Athlete glides through unique diagnosis

"If I get hurt, it’s more dangerous because of my diagnosis; but in swimming, you don’t get hurt”

Diagnosis alters but does not stop 11-year old's dreams

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Jacob Payne has learned to accept a unique diagnosis.

The 11-year-old spent the past six years swimming with the CHRISTUS Swim program.

Two years ago, the Eden Gardens Magnet fifth-grader was diagnosed with panhypopituitarism. It’s a serious disorder in which his body doesn’t produce hormones.

“The pituitary gland is an organ at the base of the brain that produces a lot of hormones in our body. Jacob's does not function," said Kristy Payne, Jacob’s mom.

Swimming gives child with pituitary disorder a new lease on life

Kristy realized something was wrong during one of her son’s annual wellness visits to his doctor.

“We realized on a growth chart he had not grown an inch in over two years.”

That led to Payne’s diagnosis.

“Hormones are very regulatory. Without them, he’s in a very dangerous place. There’s no cure but there is treatment. At this point in his life, he’ll take 35 pills a week and nine injections a week to replace everything that he is not currently making.”

Payne and his Mom agree the extra medicine is worth it. Especially when it means his body is getting what it needs to grow and protect itself.

That lowers the risk of Payne getting hurt but has put an end to one of his sports dreams.

“I always wanted to play like baseball, but I really can’t. If I get hurt, it’s more dangerous because of my diagnosis; but in swimming, you don’t get hurt.”

Over the past few years, the medicine has put Payne back in his age group in growth and he’s transformed into a state swimmer.

The CHRISTUS Swim program is partially funded by Children’s Miracle Network Hospital donations.

The program will hold a new swimmer evaluation from 3:45-5 p.m. Sept. 3 at CHRISTUS Louisiana Athletic Club.

If your child is interested in joining a swim team, then he or she will be placed into a specific team based on their skill level. The cost is $75-$125 a month.

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