( CNN) In his mid 40 s, Mike Thomas went bald. Not a “little bald spot in the back” kind of bald or “receding hairline” kind of bald, but almost totally and altogether bald. He was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease, and he was devastated.
He seemed, by his own description, like a “freak, ” with his eyebrows and eyelashes totally gone. He could feel it when people looking back on him. Some of them quietly asked whether he had cancer.