TS Has Made Me More Patient and Empathetic by Danielle Kirkwood
In honor of Turner Syndrome Awareness Month, I’ve decided to share a small part of my experience. The day before I started 3rd grade, my mother received a life-changing phone call. I was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called turner syndrome (TS).
I didn’t know that I was diagnosed that day - my mom talked to me later after she had some time to process the information and think of a way to explain it in an age-appropriate manner. To be honest, I don’t remember much about this time other than being dragged to what felt like 15 different doctors for different tests and starting growth hormone injections. At the time, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of my mother giving me a shot every day, but I was so excited about having a way to get taller, Nothing else mattered to me at the time.
In my young brain, TS was just something that made me short and there was a shot that could fix it. I think I knew it was a little more complicated than that, but that’s what it basically boiled down to in my mind.
As I got older, and I learned about all the ways Turner syndrome affected my body - such as infertility - I began to resent it. To be honest, there were times I was angry about being born with TS. As an adult, I’ve realized there’s also a lot of ways I’ve benefited from having TS, for example getting to go to the coolest summer camp ever as a teen and meeting other girls like me. I’d be lying if I said that having TS hasn’t complicated my life in a lot of ways, but it is a big part of who I am, literally it’s affected just about every cell of my body.
I think that having Turner syndrome has made me a more patient and empathetic person than I would’ve been otherwise, and it has given me a deeper appreciation for things I might not have appreciated as much under different circumstances. Things like being an aunt, graduating from college after working really hard to pass the required math and science classes, and getting to ride all the rides with height requirements at an amusement park because I was finally tall enough.