Turner Syndrome Association of New Zealand Incorporated

Providing support to people affected by Turner Syndrome and their families in New Zealand

Life with Turners and Celiac

Hi my name is Paula Harris, I am 17 years old. I was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome when I was 15 years old. Before this I had heard stories of me being sick as a baby, having ear problems and wondering why I was heaps shorter than my friends.

In year 9 I got a hearing aid in my right ear and have worn one ever since. I felt finding out about having Turners helped my family and I understand about all my health issues because at the same time I found out I had Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance). So that has meant a change to the food I eat. This has not always been easy because I come from a family with 5 kids, and having to suddenly alter my diet has caused difficulties with missing the foods I previously ate, in addition to getting used to the different textures of gluten free foods.

I am more at ease with myself now I know about having Turners because I can tell people why I am short and different to them. I know of only one girl who used to live in Wanganui where I live that has Turners. Going to the 2009 Camp for girls was a huge and fun new experience, for which I thank Karen Pratt & the other parents so much for arranging, and I can’t wait till next years camp. It was great to meet other girls who have Turners. I am not very good friends with all of them yet but we are texting, writing and emailing all the time as teenage girls do.

I do have some advice for girls who have Turners and have only known for a short time as I have: don’t let it become an excuse to not do anything with yourself. Remember you are a special and unique individual; dare to challenge yourself daily and don’t let school become a drag; try your hardest and get the extra help you need. I am in year 13 (7th form) this year and have become a Prefect at my school. So if I can do it I believe each one of you can too, so get out there and just shoot for your dreams!

I leave you with this saying:

“Shoot for the sky because if you miss you will hit a star”

Paula Harris – age 17. Wanganui

Paula Harris