Shauna Rae Inspires by Embracing & Speaking Out About Disability
- Shauna Rae, 24, the star of TLC’s “I Am Shauna Rae,” shared adorable family photos from his sister’s wedding over the weekend.
- The reality star was diagnosed with cancer as a baby, which led to stunted growth. She has a condition called pituitary dwarfism and is just under 4 feet tall.
- Shauna regularly shares milestones with fans and has been honest about what it is like to go through her adult life with “the body of an 8-year-old.”
- Experts tell SurvivorNet that people living with serious health conditions often experience a certain form of grief. This grief may get easier to manage with time, but there are many resources from talk therapy to support groups to help those who are suffering.
The 24-year-old, who had cancer as a child which stunted her grown, is just under 4 feet tall. In her show, she frequently shares stories about what it’s like living through her 20s including dating, learning to drive, and starting a career with a condition known as pituitary dwarfism.Read More
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“Well the wedding happened y'all â¤ï¸Congratulations @taralynn_97 and @jessebarricella,” she wrote alongside a sweet snap of the couple. She also shared a heartwarming video of her family’s roadtrip to the nuptials.
Shauna Rae’s Health Journey
The reality star was only six months old when when a bump on her head led to a brain cancer diagnosis. What followed was surgery and years of chemotherapy for treatment.
"Fortunately, I do not remember anything about my cancer and chemo," she previously told SurvivorNet.
While she is doing well decades later, the treatment left a lasting impact on her growth and growth hormones were not successful.
“My pituitary gland was rendered almost dormant,” Shauna said. “I was stuck.”
Learning to Live & Thrive With a Disability
The medical term for Shauna's condition is called pituitary dwarfism a condition, also called growth hormone deficiency (GHD) or dwarfism, caused by insufficient amounts of growth hormone in the body.
Pituitary dwarfism in children leads to an abnormally short stature with normal body proportions, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Learning to Live With a Disability
These days, Shauna is an advocate for people with disabilities. She’s previously shared why she thinks speaking candidly about what living with pituitary dwarfism is like is important for herself, others with the condition, and those living with many other disabilities.
“I am not the only person with pituitary dwarfism," she said in an Instagram post earlier this year. “I am not the only human being out there that feels like they didn't have many people like them feeling similar, so I think it can help a lot of people.”
Like Shauna, many people dealing with disabilities or other serious health problems find themselves struggling mentally. It can be really difficult to adjust to lifestyle changes you may need to make.
Dr. Scott Irwin, a psychiatrist and Director of Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet that people dealing with serious health issues often feel a sense of grief.
“Grief comes in waves. It often gets better over time, but at certain days, it can look like depression,” he explained. “Other days, people look perfectly normal and can function. They’re grieving the change in their life, the future they had imagined is now different.”
Dr. Irwin suggests people suffering from this health-related grief speak to their doctors to see what options are available to them this may include traditional talk therapy, finding solace through a support group, seeking a therapist who specializes in people living with your condition, or a handful of other approaches.
If you are dealing with a great amount of anxiety or depression, you and your doctor may decide getting you on a medication like antidepressants may help.
These days, there is a form of genetic testing that has been shown to help match people with the best medication for mental health treatment. While genetic testing has been helpful when it comes to making treatment plans for other diseases such as certain types of cancer the ability to use it to help people who are suffering from things like anxiety and depression is relatively new.
"Doing the genetic testing has absolutely transformed the landscape of psycho-pharmacology," psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik told SurvivorNet in a previous chat.
"It's something that I highly recommend for anybody that is taking medication, whether they are being treated for cancer, or not â€¦ I recommend it for children who are taking medication. I recommend it for elderly people. Anybody who is taking medication, I think, can greatly benefit from genetic testing,” she added.