There’s something many of you readers might not know about me: I saw my pediatrician until I was 20. No, I’m not a freak (well, yeah, I kind of am), but there’s a valid reason for this: I stopped growing at a young age, and if not for modern medicine, I’d still be child-like in stature. Yep, my body decided to stop producing growth hormone, so I was technically a dwarf. Okay, that’s not totally true. If I’m going to be honest, my growth hormone deficiency can be referred to as pituitary dwarfism due to the pituitary gland being a lazy asshole, but all I see in that name is “dwarf,” so I’m running with it. Wouldn’t you? I think I’ll call myself Quirky.
In any case, in 10th grade at the age of 15, being only 4’10” and well below the average line for height and weight, I began growth hormone injections twice a day. I was told that I’d be lucky if I reached 5’1”, dashing my hopes of being an airline stewardess. I didn’t really want to be a flight attendant, but when I was a dwarf, one of the medical professionals, in an attempt to shed some positive light to enduring multiple shots per day, pointed out that certain jobs had height requirements, and her example has always stuck with me. I didn’t need coercing to start the therapy, but one factor that scared me into wanting to begin immediately was when my pediatrician told me I needed the shots if I wanted have children in the future; which I did. Gentlemen, you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph. But hoorah alas, I was fifteen and had yet to start my period. I cheered and loathed the day it came two years later at age 17.
Even with the late onset of puberty, I still had a ways to go with my injections. A quick x-ray of my wrist allowed my doctor to see how much further I could grow. Apparently, our joints show how much room is left for growing because they fuse together once we’ve reached our maximum growth potential, and as long as mine had space and weren’t fusing, I could still grow. Armed with this knowledge, I placed a $10 bet with my cousin’s future husband (who’s really short, but was taller than me at the time) that I would be taller than him by his graduation day. Not knowing I was taking shots, he agreed. I totally won that bet, but didn’t see him after graduation and never got paid…that is, until almost 10 years later when he began dating my cousin and reunited with me with a $10 bill in his hand!
I took my needles and medicine with me to college, where it was a bit harder to hide from others. Living in the dorms and actually being social, it was common for friends and acquaintances to witness me injecting myself. Once I was out of high school, I was more comfortable with putting my true self out there for people to accept or not, so people knowing about it wasn’t as big a deal to me anymore. By my sophomore year of college, I was still growing, and my x-ray showed that I had the potential to continue to do so. At that time, I was 5’ 4 ¾” and a healthy 120 pounds. My goal for beginning the therapy was to reach puberty and reach an acceptable height of at least 5’1”, which I had more than surpassed. By 20 years old, I was taller than most of my friends, but not towering over them. If anything, I was finally “average.” My doctor was honest with me and said that my joints showed room for growth, but that it would be safe to stop the injections now, and my joints would fuse together at this height with no problems. It was my decision, and despite being an indecisive individual, it was an easy one for me. After four plus years of twice daily shots, I was done. As expected from a non-functioning pituitary gland, I grew no more, I am currently the same height as the day I stopped the injections, and I have no regrets. I was born to be this height! Well, not literally, but in my head, I was born to be of this stature and feel incredibly lucky to be standing where I’m at today.