A Sergeant Bluff woman is writing a book about her experience with Turner Syndrome (TS) — a chromosomal disorder that affects one in every two-thousand newborn girls.
Nicole Cleveland of was diagnosed with TS at birth through a test that takes a snapshot of chromosomes. “And it’s usually missing an X chromosome, or one of the X chromosomes is slightly altered in some way and it causes many health complications,” She says.
The two common symptoms, short stature and premature ovarian failure, which both can be treated. Other complications may include congenital heart or kidney defects, thyroid and vision issues, motor issues, hypertension, anxiety, and depression.
“When I was born they were told that I may need to have walking braces for the rest of my. And that I may never be able to walk normally,” according to Cleveland. “Luckily that did not happen. I was able to walk normally — I was able to cheerlead in high school — I was able to live pretty much a normal and productive life,” she says.
The short stature can be treated in children with growth hormone, and premature ovarian failure requires lifelong estrogen replacement for development and health. Cleveland says the early diagnosis of TS is key.
“So many people are diagnosed in their teen years or even their adult years because they don’t have access to medical care. Or it’s so rare that their physicians don’t know the looks and the signs of Turner Syndrome, “Cleveland says. “They, unfortunately, don’t get diagnosed until they are in their adult years, and unfortunately those treatments are no longer effective for them.”
Growth hormone treatment would not be effective after their mid to late teens. Turner served two terms on the Sergeant Bluff City Council and is writing a book on her experiences called the “Butterfly Chronicles.” The butterfly is the symbol for girls and women with TS. If you want to find out more about turner syndrome, you may go online to www.tsgalliance.org.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)