My Life Is Extremely Rich and Full! - by Alexa O'Brien
My name is Alexa "Ally" O'Brien. I was diagnosed with Turner syndrome (TS) while in utero from genetic testing. My parents were fortunately given nothing but encouragement. From birth, I was monitored closely. I had a small heart defect, which I am still seeing a cardiologist biannually for. I endured years of growth hormone therapy and then transitioned to estrogen and progesterone therapy.
TS has altered my life in terms of how I will have children. I live a remarkably normal life. In terms of my education, I was always a bright student, especially in English and history classes. I was given some special help in school as a kindergartner, but it quickly became apparent that I didn’t need special services, just some physical accommodations due to the fact that I was born with a severe hip injury.
I have struggles with nonverbal learning disorder (NLD), which basically means I have trouble with spatial awareness, which is common in girls with TS. The major way this affects my life is that I can't drive YET. I also suffered from anxiety from a very young age and finally went on medication for it in my twenties. Now my mental health is better than ever.
I graduated in the top 25% of my high school class and went on to graduate cum laude from my state college. I am now a substitute teacher and tutor who is hoping to go on to be an English teacher soon in a local middle or high school. I have worked in theater since I was 7 years old, and have even performed with Broadway actors! I am very sensitive and great with children and have even been a nanny for a celebrity.
My life is extremely rich and full. I have amazing friends. My hope is that any parents facing their child’s diagnosis will understand that they can live a completely normal and independent life.