Lived Through This

It’s Not Just Hair

My family’s battle with alopecia

Jeff Sample
Human Parts
Published in
10 min readApr 15, 2022

For most of my adult life, I have aligned my physical identity as someone with fantastic hair.

My college friends had a running joke. The pantheon of all-time great hair list:

1.) Farrah Fawcett
2.) Patrick Swayze
3.) Jeff Sample

That’s it. That’s the list.

As a male, hair loss is expected. As much as I hoped to keep those luscious locks, I’m a pragmatist at heart, bound by the rules of logic and science.

Science says I lose.

The Beginning

In March of 2018, I was battling a particularly stressful period of my life. My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. My new career in Management Consulting had me traveling across the country every week, meaning I was gone five days a week and barely got to see my fiancee. That travel then triggered a bout of pneumonia, leaving me stranded in Denver with a high-grade fever, paralyzing chills, and alone.

A few weeks later, a half-dollar-sized bald spot appeared on my beard. It was something I hadn’t experienced in over ten years.

It was alopecia, and it was back. And for the first time, it was on my head.

The problem with alopecia is its unpredictability. There are no known causes, no cures, and no warning signs. It shows up when it wants to show up and takes what it wants to take.

Stress and food allergies are potential causes but aren’t proven to be linked. Taking care of your stress levels, eating healthy, ongoing steroid injections, and a few experimental topicals are all you have in your arsenal.

My only hope was that it stayed contained to areas of my appearance that aren’t focal to physical appearances, such as the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes.


In April of 2019, I was recently married and starting a new job. Alopecia, to that…



Jeff Sample
Human Parts

Currently helping people find meaningful careers as the Founder @ Clicked (