“A Different Kind of Journey”

Surgery; Day 1 and Fillow-up Day: 2

FULL DISCLOSURE…Actual Photos, below

We are calling this “Daryls Hair Journey.” Technically, this particular blog post is not about travel, but at the same time, it IS quite a trip; done in a foreign land.

The seed was planted in the big guys mind (no pun intended) last February, when we went for our first Turkish Bath, inside the lovely Halic Hotel on our first visit to Istanbul. While we waited in the lounge, we saw several young me with bandages wrapped around their head and what looked to be some kind of post-op surgery situation. Daryl, not being shy, began chatting it up with a few of the guys, and also spoke to the reception desk person, to piece together what the “deal was.”

Hair Transplant procedures are what these men got. They actually are all the rage In Istanbul. After surgery, they spent the night at the hotel, then returned the next day for their follow-ups.

Daryl has been VERY interested, ever since, and has given this a lot of thought.

This trip back to Istanbul, was, in part, to get this procedure done on Daryl. For the record, I was not promoting Daryls desire for more hair, but of course I supported his decision. Women don’t deal with hair loss like men do, so I get it. I wouldn’t like losing mine, either, so I said; Why not? Here is a man who worked hard for 47 years; often six days a week. I think he deserves to treat himself to something special, if he wants.

We had no idea hair transplants really worked, and we knew very little about them. We have never known anybody in the states who did this. Here in Istanbul, on any given day, you might see a few men sporting their post-op bandages around the city. The bandages are worn with pride, because men CAN and DO get their hair back, for realzzzzz! I doubt we would see so many men get the procedures if they don’t work. Daryl has a guarantee to cone back in a year if he is unhappy with any part of his procedure; at no cost.

In the hospital, yesterday, (about a seven hour day) I sat in the waiting area with other wives and girlfriends. I saw a half dozen men leaving with their “bandages of honor” and happy faces. I even saw selfies being taken with family members after their surgeries, with laughter and big smiles. I observed this to be a very happy occasion to be celebrated! No reason to keep it on the down-lo, Daryl also decided to share.
It all began with a series of phone calls and texting to find the right doctor for Daryl. With the help from our friend Taskin, Daryl got his appointment, just in time. We leave Friday (tomorrow afternoon), which gives us enough time for the surgery and follow-up, this afternoon.

Firstly, I texted photos to the nurse, of Daryl, during his younger years, to show his natural hairline, etc. (the ladies gushed over his baby picture and who can blame them)?🥰. On the day of surgery, we were picked up by a personal driver, and taken to the hospital for the day-long procedure. (we were also delivered back to our hotel last night, after the operation).
We were greeted at the hospital, upon arrival and made to feel comfortable. I knew Daryl was in good hands, right away. After check-in with his passport, he went in for a blood-draw to get his blood type. For this procedure, blood plasma is matched and used as a line feed, directly into his scalp and arm; for the benefit of stem-cell therapy.

Adorable, right?
Daryl in his child-rearing days
Daryl, when we met. He had hair, then.

This is a full-year commitment on new hair growth. Who knew? For the first three nights, Daryl will sleep, sitting up. (night one? Not a lot of sleeping, so the next two nights might be uncomfortable as well). Is there pain? The painful part was the local anesthesia administered in the head; many, many needle sticks. After that, when his head was numb (numb skull comes to mind, because I’m dreadful) 😂….the first two hours or more were spent extracting, or harvesting Daryls own hair from the back of his head. These harvested hairs with roots, were then cleaned and replanted; one by one over at least four more hours. In total, Daryl got 3,800 hair color replants in his thinning areas; on top of his head, and frontal receding areas.

This first month, much care must be taken to ensure the head is not bumped, scratched or rubbed. He is not allowed to lift any weight, either. As full-time travelers with luggage, this will actually be the biggest challenge, moving forward. But, we will just have to find people to help, for example when hotels don’t have elevators.
There is a special shampoo and lotion provided. Medications were also provided for self-care follow-up: medicines to prevent swelling (fat-head also comes to mind.. I’m just terrible) 😝, as well as antibiotics, to prevent infection, and some others to increase circulation.

No hair washing till day two during follow-up. We were given a lesson on “how to.”
We were shown the process for a lotion, which is sprayed-on, then must sit for 40 minutes, and rinsed. Following that, the special shampoo is used, but only dabbed on the new implants, but slight scrubbing where hair was harvested; and rinsed. This will be the routine for the next ten days. After that, normal shampoo and rinse, with light scrubbing.

After the first month, as well as the following five more months, the hair can not be cut. It is just left alone to grow. After six months a scissor cut can be done, but no shaving shears. His hair looks like it was all shaved down to nothing, but it was not a shave. The procedure of removing the hair caused the hair to go so short.
Going from this short bald look to hair in six months, we have no idea what he will be dealing with; how long it will get, or how thick, but it will be interesting.

Mr Happy, no matter what is going on.
On the way back from a bathroom break. Seven hours on the table is a long time!

