God Is Not Done with Me Yet! by Cher Nakachi
My name is Cher Nakachi, and I was diagnosed with Turner syndrome (TS) on the last day of 6th grade. It was actually the school nurse, Mrs. Hiyoto, who brought up the concern about my height. I never thought much about it until then. So, I went for the blood test (karyotype), and my pediatrician explained to my parents that I had TS. When we got home, my mom told me about the test results and was very positive. She explained that I would be able to live a “normal” life, but what is normal nowadays, right? She explained I would be short and not be able to have kids.
Even though she was positive, she still could not hold back her tears. It was the first time I had ever seen her cry. It was also on that day when I began to develop serious self-esteem issues. In the beginning, it was all surreal. I became a human pin cushion with countless blood tests and began hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Growth hormone shots every other day proved to be ineffective as I remained pretty much the same height. I remember conveniently "forgetting" to tell my mom to give me my shot. Who loves getting shots? Am I right?
My teenage years were the most challenging. I started using Fosamax (for osteoporosis) and seeing my bone density depleting was scary. I also had not grown since I was 12, so my height really started to bother me. At 4' 5", my height deficit really stood out. I felt so different, and honestly, like a freak. Was I even a woman because my body did not produce estrogen? I envied those who had normal periods without the help of HRT. Every month was like a reminder that something was wrong with me.
I felt like I was living with a deep dark secret. Who could love someone like me? I turned to food to help me deal with all these feelings and emotions. My battle with food is still a battle I fight every day. ME vs. Food. Sometimes I win, sometimes food wins. I am glad that with professional help and the support of family, friends, and God, I no longer see food as something that is my enemy. It becomes easier to say NO to stress or binge eating and YES to healthier choices to refuel my body.
As an adult, it seems like I am having more medical issues related to TS. I have hearing loss, aortic stenosis, osteopenia in my back and hip, osteoporosis in my right forearm, vision issues, no sense of direction whatsoever, and struggle with math and visual spatial situations. I am grateful for all the great doctors I have to make sure I take care of myself.
Despite all these challenges, I am still very blessed that I am able to live my day-to-day life. I have an amazing husband who loves me for me. When we were dating, I told him about TS. I was so scared and thought he would break up with me. His response was, "This is our fairy tale, and we are only in the beginning chapters. I want to see how it ends." Suffice to say, I knew right then and there he was the one.
We have also adopted a daughter from Taiwan. She keeps us on our toes, but we love her. As a middle school teacher of more than 20 years, I have had literally thousands of "kids". Each student is like my own child. TS has shaped me into the person I am today. It has instilled in me humility, compassion, and strength to persevere and not give up. Giving up is just not in my vocabulary.
As a short person I need humility. Every time I must ask someone to grab something off the shelf for me in the grocery store, it requires every ounce of humility I have. Can you relate?
I need compassion and strength every day working with my middle school students. Middle schoolers are just naturally dramatic and emotional because they are going through so many changes physically, emotionally, and socially. I could write a book on all the adventures I have had with middle schoolers, but I will never regret deciding to teach this age group. Yes, all my students are taller than me, but it does not bother me so much anymore. I can laugh now when students are in awe that they are taller than the teacher. I also cannot tell you how many times people have asked who or where the teacher is when they walk into my classroom! I just take it as a compliment now. As one of the 2% who survived birth, there is no doubt in my mind that God wanted me born and has an amazing purpose for me. He is not done with me yet.