Friday, September 30, 2011

Growth Spurt

My daughter was always on the small side, staying right around the 25% in both height and weight. But around age ten, she began slipping on the growth charts. We were concerned and her pediatrician ordered a bone age test. This quick, painless test (an x-ray of your hand) revealed that my daughter’s bones were about two years behind her chronological age. That was good news - it meant she had plenty of time to catch up and was possibly just a “late bloomer.” We decided to keep on eye on things.
By age twelve, it was clear my daughter had stopped growing. Whereas normal rate of growth is 2 inches a year, my daughter had grown barely half an inch. She completely fell off the growth charts. She was almost a teenager but often mistaken for someone much younger. While her peers were going through major growth spurts, my daughter barely wore a girl’s size 8 and wasn’t developing.
Our pediatrician felt it was time to consult a specialist and run further tests. We were lucky in that a highly respected endocrinologist practiced fifteen minutes from our house. (Many families must travel hours or out of state.) Turns out, my daughter has Growth Hormone Deficiency, also called Pituitary Dwarfism. She began hormone treatment (daily injections) and in the last year-and-a-half she has grown 5.5 inches and put on 35 pounds. She is now back to the 25 % in height and, if she stays on her current rate of growth, she’ll likely end up a bit taller than me! She’s thrilled that she looks like the high school freshman she is and loves shopping in the juniors department and buying shoes (something she hadn’t had to do in two years).
Many people believe that HGH (human growth hormone) treatment is for cosmetic purposes only. Nothing could be further than the truth. Short stature can cause some frustrations and self-esteem issues, but growth hormone affects all kinds of internal things, such as bone development, muscle tone, fertility and heart and lung function. It has real and serious medical repercussions. I didn’t care if my daughter was short, I only wanted her healthy. Because of treatment, my daughter can now keep up in dance and taekwondo classes without getting tired or having her heart pounding out of control. She’s eating and sleeping better and getting stronger.
Why am I sharing this all today? Because today is the unofficial “Growth Disorder Awareness” Day as declared by the MAGIC Foundation. MAGIC stands for Major Aspects of Growth in Children and is a non-profit organization who helps families like mine who have children with rare conditions and diseases that affect growth. It is a fabulous group that provides a wealth of resources and who helped connect me to other moms and dads who know what it’s like to deal with shots, specialists, insurance companies, misinformed family and friends and the stress of having a child with a chronic condition.
To celebrate the day, my fellow MiGs and I are happy to announce a special giveaway and fundraising event. Here’s the deal: for every new poster who comments on this post until Oct. 7, I will donate a $1 - up to $60 in honor of the fact my daughter is now 60 inches! (You can comment more than once, of course, but we’re counting individual posters.) AND, to sweeten the deal, each poster will be entered to win a random drawing for one of the books listed below! Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you. Be sure to also let us know what your top two picks are. We’ll do our best to match desired prize to winners.
Prizes (some are new, others are gently loved):
The Literary Ladies: Guide to the Writing Life and Advice From Celebrated Woman Authors Who Paved the Way by Nava Atlas
Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going
Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself by Eileen and Jerry Spinelli
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Pie by Sarah Weeks
Nothing But the Truth and a Few White Lies by Justina Chen Headley
So to recap: comment on this post and you'll be entered to win a book and donate $1 to a worthy charity (without opening your own wallet!) How easy and cool is that?


And one more thing, if you are at all concerned about your child’s rate of growth, PLEASE check with your pediatrician and the resources at MAGIC at www.magicfoundation.org. There’s just a short window of opportunity to act. Once a child’s growth plates close, there’s little that can be done.
Thank you!

~Carmella

32 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with this (and for your donation!), this is an issue I really didn't know anything about. So happy for your daughter to be getting back to being normal.

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  2. Thank you for this post--my daughter is also on the small side and we pay attention to her growth, but I am glad to know you and your daughter's story. Congrats on 60 inches! And shoe shopping :-)
    Carolyn Fay

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  3. Thanks for sharing your story. It's so great that your daughter is doing better and is enjoying her growth spurt and shopping too!

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  4. I had a classmate who experienced the same (and took the daily injections, too). So glad there's a way to help these children reach their full potential.

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  5. It's wonderful that your daughter is doing well. I hope you get the 60 comments.

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  6. I really appreciate this post, for the education it gives all of us. People can be so short-sighted and judgmental sometimes!

    I'm not commenting with the goal to try to win something, I sincerely felt moved to comment. But if it should happen that I win something, please contact me via my blog, accessible by clicking on my name. All the books look great, I'd be happy with any of them. But more important is the donation and getting the word out about this condition!

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  7. My beautiful daughter and granddaughter - she always has been my best shopping partner! No books but just a chance to say I love you and am so proud of both of you.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. I think it is wonderful that you are doing this. I'm glad your daughter is doing well.

