This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting, challenging, amazing things. This is the story of Laurel and her Turner's Syndrome diagnosis.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I'm 25 years old and newly married. I am a writer and a wannabe crafter. I am a bookworm and a proud nerd! I am currently trying to finish my degree in International Studies and Journalism - I may also end up doing something in social work. I have a blog that I enjoy writing for and I am always looking for new readers. I'm adventurous and obsessed with traveling! That is me in a small nutshell!
For those of us who don't know, could you explain Turner's syndrome?
Turners Syndrome is a genetic defect that occurs in about one and every 2,500 live female births. There is no known cause as of yet. Turner Syndrome (TS) is a chromosomal condition that exclusively affects girls and women. TS occurs when one of the two X chromosomes normally found in females is missing or incomplete. The syndrome is named after Dr. Henry Turner, who was among the first to describe the features in 1930.
The most common features include short stature and gonadal dysgenesis, although many organ systems and tissues may also be affected to a lesser or greater degree. The average adult height of a woman with Turner syndrome is 4’8" but growth hormone therapy can increase final adult height. Gonadal dysgensis can cause incomplete sexual development and ovarian failure and infertility.
How old were you when you were diagnosed?
I was diagnosed at birth- thankfully the doctor knew about it and recognized a few key things and decided to run some tests. I am very blessed as my biggest problem is that I cannot have kids. I have no heart problems and no kidney problems etc. I am ADD (though not officially diagnosed) but no learning disabilities that are sometimes common in Turner's girls. I graduated with a 3.75 from high school and maintained a 3.5 in college.
How is Turner's syndrome treated?
Hormone therapy is available and should be started around the age of puberty. For adult women IVF is available but only under serious supervision of a physician.
Does it affect your daily life?
It can. I do suffer from some social anxieties but in general my life is normal. When I was younger it did inhibit my dating life but that was only because I let it.
Are there any benefits to having Turners syndrome?
It has given me such a huge heart for adoption! It is my purpose in life to be able to give a child a home that might not otherwise have one.
What advice would you give to others who have a health diagnosis that makes them feel different?
I won't say it is easy. The constant struggle to fit in when all you want to do is feel normal. To that I say - What is normal? Who defines normal anyway? Who are we to be in a position to make ourselves feel inferior? Live your life - love freely and let go of fear. Stop trying so hard and just live life and enjoy all the blessings it offers.
As I said earlier I am very blessed. Not that there aren't constant struggles (for example I will always struggle with my weight, another commonality), but when I compare what I have with the rest of the world I can be nothing but grateful. In a world where different is weird and people are cruel I hope my story is proof that a positive attitude can get you through anything. I encourage people to educate themselves more and stop letting ignorance become fear and fear become violence. Turner Syndrome is not a well known disease and researchers are learning more everyday. Visit this website for more info!
Thanks so much for sharing! Do you guys have any questions for Laurel?