After a year, the hair can be cut and styled in any fashion, including colored for those who choose. It is also encouraged, in a year, that Daryl return to the same place and medical team and do any fillers needed, for areas which may not have taken. The current price Coveted this future visit and includes airfare and hotel. This will all be determined a month before the one-year anniversary. We love Istanbul, so it won’t be hard to come back, if needed.

Today; next day.,.On our way to the follow-up appointment
Foam spray lotion for just the new growth area
The reveal
Back of head, where hair was harvested
Shampoo was patted on the top area
… and rinse

Thank you Hilal and the rest of your medical team and driver for the procedure and care over Daryl! 🙏😊

Now, we wait for these next six months to see what happens. Stay tuned for updates!

“Turkey 🇹🇷 ~Hamam, Massage, Traditional Foods and Galatolia Suites”

We are all set, once again, in Istanbul. We are taking a few days to relax and unwind from so many months and miles, road-tripping throughout the Balkans. We made some incredible memories. We also feel very fortunate to have spent the late Winter, Spring, Summer and now Fall, in Europe.
Before we leave Istanbul, I will repost some blogs, from our first visit, here, to show off this wonderful city! There is something very special about Turkey, because we are not normally fans of the big, busy, loud, cities, but Istanbul IS one of those large populated city which we actually love!

First Night’s Arrival

We flew into Istanbul, Turkey, from Sofia, Bulgaria without issue. We were delighted, but exhausted. It was 1:12AM, before we got to crawl into this very welcoming bed! 

Coming back to Galatolia Suites, was like coming back home. We stayed for a month, here, back in February/March. Our stored suitcase and cooking items were already in our same room, waiting fir us, from our last visit. Funny thing, but we havent had a microwave or toaster in six months. From Greece on, to the other Balkan states, we are told microwaves are too dangerous. A toaster is just an unfamiliar item to those states.. I’m in heaven with these appliances. 

Thanks to our friend, Taskin, for getting everything ready for us in advance, and us being a day late arriving, than planned! We are very comfortable and happy

First Day

Do We Look Refreshed?

Our Turkish Baths and Massages did not disappoint! We recommend! This was our third visit and we absolutely recommend their Bath House and Spa: Alaturka Hamam: https://alaturkahamam.com/

Their driver picked us up and brought us back after our session. It was so nice, and so easy.

What exactly is a Hamam or Turkish Bath?

“A Turkish Bath or Hammam is a place of public bathing associated with the Islamic world. It is a prominent feature in the culture of the Ottoman Empire, as well as other regions and historical periods of the Muslim world”

After our session, Daryl went to the market and got a few items, and then we ate dinner next door to our hotel at a place called Akin. They prepare traditional Turkish dishes….yum! The building of the restoran is a partial ruin of an ancient Hamam, which is also quite special.

Turkish Ravioli
Lamb chops

“We Are So Excited!”

Though it has been six months since I’ve researched hotels and actually made a reservation; preferring to wing it, instead, during COVID times, it was just like riding a bike!

We fly to Turkey this evening and will enjoy some down-time in Istanbul for a bit. We LOVE Istambul! Then, we will rent another vehicle and do some road-tripping across the country. Turkey is very good size, so the driving will take more time, and while we might not get to see everything we want, what we end up seeing, will be amazing!

Our main focus, after Istanbul, is Cappadocia! I’ve had this place on my bucket list for a long time!  Maybe you have heard about this magical place, too? Been there, even?

Because of the COVID times, and because it’s a ten-hour drive to Cappadocia, I did make a reservation for our three-night stay, there. I did not want to search for “left-over” stays, due to not planning ahead in this case. I discovered some hotels are already full, but this may be because not all hotels are open, either (COVID times, again).

There are many cave-hotels to choose from, normally, and having been in them, before (Greece) ….we know for a fact they can be very romantic and cozy, but we also know, in advance they are darker, and can be a bit too confining for some; without the full benefit of a balcony or terrace to bring in enough natural light. Oh, and Don’t expect WIFI to work in the cave-rooms, either. We will have to go to the restaurant or lounge for that.

The trade-off, in the right cave-room, is a view of the balloons rising in the early AM, from the comfort of your own cave balcony, as well as the star-gazing at night. 

There are three areas to find cave-hotels, but not all areas in Cappadocia and cave-hotels offer up the amazing site of rising balloons each morning. I made sure we got one with the best deal, the best location, and one of the best cave-rooms with Landmark viewing. (reviews are amazing) 

Cappadocia is no place to penny pinch. Plan the trip, save for it and go. Splurge a little! We don’t very often, but there is a time and a place…. bucket list trips are those places for us!  Flying from Istanbul to Cappadocia is also done, regularly. We just prefer the road trips, as we do not have limited time, like we use to, and we love to stop and see sites along the way.

We are going to stay in Göreme, for three nights in a “King’s” Cave suite, with private balcony. We will also go ballooning, maybe go horseback riding, do pottery, get Turkish Baths, eat good Turkish food and surely wander around the old city. I have actually reserved two spots on a ballooning morning, already. Again, not sure how many companies are operating, and we do not want to miss out on this activity!

Follow us on our Travel Blog Website! I’m sure you will want to see this place with us! September 21-24th, 2020