I am 5 FEET TALL!!! Woo Hoooooo! I have officially measured in as five feet. That is 60 inches, 152.4 centimeters, and 1524 millimeters. This is absolutely super-duper, wildly crazy cool, and fantastic! I am really enjoying this whole new Jessica is “taller thing.” Is it just me or once you enter the five-foot zone everything else in the world shrinks? For example, I can reach the second shelf in the kitchen cabinets to grab a plate. I am able to jump and high-five the top of the door frame as I walk out. I can reach tall buildings in a single bound. Just kidding on the tall buildings, because I am not a superhero… yet. Seriously, I think that everything around me shrunk about 4 inches. To me, hitting the five-foot mark is a great way to show cancer that I am surviving, thriving, and inspiring.
Why does my height of 5 feet matter so much to me? Well, it is actually more of a milestone marker in my survivorship goals than anything else. You see, when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11, I was 4 feet 4 inches tall. If you look at the growth charts for children, this height put me in the zero percentile (0%) on the chart. I was not even a dot that could be placed on the growth chart. My dot was placed on the bottom underneath the percentile curves.
My cancer caused me to have hypopituitarism which is a disorder in which my pituitary gland fails to produce several of my hormones. This affected my ability to grow which resulted in short stature. I was very well destined to be extremely small, or as I like to say, “fun sized”. I honestly was at peace with being smaller than small because I was happy to be alive. I learned that there is not a treatment for hypopituitarism, but there is replacement therapy to help my body match the amounts that my pituitary would normally manufacture if I didn’t have this problem. I had to wait a long time to start this therapy. I had to fight cancer first. Then, I had to be a survivor for several years. I was also fighting the clock because the window of when you can grow closes at a certain point in your teenage years. I also lost several important growing years and lost many chances of growing inches on my height. Years ago, I set a very lofty goal with the help of my parents and my doctors. My goal was to reach five feet in height.
Drop the Mic!
I invite you to visit my YouTube channel Positively Jessica where you can learn about me enjoying life and my new “vlog the blog” series to see more about my blog creation and behind the scenes of this article. https://youtu.be/zODKR3gnrzAEnjoy!
All images courtesy of Jessica Meyer.