Isabella Knapp

Written By: Matt Knapp (her dad)

I’ve always told people that my middle child, Isabella (12), is the strongest person I know. She was born 5 lbs 2 oz and has always been on the shorter side. She wasn’t destined for great heights anyway (I’m 5′ 4″ and my wife is 5′ 2″), but when she turned 6 we found out why she was smaller than other kids her age. She gave me permission to tell you more about her story.

After her 6th birthday, Bella was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, a genetic condition that affects only females, and results when one of the X chromosomes (sex chromosomes) is missing or partially missing. Turner syndrome can cause a variety of medical and developmental problems, including short height, failure of the ovaries to develop and heart defects.

I remember the fearful tears and the flood of questions Cari and I had when we got the news. We were told not to look this up on the internet before talking to our doctor… but of coursewe looked it up and that didn’t help calm anyfears. Was this life threatening? Ovarian failure already? Was she going to be bullied in school for being short and different? Was this going to affect her learning abilities? 

This journey started in fear, but Bella has shown us how to be strong. In the last 6 years she has bravely approached each day with positivity. She goes to school with the intention to be friendly to others, regardless of how she is treated. She works hard in school to get A’s and B’s. She doesn’t let anyone boss her around either. I can tell she gets sad and frustrated about being short and about not being able to have children one day. She is very familiar with doctors visits, blood draws, medications, x-rays, and the like, but she is still so strong.

Th biggest reason I tell you about Bella’s strength is because she’s been on a daily injection regimen of growth hormone shots for the last six years. Currently, a 4′ 7″ 7th grader, we hope to get her to 4′ 10″ or ideally 5’0″ by the time she was an adult.

Every night we have a routine. We get the shot ready, she holds the cotton swab, we prep the injection area, and she goes quiet. And then under her breath she says to herself, ” I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.” then takes a deep breath and says “ok.” Then we do the injection and that’s it… until the next day.

I did some math. She has taken one shot, 6 nights a week, for 52 weeks a year, for the last 6 years, and tells herself I can do it at least 4 times every time we do this. That means she has told her self “I can do it” around 7,500 times! And it’s the truth! She can do it – and she is doing it. 

When Jonathan preached about putting on the armor of God this last Sunday I thought about the “Belt of Truth” – something that holds all your armor together with the truths of God – and I thought about my daughter. She puts on her belt of truth every day and it is holding her together with a lot of strength.

So may you also continue to find the truths of God in your life and allow them to hold you all together.

What truths hold you together? Who’s the strongest person you know? 

Jim Bauml


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