TS Makes Me a Better Nurse - by Andrea Pflughoeft
Hi, my name is Andrea Pflughoeft and this is my TS story. February has special meaning in my life; not only does it mark Turner Syndrome Awareness Month, but February 2nd also marks my 25th birthday. I’m a pediatric nurse in WI, but to get to where I am today, I’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles in the last 25 years.
My mom knew something was not right when I stopped growing in elementary school, and even though I didn’t understand why, I knew I was always the shortest kiddo in my class. I also knew I was different from my classmates as it was hard for me to make and keep friends or understand a lot of social cues. I was officially diagnosed with the mosaic form of Turner syndrome (TS) and things began to make more sense.
Throughout school (even through college) I unfortunately had to deal with my fair share of bullying. Some of it was related to my short stature (I’m only 4’9”), but a lot of it was related to my lack of social skills. I would often not understand why I was being left out if I said certain things; I didn’t understand the meaning behind certain social cues, and I would often not understand why I had lost my friends.
Throughout school and into my adult years, I felt isolated as a result and developed anxiety and depression. Fortunately, over time and with hard work on my end, these have gotten better though they are a daily struggle at times.
Today, as a pediatric nurse, I absolutely adore each kiddo that I care for. Because of TS and what I went through as a child, I find that I can relate to my patients easily and have the utmost empathy and sympathy for them, their families, and what they are going through. Despite the challenges I have had, I am grateful that I don’t have many health issues and even more grateful that TS has made me a stronger, more patient nurse than I ever could have imagined!