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My Life Is Fulfilling and I am Happy - by Shela Gilbert

My name is Shela, and this is my story. I was diagnosed with Turner syndrome (TS) when I was young, probably around four or five. At this age, besides not growing like I should have, my biggest problem was multiple ear infections. The blessing about finding out so young that I had TS was that the doctors at Oregon Health and Sciences University knew a lot about it and explained it to me in ways I could understand - even the fact that I would not be able to have children.

I am grateful I grew up knowing that I have TS. I truly believe that it made it easier for me. My parents were wonderful at letting me know that, yes, TS is a part of me, but only a piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am.

As I got a little older, I started having trouble with my right knee dislocating and had to have three surgeries to help keep it in place. I also developed scoliosis and had to have surgery to have rods put in my back. School was difficult at times with learning challenges, but what was hardest about high school was being so different from my peers, especially watching them grow up and start looking like young adults while I still looked like a little kid.

I did find things to enjoy in this season. I loved going to hockey games and found a way to use my verbal skills by being on the speech team. From the time I was a very little girl I knew I wanted to be a mom and that any career I had would involve working with kids. While my life does not look like I thought it would when I was younger, honestly, whose life does? It is fulfilling and I am happy.

I attended Christ for the Nations and got a degree in children's ministry and have worked with kids in church for decades. I got married at 36, and we tried to adopt but that was a very painful process and did turn out well for us. At the perfect time, God brought a 15 year old into our lives to be our son. He is a blessing and a true gift to us.

Some of the other things that make up the puzzle that is me: I have always been a girly girl. I enjoy taking pictures and scrapbooking. I have always loved movies and reading. I adore animals and wish I could rescue them all, but since I can’t, I am happy with the four dogs we have. I love the TSSUS Awareness Month theme “Be You”. Yes, there is no doubt that TS makes my life more challenging at times, but I would not change a thing because without TS, I would not be me.


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