I am 14 but my biological age is 63 (I am now losing my teeth)
- Published: 04 October 2019
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If you’d asked me if I ever thought I’d be sitting in a doctor’s clinic waiting to find out if I was pregnant or not, I’d have laughed in your face. No 14 year old ever wants to be in that kind of situation, and yet that’s exactly where I found myself. It was one of those bright spring days, and I had to look at my feet because the sun was shining directly into my eyes. And OK, I’ll admit it...I was nervous. I looked up, squinting slightly, and the doctor was standing there staring at me. He looked nervous too. Did that mean I really was pregnant? Sweat began to trickle down my back and I could feel my skin burning up. He asked me to follow him into the room, and without even looking at me, asked me to sit down.
“Avril, I’m afraid I have some bad news…”
Hot tears were prickling my eyes as he told me that. And then I was stopped in my tracks…
“It appears that you are suffering from a rare hormonal disorder. Although you are only 14, according to your test results you are in fact biologically closer to the age of 63. What this means is that…”
I didn’t hear anything else he said. What did he mean?! The room was spinning and I felt like I was going to pass out. 63?! 63 years old...Wait, did that mean I wasn’t pregnant? I must have started crying because the next thing I knew, the doctor was sitting next to me telling me it was going to be OK, and that there were researchers who specialised in this kind of disorder.
I couldn’t believe I’d thought I was pregnant...when in fact, this was pretty much the opposite news!! He went on the explain that I’d basically undergone early menopause and that was why I was no longer getting my period and had been experiencing these hot flushes. Even at that moment as he told me all of this, I was experiencing my worst hot flush to date. I felt like someone had dipped me into a fire, that’s how much I was sweating and burning up.
He told me I should have brought a parent or guardian with me because legally I couldn’t pick up the medicine he wanted to prescribe me without an adult. Everything he said to me was so confusing and all I wanted was to run away! Why couldn’t I be normal like every other girl my age?!
It’s crazy when I think about it, because when I first got my period I thought I was dying! And I remember saying to my friend Jessie that I wished I would never have another one, that’s how painful it was! It felt like I was bleeding to death. And yet as I walked away from the doctor’s clinic, all I wanted was to get my period. Things could change so fast and I cursed myself for wishing them away like that!!
Worse than hearing that I would never have children, was the fact I had to tell my mom. I mean, without her, I wouldn’t be able to get the hormone replacement pills, but what difference would they make anyway? I was a freak. How did my life come to this? A couple of months ago, I was just a normal teenage girl, complaining about school, crushing on boys and hanging out with my friends. And now I was some old woman trapped in a young girl’s body. Nothing could be worse than this, I told myself as I walked home, trying to drown out my feelings with loud music playing in my ears.
And to think I’d been so naive to believe that I was pregnant?! I mean, get a grip Avril!! I had put off going to the doctor for so long because I was so paranoid about it. The weird symptoms I’d been having started about six months ago. At first my period disappeared, then I started sweating a lot and I could barely sleep because I just felt hot all the time, even in the middle of winter. I thought it was all in my head, but the more I thought about it, the more my body felt different inside. I stupidly mentioned it to Jessie one weekend when she was staying over, and she was like, “Avril, maybe you’re pregnant. My cousin told me this story where a girl went swimming with some boys and she got pregnant. Like, for reals!!” I just laughed, I mean, come on! No-one gets pregnant from that, right?
Well, sooner or later I started to believe it. I Googled my symptoms and everything pointed to pregnancy. I didn’t want to go out and buy a test because I was sure the lady in the pharmacy would judge me, so that’s why I went to see the doctor. I don’t know what news I would have preferred...to be pregnant or this…?!
When I got home, my mom’s car was in the driveway. I had to pretend I’d been at school, even though I’d snuck out at lunchtime for my appointment. I walked in, my heart pounding with fear. What if she could tell something was wrong?