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Don’t Let those Imposters in your Head Get to You - by Susan Hoffman

My name is Susan Hoffman, and here is my story. I am 54. I found out I had Turner syndrome (TS) (karyotype XO) when I was 14 and wasn’t developing normally. Estrogen therapy helped me fit in better with other girls my age. However, I still was very short. Growth hormone therapy didn’t exist when I was young. I only grew to be 4’7” and a half. Luckily, my parents weren’t very tall. My father is 5”7”, and my late mother was 5’2”.

I was born in Houston, Texas, where my mother was from. I am the youngest of two siblings. Our family moved from Texas when I was five. We moved around with my dad’s job to a few different states. I spent my first few years in elementary school getting used to different schools as we moved, and I stayed back one year in kindergarten, because I wasn’t socially mature for my age. So, I was always a year older than kids in school, which embarrassed me the entire time I was in school until I graduated.

Needless to say, I was bullied in school. My height didn’t help. I was determined not to let that get me down. We moved to Harrisburg in my dad’s home state of Pennsylvania when I was 11. We stayed there the rest of my school days since my dad found the job from which he wanted to retire.

In school, of course, math was my weakest subject, and languages and music were my best. I have been singing since I was 3, and taking voice lessons since I was 11. I enjoyed singing in my high school choirs as well as local and high school musicals. I got some solo bits in choir. I even won an award for soloist at a choir festival.

After I graduated from high school, I went to the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, I double-majored in Russian and German, and continued to take voice lessons and sing in Pitt’s Heinz Chapel choir.

I decided after getting my BA to seek an opportunity for a job that would have benefits. Being a free-lance translator or musician would be difficult, considering the need for insurance, so I went on to grad school. I went on to grad school and got a Master’s in Library Science from Pitt, and a Master’s in German from Penn State.

After working part-time for a short while as a librarian at a Penn State satellite campus, I moved to Chicago and got a job at the Chicago Public Library, where I’ve now been for almost 23 years! I’ve always been very independent. I work in the Music and Arts Department in the library. I still sing in my church choir, take voice lessons, and have even performed some solo concerts. I enjoy my season tickets to the opera. I like the cultural and artistic opportunities Chicago has to offer me. Even creative writing and guitar classes!

I’ve also been fortunate to get to know several TS sisters in Chicago and elsewhere. I am blessed that my health issues are manageable. I take cholesterol and blood pressure medication, and have taken thyroid medication, since I was in my 20s. At 39, I had a successful ablation for Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, an extra pathway in the heart that causes a supraventricular tachycardia. My heart is otherwise healthy. I even had a cardiac MRI to be sure. This picture was taken on my birthday in October 2022, on my 54th trip around the sun. Take care of yourselves, and don’t let those imposters in your head get to you! You can succeed!


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