In 1982 I went to my first bodybuilding show. I was seventeen and set my sights on entering the Teenage Division the next year. I worked hard to get in shape and it paid off – in 1983 I won. Almost overnight everyone looked up to me. My self-esteem was so high. Life was so great. I trained for two full years before entering and winning the 1985 Open. This qualified me for the 1986 USA National Contest. I was 20 years old and had become the local star. Newspapers wrote articles about me. So did Flex Magazine. My self-esteem couldn’t go any higher. The USA National Contest was to be held in July, 1986 and I began serious training the previous January. To my horror, around March I began losing my hair. How could this happen to me? I was only 22 years old. Both my father and brother still had full heads of hair, so I knew my hair loss must be stress related and attempted to put it out of my mind.
I didn’t place in 1986, so I set my sights on the 1987 USA Contest. I thought my hair would return to normal once the stress was gone, but it got worse. I can’t explain what this did to my self-confidence. After visiting a local doctor, I decided to have a scalp reduction. At first the scalp reduction was a success, but my hair continued to fall out so I had another scalp reduction. I entered the 1987 USA Contest and placed seventh. Around the same time, my hair began to fall out in front, so I decided to have hair transplants. What I ended up with was the “corn-row” effect. My hair was funny looking. Everyone’s eyes went right to the top of my head whenever they talked to me. By this time, I had spent over $5,000.00 and looked worse than before.
In 1988 I placed second in the California heavy weight contest. Although I was overjoyed at the placement, my hair had become such an embarrassment that I continued to search for a solution. This time I underwent a procedure that involved sewing a hairpiece to my head. What I thought was the solution was nothing but a very clever and misleading marketing technique. Within three months my head became infected and I had to have the hairpiece taken off. When I did, more of my hair had fallen out! The only alternative I had left, I thought was a regular hairpiece. This was better as it was taken off every three weeks for cleaning. But imagine washing your head only every three weeks! Not a pleasant smell and it itched constantly. I was so afraid that it would fall off if I did any kind of sports activity, and felt like everyone was laughing at me behind my back.
One day, I was reading Muscle & Fitness Magazine and saw an article regarding Dr. Fleming and Dr. Mayer. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The man in the article was fully bald on top, but within six months had all his own hair back. I immediately made an appointment. Because of my previous scalp reductions and hair transplants, it was necessary for me to have a tissue expander placed prior to having the Fleming/Mayer Flap. In November, 1992, the expander was put into place. The Flap surgery was done on February 5, 1992. Within two weeks, I went back to work with a full head of my own hair. When I walked in, one of my friends, came up to me and commented on how great my new hair piece looked. He was completely shocked when he found out it was my own hair. As you can imagine, my self-esteem went through the roof. When I showed people my before-and-after photos, they looked in disbelief. I also found out that everyone had been laughing behind my back. No more jokes now!