Maybe she’s born with it, Maybe its steroids.

by Rachel-Anne Millar

Taken in Edinburgh Scotland at Vanity Thrills.

When I was eleven I was diagnosed with Congenital Pan-Hypopituitarism (will be known as CPHP hereafter) after going through my first Addison’s adrenaline crisis coma. So what is Congenital Pan-Hypopituitarism? Its when your body is unable to make cortisone, stress hormones, and basically is an umbrella for various health problems. It affects the pituitary gland (also known as the Master gland). The answer is lifelong pill popping steroids and other medication. I went from a child’s size 7/8 to a woman’s size 13 in less than a year at 12 years old. Many “friends” dropped me and had nothing to do with me. I was pointed at and laughed at. During high school, things got better but it wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s did I start getting over crushing feelings of being fat & ugly.

Part of it is because I became more interested in my health problem. Yes, its a problem, I am a self-described spoonie (google it and you’ll understand what I mean). I can’t always do what I want but I don’t let it stop me. Yes CPHP can be life threating, with the stomach flu I can end up in the hospital if not careful. I am unable to handle a lot of emotional and mental stress after awhile it makes me one hot mess that makes me feel worn out. I try not to let it rule me but I control it the best I can. I’ve surfed in Mexico, traveled to Scotland myself, and thanks to a wonderful friend Emily I participate in her belly dance classes health permitting the last 8 years (my favorite is Turkish belly dancing and coquettish burlesque) and I am very proud of is starting my own business as a massage practitioner.

A high school friend had opened a spa called Vitality Centre. Although I had taken the course for Thai Reflexology in May (2010) I had so much self-doubt. I kept thinking “Look at yourself, your so fat. Why would anyone want you to work in a spa? Your such a loser & why do you think you’ll do good this time, What if you get sick, you know your health sucks” and other such stupid talk. I had been going to Shari for spa treatments and she spoke for me to help me get the job. Andrea (the owner) let me bring my notes until I had it memorized. I don’t have the best health but I explained my health once I got the job. The management team is so understanding. Right from the start, I’ve felt like I have my own cheering team. This July I celebrate 8 years of having my own business and working with the most amazing people. I am grateful for where I work, I know they are my squad. Those I work with love my work ethic, determination and most important they accept & appreciate me for me! They don’t see my size or disability. They are like a second family to me. Because of given this chance I have grown so much in self-esteem, confidence, and tenacity. I’m a real go-getter and with such good friends behind me, there’s no stopping me now! Sometimes we need to see our best qualities through others eyes before we can appreciate our own good qualities. Of course, my parents supported me in all this and through life but sometimes you need to hear from other than family.

Before working at a spa I was childcare provider. It was easy to hide away as the focus is on the kids. I look back and see I missed out so much from the time I started steroids until I changed careers. Don’t get me wrong I loved worked working the kids (especially two very sweet girls who are now amazing young ladies) but I don’t feel like I found myself until I made this change. Yeah, change is scary but worth every effort. I grew up lonely because I surrounded myself with “friends” waiting for them to accept me. Instead, I needed to walk away and value myself. I spent too many hours counting on so-called friends only to hear they’d purposely not invited me but patronized & insulted me thinking I didn’t hear them plan to get together literally behind my back. I grew up with this distorted image of myself because of those people. I only started to value myself when I saw my strengths blossom and surrounded myself with quality people, not quantity. Do I have regrets? You bet! I’m the kindest Badass today. I wish I had the tenacious ambition and self-value today back in high in school. I would have done things so much differently. I would not have held back from being me, loved myself, trusted the true friends and dumped the ones who just took me for granted. I would have given my heart fully not living each day with regret. I would have said yes. I would have flashed my leg at the graduation cap & gown ceremony like I had the urge too. But, today all I can do is look just how far I’ve come and I’m damn proud of that! I’ve got a few friends now, who value me and I them. I had just the best time with two of them seeing P!nk in Vancouver.

I look back and I see my strength emotionally, mentally, physically I really had these good qualities all along. If there are any teenagers reading this the best advice I can give you is, learn from me. Pick your friends wisely, don’t be afraid to be yourself, don’t wait for the perfect time to shine. You are amazing, beautiful and strong. If you are met with doubt take it as a challenge. If you have any health issues learn about it, find social media groups just for your health issue. I belong to two groups. It’s a great place to learn more but to have those “Me too!” moments, share a laugh and such. So don’t talk to yourself negatively! You are not a size, stupid or disabled to find your dream job and your own squad. Don’t give up and start believing in yourself because darling you’ve got a lot going for you!

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