not wear a wig to hide my lack of hair. I did this for a couple of reasons. My hair was beautiful. It was long, straight, super fine blonde hair. And I could not find a wig that looked at all like it, or that made me look/feel like myself. I also had the fear that people would know I was wearing a wig. I felt I could easier deal with it if it was out in the open. And I did!

There’s just one last thing. In the fall of 1999 I was hit suddenly with Polymorphic Light Eruption. Yes ladies and gents. Now I was allergic to the sun! This type of allergy is only strong during the strong UV months…you know…Spring and Summer…when everyone wants to be outside! So in the winter I am fine. No…wait. I’m allergic to cold too! So there is no month where I am totally safe! Great!

You are probably wondering why I named my blog what I did. Well, there is both a truth and irony there.

There have been times, especially when I lost my hair, that I never thought I would have a beautiful life. This seemed like far to much to deal with for someone in there mid-20’s. And being a bald woman isn’t easy. Would I ever get married or have children?

The answer is yes! My husband spotted me because of my baldness. He just had to meet that seemingly fearless young woman that he described once described as “the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on”. Yup! That’s me!

I have been fortunate enough to have a family that is so close-knit. I have had all the support I have ever needed, and was taught growing up that to be able to deal with the bad times, you need to be able to laugh. We are a family of great laughter. I truly believe that without laughter I would not be where I am today.

I am extremely happily married to the most wonderful man. He makes me feel beautiful everyday, even when I’m sure I’m not.

I also have two of the most beautiful boys ever to grace this Earth. It is a joy to be able to stay at home and watch them grow everyday.

Yes, I am truly blessed. What a Beautiful Life indeed!

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “A Brief History of Cate

  1. Karla

    Wow Cate. Thank you for sharing your story. You sound like such a fascinating and strong woman.

  2. Beth

    Yes Cate, thank you for sharing your story..
    That was mighty brave of you.

    http://shawnomoody.wordpress.com/

  3. Brillig

    What an amazing story! I’m glad I trekked back through your archives to find it. I salute you for finding life beautiful, despite its many challenges. I love that you decided not to go the wig-route. Not that there’s anything wrong with those who choose to use a wig, but there’s something so bold, brave and (yes!) beautiful about saying, “This is who I am!!! And I’m okay with it!!!”

  4. Kimberly

    I came to write a lovely comment, only to find out that Brillig had said exactly what I planned to. ~sticks tongue out at her~

    I love that stage where I’m fascinated by and like a blogger enough to want to read her archives. So much fun!

  5. bhazy

    I found you through Life As I Know It, so glad I did…

    Wow, you have such character and strength! I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog when I have time.

  6. jen

    i’m allergic to the sun too. . .i guess i never realized it had an actual name!! i can’t be in the sun for even 10 minutes. . . now to go look it up!!!

    thanks for sharing!!

  7. jen

    by the way. . .colgate toothpaste works wonders on hives and such. . .better than other itch solutions. . .at least for me. . .but get the white not the blue. . .been there done that!!! LOL looked like a smurf!!! 🙂

  8. Neppie

    Just read your story. Wow! what a great testimony to what a life can be when you don’t give up. Thank you for sharing. I had no idea that people could be allergic to cold. I knew about the sun, but not to cold. Your boys are beautiful. You truly have a beautiful life.

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