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  9. Thank for the inspirational and informative post. I was totally unaware of this condition. I am a 4'11" tall woman that may have benefited from this treatment when I was younger. I remember clearly I stopped growing at age 12 or 13 years old. My shoe size allows me to wear children's shoes which makes shopping for dress shoes rather difficult. As a Mother of a son that grew to well over 5', I will be watching closely the growth of my 3 Grandchildren. Thanks again.

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  10. Shared where I can and wanted to share my well wishes. I am lucky my son has not had similar issues, his father had to have growth hormone injections when he was younger due to pituitary issues. I hope your daughter continues to grow into a happy young woman.

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  11. It's so wonderful that your daughter has you to advocate for her, and that the doctors caught this. It's even better that there is a treatment that worked. High school is difficult enough without additional challenges. Good luck to both of you--and thank you for raising awareness adn for providing us all with the opportunity to help

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  12. Thank you for this informative post. I can only start to imagine how this growth spurt has given confidence to your daughter -wonderful!

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  13. Great post. My dd will soon be 10 and is not even in a size 8 yet. I've always assumed it was genetics. Both my husband and I are small, but it's so sad to see how much smaller my dd is compared to her classmates. It can be hard sometimes. I hope your dd con'ts to grow and remain healthy.

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  14. Thank you for sharing this and congratulations on 60 inches! I am happy my words can mean $1. :)

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  15. Congratulations! I'm a high school teacher and have seen a lot of the bullying that happens to smaller teens. I stop what I can, but can't be everywhere at once. Good for you working so hard to keep your daughter healthy!

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  16. I'm so glad you found an answer for your daughter!

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  17. I thank you for the post and for pointing it out. I did know someone (in my daughter’s previous school) who had this. You explained it well.

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  18. Interesting. I'd heard about this and I've wondered if my daughter may have this. Great post.

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  19. No books, but wanted to applaud you for posting this.

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  20. This is wonderful news! I was always the smallest child in my class (elementary school), and I worried a lot about growing. You sound like a great mother!

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  21. Great post, and I'm so glad that your daughter has gotten the right medical help and things are going well! My SIL either produces no growth hormone, or very little (she would go into a coma as a baby and it took a while to figure out what was wrong), but thanks to the same treatment, she is perfectly normal and full-grown (and proud to be the tallest girl in the family!) today. It's definitely NOT cosmetic!

    If my name came up, I'd be interested in the KL Going book...

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  22. Not commenting in order to be entered to win a book, just moved by your daughter's story, grateful that she found help in time, and grateful to be able to add $1 to the fund!

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  23. Glad you figured it out and your daughter got the needed treatment. Was not aware of this prior to your post. Thanks!

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  24. A perfect example of the importance of receiving timely medical treatment. I'm glad your daughter's situation had a happy outcome.

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  25. Very happy your daughter's doing well!

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  26. It's great that your daughter is doing well. My son in also on the small side, and he's closely monitored by our pediatrician.

    If my name comes up, I'm interested in the Going and Spinelli books.

    Thanks!

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  27. I'm so glad to hear that your daughter has gotten the care she needs and is doing so well! Due to general ignorance surrounding endochrine disorders, People can be (often are) so cruel to those who suffer from them. Thank you for being willing to not only leave no stone unturned with your daughter's care, but for educating the rest of us. Your daughter is lucky to have you - I hope she continues to thrive!

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  28. Thanks for sharing your story. So glad your daughter is doing well! Our daughter is small too - 14 and finished growing at 59 1/2 inches - so we know from her the pain of being smaller than her peers. Hers is not a growth hormone issue, though - just short parents and grandparents :) If my name comes up, I already have the Atlas and Going books, so any one of the others (susanna@susannahill.com). I hope your daughter continues to do well!

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  29. So glad to hear that all is well. I have to take my daughter in for the same test and I have been putting it off because I wasn't sure if it would help. I will make the appointment today.

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  30. Thank you for sharing your personal story. I am happy for your daughter's successes! Science can be quite amazing.
    Although I did not have growth hormone deficiency, it was suspected I might when I was a child. I had not grown in height, weight or shoe size for two years and was sent to a research hospital in the mid sixties for extensive study. I was 28 pounds at age seven. The hospital stay entailed the measuring of all food and drink I supposedly ingested as well as weighing any output, taking wrist x-rays, full body x-rays and daily finger pricks. I vividly recall the sights and sounds of that research hospital and the Easter Lilies that were delivered to my room. I will never forget that hospital stay, the other children in the ward, the nurses or even the smell of the corridors. When the report with the results came weeks after I had been discharged, I remember my mother dancing and singing out loudly, "Vicki's going to be 5 - 3! Vicki's going to be 5 - 3!" I had no idea what "five three" even meant at the time. I passed that prediction by a half inch.
    Getting the word out to parents with slow or non-growing children is of the utmost importance because of the small window of time where treatment is an option. Success stories like your own and even mine truly must be shared.

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  31. Very interesting post!!!

    -------------------------
    Child Development

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  32. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really love the article. It proved to be very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also engaged! I’m sure you had joy writing this article.hgh

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